Jack Sullivan (born 1946) is an American literary scholar, essayist, author, editor, musicologist, and short story writer. He is one of the leading modern figures in the study of the horror genre, particularly the ghost story.
His critically acclaimed Elegant Nightmares: The English Ghost Story From Le Fanu To Blackwood (1978) examines the works of several recognized masters of the ghostly tale, including E. F. Benson, H. Russell Wakefield, Oliver Onions, and Walter de la Mare; separate chapters are devoted to full, in-depth studies of Sheridan Le Fanu, M. R. James, and Algernon Blackwood. A companion volume, Lost Souls (1983), is a collection of English ghost stories with stories from these and other practitioners of supernatural fiction, such as L.P. Hartley, Arthur Machen, Robert Aickman, and Ramsey Campbell.
Probably his most notable contribution to the historical study of the horror genre to date has been the mammoth The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural (1986), which he edited. Hundreds of entries and literary essays are provided on a variety of subjects, topics and writers, contributed by such genre luminaries as Ramsey Campbell, Kim Newman, T. E. D. Klein, John Crowley, Colin Wilson, Thomas M. Disch, Ron Goulart, Whitley Strieber, and many others. The volume offers a very broad definition of the term “horror”, and consequently several of the entries are much more eclectic than many reviewers expected. It was immediately recognized as one of the definitive reference works on the subject.
Sullivan also has written two music-related book length studies, Words On Music (1990) and New World Symphonies: How American Culture Changed European Music (1999). His literary and music essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post Book World, The New Republic, Saturday Review, USA Today, and Harper's Magazine. His short fiction was published in The Kelsey Review and New Terrors (edited by Ramsey Campbell).
Sullivan is currently a professor of American Studies at Rider University, Lawerenceville, NJ.
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