Robert Bloch Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Robert Bloch wrote many crime novels as well as science-fiction novels, screenplays, radio and television plays, and hundreds of short stories. Working in the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft, Bloch portrayed characters who are plagued by their psychological imbalances. In addition, he gave new life to the surprise ending. Often readers are shocked or even appalled at the ending with which they are confronted. Unlike many writers in the genre, Bloch did not always let those who are right succeed or even live. In fact, many times those who are good are the ones who die.

The characters Bloch employed are quite ordinary. They are hotel owners, nuns, psychiatrists, and secretaries. The use of seemingly normal people as inhabitants of a less than normal world is part of what made Bloch one of the masters of the psychological novel. His novels do not have vampires jumping out of coffins; instead, they have hotel owners coming out of offices and asking if there is anything you need.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Bloch, Robert. “The Movie People.” In Roger Ebert’s Book of Film, edited by Roger Ebert. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997. Bloch’s firsthand account of the Hollywood studio system and his observations on the nature of the industry. Bibliographic references.

Bloch, Robert. Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography. New York: Tor, 1995. Originally written the year before he died, this autobiography of Bloch was republished posthumously.

Bloch, Robert. The Robert Bloch Companion: Collected Interviews, 1969-1986. San Bernardino, Calif.: Borgo Press, 1990. Collection of several key interviews given by Bloch about his life and work over a seventeen-year period.

Bloom, Clive, ed. Gothic Horror: A Reader’s Guide from Poe to King and Beyond. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998. Includes an essay by Bloch about horror writers, as well as meditations on the genre by many other famous authors. Bibliographic references.

Haining, Peter. The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2000. Looks at Bloch’s contribution to the pulps and the relationship of pulp fiction to its more respectable literary cousins.

Horsley, Lee. The Noir Thriller. New York: Palgrave, 2001. A scholarly, theoretically informed study of the thriller genre, including Bloch’s contribution to that genre. Bibliographic references and index.

Lovecraft, H. P. Selected Letters V, 1934-1937. Edited by August Derleth and James Turner. Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House, 1976. Includes letters exchanged between the teenage Bloch and the great American master of horror.

Matheson, Richard, and Ricia Mainhardt, eds. Robert Bloch: Appreciations of the Master. New York: Tor, 1995. Includes fiction by Bloch, as well as tributes to him by other authors who have been influenced by him.