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THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic): Dark Fantasy Adventure

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This carefully crafted ebook: "THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. A discussion between two men on the nature of evil leads one of them to reveal a mysterious Green Book he possesses. It is a young girl's diary, in which she describes in ingenuous, evocative prose her strange impre This carefully crafted ebook: "THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. A discussion between two men on the nature of evil leads one of them to reveal a mysterious Green Book he possesses. It is a young girl's diary, in which she describes in ingenuous, evocative prose her strange impressions of the countryside in which she lives as well as conversations with her nurse, who initiates her into a secret world of folklore and ritual magic. Arthur Machen (1863-1947) was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction.


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This carefully crafted ebook: "THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. A discussion between two men on the nature of evil leads one of them to reveal a mysterious Green Book he possesses. It is a young girl's diary, in which she describes in ingenuous, evocative prose her strange impre This carefully crafted ebook: "THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. A discussion between two men on the nature of evil leads one of them to reveal a mysterious Green Book he possesses. It is a young girl's diary, in which she describes in ingenuous, evocative prose her strange impressions of the countryside in which she lives as well as conversations with her nurse, who initiates her into a secret world of folklore and ritual magic. Arthur Machen (1863-1947) was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction.

30 review for THE WHITE PEOPLE (Occult & Supernatural Classic): Dark Fantasy Adventure

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    3.25 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: My recent read of T. Kingfisher's 2019 horror novel The Twisted Ones, which is by way of a sequel (set many years later) to Arthur Machen's 1904 novelette “The White People,” led me to seek out this classic horror work (which is free online here at Project Gutenberg). Cotgrave's friend has taken him to visit a recluse named Ambrose, who has unusual views on the nature of sin. Real evil, Ambrose argues, is when men improperly or in an unnatura 3.25 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: My recent read of T. Kingfisher's 2019 horror novel The Twisted Ones, which is by way of a sequel (set many years later) to Arthur Machen's 1904 novelette “The White People,” led me to seek out this classic horror work (which is free online here at Project Gutenberg). Cotgrave's friend has taken him to visit a recluse named Ambrose, who has unusual views on the nature of sin. Real evil, Ambrose argues, is when men improperly or in an unnatural way try “to gain the ecstasy and the knowledge that pertain alone to angels”. As proof, Ambrose loans to Cotgrave an old green book containing the diary of a young girl, raised primarily by her nurse, who over the years initiates the girl into occult secrets, and even an eerie hidden supernatural world. The bulk of “The White People” consists of the girl’s diary, and it’s rough sledding: an extremely long, disjointed and breathless tale told in stream-of-consciousness fashion, with almost no paragraph breaks. (I can’t tell you how much I missed having those paragraph breaks.) Her experiences are partly Lovecraftian, partly Arabian Nights-type stories told by her nurse, and partly terrors of Machen’s own creation, like the strange and beautiful bone-white people the girl sees and the terrible field of rocks that she wanders into:I went on into the dreadful rocks. There were hundreds and hundreds of them. Some were like horrid-grinning men; I could see their faces as if they would jump at me out of the stone, and catch hold of me, and drag me with them back into the rock, so that I should always be there. … I went on among them, though they frightened me, and my heart was full of wicked songs that they put into it; and I wanted to make faces and twist myself about in the way they did, and I went on and on a long way till at last I liked the rocks, and they didn’t frighten me any more. I sang the songs I thought of; songs full of words that must not be spoken or written down. Then I made faces like the faces on the rocks, and I twisted myself about like the twisted ones, and I lay down flat on the ground like the dead ones … H.P. Lovecraft considered “The White People” a story of “enormous power” and a source of inspiration, and scholars consider it a classic in the horror genre. Personally, most of the real horror passed me by, as I got lost in the hallucinogenic maze of the girl's diary. But this story certainly has its moments, and I can see how a deeper study would very likely yield a greater appreciation of its merits. In any case, reading this novelette did make The Twisted Ones much more meaningful to me, and vice versa. If you read either one, I definitely recommend reading the other as well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    mark monday

    Curious Younger Fellow: "Tell me, what is True Evil?" His Esteemed Elder, A Worldly Raconteur: "True Evil is the striving towards a higher place - but choosing a different path to get there; it is the attempt to ascend to Godhood without being godly. A true sinner may have committed no sin but in his striving; a man may murder but not be a true sinner. Stones may blossom stone flowers, flowers may sing strange songs to you, your furniture may rearrange itself on its own accord; all of these are h Curious Younger Fellow: "Tell me, what is True Evil?" His Esteemed Elder, A Worldly Raconteur: "True Evil is the striving towards a higher place - but choosing a different path to get there; it is the attempt to ascend to Godhood without being godly. A true sinner may have committed no sin but in his striving; a man may murder but not be a true sinner. Stones may blossom stone flowers, flowers may sing strange songs to you, your furniture may rearrange itself on its own accord; all of these are hallmarks of True Evil." Curious Fellow: "I fear I do not understand what you are saying, but must confess my utter fascination with how you are saying it!" Worldly Raconteur: "Ah I see that you may already be on that path which I have described. Here, have some more wine, borrow this old diary which I'm sure you'll find quite interesting. There are many things I'd eventually like to show you." This is my diary my diary of my life my life as a young woman left all on her lonesome by her very busy parents, no one to guide me other than my old nurse, my old nurse with all of her stories and her secrets and her strange wonderful phrases, we said them together, we made that lovely clay doll together and we buried it behind that hedge, my sweet old nurse oh what she showed me oh the stories she told me such odd lovely stories about strange places and strange pits and strange lovely white people, oh so white, they live in the forest and the rivers and under the hill, they will show me the signs they will show me the way they will show me the path ... I explored the forest I found the hill I crawled up the hill; oh look the stones! they are in circles! if I gaze upon them long enough I see their design! they are showing me their pattern, their dance! They they they oh oh oh... and now I am back in my bed, fearful and excited and thinking of all the lovely old stories told to me by lovely old nurse, I am chanting the lovely old phrases she taught me, I quiver under my blankets, oh the lovely fear, oh how I tremble with it... I come back to the hill, to the stones and their faces, their funny faces, angry and happy and expecting me; they surround me, the stones are around me, the pattern the pattern, I am a part of this strange wonderful pattern oh! I dance to their lovely pattern oh! I call to them the lovely white people oh! they come to me oh! they come...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    If you start reading this are all like, "WTF, Miriam, why did you recommend this boring pseudo-philosophical masturbation?" persevere till you get to the nested "Green Book" narrative. Then you can just tell me I'm weird. Or, alternatively, just skip the frame narrative. I didn't quite how they worked together, anyway. Maybe Ambrose belongs to some longer work I haven't read. I'm glad I went ahead and read this despite not very much liking Machen's The Great God Pan. Thanks for the rec, long dead If you start reading this are all like, "WTF, Miriam, why did you recommend this boring pseudo-philosophical masturbation?" persevere till you get to the nested "Green Book" narrative. Then you can just tell me I'm weird. Or, alternatively, just skip the frame narrative. I didn't quite how they worked together, anyway. Maybe Ambrose belongs to some longer work I haven't read. I'm glad I went ahead and read this despite not very much liking Machen's The Great God Pan. Thanks for the rec, long dead author! Less famous and less complex in plot than The Great God Pan, but definitely finer in atmosphere and general artistic value. --HP Lovecraft

  4. 5 out of 5

    John

    If I only knew then... Story – 3.0 Stars The White People by Arthur Machen may have been something else 110 years ago but, then again, so were airplanes. The only reason I’m happy I listened to this story is that it’s over with. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by stronger stuff but I see no reason why this story is referred to as something to be referred to! Recommendation – if I only knew then what I know now…

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paquita Maria Sanchez

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  6. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Jose

    The influences this story has had on weird literature and horror in general are very visible, from Lovecraft's 'Necronomicon' to 'Navidson records' in House of Leaves and most probably 'Pan's Labyrinth'. And even to a seasoned reader, Machen's delightful narrative in its misdirections still offers a reading experience that yearns for more. In structure, The White People, essentially, is a discussion on the nature of evil; with an atmospheric meta narrative suggestive of illusions, witchcraft and The influences this story has had on weird literature and horror in general are very visible, from Lovecraft's 'Necronomicon' to 'Navidson records' in House of Leaves and most probably 'Pan's Labyrinth'. And even to a seasoned reader, Machen's delightful narrative in its misdirections still offers a reading experience that yearns for more. In structure, The White People, essentially, is a discussion on the nature of evil; with an atmospheric meta narrative suggestive of illusions, witchcraft and occultism. The discussion sounds esoteric in content and is presented in third person; and the Green Book that forms the main narrative is presented as the 'Hobson-Jobson' for understanding this colloquy. After a walkthrough in first person, the green pocket book opens as the diary entry of a little girl. From there on, the manuscript provides a hallucinatory reality as strange as David Lindsay's 'Arcturus'. Probably Murakami< might have modelled his 1Q84 Fuka-Eri on her, with scaled down versions of little people to make Air Chrysalis. Well, it’s a stretch, and I am tempted to propose or accuse in my excitement of finding an alleged mother source. There is plenty of unreliability in her narration, weird scholarship on folk cultures, strangeness and contradictions; and it doesn't have an ending, or rather ends abruptly. The main narrative in itself teases a sequel, and then proceeds to be Gaben and Half-life 3. Along with the strange vivid imagery, a lot of questions will also haunt readers after the read. How reliable of a source is the Green Book? Did this 'White Helen' succeed where 'Pan Helen' had failed, in completely bridging the gap between our reality and the dimension our senses are handicapped to perceive? Or was she just a delusional 'Calvin' and had created her own white 'Hobbes' in her search for companionship based on nurse's storylines? Or were they either completely insane or even completely sane? Machen's writing requires a reading with the social time period in consideration, for its easy to find his anxiety on the new Victorian women as something sexist in today's view. After all, the evil might seem to have been portrayed as intrinsic to women who break off the social notions while men seem to be normal anxious overseers. I think the prologue-epilogue discourse tries to draw a line there, mostly in opposition to what might be interpreted prima facie. The excitement of discovering a less cosmic Lovecraft in Machen is forcing me to consider a single shared universe for this and other de-hyphenated stories. I am badly inclined to consider connect the White People with the missing years of Helen in The Great God Pan. I would even interpret the water reflection scene as Pan projecting himself to our dimension. Or even connect these Helens to the White Powder one. But, that’s just me :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amy Sturgis

    I reread this work, originally written in the 1890s and published in 1904, in preparation for teaching my course on H.P. Lovecraft. In Supernatural Horror in Literature, Lovecraft writes that "Machen's narrative, a triumph of skilful selectiveness and restraint, accumulates enormous power as it flows on in a stream of innocent childish prattle." It is a fascinating story. Two men discuss the nature of evil and then consider the diary of a (now dead by her own hand) young girl, which contains her I reread this work, originally written in the 1890s and published in 1904, in preparation for teaching my course on H.P. Lovecraft. In Supernatural Horror in Literature, Lovecraft writes that "Machen's narrative, a triumph of skilful selectiveness and restraint, accumulates enormous power as it flows on in a stream of innocent childish prattle." It is a fascinating story. Two men discuss the nature of evil and then consider the diary of a (now dead by her own hand) young girl, which contains her accounts of the countryside, her nurse, and the secret world of folklore, witchcraft, and ritual magic that the nurse opens up to her. The diary ends before fully articulating its final revelation, but there's enough described to be quite suggestive. The story is particularly interesting to me in light of how it influenced Lovecraft. For example, there's the fictional document - in this case, the Green Book, the girl's diary - that provides an evocative yet unreliable glimpse into the mystical other world, not unlike Lovecraft's use of Wilbur Whateley's diary in "The Dunwich Horror" - and, of course, his famed Necronomicon. Machen also incorporates invented words and names in this tale, some of which later appeared in other authors' stories. Lovecraft used "Aklo" in connection with the "Sabaoth" invocation, for instance (also in "The Dunwich Horror"). Short and haunting, "The White People" is certainly worthy reading for anyone interested in the Gothic, the Weird, and/or dark fantasy or science fiction.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andrew “The Weirdling” Glos

    There’s not much to add to what others have written about Machen and this story of his. It’s a classic and progenitor to the Weird Fiction of the early 20th Century. Folks like Lovecraft and Blackwood would never have been able to do what they did without him and his work. The White People is bookended by two friends having a conversation about what really is good and evil, saints and sinners. The main body is a reading of a lost but found “green book” detailing the other side what lives in the There’s not much to add to what others have written about Machen and this story of his. It’s a classic and progenitor to the Weird Fiction of the early 20th Century. Folks like Lovecraft and Blackwood would never have been able to do what they did without him and his work. The White People is bookended by two friends having a conversation about what really is good and evil, saints and sinners. The main body is a reading of a lost but found “green book” detailing the other side what lives in the woods. (Think Necronomicon and Book of Eibion.) This part has a rambling sort of quality which will he hard for some readers. However, it is clearly intentional. It makes the work sound like the writings of a young girl trying to write what she remembers from her nurse. But it artfully avoids certain features until later, allowing tension to build. Like all great Weird Fiction, it allows you to peak behind the veil of this world and see what’s behind all things. What you see isn’t very friendly nor too comforting.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Latasha

    ok, here we go. I listened to the Librivox recording of this story. I'm glad I did. if I had read this I doubt I would've made it past the 1st part. the recording is broke up into 3 parts. the first part Ambrose & buddy are talking about sin. I felt like that whole section was nothing but him repeating everything over & over and it was very heavy, not idea to listen to while you work!;) the 2nd part is the stories. I enjoyed this part very much. then the last part was Ambrose & buddy talking abo ok, here we go. I listened to the Librivox recording of this story. I'm glad I did. if I had read this I doubt I would've made it past the 1st part. the recording is broke up into 3 parts. the first part Ambrose & buddy are talking about sin. I felt like that whole section was nothing but him repeating everything over & over and it was very heavy, not idea to listen to while you work!;) the 2nd part is the stories. I enjoyed this part very much. then the last part was Ambrose & buddy talking about the book and just the wrapping up of the story. I felt like the 1st section of the story and the 2nd one was completely different books. overall, it was ok. I would recommend listening to the audio version (just search for it on iTunes or Librivox.org) and skip the 1st & 3rd part.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marko Vasić

    Dazzling, psychedelic novel about surreal world placed in an Celtic sanctuary.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Crowinator

    I actually read this as a part of this book-- The White People and Other Weird Stories -- but I'm not sure if I'll read the other stories within, so I'm stopping with this one for now. I picked up this dense, surreal, pseudo-philosophical (?) horror tale after reading The Twisted Ones, and I'm even more impressed how T. Kingfisher used Machen's story as the basis for her creepy folkloric horror novel. The story itself is full of disturbing images and even more disturbing implications, but it's d I actually read this as a part of this book-- The White People and Other Weird Stories -- but I'm not sure if I'll read the other stories within, so I'm stopping with this one for now. I picked up this dense, surreal, pseudo-philosophical (?) horror tale after reading The Twisted Ones, and I'm even more impressed how T. Kingfisher used Machen's story as the basis for her creepy folkloric horror novel. The story itself is full of disturbing images and even more disturbing implications, but it's difficult to parse, especially reading on the train to and from work. I should have read it at night in bed by the light of a single candle, only I'm pretty sure I would have fallen asleep from all of the run-on sentences and lack of paragraph breaks. I've been listening obsessively to The Magnus Archives podcast however, and I found that when I imagined hearing the Green Book portion of this story in the style of one of their statements, especially like Jane Prentiss' story in Episode 32,"The Hive", I was able to get into it more. A shortened version of this would have made a fabulous episode.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim Smith

    Among Arthur Machen's few, yet indispensable and highly rereadable, acknowledged major works of dark fiction along with The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors and (on the fringes of genre) The Hill of Dreams. The White People is his most subtle of these and sees him revisiting the abstract attempts at narrative he essayed with his classic The Great God Pan. A young girl toys with magic and delights in her darkling activities, but the real purpose of the very thin narrative is for Machen to evoke Among Arthur Machen's few, yet indispensable and highly rereadable, acknowledged major works of dark fiction along with The Great God Pan, The Three Impostors and (on the fringes of genre) The Hill of Dreams. The White People is his most subtle of these and sees him revisiting the abstract attempts at narrative he essayed with his classic The Great God Pan. A young girl toys with magic and delights in her darkling activities, but the real purpose of the very thin narrative is for Machen to evoke in vivid prose poetry irruptions of awe and terror he had been trying to evoke throughout his essential decade of the 1890s.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yórgos St.

    "Machen writes of a strange borderland, lying somewhere between Dreams and Death, peopled with shades, beings, spirits, ghosts, men, women, souls." "Machen writes of a strange borderland, lying somewhere between Dreams and Death, peopled with shades, beings, spirits, ghosts, men, women, souls."

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Arthur Machens the White People allows us a peek into an otherworld that at once revolts and captivates. The greater part of the story is told from the perspective of a young girl as she records her exploration of a forbidden landscape. She has come into esoteric knowledge that allows her to enter into an enchanted dimension that is both full of wonder and dread. The world that she traverses as it is described so simply and powerfully by Machen held me spellbound, and stayed with me long after I Arthur Machens the White People allows us a peek into an otherworld that at once revolts and captivates. The greater part of the story is told from the perspective of a young girl as she records her exploration of a forbidden landscape. She has come into esoteric knowledge that allows her to enter into an enchanted dimension that is both full of wonder and dread. The world that she traverses as it is described so simply and powerfully by Machen held me spellbound, and stayed with me long after I had finished. Many people will read into his landscape and attach Freudian meanings, but I dismiss such fantasies, they are less real then the ancient folklores that fired Machens imagination. I also grew up in a countryside that is ancient and littered with grotesque and beautiful rock formations. As a child I remember the spiritual thrill of exploring sites that were instilled with a sacred atmosphere. This feeling could have been born from my own imagination but perhaps it was also an intuitive knowledge that there is more to the ancient places of this earth then just the beauty of rock and vegetation worn and grown in strange forms. I still feel a sense of foreboding when I approach certain places of significance in the Australian bush. The landscape of the White People however is not a place that I would dare enter. It is not sacred it is profane, and yet still provokes wonder. Arthur Machen puts forward the idea that true evil is not just going against the moral law as laid down in sacred scriptures, he puts forward the idea that real evil is when one manages to turn what is natural inside out, to do magic that defiles the natural way of things, that undoes part of Gods creation. The seemingly innocent girl gains access to another spiritual plane through forbidden means, although her actions may appear harmless and what she finds may seem quite alluring to many in this day and age, were the occult has captured peoples imagination. None the less Machen shows it for what it really is; a great evil. In many ways this goes along with the Bible whereby occultism is one of many kinds of actions or mental processes that separates a person from God, and thus considered a sin, Machens characters however takes it one step further in describing it as the greatest form of evil. Well from my point of view there is no doubt that her actions were an abomination. Finally a note on the White People; They are fairy like beings that are rarely mentioned and are not to be viewed with the present day debased idea of fairies being small people with wings and magic wands. They are so much of the ‘other’ that it is easy to see why some people in the old days referred to their kind as ‘the strangers.’

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ariel

    This book has been seen as a foundation piece for supernatural literature, which makes me a tad upset I didn't like it more. It lacked any real incline to its plot and when the big moment of what was suppose to be the climax came I felt like the firecracker fizzled and never went off. I did enjoy the folklore aspect to the piece and overall didn't mind spending the time to read it. Basically it's just one big shrug. This book has been seen as a foundation piece for supernatural literature, which makes me a tad upset I didn't like it more. It lacked any real incline to its plot and when the big moment of what was suppose to be the climax came I felt like the firecracker fizzled and never went off. I did enjoy the folklore aspect to the piece and overall didn't mind spending the time to read it. Basically it's just one big shrug.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Machen's classic story is almost unique in the weird fiction canon, pre-empting modernist techniques and chronicling a hallucinatory travelogue through parts strange and fearful. The whole story is full of a dreamlike unease, and evokes in the reader an almost indescribable mixture of dread and wonder. It thoroughly deserves to be read by everyone, irrespective of their relationship to the horror genre. Machen's classic story is almost unique in the weird fiction canon, pre-empting modernist techniques and chronicling a hallucinatory travelogue through parts strange and fearful. The whole story is full of a dreamlike unease, and evokes in the reader an almost indescribable mixture of dread and wonder. It thoroughly deserves to be read by everyone, irrespective of their relationship to the horror genre.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Shabbeer Hassan

    There are books which show you the supernatural with grotesque images/depictions and then there are ones which hint at them, tease it endlessly, before giving the readers a small glimpse to the myriad fantasy world of supernatural. Arthur Machen has succeeded quite succinctly in the second, which is quite remarkable for its era. My Rating - 3.5/5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Keith Rondinelli

    One of the most beautiful and terrifying stories in the English language, in my opinion. Hallucinatory and dreamlike, and shot through with both a yearning for and terror of darker, more superstitious ages. I can't think of anything to compare it to. One of the most beautiful and terrifying stories in the English language, in my opinion. Hallucinatory and dreamlike, and shot through with both a yearning for and terror of darker, more superstitious ages. I can't think of anything to compare it to.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    This was so well-written I was literally on the brink of tears at times, and it's also a pretty horrifying tale when it wants to be. This was so well-written I was literally on the brink of tears at times, and it's also a pretty horrifying tale when it wants to be.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emmett

    Ummm... okay. I read this due to the connection it has with The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher, but if I hadn't already read that one- not sure I still would have enjoyed this. (Glad I read it though!) Ummm... okay. I read this due to the connection it has with The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher, but if I hadn't already read that one- not sure I still would have enjoyed this. (Glad I read it though!)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lilaia Moreli

    Arthur Machen's The White People had been on my reading list for a long time. The story starts as a singular, philosophical study on the nature of good and evil and evolves into a chillingly delightful tale brimming with dark, paganistic rituals, weird occurrences and sorcery only to break off abruptly on the cusp of some kind of supreme revelation. The beginning of The White People offers to the reader an intriguing intake on the topic of saints and sinners. Cotgrave and Ambrose discuss the natu Arthur Machen's The White People had been on my reading list for a long time. The story starts as a singular, philosophical study on the nature of good and evil and evolves into a chillingly delightful tale brimming with dark, paganistic rituals, weird occurrences and sorcery only to break off abruptly on the cusp of some kind of supreme revelation. The beginning of The White People offers to the reader an intriguing intake on the topic of saints and sinners. Cotgrave and Ambrose discuss the nature of sin. According to the second, ''So you see that while the good and the evil are unnatural to man as he now is—to man the social, civilized being—evil is unnatural in a much deeper sense than good. The saint endeavours to recover a gift which he has lost; the sinner tries to obtain something which he was never his. In brief, he repeats the Fall.'' To better illustrate his point and make his companion understand, Ambrose gives Cotgrave to read The Green Book, a pocket book written by a 16-year-old girl he once knew. The girl, whose mother is dead and whose father leaves her on her own to take care of the affairs of his profession, is raised by her nurse who dedicates most of her time in initiating her into a queer, dark world through the narration of songs and fanciful stories. The girl drinks the stories in, and the more she surrenders to the secrets she's exposed to, the more she descends into another dimension through waxen idols, mounts and hills, pits and wells. And all this, as she spends most of her time sauntering into the black woods, uttering bizarre rhymes. She refers to odd things like the Aklo letters, the Chian languages, the great, beautiful Circles, the Mao Games, the chief songs, the Nymphs, the Dôls, Jeelo and voola. Did the girl suffer from bouts of a superactive imagination? Did she have a mystical power to conjure the universe that haunted her imagination into the real world? Perhaps. As Ambrose hints, ''A child's imagination always makes the heights higher and the depths deeper than they really are; and she had, unfortunately for herself, something more than imagination. One might say, perhaps, that the picture in her mind which she succeeded in a measure in putting into words, was the scene as it would have appeared to an imaginative artist.'' Was the girl ever truly touched by the white people and the fairies? It is never made clear. Ambrose remarks that, ''Powerful and sovereign medicines, which are, of necessity, virulent poisons also, are kept in a locked cabinet. The child may find the key by chance, and drink herself dead; but in most cases the search is educational, and the phials contain precious elixirs for him who has patiently fashioned the key for himself. She had poisoned herself—in time.'' Machen is not a writer who employs blood and gore to horrify the reader. No, he has an uncanny ability to freak out the reader by painting a creepy, unnerving atmosphere through allusions and cryptic references which are never fully explained. The White People reads as a misty, dream-like, stream of consciousness tale sprung from the depths of childish imagination. It's a dark triumph of fantasy and horror bound to excite and intrigue the mind. https://lilaiamoreliwordsaresacred.wo...

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill Wallace

    A visionary phantasmagoria; one of the best pieces of dark fantasy ever written. This novella would make a wonderful animated film in the right hands. The narrative voice is perfect for capturing the edge of fable and the sense of the ineffable in old landscapes touched by superstition and myth. The framing sequence is great too, with one of my favorite bits of Machenania, the pure evil of a singing rose tree. This is one of the masterpieces of symbolist fiction and repays revisiting often.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carmen

    'There is something profoundly unnatural about Sin? Is that what you mean?' 'Exactly. Holiness requires as great, or almost as great, an effort; but holiness works on lines that were natural once; it is an effort to recover the ecstasy that was before the Fall. But sin is an effort to gain the ecstasy and the knowledge that pertain alone to angels and in making this effort man becomes a demon. 'There is something profoundly unnatural about Sin? Is that what you mean?' 'Exactly. Holiness requires as great, or almost as great, an effort; but holiness works on lines that were natural once; it is an effort to recover the ecstasy that was before the Fall. But sin is an effort to gain the ecstasy and the knowledge that pertain alone to angels and in making this effort man becomes a demon.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Akira

    I really enjoyed this and I’m honestly looking forward to reading the rest. This was dark and mysterious and everything I look for in a classic gothic inspired tale. The philosophical discussion in the prologue and epilogue and the main story itself had me hooked. I really really must own the full collection 🤩😍!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nick Chianese

    Oddly enough, I find the framing device far more interesting than the bulk of the story itself. Machen may have inspired Lovecraft--and many other inventive writers ranging from T.E.D. Klein to Guillermo del Toro--but after reading what amounts to interminable descriptions of strange nature scenes, I'll take Machen's literary descendants over Machen himself any day. Oddly enough, I find the framing device far more interesting than the bulk of the story itself. Machen may have inspired Lovecraft--and many other inventive writers ranging from T.E.D. Klein to Guillermo del Toro--but after reading what amounts to interminable descriptions of strange nature scenes, I'll take Machen's literary descendants over Machen himself any day.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Walter

    Djeez, can this man pen down some boring gibberish.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Edward Keller

    Written in the late 1890's, published in 1904. Awesome eerie, weird, unsettling, disconserting atmospherics, with the obligatory philosophical rambglings about true good and evil thrown in. All bow to the master. Quote (from journal the protagonist reads): And there were other rocks that were like animals, creeping, horrible animals, putting out their tongues, and others were like words that I could not say, and others like dead people lying on the grass. I went on among them, though they frighten Written in the late 1890's, published in 1904. Awesome eerie, weird, unsettling, disconserting atmospherics, with the obligatory philosophical rambglings about true good and evil thrown in. All bow to the master. Quote (from journal the protagonist reads): And there were other rocks that were like animals, creeping, horrible animals, putting out their tongues, and others were like words that I could not say, and others like dead people lying on the grass. I went on among them, though they frightened me, and my heart was full of wicked songs 7that they put into it; and I wanted to make faces and twist myself about in the way they did, and I went on and on a long way till at last I liked the rocks, and they didn't frighten me any more. I sang the songs I thought of; songs full of words that must not be spoken or written down. Then I made faces like the faces on the rocks, and I twisted myself about like the twisted ones, and I lay down flat on the ground like the dead ones, and I went up to one that was grinning, and put my arms round him and hugged him. And so I went on and on through the rocks till I came to a round mound in the middle of them. It was higher than a mound, it was nearly as high as our house, and it was like a great basin turned upside down, all smooth and round and green, with one stone, like a post, sticking up at the top. I climbed up the sides, but they were so steep I had to stop or I should have rolled all the way down again, and I should have knocked against the stones at the bottom, and perhaps been killed. But I wanted to get up to the very top of the big round mound, so I lay down flat on my face, and took hold of the grass with my hands and drew myself up, bit by bit, till I was at the top.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Re-read Oct. 29th 2016 Noticed today that the section where the nurse is telling the girl stories from her youth, such as The Queen of the Fairies who will not accept any suitors, reminded me forcibly of Lord Dunsany's story 'The Quest of the Queen's Tears'... I am sure Machen would have read Dunsany, and I wonder if he intentionally or otherwise referenced it? Another element to the story I noticed upon re-reading, is the insistent and slightly muddled voice of the narrator. Machen does a wonderf Re-read Oct. 29th 2016 Noticed today that the section where the nurse is telling the girl stories from her youth, such as The Queen of the Fairies who will not accept any suitors, reminded me forcibly of Lord Dunsany's story 'The Quest of the Queen's Tears'... I am sure Machen would have read Dunsany, and I wonder if he intentionally or otherwise referenced it? Another element to the story I noticed upon re-reading, is the insistent and slightly muddled voice of the narrator. Machen does a wonderful and convincing job, creating a believable voice for a young girl who is telling a decidedly unbelievable tale. Somehow it maintains a genuinely unsettling quality, and seems incredibly real. Machen is one of the few authors of supernatural horror who has the ability to finely craft stories which, whilst on the surface seem highly improbable, are written so skillfully they become haunting. I can remember fine details of this tale from earlier readings, it sticks in the mind in a truly uncanny fashion. Re-read Oct. 4th 2017 Short and decidedly strange tale concerning a diary written by an unnamed girl, detailing her otherwordly exploits in the dark supernatural world which exists parallel to our own. She can see things and beings others cannot, and speak hidden languages - aided by the esoteric knowledge of her nurse. Machen intended to develop this into a novel. Whilst the theological debate reharding sin at the beginning was a little dry, Machen's ability to conjur up visions of the unspeakable, and explorations into the unknown is excellent, his imagery and descriptive prose is wonderful.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I see a lot of reading lists pop up while browsing the web, and since I'm always looking for a good book, I pay attention to them. One was a list of stories to read if you liked Stranger Things, and since I did (and who didn't?), I thought I'd check some of them out. "The White People" was one of those stories, and since I haven't read anything by Machen, I thought this would be a good introduction. "The White People" is an early weird story, which starts off reading like a philosophical treaty o I see a lot of reading lists pop up while browsing the web, and since I'm always looking for a good book, I pay attention to them. One was a list of stories to read if you liked Stranger Things, and since I did (and who didn't?), I thought I'd check some of them out. "The White People" was one of those stories, and since I haven't read anything by Machen, I thought this would be a good introduction. "The White People" is an early weird story, which starts off reading like a philosophical treaty on sin, namely because that's exactly what it is. Two men discuss the nature of sin, and the conversation leads one of the men to lend him a book he has, written by a sixteen-year-old woman who was drawn in to a world of mystery and mysticism through her nurse. None of what she sees or experiences is named; in fact, as the story enters into the big reveal, it ends, leaving us scrabbling for answers. The narrative evokes an ominous dread, especially as the young woman describes the uneasy reactions of other people to what she sees and tells. I liked this story, but not because it reminded me of Stranger Things; that link is tenuous, connected only by way of parallel universes. Instead, I liked it for its use of atmosphere and unnameable horror. It evokes an unknown sort of response from the reader, one that's as nebulous as the horrors that populate it. I understand Machen's The Great God Pan is another exemplary piece of his work, and I look forward to reading it, as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Timothy Ferguson

    The White People is one of those works which is in the DNA of many later books, particularly in the horror genre. If you are interested in the development of horror, you have probably heard of it, without ever stumbling upon it. When I saw it in Librivox, and that it was so short (about three hours, if I recall) I thought it well worth grabbing, to see if the praise it gathered from early horror writers was deserved. The story suffers from its frame narrative, which takes up about a third of the The White People is one of those works which is in the DNA of many later books, particularly in the horror genre. If you are interested in the development of horror, you have probably heard of it, without ever stumbling upon it. When I saw it in Librivox, and that it was so short (about three hours, if I recall) I thought it well worth grabbing, to see if the praise it gathered from early horror writers was deserved. The story suffers from its frame narrative, which takes up about a third of the novella. Once that is dispensed with, the work is a very early version of found-manuscript horror, although it would not have been clear to contemporary readers if it was horror or fantasy until the last few pages (even had they these genre terms with which to safely pigeonhole it). I enjoyed it a great deal, but recommend it only for people who like the slow burn and verbosity of the early Mythos authors. This review originally appeared on book coasters.

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