Weird Tales

Illustrated by Harry Campbell

Selected and introduced by Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda chooses the best Weird Tales ever written for this exclusive new collection from The Folio Society. Cthulhu and his ilk are summoned to the page by artist Harry Campbell. 

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‘Read it and shudder.’
  1. Michael Dirda, from his introduction

Existing somewhere in the chilly territory between ghost stories and tales of horror, weird fiction is the exploration of the truly uncanny; these stories poke holes in the fabric of our everyday reality, revealing glimpses of a strange and unknowable universe. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Michael Dirda has long held a passion for the genre, and the twelve mind-shattering tales he has selected for this collection contain both genre-defining masterpieces and modern classics.

M. R. James, Shirley Jackson, Robert Aickman, Algernon Blackwood and Mark Samuels are just some of the writers waiting to induct the reader into a world of creeping horror. In his lively introduction, Dirda warns that the reader ‘will encounter revenants, demons, monsters and otherworldly entities, as well as black magic, unholy rites, prophetic dreams and accursed books’, before explaining why each of these tales is an unmissable example of the ‘strange and uncanny’. Artist Harry Campbell has created seven deeply unsettling illustrations for this edition, including a spectacular double-page spread that will delight fans of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror, and a pair of illustrated endpapers that hint at the delicious chills contained within.

Three-quarter bound in blocked cloth with a printed and blocked paper front board

Set in Vendetta with Bordonaro as display

360 pages

7 full-page duotone integrated illustrations, including 1 double-page spread, printed in black and green.

Printed endpapers illustrated by the artist

Plain slipcase

Printed in Italy

9 ½˝ x 6 ¼˝

‘Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood.’
  1. H. P. Lovecraft

Spare, elegant and stylised, Harry Campbell’s illustrations nod to the traditional woodcut images of ghost story collections of old, whilst remaining seductively fresh and compelling. In black and green and white, Campbell expertly uses shadows, architecture and eerie flowing shapes to introduce the ambiguity that is the pulsing heart of these stories. In these images, a dark shape follows a man aboard a ship, and light shines off a scaly tentacle as it bursts from a human chest – the laws of nature fall away to reveal the chaos beyond. Playing with the symbolism of the uncanny, the striking binding design features a staring magenta eye and a clutch of unsettling objects. Skulls, keys, spiders and a scurrying black cat warn that this book contains a menagerie of terrors. Featuring both celebrated classics like ‘The Call of Cthulhu’ and lesser-known terrifying treats such as ‘The Little Room’ by Madeline Yale Wynne, Weird Tales is an unmissable celebration of the fiction that reminds us of our insignificance in the face of a vast universe, presented in an edition that could grace any haunted library.

Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter
Sheridan Le Fanu
Amour Dure
Vernon Lee
The Little Room
Madeline Yale Wynne
Novel of the Black Seal
Arthur Machen
The Willows
Algernon Blackwood
Casting the Runes
M. R. James

The Hall Bedroom
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
The Call of Cthulhu
H. P. Lovecraft
The Daemon Lover
Shirley Jackson
Karl Edward Wagner
The Hospice
Robert Aickman
The White Hands
Mark Samuels 

About Michael Dirda 

Michael Dirda is a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary journalist, a weekly books columnist for the Washington Post, and the author of five collections of essays: Readings (2000), Bound to Please (2005), Book by Book (2006), Classics for Pleasure (2007) and Browsings (2015). He has also written the memoir An Open Book (2003) and On Conan Doyle (2012), which received an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. His introductions for The Folio Society include The Great Gatsby (2013), Dune (2016), East of Eden (2017), Atlas Shrugged (2018) and Cat’s Cradle (2022).

About Harry Campbell

Harry Campbell is an artist from Baltimore who studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art and worked in New York for several years, as a designer for Warner Bros and Nickelodeon, before becoming a full-time illustrator. His work has been commissioned by science and tech companies as well as major newspapers and magazines, including Time, the New Yorker, the New York Times and Scientific American.


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