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The Great God Pan
by Arthur Machen
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H. P. Lovecraft
Of creators of cosmic fear raised to its most artistic pitch, few can hope to equal Arthur Machen.
What can I say about a writer whose influence has been acknowledged by H.P.Lovecraft, Peter Straub, T.E.D.Klein, M.John Harrison and Clive Barker? Perhaps that he managed to communicate a sense of the inexpressibly and awesomely supernatural with more power than he ever knew.
Arthur Machen (1863-1947) was a leading Welsh author. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. He also is well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons. At the age of eleven, he boarded at Hereford Cathedral School, where he received an excellent classical education. Family poverty ruled out attendance at university. Around 1890 Machen began to publish in literary magazines, writing stories influenced by the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, some of which used gothic or fantastic themes. This led to his first major success, The Great God Pan (1894), which was part of the growing aesthetic movement of the time. Machen's story was widely denounced for its sexual and horrific content and subsequently sold well, going into a second edition. Machen next produced The Three Impostors, a novel composed of a number of interwoven tales, in 1895. The novel and the stories within it were eventually to be regarded as among Machen's best works.
It was otherwise, however, when within three weeks, three more gentlemen, one of them a nobleman, and the two others men of good position and ample means, perished miserably in the almost precisely the same manner. Lord Swanleigh was found one morning in his dressing-room, hanging from a peg affixed to the wall, and Mr. Collier-Stuart and Mr. Herries had chosen to die as Lord Argentine.
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