Blackwood photo

Algernon Blackwood
(1869 - 1951)

English writer of ghost stories and supernatural fiction, of whom Lovecraft wrote: "He is the one absolute and unquestioned master of weird atmosphere." His powerful story "The Willows," which effectively describes another dimension impinging upon our own, was reckoned by Lovecraft to be not only "foremost of all" Blackwood's tales but the best "weird tale" of all time. (Unfortunately, Blackwood, who was familiar with Lovecraft's work, failed to return the compliment. As he told Peter Penzoldt, he found "spiritual terror" missing in his young admirer's writing, something he considered all-important in his own.)

Among his thirty-odd books, Blackwood wrote a series of stories and short novels published as John Silence, Physician Extraordinary (1908), which featured a "psychic detective" who combined the skills of a Sherlock Holmes and a psychic medium.  Blackwood also wrote light fantasy and juvenile books.

The son of a preacher, Blackwood had a life-long interest in the supernatural, the occult, and spiritualism, and firmly believed that humans possess latent psychic powers.   The autobiography Episodes Before Thirty (1923) tells of his lean years as a journalist in New York. In the late 1940s, Blackwood had a television program on the BBC on which he read . . . ghost stories!

Other Web Sites

Online Texts

An Egyptian Hornet (short story)
A victim of higher space (short story)
The Willows (short story)

Websites

Starlight, Jelly and Shadows: Mike Ashley interviewed by Andrew Hedgecock. Ashley is a leading authority on Blackwood.
Algernon Blackwood, by Henrik Johnsson, at Literary Gothic.

Recent Publications

Joshi, S.T. (ed.), Incredible Adventures by Algernon Blackwood, Hippocampus Press, 2004.

Joshi, S.T. (ed.), The Complete John Silence Stories by Algernon Blackwood, Dover, 1998.

Fiction by Algernon Blackwood

All volumes are short stories collections except those marked (*), which are novels.
 
The Empty House (1906)
The Listener (1907)
John Silence, Physician Extraordinary (1908)
*Jimbo (1909)
The Education of Uncle Paul (1910)
The Human Chord (1910)
The Lost Valley and other stories (1910)
*The Centaur (1911)
Pan's Garden (1912)
A Prisoner in Fairyland (1913)
Ten Minute Stories (1914)
Incredible Adventures (1914)
The Extra Day (1915)
*Julius Le Vallon (1916) -- novel about reincarnation
The Wave: An Egyptian Aftermath (1916)
Day and Night Stories (1917)
*The Promise of Air (1918, 1938)
*The Garden of Survival (1918) -- a man is haunted by the presence of his dead wife
The Wolves of God and Other Fey Stories (1921) -- with Wilfred Wilson
*The Bright Messenger (1922)
Tongues of Fire and Other Sketches (1924)
Sambo and Snitch (1927) -- children's book
The Dance of Death and Other Tales (1938)
Dudley and Gilderoy: A Nonsense (1929) -- children's novel about a cat and a parrot who befriend each other
Full Circle (1929) -- short story about a man haunted by the apparition of a young boy
The Fruit Stoners (1934)
Shocks (1936)
How the Circus came to Tea (1936)
Tales (1939)
The Adventures of Dudley and Gilderoy (1941)
The Doll and One Other (1946)
Tales of the Uncanny and the Supernatural (1949)

Biographical

 
Blackwood, Algernon. Episodes Before Thirty, 1923
Twentieth Century Authors. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1942
Saturday Review of Literature, 2/15/36; 5/31/41
Obit., New York Times, 12/11/51
Michael, Ashley. Algernon Blackwood: A Bio-bibliography. New York: Greenwood Press, 1987.

First posted: July 27, 1996
Last updated: January 11, 2011


Selected Authors of Supernatural Horror

Ambrose Bierce H.P. Lovecraft Edgar A. Poe
Algernon Blackwood Arthur Machen M. P. Shiel
Lord Dunsany Fitz-James O'Brien Clark Ashton Smith
William Hope Hodgson Other Links Photo Gallery

Alan Gullette, Oakland, California. Email: alang@alangullette.com