The Evolution of the Weird Tale
S. T. Joshi is one of the premier critics of supernatural fiction. His pioneering research on H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, Ambrose Bierce, and other writers has set a standard of scholarship that few have equaled. In The Evolution of the Weird Tale--an informal follow-up to his earlier studies, The Weird Tale (1990) and The Modern Weird Tale (2001)--Joshi assesses a wide array of American and British supernatural writers of the past century or more, meticulously scrutinizing their weird work and gauging their place in the canon of horror fiction.
Such American writers from the late 19th and early 20th centuries as W. C. Morrow, F. Marion Crawford, Robert W. Chambers, and Edward Lucas White come under scrutiny, as well as their British counterparts E. F. Benson, Rudyard Kipling, and L. P. Hartley. Joshi includes substantial essays on Lovecraft and his disciples Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, and Frank Belknap Long.
In a provocative section on contemporary writers, Joshi dissects the vampire novels of Les Daniels, the short stories of "Twilight Zone" creator Rod Serling, David J. Schow and the school of splatterpunk, and the novels and tales of Poppy Z. Brite. All in all, Joshi has provided some of the most in-depth analyses of both classic and modern weird writers ever written.