I personally think "Novel of the Black Seal" and "Novel of the White Powder" (both short stories) and "The White People" (which may be the best story about ancient Witchcraft ever written in English) are much better than "The Great God Pan." The latter is interesting, to me at least, mainly for ethnological reasons, as a perhaps unintended commentary on certain prominent features of the late Victorian "establishment" in Britain--among other things. I have to say that when I re-read Pan a few years ago it was much more interesting to me than when I attempted to read it as a teenager.
The Novel Of The White Powder - Arthur Machen ( courtesy of Tales Of Horror and the Supernatural Volume 2 - Panther 1975 - with a lovely Bruce Pennington cover) I'd only read The Great God Pan before, once years ago, and once recently, as I decided to investigate Machen a little more.Enjoyed it second time around, and there seemed a lot more to it than just a simple horror story. Of course there seems a lot more to Machen than just a writer of weird fiction. NB Nice to see John Coulthard mentioned above as the cover artist of some of the material. Internet wanderings often led me to his site. Involvement in lots of odd stuff from Savoy's Lord Horror to Cradle Of Filth album covers. Back to the story. Francis Leicester lives with his sister, and has become a little reclusive, staying up in his room and obsessively studying law. Helen, his sister and the stories narrator, becomes a little concerned, and manages to get bro to see the local doctor. The medico prescribes a white powder, a little to be mixed with water of an evening.Whatever this stuff is, it does Frannie a power of good, and he's soon relaxing, taking constitutionals, that eventually lead him into town, not returning until the early hours. Helen is pleased he's not such a swot, but is a little concerned at his carousing, especially as he seems to have forgotten a trip to Paris the siblings were going to make, when Fran first started feeling better. She notices a rather horrible dark mark on his hand, and becomes very concerned when his entire hand is bandaged soon after. Consulting the doctor afterward about her brother's increasingly erratic behaviour, the doctor is somewhat surprised that Francis is still knocking back his medicine, some time after he professed to feeling better. And then it starts to get weird...
... when I re-read Pan a few years ago it was much more interesting to me than when I attempted to read it as a teenager.
I also had that experience with "The Great God Pan". I couldn't see its contents at all first time I read it. It is much too subtle, and mature, for kids. Kids simply want to see monsters. When you get older, if you have matured, then you need something more, or at least for the monsters to be multifaceted.