Supernatural Literature of the World
An Encyclopedia
by S. T. Joshi, ed., Stefan Dziemianowicz
September 2005, 1556pp, 7x10
3 volumes, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-0-313-32774-2
$321, £247, 280€, A440
eBook Available: 978-0-313-06057-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

The most exhaustive work of its kind, this encyclopedia provides entries on authors, works, and a wide range of topics related to supernatural literature from around the world.

Read widely and studied at all levels, supernatural literature is one of the most significant and enduring types of writing. Comprehensive in scope, this encyclopedia provides thorough coverage of literature of the supernatural. The most exhaustive work of its kind, it includes entries on authors, works, and numerous topics, including alien abduction, drama, ghouls, and Latin literature. Entries draw on current scholarship, with special attention to recent writers.

The literature of the supernatural has had a distinguished history over the past two centuries, while the incorporation of the supernatural in literary works can be traced back as far as classical antiquity. Such prominent writers as Edith Wharton and Henry James made use of the supernatural in their writings, and numerous contemporary writers continue to do so. Supernatural literature is widely enjoyed by high school students and general readers, and scholars are devoting more and more attention to it. This encyclopedia provides thorough coverage of the literature of the supernatural.

The most exhaustive work of its kind, it covers authors and works from the ancient world to the present. Two of the world’s foremost authorities on supernatural literature have coordinated a team of internationally recognized contributors, including: Mike Ashley, Benjamin F. Fisher, Paula Guran, Stephen Jones, Darrell Schweitzer, and Brian Stableford.
While other references chiefly offer biographical and critical information, this encyclopedia also provides entries on numerous special topics, including: Alien Abduction, Curses, Dreams and Nightmares, Fantasy Tales, Feminism, Hinduism, Islam, Munsey Magazines, Occultism, Southern Gothic, Urban Legends, Voodoo, Werewolves, and many more.
The set includes roughly 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries and presents the work of some 70 contributors. It provides entries on such major canonical writers as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde, while also devoting attention to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, R. L. Stine, and other popular contemporary writers. Entries also include special topics and cultural traditions in the genre. Entries cite works for further reading, and the encyclopedia closes with a selected, general bibliography of major works on supernatural literature.
Supernatural literature figures prominently in the curriculum, and students are often interested in reading such works on their own. This encyclopedia is an essential tool for student research on supernatural literature and world literary traditions, and is equally valuable for teachers planning related courses. Both school and public libraries need this work to support the interests of general readers.


International Horror Guild Award for Works in 2005 Booklist Editors' Choice 2006, January 1, 2005


"This expansive multivolume encyclopedia brims with over 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries. Canonical writers like Poe and contemporary writers like King are equally represented. Unlike E. F. Bleiler's biographically based Supernatural Fiction Writers (CH, Jul'03, 40-6151), this set also contains entries on seminal works, fictional elements, and subgenres. All entries are descriptive and analytic, and many conclude with a bibliography of critical works. Researchers will find the indexes to fictional characters and motifs particularly valuable....[a] welcome addition to libraries collecting or supporting research in this genre. Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty."—Choice, May 1, 2006

"[T]o be recommended as a scholarly and well-produced source of all kinds of information about its subject."—Reference Reviews, September 1, 2006

"[I]ts scope and quality make it the single most important reference work on its subject to date. Enthusiastically recommended for all but the smallest public and academic libraries."—Reference & User Services Quarterly, June 1, 2006

"This set would be useful in settings where the supernatural is often researched. The entries on motifs contain descriptions of titles that employ that motif. This could assist students who are looking for works with a particular theme."—Library Media Connection, September 1, 2006

"From alien abductions to vampires and zombies, the use of particular motifs is traced. The influence of religion on the supernatural elements of fiction is also explored. All told, some 973 topics are covered. While many illustrations depict film adaptations, the focus here is on writing. Discussion of horror film and television is excluded. Although the editors wrote the majority of the entries, the 66 well-published contributors include Mike Ashley, Brian Stableford, Stephen Jones and Everett F. Bleiler. Many entries include extensive bibliographies. An index of fictional characters allows readers to identify favorite figures from Diedrich Knickerbocker to John the Balladeer. Additional indexes include motifs, authors, book titles and general subjects. This detailed guide should prove popular in both public and academic libraries."—Lawrence Looks at Books, November 1, 2005

"This reference covers authors and works from the ancient world to the present. The encyclopedia features nearly 1,000 alphabetically arranged entries including such major canonical writers as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde, along with popular contemporary authors like Chelsea Quinn Yarbro and R.L. Stine."—Library Media Connection, December 1, 2005

"[R]unning the gamut from film to fiction to theme entries to authors, and many entries are appealingly outfitted with illustrations or excerpts....[t]his reference work may be indispensable."—Fantasy & Science Fiction, January 1, 2006

"Extensive and ambitious, this encyclopedia has nearly 1,000 entries packed into it and ranges through the work of about 600 writers, editors, publishers, critics, and magazines. Defining supernatural literature as literature that is avowedly postulated to have expanded, refuted, or contravened the laws of nature as currently understood, the editors have drawn from the ranks of writers of science fiction, fantasy, psychological suspense, and other genres. In addition to covering supernatural elements in the works of canonical writers like Dickens and Shakespeare, they include modern authors like Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan. There are writers from about 20 countries and from various time periods up to the present....The work is enthusiastically recommended for academic and large public libraries; since supernatural literature is popular with teens, high-school libraries might consider it, too."—Booklist, Starred Review, February 15, 2006
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