Amy H. Sturgis (eldritchhobbit) wrote,
Amy H. Sturgis

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"an instantaneous and horrible transformation"

What specialist publishers produce the best "spooky" literature? I have some recommendations:

* Valancourt Books is an independent press based in Chicago, specializing in quality new editions of rare literature from the 18th and 19th centuries, especially Gothic, Classic, and Irish literature. This is the best press around for beautiful and affordable Gothic novels.
* Arkham House began by publishing the works of H.P. Lovecraft, who remains on at the center of the press's success; Arkam House also introduces fans to new authors in the world of the macabre, fantasy, and horror.
* Bison Frontiers of the Imagination, the classic science fiction series from the University of Nebraska Press, includes a number of wonderful classic works of apocalyptic literature.
* Broadview Press publishes a wide variety of literary texts, including excellent (and reasonably priced!) editions of Gothic staples like The Castle of Otranto, The Monk, Vathek, and Frankenstein.
* Zittaw Press specializes in reprints of Gothic literature, particularly hand-sewn chapbooks, as well as some novels.
* Night Shade Books is an impressive up-and-coming publisher of weird fiction, including horror, science fiction, and fantasy.

Today we move away from poetry and back to prose to consider another haunting story: Carmilla, a 1872 Gothic novella by J. Sheridan le Fanu. This chilling story of a female vampire predated Bran Stoker's Dracula by over twenty years, and remains a thoroughly chilling read today. Here is an excerpt:

Under a narrow, arched doorway, surmounted by one of those demoniacal grotesques in which the cynical and ghastly fancy of old Gothic carving delights, I saw very gladly the beautiful face and figure of Carmilla enter the shadowy chapel.

I was just about to rise and speak, and nodded smiling, in answer to her peculiarly engaging smile; when with a cry, the old man by my side caught up the woodman’s hatchet, and started forward. On seeing him a brutalised change came over her features. It was an instantaneous and horrible transformation, as she made a crouching step backwards. Before I could utter a scream, he struck at her with all his force, but she dived under his blow, and unscathed, caught him in her tiny grasp by the wrist. He struggled for a moment to release his arm, but his hand opened, the axe fell to the ground, and the girl was gone.

- from Carmilla by J. Sheridan le Fanu

Read the complete novella at Project Gutenberg.
Tags: halloween

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