A Thinking Again Guide to Modern and Contemporary Horror Fiction (1900-present)
Works on this list include literature with genuinely frightening or disturbing horror elements as well as genre works with some level of literary value, if only a powerful emotional effect. That is, in one way or another, all these are works of horror with significant merit as works of literature, to my mind.
This list is still in progress, so please help me add to it. Works of significant quality only, please–I understand the vagueness of the term “quality,” so using your own standards is fine. I’m hoping other people will have some good suggestions for me. As you can see, I’ve read a lot of this sort of thing, and I’m always worried I’m about to run out.
Robert Aickman, The Wine Dark Sea (1988) or any other collection Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (1937) Eric Basso, The Beak Doctor: Short Fiction 1972-76 Thomas Bernhard, Gargoyles (1967) Algernon Blackwood, “The Willows” (1907), “Ancient Sorceries” (1908) Paul Bowles, The Delicate Prey (1950) Mary Butts, From Alter to Chimney-Piece: Selected Stories of Mary Butts (1992)–stories originally published between 1922 and 1937 Ramsey Campbell, The Face That Must Die (1979) Walter De La Mare, The Return (1922) Stephen Dobyns, The Church of Dead Girls (1997) Guy Endore, The Werewolf of Paris (1933) Brian Evenson, Dark Property (1995) Dennis Etchison, The Dark Country (1982) Thomas Harris, Red Dragon (1981), The Silence of the Lambs (1988) John Hawkes, The Beetle Leg (1951), Travesty (1976) Susan Hill, The Woman in Black (1983) Shirley Jackson, “The Lottery” (1948), The Haunting of Hill House (1959), We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962) Henry James, “The Beast in the Jungle,” (1903), “The Jolly Corner” (1908) M.R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1904), More Ghost Stories of an Antiquary (1911), or Collected Ghost Stories (1931). T.E.D. Klein, The Ceremonies (1984) Tanith Lee, Dark Dance (1992) Tommaso Landolfi, An Autumn Story (1975) Fritz Leiber, Conjure Wife (1943), Our Lady of Darkness (1978) Thomas Ligotti, Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1989); those stories and others also in The Nightmare Factory (1996) H.P. Lovecraft, “The Rats in the Walls” (1922), The Dunwich Horror” (1928), “The Shadow over Innsmouth” (1936) Arthur Machen, “The White People” (1904) Robert Marasco, Burnt Offerings (1973) Richard Matheson, I Am Legend (1954) Patrick McGrath, Spider (1990) Gustav Meyrink, The Golem (1928) David Morrell, The Totem (1979) Oliver Onions, Widdershins (1911) Victor Pelevin, “The News from Napal” in The Blue Lantern (1994) Jean Ray, Malpertuis (1943) Alain Robbe-Grillet, The Voyeur (1955), Jealousy (1958) Dan Simmons, Song of Kali (1985) Peter Straub, If You Could See Me Now (1977) Whiltey Streiber, The Wolfen (1978) Theodore Sturgeon, Some of Your Blood (1956) Roland Topor, The Tenant (1964) Wilfrid Sheed, The Blacking Factory & Pennsylvania Gothic (1968) Dirik Van Sickle, Montana Gothic (1979) Patrik Suskind, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1986) H. Russell Wakefield, The Best Ghost Stories of H. Russell Wakefield (1978)–stories first published mainly between 1928 and 1935 Paul West, The Women of Whitechappel and Jack the Ripper (1992) Edith Wharton, The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton (1973)–stories first published between 1909 and 1937 Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, Collected Ghost Stories (1974)–most stories first published between 1903 and 1927)