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William Hope Hodgson: Books, Short Stories & Poems

Instructor: Paulina Bouzas

Paulina studied Creative Writing and Literature in Mexico City and holds an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Eastern Finland.

William Hope Hodgson was a British author best known for his fantasy and horror stories. In this lesson, we will take a look at Hodgson's work, including his novels, short stories, and poems.

About Hodgson

William Hope Hodgson was born in England in 1877. During his teenage years he spent some time sailing, which led to some accurate descriptions of the ocean that can be found in many of his stories. Apart from sailing he was also interested in photography and body training. He wrote hundreds of short stories, poems, essays, and novels; however, he is best known for the novels The House on the Borderland and The Night Land. Hodgson died during World War I in 1918. Let's start by learning more about some of his most recognized works.

Sailing inspired the author.
Sailing

Books

Much of Hodgson's legacy lies in his early novels. The first one, The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig,' was published in 1907 and was shortly followed by The House on the Borderland (1908). Later came The Ghost Pirates (1909) and The Night Land, published in 1912.

The author was inspired by the infamous Sargasso Sea, part of the North Atlantic Ocean where many of his stories take place. In his work, the Sargasso Sea is supposed to be a part of the ocean filled with giant sea monsters and menacing seaweed. We find this setting in his first novel.

The House on the Borderland is considered a great science fiction novel that tells the story of a man stuck in an isolated house that is besieged by mysterious outside forces. In his third novel, The Ghost Pirates, we find the story of a cursed ship. It narrates the last voyage of this ship and how the specters haunt it.

Let's not forget about The Night Land. Considered by many as Hodgson's masterpiece, this novel is set in the future when the sun no longer shines on earth. While evil spirits walk the land, humanity lives in a giant metal pyramid. This was the last work published while the author was still alive.

Short Stories

Hodgson's first short story ''The Goddess of Death,'' was published in 1904. In this story, a Hindu statue which stood in an English town comes to life to take revenge on the people who stole it from its original temple.

In 1906 the American magazine, The Monthly Story Magazine, published the short story ''From the Tideless Sea.'' This was the first of many stories Hodgson wrote related to the sea. He continued selling his short stories to both American and English magazines throughout his lifetime.

Some of the stories of Hodgson take place at sea.
Sea

Some other short stories related to the ocean are:

  • ''Through the Vortex of a Cyclone'' (1907), which is based on the authors' own experiences during the years he spent sailing
  • ''The Shamraken Homeward-Bounder'' (1908), where cyclones and ships take hold of the story
  • ''Out of the Storm'' (1909), a horror short story

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