A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 
b.1863 d.1947
Novels  Short Stories
Arthur Machen was born in Caerleon-on-Usk in South Wales, and looked back upon his youth in this part of the Gwent border country as an inspiration for much of his writing. He moved to London as a young man and spent the greater part of his adult life in the city, at first as a book cataloguer, translator, journalist and, for some years, as an actor. All of his work, from his prose poems through to his journalism are written with an incantatory elegance and beauty.
Machen achieved his first success, and notoriety, with The Great God Pan (1894), published in John Lane's Keynotes series with a cover design by Aubrey Beardsley. Although this associated him with the Decadent figures of the 1890s, he did not move in those circles, only meeting Oscar Wilde twice. In this period, however, he wrote arguably his most important work, including the semi-autobiographical novel The Hill of Dreams (not published until 1907) and the prose poems, Ornaments in Jade (not published until 1924).
Much to his chagrin, Machen's pot-boiling short story "The Bowmen" became the origin of the "Angels of Mons" myth in the First World War. He found it impossible to persuade his contemporaries that his was an entirely fictional account, and even today it is often referred to without reference to Machen's story.
Arthur Machen is often categorised as a "horror" writer, but this is perhaps as misleading as the suggestion that he wrote ghost stories (only three or four of his tales involve ghosts). Rather, his work is of a mystical cast, often influenced by his own mix of High Church Anglicanism and a belief in an old Welsh Church that predated modern Christianity. His best characters are usually fictionalised versions of himself (Ambrose Meyrick in The Secret Glory and Lucian Taylor in The Hill of Dreams), and undergo spiritual revelations. His work has influenced writers as diverse as H.P. Lovecraft and John Betjeman. 
Short Stories
The Great God Pan, John Lane (London), 1894
Includes: The Great God Pan: A scientist carries out an operation on a young girl which enables her to "see Pan", resulting in her madness and pregnancy. Twenty-four years later her daughter fascinates male London society and brings about the ruin of many. The Inmost Light: Dr Black has managed to capture the soul of his wife inside an opal-like gem.
ditto, Roberts Bros (U.S.), 1894
ditto, Grant Richards, [1913]
The Three Impostors, John Lane (London), 1895
Although presented as a novel, this title is a set of connected short stories, in imitation of Robert Louis Stevenson's New Arabian Nights: Prologue: Three enigmatic characters discuss the conspiracy in which they are involved. Adventure of the Gold Tiberius: Dyson tells Phillipps of a violent chase he has witnessed, and how he picked up from the gutter a rare gold coin discarded by one of the men. The Encounter of the Pavement: Dyson meets Mr Wilkins who tells him the: Novel of the Dark Valley: Wilkins travels to the United States and is nearly killed in a case of mistaken identity. Adventure of the Missing Brother: Miss Lally has a premonition of danger when she shes her bother with a stranger with a mask-like face and a skeletal arm. She tells her story in: Novel of the Black Seal: Miss Lally works for Professor Gregg who is researching the little people who live underground in remote parts of the country. He goes to investigate them and does not return. Incident of the Private Bar: Dyson is told a story of gem-dealing by Burton. The Decorative Imagination: Burton prefaces his story of the: Novel of the Iron Maid: A man who collects curiousities is a victim in his own iron maiden. The Recluse of Bayswater: Dyson meets Miss Leicester who relates: Novel of the White Powder: her brother takes an ill-prepared drug which is inadvertantly the Vinum Sabbati that witches would have used to get them to their Sabbath. Strange Occurrence in Clerkenwell: Dyson discovers a notebook which reveals the: History of the Young Man With Spectacles: Dr Lipsius lures a man to his death. Adventure of the Deserted Residence: Dyson and Phillipps discover the fate of the young man in spectacles.
(Many of these episodes have been successfully reprinted as short stories without the novel framework. Not all are supernatural, and the supernatural element in many is undermined by the unreliability of the narrator.)
ditto, Roberts Bros (U.S.), 1895
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1923
The Hill of Dreams, Grant Richards (London), 1907
In this semi-autobiographical novel Lucian Taylor is a hypersensitive youth from Wales who is able to conjure visions of a glorious past from the Roman archaeological remains around him. He moves to London where he attempts to write a great book, but finds it a "demoniac and Dionysian bedlam". Perhaps more a mystical novel than a supernatural one.
ditto, Dana Estes & Co (U.S.), 1907
The Great Return, The Faith Press, (London), 1915
Strange and miraculous occurances in a small Welsh village are found by the narrator to be the result of the return of the Holy Grail.
The Terror, Duckworth & Co., (London) [1917]
There are a series of mysterious and inexplicable deaths during the first world war.
ditto, as The Terror, A Mystery, McBride (U.S.), [1917]
The Secret Glory, Martin Secker (London), 1922
.(A sensitive young man, Ambrose Meyrick, is sustained through his barbaric schooling by thoughts and memories of the Holy Grail kept secret in his Welsh homeland. He embarks on adventures in the city, and the book ends abruptly with a report of his death. Perhaps more a mystical novel than a supernatural one.
ditto, as Chapters Five and Six of 'The Secret Glory', Tartarus Press (Lewes), 1990
These chapters are further episodes of Meyrick, including his time as an actor, and his return to Wales where the "Marriage of the Cup" is performed.
ditto, Tartarus Press (Carlton), 1998 (first edition of all six chapters)
The Green Round, Ernest Benn, 1933
Hillyer visits the Green Round in a Welsh village and returns to London with a mysterious shadow. Various bizarre psychic phenomena follow him.
ditto, Arkham House (U.S.), 1968
ditto, Tartarus Press, 2000
Short Stories
Thesaurus Incantatus, Marvell [Arthur Machen and Harry Spurr] (London), [n.d.1888]
Including: The Spagyric Quest of Beroaldus Cosmopolita
The House of Souls, Grant Richards (London), 1906
Including: A Fragment of Life: Mr and Mrs darnell discover transcendant splendour in their everyday London lives. Mystical rather than supernatural. The White People: A discussion of the nature of true evil is illustrated by the account of an innocent young girl who encounters it. The Great God Pan: decribed above. The Inmost Light: described above. The Three Impostors: an abridged version of the episodic novel described above: i) Adventure of the Gold Tiberius, ii) The Encounter of the Pavement, iii) Adventure of the Missing Brother, iv) Incident of the Private Bar, v) The Recluse of Bayswater, vi) Strange Occurrence in Clerkenwell, vii) Adventure of the Deserted Residence. The Red Hand: Murder and mysteries in london are explained with reference to the degenerate little people who have been driven underground.
ditto, Grant Richards (London), 1906 (as above but with boards similar to The Hill of Dreams)
ditto, Dana Estes & Co (U.S.), 1906
The Bowmen, Simpkin Marshall (London), 1915
Including: The Bowmen: At the Mons retreat in the first world war British soliders are saved by an invocation of St George and the appearance of ghosts of the bowmen who fought at Agincourt. The Soldiers' Rest: Heaven is found to be a comfortable tavern. The Monstrance: A German soldier is haunted after committing horrendous monstrosities. The Dazzling Light: A Vision of medieval troops.
Second edition adds: The Little Nations: Ants wage war as humans do. The Men of Troy: Spiritual assistance for the troops at Gallipoli fighting the Turks.
ditto, Putnams (U.S.), 1915
The Shining Pyramid, Covici-McGee (Chicago, U.S.), 1923
Including: The Shining Pyramid: Mysterious occurances in Wales are discovered by Dyson and Vaughan to be the work of the Little People. Out of the Earth: Children are blamed for the trouble caused by the Little People who are taking advantage of the fact that it is wartime. The Spagyric Quest of Beroaldus Cosmopolita: The adventures of Cosmopolita in spiritual alchemy. The Splendid Holiday: The experience of natural phenomena presented as a great adventure. Spiritual rather than supernatural. Drake's Drum: Ghostly sound of Drake's heard by the British fleet in wartime.
Other stories are not supernatural. Also contains essays.
Ornaments In Jade, Knopf (U.S.), 1924
The prose poems in this collection range from the mystical and suggestively supernatural to the perverse and horrible. Including: "The Rose Garden", "The Turanians", "The Idealist", "Witchcraft", "The Ceremony", "Psychology", "Torture", "Midsummer", "Nature", "The Holy Things".
ditto, Tartarus Press/Caermaen Books, 1997
The Glorious Mystery, Covici-McGee (U.S.), 1924
Including: "The Iron Maid", "The Rose Garden", "Fragments of Paper", "The Holy Things", "Scrooge: 1920". Other material is not supernatural. Also contains essays.
The Shining Pyramid, Martin Secker, 1925 (different from above Shining Pyramid)
Including: "The Shining Pyramid", "Out of the Earth", "The Happy Children". Also contains essays.)
ditto, Knopf (U.S.), 1925
The Cosy Room, Rich & Cowan, 1936
Including: "The Double Return". "A Wonderful Woman", "The Lost Club", "The Holy Things", "Psychology", "Torture", "Witchcraft", "The Turanians", "The Rose Garden", "The Ceremony", "Midsummer", "Nature", "The Hidden Mystery", "Munitions of War", "Drake's Drum", "A New Christmas Carol", "The Islington Mystery", "The Gift of Tongues", "The Cosy Room".
The Children of the Pool, Hutchinson & Co. (London), 1936
Including: The Exalted Omega: Mansel hears in his flat voices which suggest a poisoning taking place. He dies and a medium picks up a message from him suggesting that the poisoning would take place after his tenancy. The Children of the Pool: Roberts hears voices disclosing mistakes from his past and fears blackmail, but the voices are a supernatural phenomena. The Bright Boy: A "child prodigy" commits a horrible crime (not supernatural). The Tree of Life: A squire discusses his estate with his steward, but all is not as it seems (not supernatural). Out of the Picture: An artist paints a figure into his pictures which comes closer to the foreground, eventually leaves the picture and takes over the artist. Change: The story of a changeling.
Holy Terrors, Penguin (London), 1946
Including: "The Bright Boy", "The Tree of Life", "Opening the Door", "The Marriage of Panurge", "The Holy Things", "Psychology", "The Turanians", "The Rose Garden", "The Ceremony", "The Soldiers' Rest", "The Happy Children", "The Cosy Room", "Munitions of War", "The Great Return."
Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, Alfred A. Knopf, 1948
ditto, Richards Press (London), 1949
Including: "The Novel of the Black Seal", "The Novel of the White Powder", "The Great God Pan", "The White People", "The Inmost Light", "The Shining Pyramid", "The Bowmen", "The Great Return", "The Happy Children", "The Bright Boy", "Out of the Earth", "N", "The Children of the Pool", "The Terror".)
ditto, Tartarus Press (Carlton-in-Coverdale), 2003. 3rd Tartarus edition.
Ritual and Other Stories, Tartarus Press, 1992
Including: "The Town of Long Ago", "Of the Isle of Shadows", "A Further Account of the Academy of Lagado", "Tales from Barataria", "Sir John's Chef", "The Autophone", "A Remarkable Coincidence", "A Double Return", "A Wonderful Woman", "The Lost Club", "An Underground Adventure", "Jocelyn's Escape", "The Decorative Imagination", "The Novel of the Iron Maid", "Drake's Drum", "The Idealist", "Witchcraft", "Midsummer, "Nature", "Torture", "7B Coney Court", "Johnny Double", "A New Christmas Carol", " "The Gift of Tongues", "The Islington Mystery", Awaking", "The Compliments of the Season", "The Dover Road", "The Exalted Omega", "Change", "Out of the Picture", "Ritual".
ditto, Tartarus Press (Horam, East Sussex), 1997
Contents slightly altered from the first printing, removing the stories from Ornaments in Jade and adding "The Red Hand."
Further Reading
Arthur Machen: A Short Account of His Life and Work, by Aidan Reynolds and William Charlton, John Baker/Richards Press (London), 1963
Arthur Machen, by Mark Valentine, Seren (Bridgend), 1995
A Bibliography of Arthur Machen, by Adrian Goldstone and Wesley Sweetser, The University of Texas (Austin, Texas), 1965.
Return to the top of the page
Biography Novels Short Stories
Please click on the index to access authors by surname:
Return to Guide main page
Click here to email Tartarus Press
Click here to access Tartarus Press web pages

Page updated 16th February 2007