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Willows (version 2)

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By: (1869-1951)

"The Willows" is one of Algernon Blackwood's best known creepy stories. American horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature. He wrote in his treatise "Supernatural Horror in Literature", "Here art and restraint in narrative reach their very highest development, and an impression of lasting poignancy is produced without a single strained passage or a single false note." "The Willows" is an example of early modern horror and is connected within the literary tradition of weird fiction.

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THE WILLOWS

Algernon Blackwood (1907)

I

After leaving Vienna, and long before you come to Budapest, the Danube enters a region of singular loneliness and desolation, where its waters spread away on all sides regardless of a main channel, and the country becomes a swamp for miles upon miles, covered by a vast sea of low willow bushes. On the big maps this deserted area is painted in a fluffy blue, growing fainter in color as it leaves the banks, and across it may be seen in large straggling letters the word Sumpfe, meaning marshes.

In high flood this great acreage of sand, shingle beds, and willow grown islands is almost topped by the water, but in normal seasons the bushes bend and rustle in the free winds, showing their silver leaves to the sunshine in an ever moving plain of bewildering beauty. These willows never attain to the dignity of trees; they have no rigid trunks; they remain humble bushes, with rounded tops and soft outline, swaying on slender stems that answer to the least pressure of the wind; supple as grasses, and so continually shifting that they somehow give the impression that the entire plain is moving and alive... Continue reading book >>


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