Author(s): Arthur Machen
Machen's weird tales of the creepy and fantastic finally come to Penguin Classics. With an introduction from S.T. Joshi, editor of "American Supernatural Tales", "The White People" and "Other Weird Stories" is the perfect introduction to the father of weird fiction. The title story "The White People" is an exercise in the bizarre leaving the reader disoriented and on edge. From the first page, Machen turns even fundamental truths upside-down, as his character Ambrose explains, "there have been those who have sounded the very depths of sin, who all their lives have never done an 'ill deed'", setting the stage for a tale entirely without logic.
Arthur Machen (Arthur Llewelyn Jones), a Welsh author of supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction, was born on March 3, 1863. He grew up in Caerleon, Monmouthshire, and attended boarding school at Hereford Cathedral School. He moved to London in 1881 and worked as a journalist, children's tutor, and publisher's clerk, finding time to write at night. By 1894, Machen had his first major success. The Great God Pan was published by John Lane, and despite widespread criticism for its sexual and horrific content, it sold well and went into a second edition. In the 1920s Machen's work became immensely popular in the United States, but Machen experienced increasing poverty; he was saved in 1931 by receiving a Civil List pension from the British government. Arthur Machen died on March 30, 1947.