Weird Fiction

Weird fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction written in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Weird tales predate the genre distinction between horror and fantasy and often blend the supernatural, mythical, and even scientific. The pulp magazine Weird Tales published many such stories in the United States from March 1923 to September 1954. Popular weird fiction writers included H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, and M. R. James.

H. P. Lovecraft adopted the term from Sheridan Le Fanu and popularized it in his essays. In Supernatural Horror in Literature, Lovecraft defines the genre:

The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain--a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space.

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