I've long had a fascination with gothic horror, Poe being the main target (the only author of such works I've read, till now!)
Anyway I found a lot of classics from Project Gutenberg and Manybooks.net and so downloaded a few to my reader.
First off I read Carmilla by Irish author J. Sheridan Le Fanu, which is a vampire story written before Bram Stoker's Dracula, and which probably influenced that author, and others!
It is the tale of a young girl living in a town in which a number of people have fallen foul of some strange illness. Later a young lady comes into the care of her family home, her name is Camilla and she has a strange secret....
I then read a couple of his other stories, Green Tea about a strange psychological transformation bought on by the imbibement of said liquid-though not nearly as exciting as it sounds! I followed this with Mr Justice Harbottle, a rather dull story from this author about a judge who seems to go inexplicably insane! The language and grammar in these early works takes some getting used to, and the stories tend to begin with a long prologue in which the narrator explains his becoming aware of the events depicted within after receiving some manuscript or other communicationg-a common device in early fiction.
I then read my first Clark Ashton Smith story, The City of the Singing Flame, an odd story of travel through time and space to another dimension. Its kind of a dark fantasy although reading it I got the impression the author was interested in science fiction as well as horror (he was known as a follower of H.P. Lovecraft). I found that story on a site devoted to the man: Eldritch Dark,The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith
I'm now about to read a short story by Ambrose Bierce called An Occurance at Owl Creek. Set during the American Civil War it concerns itself with Peyton Farquhar, a Confederate sympathizer condemned to death by hanging upon the Owl Creek Bridge of the title. However all is not as it seems.....