Many writers in the early twentieth century particularly were fascinated by Pan as a figure of unbridled vivacity and pagan ecstasy, but also associated the god and folk hero with a sense of danger and even horror.
The pipe music shrilled suddenly around her, seeming to come from the bushes at her very feet, and at the same moment the great beast slewed round and bore directly down upon her.
In 1894, Arthur Machen’s landmark novella The Great God Pan was published, sparking a resurgence of literary fascination with the figure of the pagan goat god.
Tales from a broad spectrum of writers from E. M. Forster to prolific pulpsters such as Greye Le Spina took the god’s rebellious and chaotic influence as their subject, spinning beguiling tales of society turned upside down and the forces of nature compelling protagonists to ecstatic heights or bizarre dooms.
Selecting an eclectic cross-section of tales and short poems from this boom of Pan-centric literature, many first published in the influential Weird Tales magazine, this new collection examines the roots of a cultural phenomenon and showcases Pan’s potential to introduce themes of queer awakening and celebrations of the transgressive into the thrillingly weird stories in which he was invoked.