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Haunted, you said?”: Arthur Machen’s Short Stories as Haunted and Haunting Places

Deborah Bridle
p. 111-124


Cet article emploie les concepts de la hantise et de la spectralité dans le cadre d’une analyse des nouvelles de l’auteur gallois Arthur Machen. Si l’on entend la hantise comme la manifestation d’une répétition, il est alors possible de voir les répétitions à la fois diégétiques et extratextuelles comme des processus qui hantent les personnages tout comme les lecteurs. En observant de près les techniques narratives mises en place par Machen ainsi que les manifestations du surnaturel en relation avec la forme de la nouvelle, on souhaite ici démontrer comment les nouvelles de Machen peuvent être considérées comme des agents de la hantise mais également comme des entités hantées dans lesquelles le texte lui-même devient fantôme.

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1When we hear the word “haunting,” our mind presumably pictures the spirit of a dead person lingering in a particular place, ideally an old mansion, and haunting, namely visiting and scaring, the living beings present in said place. In the realm of literature, famous ghosts such as Hamlet’s father or Scrooge’s partner Marley come to mind while the gothic and supernatural fiction of authors like Poe, Le Fanu, Henry James or M. R. James gave ghosts a prominent role in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Arthur Machen is associated to the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries trend of supernatural horror fiction alongside authors such as Lord Dunsany or Ambrose Bierce. However, as editor Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in an introduction to a 1948 Machen anthology, “Machen did not write a single ghost story. He was never interested in the unhappy revenant that lingers around ancestral houses to plague a new generation for the sins of the old” (163). Therefore, why talk of haunting regarding Machen’s fiction and how relevant can the concept be for a critical reading? The OED offers among others the following definition for the noun “haunting”: “Customary resort; frequenting; visitation by fears, suspicions, imaginary beings, spirits, etc.,” while the various definitions of the verb “haunt” feature the adverb “frequently.” “Haunting” thus seems to be determined by its recurrent character as well as its intangibility. In that sense, Machen’s short stories offer a wide range of hauntings which, albeit not performed by ghosts per se, cause a recurrent feeling of dread and fear in the characters. Through phenomena of demonic possession, magic rituals and the resurgence of god-like figures from the past, Machen’s short stories are indeed visited by “fears, suspicions, imaginary beings, spirits.” Max Duperray’s analysis of what he calls the spectral mode would tend to confirm this conception of the haunting process: in his article “En guise d’introduction du spectral,” he defines the spectral mode as a spectre-free supernatural mode where repetition replaces the usual ghosts by producing a series of echoes and recurrences.

2The purpose of this article is to show how the diegetic hauntings are actually a mere manifestation of a broader and more significant form of haunting. The text itself is the haunting agent and can be seen as an organic body that can haunt as much as be haunted. My first part shall thus analyse Machen’s stories as haunted and haunting texts on a diegetic as well as an extratextual level. I will then use the motif of repetition and recurrence as a means to decipher the meaning of the haunting process.

Haunted/Haunting Texts

  • 1 “I noticed a queer, heavy feeling about the air of the house […] it seemed to stop the breath […]. (...)

3Machen’s stories are stories of dread and horror in which the setting is often pervaded with an oppressive and ominous atmosphere while the characters are thrown in the path of terrifying phenomena that are bound to haunt them for life. In “The Great God Pan,” after seeing the evil things that his wife is capable of, Charles Herbert says to his friend “you would pass the rest of your life as I pass mine, a haunted man, a man who has seen hell” (27). In “The Inmost Light,” Dyson catches a glimpse of a demonic figure at a window and is haunted by this vision night and day. The customary haunted location is also given some prominence, with the examples of the age-old scene of gruesome murders that people have shunned for centuries (“Novel of the Black Valley”) and the typically Gothic abandoned haunted house that leaves a dreadful feeling in its visitors.1

4However, those types of rather classical hauntings in which the characters are disturbed by their own unmediated experience are far less numerous than indirect forms of hauntings. Most of Machen’s short stories are built on an embedded structure in which the heroes are only acquainted with horror through an account they have heard or read from a third party. In that sense, the received account, or text, becomes the haunting agent. Here are a few of the innumerable examples: in “The Great God Pan” Charles Herbert tells of his evil and demonic wife to Villiers, who then becomes haunted by the tale and repeats it to his friend Austin; in the same story, Clarke reads “for the tenth time” the story of Helen’s childhood written by Dr. Phillips; in “The Inmost Light” Dyson reads about the mysterious death of Mrs Black and is so obsessed by it that he decides to investigate the case himself, and the reader’s knowledge of this obsession is obtained via Dyson’s admission of it to his friend Salisbury. He will eventually get to the truth of the mystery thanks to a notebook left by Dr. Black.

5The text as haunting agent can take on different shapes in addition to its textual and narrative form, as shown by the evil-imbued portrait of Helen discovered by Villiers in “The Great God Pan,” or by the crumpled note that Salisbury finds in a dark passageway in “The Inmost Light” and which “got into his head. […] It became a positive pain, like the foolish burden of a music-hall song, everlastingly quoted, and sung at all hours of the day and night” (24).

6The advantage offered by the text compared to the actual experience is that it can be cast away (although only momentarily since its haunting quality will always make it re-emerge in some form or other). Sophie Mantrant underlines the dimension of contamination that portraits and written accounts have in “The Great God Pan”: “Machen’s novella particularly emphasizes the phenomenon of contamination by the text or, more generally, by representation. One finds in ‘The Great God Pan,’ just as in The Picture of Dorian Gray, the motif of the disease-transmitting contagious portrait or text” (298, my translation). She illustrates her point with Clarke’s injunction to Villiers to burn Helen’s portrait and his brutal rejection of Dr Phillips’s account through the violent shutting of the notebook containing it. According to Mantrant, those reactions are part of the physical and emotional process of rejection that horror (as opposed to terror) entails in the subject. However, we can add to this analysis that the repulsion that horror prompts in the characters does not prevent them from seeking its contact time and again. No matter how appalling Dr Phillips’s account is, Clarke reads it for the tenth time.

7If we consider that horror is a key element of the haunting process in Machen’s stories and that this process mostly occurs through the bodies of various texts, we have to acknowledge the willingness of the reader to get haunted by those horrific texts. As a result, the actual readers that we are are also willing victims of this textual haunting. The stories can be read on a metafictional level as the representation of our desire to read supernatural and horror fiction, a recurring desire that can be considered as a form of haunting. In this mise en abyme, the intradiegetic haunting presence of the textual bodies (be they spoken accounts, diaries, letters, portraits, etc.) mirrors the extratextual haunting presence of the primary textual body. The plots are scattered with references to literature, and more particularly to fantasy, further reinforcing the self-referential character of Machen’s fiction. Many of Machen’s main protagonists are aspiring writers (possible spectral representations of the author himself) who like to discourse on the virtues and flaws of the use of imagination in fiction. Dyson in particular is prone to expatiate on this topic in the four stories in which he is featured and he never misses an opportunity to praise the marvellous, the odd, the wonderful. Fantasy becomes a prism that enables him to read reality as if it were a tale and therefore to accept the supernatural as plausible and to seek it like a ghost hunter. His friend Russell, another would-be writer, is struck by the sight of a house which gives him a vision of the ideal plot: on the door “the red stain of blood, and behind a window two shadows, blackened and faded on the blind, as they swayed on tightened cords—the shadows of a man and a woman hanging in a vulgar gas lit parlour” (The Three Impostors, “The Recluse of Bayswater,” 195). Dyson and Russell are haunted by the desire to read reality through the fascinating lens of horror.

8This haunting desire can be paralleled with the actual reader’s thirst for horror, which is simultaneously exacerbated and quenched by the specificities of the short story. A critical anthology on nineteenth-century supernatural fiction states that this particular genre often took the form of the short story and thus better achieved the effect of horror by avoiding the “loosely constructed plots and subplots” and “stock characters” of its predecessor, the Gothic novel. In addition, the growing popularity and availability of magazines “increased the proliferation of supernatural tales” (Kepos 207) and made the success of penny dreadfuls and their likes. Benjamin F. Fisher IV gives the example of Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine as the publisher of some of the best brief horror tales of the mid-nineteenth century. Needless to say that Poe’s concept of the unity of effect is particularly suited to tales of horror: those texts offer a more direct approach to the action of the plot than longer novels, and therefore sustain a more even atmosphere of dread.

9In order to emphasise the unity of effect produced by the short story of horror, Machen heavily relied on the technique of omission. Many critics have underlined this particular feature of Machen’s style, a recurring and haunting process in his fiction: the horror is generally too terrible and nauseating to be repeated or described. Denying the reader and the characters access to the complete information adds to its potential horror: by letting our imagination run wild, our thoughts often paint a more terrifying picture. The missing elements form part of a dialectics of presence/absence (just like a ghost) which reinforces the haunting quality of the text. Discussing Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho, Max Duperray analyses the absence of certain ghosts as a means to re-establish their strength and their visibility: “it is the denial of spectres that reinforces the spectral: through the presence of absence” (16, my translation). This perfectly describes the phenomenon of haunting itself as a pervading but elusive presence. In Machen’s stories, this absent presence is mostly justified by its unbearably horrific character: the descriptions are either interrupted by the witness who refuses to inflict upon his listener or reader the horrific shock of what he saw, or by the recipient of the tale who does not want to hear more (two examples among many are sufficient to illustrate those two aspects):

I cannot write down what I witnessed that night; I cannot bear to recall what went on in those secret rooms fast shuttered and curtained so that no light should escape into the quiet street. (The Three Impostors, “Strange Occurrence in Clerkenwell,” 225)

Austin took the manuscript but never read it. Opening the neat pages at haphazard his eye was caught by a word and a phrase that followed it; and, sick at heart, with white lips and a cold sweat pouring like water from his temples, he flung the paper down. “Take it away, Villiers; never speak of this again. […] I will not read it; I should never sleep again.” (“The Great God Pan,” 57)

10This elusive presence of the horrific text can be further complicated by the narrators who help and hinder at the same time the spreading of the text. For instance, at the end of “The Great God Pan,” the manuscript of Dr Matheson which recounts the death of Helen Vaughan is interrupted in several parts because it is illegible, thus making the spectre of the text more evasive and transient for the character reading it as well as for the actual reader of the short story. Some characters resort to denial when the horror is too great, like Vaughn who, in “The Shining Pyramid,” tries to convince himself that the terrible pagan ritual he has witnessed was an illusion, or the narrator of “The White People” who doubts the reality of what she has witnessed in the woods with her nurse. But the haunting is stronger and always recurs. For us readers as well as for the characters who strive to understand the events in spite of their horrific quality, this spectral body that the text constitutes is an object of desire, the Lacanian “objet a,” that we seek while it remains unattainable. In “The White People,” we know that the fabulous places visited by the narrator are places of evil power and we would like to know more, but “the secret wood must not be described” and it is condemned to remain a half-complete textual representation, a haunting presence/absence.

11As powerful a means for horror as it is, the text as haunting and haunted body has further significance in Machen’s fiction. As J. T. Owen explains, “Machen tried to suggest a level of evil which transcends words—admittedly a difficult task for a writer. Machen’s point is that there are forces in the world which go so far beyond human comprehension that language does not exist with which to describe them. Man must rely on mysterious symbols and signs” (192). The written text, partial and elusive as it may be, is like the coded message found by Salisbury in “The Inmost Light” and which becomes for Dyson “an attraction, and now and again he took it up and scanned thoughtfully what [was] written. […] It was a token, a symbol, he decided, and not a cipher” (33).

Repetition and Recurrence: Deciphering Haunting

12If haunting is the phenomenon of repetitive visitation, it is then undeniable that Machen’s stories are haunted by a series of recurring ghosts. The most obvious one is a ghost named “plot.” Let us take for example the initial event in “The Great God Pan” and in “The Inmost Light”: in both stories, a physician versed in the occult conducts an experiment on the brain of a vulnerable female subject in order to gain access to mysterious and forbidden knowledge of the world beyond. Several stories use the disappearance of a young country girl to prove the existence of ancient evil people in the wilderness, a resurgence of the fairies from Celtic folklore. We can see them or their malevolent pagan rituals in “The Shining Pyramid,” “The Red Hand,” “Novel of the Black Seal” (The Three Impostors) and “The White People.”

13Another diegetic element that was dear to Machen was the motif of degeneration: at the end of “The Great God Pan,” Helen follows a degenerative process that takes her down the evolution chain and only leaves behind a “substance like to jelly” (62); the same misfortune happens to Francis Leicester in “Novel of the White Powder” (The Three Impostors), in which the young man “was a dark and putrid mass, seething with corruption and rottenness, neither liquid nor solid, but melting and changing before our eyes” (209); and in “Novel of the Black Seal” (The Three Impostors), Jervase—a young country boy who happens to be the fruit of the union between a woman and the ancient god Pan, just like Helen in “The Great God Pan”—is the victim of a fit during which “something pushed out from the body there on the floor, and stretched forth a slimy wavering tentacle, across the room” (172).

14All those very similar elements of the diegesis are accompanied by objects, props, or sub-elements of plot that are also recurrent in the stories: one can find numerous references to old flints and arrowheads (“The Shining Pyramid,” “The Red Hand,” and in The Three Impostors “The Gold Tiberius” and “Adventure of the Missing Brother”), black stones covered in ancient and enigmatic carvings (“Novel of the Black Seal,” “The Red Hand”), the wine of the Sabbath and references to Sabbatical rituals (“The White People,” and in The Three Impostors “Novel of the White Powder” and “History of the Young Man With Spectacles”), the figure of the snake, the goat or the faun as the representative of primal evil (“The Great God Pan,” “The Shining Pyramid,” “The Gold Tiberius,” “History of the Young Man With Spectacles,” “Novel of the Black Seal”), and the presence of Roman ruins in the West countryside (“The Great God Pan,” “Novel of the Back Seal,” “The White People”). The characters themselves can be seen as spectres visiting the various stories. Indeed, Machen often uses the same names although not for the same characters: Helen Vaughan, the evil heroine of “The Great God Pan,” lends her first name to a woman in “Novel of the White Powder,” and her last name to the detective’s sidekick in “The Shining Pyramid.” The name Meyrick is used in “The Great God Pan” but also in a later story, ‘”The Children of the Pool,” and in one of Machen’s novels. Sophie Mantrant makes an interesting observation on the similarity between Helen’s name Vaughan and “faun” and highlights her fluctuating nature all through the story as the character travels the world and keeps changing names to protect her identity. Her protean nature shows her self-division into various repetitions, or ghosts, of her original self.

15Generally speaking, Machen’s characters also seem to be rather flat or stock characters. The main protagonists of his stories are amateur detectives thrown into investigations on sordid and mysterious events, they often go through a period of poverty before seeing their fortunes turned thanks to an unforeseen inheritance, and most of them are would-be writers as well. J. T. Owens associates those protagonists with the eighteen-nineties’ flâneurs because they all love to walk through London’s “byways and obscure quarters” (193) with no particular design in mind, a feature that establishes Machen’s kinship with the decadent writers according to the critic. At all events, London is given much more emphasis and depth than the characters roaming its streets, showing another recurrent element in Machen’s stories: the settings are always given much more prominence than the protagonists. As Philip Van Doren Stern explains, “[Machen] was sensitive to physical surroundings, so sensitive that his atmospheric backgrounds sometimes dwarf the human figures in his stories. This hardly matters, for his characters are not real people but symbolic representations of creatures in an eternal chase” (166).

16As a result, the landscapes, whether they be urban London or the rural British West—another ghost that recurs through most of the stories—are stylistically much more interesting than the characters. But even though their stylistic treatment is a lot more satisfactory, those landscapes do seem to be spectral repetitions of the same original landscape, just as the characters can be seen as the repetitions of stock figures. A selection of examples shows the similarity of treatment by the author by demonstrating his romantic vein as well as the fantastic dimension that he imparts to the visual images:

It was a dark and heavy night, the sky was thick with clouds, and the valley full of mist, and all the way they seemed to walk in a world of shadow and gloom, hardly speaking, and afraid to break the haunted silence. They came out at last on the steep hill-side, and instead of the oppression of the wood there was the long, dim sweep of the turf, and higher, the fantastic limestone rocks hinted horror through the darkness, and the wind sighed as it passed across the mountain to the sea, and in its passage beat chill about their hearts. (“The Shining Pyramid,” 56)

I looked down and saw the pure white mist tracking the outline of the river like a shroud, and a vague and shadowy country; imaginations and fantasy of swelling hills and hanging woods, and half-shaped outlines of hills beyond, and in the distance the glare of the furnace fire on the mountain, glowing by turns a pillar of shining flame and fading to a dull point of red. (“Novel of the Black Seal,” The Three Impostors, 143)

[…] the sky began to flush and shine, […] and in the gap between two dark masses that were houses an awful pageantry of flame appeared—lurid whorls of writhed cloud, and utter depths burning, grey masses like the fume blown from a smoking city, and an evil glory blazing far above shot with tongues of more ardent fire, and below as if there were a deep pool of blood. (“Novel of the White Powder,” The Three Impostors, 201) (My emphasis in all three quotations)

17However, the discrepancy between the treatment of plot and characters and the stylistic verve deployed in the description of landscapes and settings has often been pointed to as a weakness detrimental to the effects of horror. One can wonder if that lack of balance associated with an effect of recurrence that verges on excess might cause the reader to withdraw from the work, emotionally and intellectually speaking.

18Repetition may definitely have a positive value in terms of the reader’s reception insofar as it helps maintain what Terry Heller calls the aesthetic distance between the actual reader and the work. In his book The Delights of Terror, Heller uses critical concepts developed by Wolfgang Iser and Roman Ingarden to analyse the aesthetic distance as being that which separates the actual reader and the whole work. The smaller the distance is without ever disappearing, the better the reader’s involvement. This ideal ratio is of uttermost importance in literature of terror and horror because the reader should never feel threatened in reality but he should feel sufficiently involved emotionally (i.e. scared or horrified) to sustain his interest in the work.

19By making the process of repetition so apparent, Machen reinforces the status of the written text as artificial production and therefore keeps the aesthetic distance perceivable. The frequent use of the embedded structure is also a narrative technique which is part of the recurrence effect and which increases the aesthetic distance by moving the actual reader and the diegetic readers or listeners further away from the original plot. Heller notes that “aesthetic distance is extended when a frame interposes one or more personae between the implied reader and the work, requiring that the real reader construct not only an implied reader but also various tellers of and listeners to the story as well” (Introduction to The Delights of Terror). But many critics argue that we therefore run the risk of seeing a dilution of the original emotion and effect through the multiple layers established by the narrative.

20Another problem that arises with the process of repetition and recurrence is that of illusion and likeness. Repetition is meant to be an identical reproduction of some element, but none of the repetitions offered by Machen are exactly identical. The plots look alike but there are enough differing details to make them their own. Some characters bear the same name but they are different individuals. Even the use of repetition through recurrent embedded structures is dubious: the question of the reliability of the narrator is all the more important when hardly an event is a first-hand account or a direct description in Machen’s stories. Indeed, the parts of the plot are discovered through chance encounters, random confessions, found manuscripts which sometimes contain more accounts. Most of the dialogues are actually reconstructions told by one character to another, making the reader question the validity of those dialogues: the direct speech form used thus becomes highly dubious.

21Finally, what are we to make of the various accounts that we find in the collection of stories The Three Impostors, at the end of which we discover that most of the stories were lies told by three characters in order to find their prey? This prey haunts the whole collection, appearing and vanishing all through the fake stories, only referred to as “the young man with spectacles.” But as the reader understands at the end, none of those references reflects the true events and the young man with spectacles remains an elusive ghost, each of his appearances a lie until his real self is finally made present, tortured to death by his pursuers.

22If we consider that repetition is what makes the haunting quality of Machen’s stories, are we to conclude that the imperfect quality of the recurrences, in terms of similarity, dilutes the haunting effect? Is a ghost only scary because it is determined by its status of repetitive immutability, a perfectly identical recurrence of itself? Or can we consider that any repetition is essentially the creation of a difference because the same can only be an imperfect copy of the original self? Is not a ghost by definition the trace of an original being but never the exact same person, primarily because of the dichotomy between materiality and immateriality?

23My point here is that those questions, although highly relevant, may not actually matter for our present discussion. Even through their imperfection and flaws, the various elements of repetition and recurrence making the texts haunted and haunting bodies actually support the emergence of the one true ghost in Machen’s fiction: the past.

24The West, locus of history and magic, is filled with Roman ruins and artefacts, while the key objects of the various plots mostly come from time immemorial and bear the traces of a past that man has forgotten (for example, various stories involve the deciphering of a strange language written in unknown characters). Pieces of stone, a marking on a wall, an arrowhead, are imbued with the haunting permanence of the past which clings to and seeps into the present. Writing about the past, about the legends of Celtic lore and Roman myths, allows the author to develop the theme of evil as an ancestral force that lurks about everywhere.

25A. D. Douglas wrote that his stories “quiver with enigmatic gestures and a whisper of doubtful dread. They point toward something horrible outside the picture that never gets into the picture. They hint at nameless unremembered things which continue to be nameless and unremembered” (158). Just like some of his characters who scornfully reject ghost stories, Machen is not interested in your usual haunted houses and cheap thrills. His horror is more in tune with the psychological dimension that pervaded supernatural literature from the mid-nineteenth century. Yet the implications of that psychological dimension are more transcendental and go beyond the characters’ inner turmoil and dread.

26As J. T. Owens suggested, Pan and more generally the faun, a recurring figure in Machen’s stories, is the embodiment of transcendental evil. The introduction to the story “The White People” presents a discussion between two characters, one of whom explains to the other how our usual understanding of good and evil is based on a misconception because we fail to see the existence of primeval good and evil that have nothing to do with how we behave in our daily lives. Most of the horrific events that Machen’s characters go through are the result of their encounter with this transcendental evil. According to J. W. Krutch, there is only one theme in Machen: “the mystic vision”; and only one plot: “the rending of the veil” (259). Like Prometheus, characters who overstep their marks to see beyond the veil of our world are generally punished with pain and suffering. However, Machen’s stories cannot be read as cautionary tales. As much as he insists on the dangers of that lurking evil, there is no clear way to avoid it. When the little people abduct young girls and perform their awful rituals on them, there is nothing the protagonists can do to thwart them.

27The past can therefore be seen as a lingering ghost, a haunting force that cannot be exorcised and that needs to be acknowledged. As a fierce opponent to materialism and rationalism, Machen thought that his world was losing touch with its old mystical dimension. The past could then be read as the spiritual remnant of a dead era that our times are trying to cast off but which remains like a stubborn ghost.

- - - - -

28Speaking about the ghosts of ghost-less stories might seem like a paradoxical task, but Machen’s short stories undeniably have a haunting quality in spite of the absence of real ghosts. Characters are haunted by the horrific events they get to witness or are told about; places are haunted by evil and horror, and the reader is haunted by the stories themselves and by the impression of déjà-vu which lingers around the texts. The effect of repetition and recurrence that shapes and structures the bodies of the texts on the intradiegetic and extratextual levels shows the metafictionality of the stories, which leads me to conclude on one particular short story, “The White People.”

29The main narrative consists of the diary of a young girl who writes about her introduction to strange rituals evoking witchcraft. While the story uses the same devices Machen always uses (strong and evocative landscapes, Celtic folklore, the West countryside, the Sabbath, Roman ruins, etc.), the ingenuous narrative of the young girl offers us a much more direct and yet still cryptic description of the events. Indeed, T. E. D. Klein highlights the “stream-of-consciousness” style of the diary which “lends a spellbinding immediacy to the narrative.” For Klein, it does not “merely describe encounters with dark primeval forces inimical to man,” but it “seems an actual product of such an encounter, an authentic pagan artefact” (186). The text therefore gains a performative value and, in the context of my understanding of Machen’s stories as haunting and haunted bodies, actualises its own haunting quality.

30Nowhere are we nearer the first-hand experience of the ultimate mystery than when we read “The White People,” which is probably what made Lovecraft consider this short story “the subtlest, […] undoubtedly the greatest, even though it hasn’t the tangible, visible terrors of ‘The Great God Pan’ or ‘Novel of the White Powder’” (72). Indeed, we are faced with an interesting paradox: “The Great God Pan” and “Novel of the White Powder” show horrific processes of dissolution and degeneration through multiple layers of embedded narrative threads, offering a reported and yet very vivid graphic representation of the transformations. “The White People” uses a new and different perspective: the girl’s diary is the account of her first-hand experience, an unfiltered innocent report giving us the impression we can almost touch and see the strange creatures and events she writes about. And yet, they could not be more elusive, evading our grasp and comprehension when we are just on the verge of seizing them. With “The White People,” Machen might just have achieved the most perfect ghost-less ghost story.

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Primary sources

Machen, Arthur. “The Great God Pan.” The Great God Pan and The Hill of Dreams. Minneola, New York: Dover Publications, 2006. Print.

---. “The Inmost Light.” The Dyson Chronicles. Greenville, Ohio: Coachwhip Publications, 2014. Print.

---. “The Red Hand.” The Dyson Chronicles. Greenville, Ohio: Coachwhip Publications, 2014. Print.

---. “The Shining Pyramid.” The Dyson Chronicles. Greenville, Ohio: Coachwhip Publications, 2014. Print.

---. The Three Impostors. The Dyson Chronicles. Greenville, Ohio: Coachwhip Publications, 2014. Print.

---. “The White People.” Web. 16 August 2015.

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Douglas, A. Donald. Rev. of “The Shining Pyramid.” The New Republic 8 August 1923: 300. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism 20 (1996): 157-58. Print.

Duperray, Max. “En guise d’introduction du spectral.” Les Mystères de Mrs Radcliffe: nouveaux essais sur Les Mystères d’Udolphe (1794): The Mysteries of Udolpho revisited. Ed. Max Duperray. Aix-en-Provence: Publications de l’Université de Provence, 1999. 9-18. Print.

Fisher, Benjamin F., IV. “The Residual Gothic Impulse: 1824-1873.” Horror Literature: A Core Collection and Reference Guide. Ed. Marshall B. Tymn. 176-220. Rpt. in Supernatural Fiction in the Nineteenth Century, Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism 32 (1991): 208-15. Print.

Heller, Terry. The Delights of Terror. 2nd ed. 2002. Web. 13 July 2015.

Klein, Theodore Eibon Donald. “Arthur Machen: The House of Souls.” Horror: 100 Best Books. Eds. Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. 1988. 64-67. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism 20 (1996): 185-86. Print.

Krutch, J. W. “Tales of a Mystic.” The Nation 13 September 1922. 258-59. Print.

Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. Letter to Robert E. Howard. A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard: 1930-1932. Eds. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz and Rusty Burke. New York: Hippocampus Press, 2009. 72-73. Print.

Mantrant, Sophie. “A mourir de peur/rire: ‘The Great God Pan’ d’Arthur Machen (1894).” Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens 67 (2008): 291-304. Print.

Owens, Jill Tedford. “Arthur Machen’s Supernaturalism: The Decadent Variety.” The University of Mississippi Studies in English 8 (1990): 117-26. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism 20 (1996): 190-93. Print.

Van Doren Stern, Philip. Introduction. Tales of Horror and the Supernatural by Arthur Machen. Ed. Alfred A. Knopf. 1948. v-xvi. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism, 20 (1996): 163-67. Print.

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1 “I noticed a queer, heavy feeling about the air of the house […] it seemed to stop the breath […]. The room was full of horror; I felt my teeth grinding as I put my hand on the door, and when I went in I thought I should have fallen fainting to the floor” (“The Great God Pan,” 34).

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Deborah Bridle, « Haunted, you said?”: Arthur Machen’s Short Stories as Haunted and Haunting Places »Journal of the Short Story in English [En ligne], 70 | Spring 2018, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2020, consulté le 05 mars 2024. URL :

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Deborah Bridle

Deborah Bridle currently teaches English at the Université Côte d’Azur in France while continuing her research work in literature. Her research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century fiction dealing with the fantastic–from weird fiction and supernatural horror to fairy tales. She is currently working on authors like Lewis Carroll, Arthur Machen, H.P. Lovecraft, Thomas Ligotti.

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