We often get so wrapped up in the new releases and our towering to-be-read piles, we forget about the dark, scary and horror classics. With Halloween edging closer, it is a good time to talk about the dark fantasy books that have stood the test of time.
People are often surprised to hear my favorite book is The Inferno by Dante Alighieri. It’s a 14th century epic poem, one you get more out of with a full set of footnotes. But for those who haven’t descended into the nine circles of hell with Dante, you’re missing out.
The allegorical journey takes the human Dante into the underworld. Guided by Roman poet Virgil, Dante witnesses horror after horror — punishments befitting each sin — as he moves deeper into hell. Each level is tied to a specific sin: lust, pride, avarice, etc. While the descriptions of this vivid world are reason enough to adore the work, the notes accompanying my favorite edition explain who the people we meet in hell are (often politicians of Alighieri’s day). The image of two beings frozen into the icy floor within The Inferno’s ninth circle (treachery) has stayed with me. I’ll leave the details out for those who haven’t read the book, but suffice it to say it’s shocking and very dark.
That brings me to my point: Which dark literature classic has stayed with you?
Are you a Bram Stoker fan through-and-through? A vampire purist adoring Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu? Do you like ‘em hulking a la Frankenstein? Sound off in the comments.