Title: SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN LITERATURE

Author:LOVECRAFT HOWARD PHILIPS
Subject:ENGLISH MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS
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Supernatural Horror In Literature
by H. P. Lovecraft
---------------------------------------------Written 1926-27, Revised 1933
Published in The Recluse in 1927
--------------------------------------------I. Introduction
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and
strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists
will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the
genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against
it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings
to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naïvely insipid
idealism which deprecates the ├Žsthetic motive and calls for a didactic
literature to "uplift" the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism.
But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and
attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and
elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be
poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from
the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from
everyday life. Relatively few are free enough from the spell of the daily
routine to respond to tappings from outside, and tales of ordinary feelings and
events, or of common sentimental distortions of such feelings and events, will
always take first place in the taste of the majority; rightly, perhaps, since of
course these ordinary matters make up the greater part of human experience. But
the sensitive are always with us, and sometimes a curious streak of fancy
invades an obscure corner of the very hardest head; so that no amount of
rationalisation, reform, or Freudian analysis can quite annul the thrill of the
chimney-corner whisper or ...
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