Story intended to elicit a strong feeling of fear. Such tales are of ancient origin and form a substantial part of folk literature. They may feature supernatural elements such as ghosts, witches, or vampires or address more realistic psychological fears. In Western literature, the literary cultivation of fear and curiosity for its own sake emerged in the 18th century with the gothic novel. Classic practitioners of the horror and gothic genres include Horace Walpole, Mary Shelley, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Edgar Allan Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu (1814–73), Wilkie Collins, Bram Stoker, Ambrose Bierce, and Stephen King.
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