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So whatcha readin' now, kids?

This is a continuation of the topic So whatcha readin', kids?.

Gothic Literature

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1alaudacorax
Aug 17, 2017, 4:05am Top

The old thread was getting a bit unwieldy ...

2alaudacorax
Edited: Aug 17, 2017, 4:10am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

3AndreasJ
Aug 17, 2017, 4:11am Top

Marginally Gothic, but I'm slowly making my way through the Chambers pastiches in A Season in Carcosa.

4alaudacorax
Aug 18, 2017, 12:34pm Top

I'm still reading Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith side by side, and probably will be for some time (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith: A Vintage From Atlantis and The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories), and something's occurred to me that probably should have before this - perhaps it has, and been discussed here, and I've forgotten:

Does Lovecraft have any significant female characters? I know there are a few peripheral characters, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, for example, has the narrative voice refer to a female ancestor who is quite important to the plot, but I've been fruitlessly racking my brains for a female character who actually has agency, even though it's not that long since I read through The Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft.

Also - and I may be being a little unfair, here - I can't, offhand, remember any evidence of Lovecraft having a sense of humour.

From the above you may guess that I'm finding Lovecraft suffering from the comparison. It's not just the dark humour that attracts me in CAS: I get the impression that in his own way he loves life, whereas Lovecraft fears it.

Perhaps reading the two side by side wasn't such a good idea after all - superficially very similar writers, I'm now feeling that they're really quite different.

5AndreasJ
Edited: Aug 18, 2017, 12:57pm Top

>4 alaudacorax:

There's Keziah Mason in "Dreams in the Witch House" and, arguably, Asenath Waite in "The Thing on the Doorstep" (arguably, because by the time we encounters her, she's been mindswapped with her father).

There's a few comedic touches in HPL's oeuvre - "Herbert West - Reanimator", "Sweet Ermengarde", and "Ibid" come to mind. But he evidently didn't feel it had a place in his serious writings.

ETA: "A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson" is another example of a humorous HPL story.

6housefulofpaper
Aug 20, 2017, 1:32pm Top

>5 AndreasJ:

I'm sure I've read that Lovecraft had a sense of humour - in company and in his correspondence, not in his fiction (I suspect it was always a bit stiff and arch, living up to the self-defining "Old Man of Providence" persona).

There's an example of a humorous origin to a story, given in S. T. Joshi's notes to "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" - in a letter to Edwin Baird, Weird Tales' first editor, and published in that magazine in 1924, Lovecraft wrote:

"The origin is rather curious - and far removed from the atmosphere it suggests. Somebody had been harassing me into reading from work of the iconoclastic moderns - these young chaps who pry behind exteriors and unveil nasty hidden motives and secret stigmata - and I had nearly fallen asleep over the tame backstairs gossip of Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. The sainted Sherwood, as you know, laid bare the dark area which many whited village lives concealed, and it occurred to me that I, in my weirder medium, could probably devise some secret behind a man's ancestry which would make the worst of Anderson's disclosures sound like the annual report of a Sabbath School. Hence Arthur Jermyn."

Jermyn discovers that he has a white gorilla in his not-so-distant ancestry.

7housefulofpaper
Aug 20, 2017, 2:30pm Top

I'm not reading anything Gothic at the moment but I am making my way through The Art of Memory by Frances A. Yates. This traces memory systems from the ancient world, through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance - at which point characters such as Giordano Bruno start developing these techniques along occult lines.

Yates wrote extensively about the occult thinking in the Renaissance and later, that writers and historians before her had missed. Her work must be one of the ways that the occult emerged into popular culture in the '60s and '70s.

8alaudacorax
Aug 21, 2017, 4:38am Top

>7 housefulofpaper:

Another of those authors I've been meaning to explore for years (there are so many!) I've had her The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age on an Amazon wish list for years, probably before I joined this group. I think I probably entered it originally for the light it would throw on Shakespeare plays - it's probably germane to your comments over on the 'Gothic films' thread about Jarman's The Tempest.

And now I'm tempted to add this one to my wish lists - houseful has a way of growing my wish lists ...

Over on the 'Interesting editions' thread I wrote about treating myself to fine editions when I got through calendar months without eating takeaways - I'm thinking I'd do better to spend the money on a batch of academic paperbacks from the wish lists ...

9alaudacorax
Aug 21, 2017, 4:46am Top

>6 housefulofpaper:

The Penguin volume with 'Arthur Jermyn' in it is currently in transit somewhere between New York and the English Midlands (it was much the cheapest offer on Amazon that day), so I'm not going to read the hidden bit of your post till it comes. I shall keep looking out for humour in Lovecraft, though.

10housefulofpaper
Aug 21, 2017, 8:49pm Top

>8 alaudacorax:

I can't help feeling that "on a wishlist" is a wiser approach than "bought, but currently still unread, in a box, in the loft" which is the fate of a lot of challenging texts that I thought I would be able to tackle.

I did find some of The Art of Memory a bit dry; the early sections run through classical and medieval memory systems when they were practical techniques. Perhaps its paradoxical, the story that Yates is telling gets more intriguing just when the memory techniques themselves become obscure and (for the researcher) often tedious to study. Luckily Yates shields the reader from much of this (she says so herself when explicating some of Giordano Bruno's "sigils").

11housefulofpaper
Aug 23, 2017, 6:02pm Top

>10 housefulofpaper:

I am approaching the final section of the book, which as it covers Robert Fludd and the Globe Theatre, is most likely to point out any occult influences on Shakespeare's work.

I was wondering if the book would conclude that all the esoteric, Hermetic stuff evolved into, say modern library classification, the organisation of Roget's Thesaurus, how book indexes are constructed, things like that. Yates doesn't quite go that far (not yet, any way) but she does strongly suggest that these
researches/ Hermetic religious practices led to the 17th Century Enlightenment (and this was before Sir Isaac Newton's secret alchemical studies became widely known).

She also suggests that these same schools may be the forerunners of the Rosecrucians and the Freemasons.

12alaudacorax
Aug 25, 2017, 8:30am Top

It's astonishing how my mind can get confused about stuff when I haven't read it for a few decades.

Reading an article about Ray Bradbury in Wormwood Number 5 and, to my chagrin, I realised I've been confusing and conflating him with John Wyndham for many years.

I know I read lots of both long ago, so I must have know better at some point.

13housefulofpaper
Aug 27, 2017, 3:02pm Top

>12 alaudacorax:

I've just re-read that same article, in the Tartarus Press collection of the late Joel Lane's criticism, This Spectacular Darkness. I remember being very impressed when I first read the article; ten years on, his insights don't seem any less acute.

Mention of John Wyndham reminds me of a stray thought I had when I started watching the DVD box set of the remaining episodes of Out of the Unknown. The opening story adapts a Wyndham story set on the fantastic Mars of canals and ancient dying races. It was just one alien temple set, and a couple of theatrically-trained actors, but it made me wish the BBC had attempted some CAS adaptations in the '60s.

14alaudacorax
Sep 6, 2017, 5:12am Top

>12 alaudacorax: - It's astonishing how my mind can get confused about stuff when I haven't read it for a few decades.

I'm still on my way through The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, and part way through At the Mountains of Madness, to be exact.

I've always remembered At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Dunwich Horror as highlights of my youthful Lovecraft reading. So I'm more than a bit surprised to find that The Dunwich Horror is not the story I've been remembering and is, in fact, one I have absolutely no memory of having previously read.

15alaudacorax
Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 5:28am Top

>14 alaudacorax:

I wasn't surprised to find somewhere in Joshi's notes that Lovecraft never prepared The Case of Charles Dexter Ward for publication. I'm sure Lovecraft would never have let into print his depiction of young Ward's homecoming to Providence after his stay in Europe - it simply doesn't belong in the story and really jars. I think Joshi should have put most of it in an appendix, somewhere.

ETA - I should have said that I found it a really powerful and absorbing story - that hiccup apart ...

16alaudacorax
Edited: Sep 6, 2017, 6:02am Top

>14 alaudacorax:

The discussion we've had (or I've been reading elsewhere) about Lovecraft's racism has made reading him a lot more complex than it used to be.

Reading The Dunwich Horror, I found myself uncomfortable with his talk of degeneracy and inbreeding and so forth, but should I have been? Should I have been viewing the area he described as a purely fictional construct with no connection to any actual place, or does the depiction reflect real prejudices about the denizens of remote farming areas?

There's the fact that the motif of dangerous, inbred, backwoods people exists quite independently of Lovecraft - it underlies all sorts of screen and print stories up to the present day, of course - but then I wonder, did he start it?

17alaudacorax
Sep 7, 2017, 4:30am Top

Finished The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories. Been enjoying Lovecraft - getting really bored with Joshi ...

18housefulofpaper
Sep 7, 2017, 5:56pm Top

>17 alaudacorax:

You probably don't want to bother with his two volume Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction, then.

It's four or five years since I read it; whilst it is an exhaustive survey of the field, the impression I'm left with - after much of the specific details of literary history, and Joshi's critical judgements on individual authors and works have faded from memory - is of a pedestrian prose style that never really sings or is able to embody an insight in a telling or elegant phrase, and a lack of generosity towards authors that he's not in sympathy with.

19alaudacorax
Edited: Sep 8, 2017, 3:44am Top

>18 housefulofpaper:

I'd got the idea of Joshi as a Lovecraft scholar it would be worth my while reading, but ...

First of all, I read the introduction to The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories and he gave away the endings of (offhand) at least two stories.

Then I found there was such a superfluity of notes:
Is it overly condescending if I say that someone whose vocabulary is so narrow as to need all the glosses that Joshi provides is probably the kind of person who never reads the notes anyway?
Then I found plain irrelevant quite a high proportion of the notes that were not to do with vocabulary.
And then I found some instances (carelessly, I didn't annotate, so I can't, offhand, provide chapter and verse) where there appeared to be contemporary allusions* beyond my knowledge and ... no notes!

And while I've been writing this post I've found some apparently damning Amazon reviews on his I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft, which I'd been thinking of getting hold of. Hmmm ...

ETA - * I mean allusions by Lovecraft, not Joshi.

20housefulofpaper
Sep 11, 2017, 12:56pm Top

The very last comment on the previous thread was about Clark Ashton Smith's poetry. By a strange coincidence a copy of The Last Oblivion: Best Fantastic Poems of Clark Ashton Smith was offered iby Cold Tonnage Books at a very reasonable price (about 25% of the prices currently being asked on AbeBooks - once international postage rates are included - I'm afraid).

I was, of course, expecting an overripe, gorgeously lush, Swinburne-esque kind of poetry, with many a reference to CAS's fantasy realms (Averioigne, Zothique). Initially I was a bit surprised if not disappointed.

The book's editors S. T. Joshi (it's that man again!) and David E. Schultz have organised the poems thematically and the way it falls out, a lot of the early poems seem to take earlier poets as their inspiration - if not an actual template. There's a definite echo of the opening of Paradise Lost in one poem, another struck me as George Herbert-like. Then, there are a couple of dialogues or dramatic scenes with are Shakespearian, or at least Elizabethan/Jacobean.

Even the cover is disconcerting. CAS was also an artist and sculptor (I presume self-taught; there's a
naivety that borders on outsider art) and one of his watercolours has been chosen as the cover. It features a goofy little dragon reaching for some fruit hanging from a tree. It didn't conjure the atmosphere I was expecting/hoping for, but it reminded me of something - then I got it. In the '70s there was a book of whimsical alien planet scenes by, of all people, Patrick Moore's mother. It was called Mrs Moore in Space and there are actually 7 copies catalogued here on Librarything, so you can see a fuzzy image of the front cover and judge for yourself.

Once you get about a third of the way in, the ratio of poems that feel as if they breathe the same air as the stories increases. I'm sure that reading them in quick succession has diminished their impact, and if I dip into this volume in future, I might well be inclined to increase the 3 star rating I've given the book now (in fact, I've got the poem "Zothique" as a letterpress broadside from Pegana Press, and knowing the poem, it did indeed seem weightier than the poems around it when I came to it in the book. I don't think it's the best poem CAS wrote; it's just that it had been able to get under my skin).

21alaudacorax
Sep 13, 2017, 5:58am Top

I've had a reaction.

I've been on such a strong diet of Lovecraft and CAS lately - not to mention a rather sharp saucing of the occasional Robert Aickman and Ray Bradbury (I found the latter's 'The Next in Line' particularly discomforting).
Last night I suddenly felt I couldn't face any more of this stuff. I sat down and read one and half Agatha Christie 'Miss Marples' as a sort of palate cleanser - most certainly light relief.

I think I need a couple of weeks off ...

22housefulofpaper
Sep 13, 2017, 2:58pm Top

>21 alaudacorax:
Enjoy the last of the summer sunshine, come back for Halloween!

23alaudacorax
Oct 13, 2017, 4:09am Top

I'm been reading Lord Dunsany, The Gods of Pegana. I can now see where H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith were coming from. I suspect Tolkien read this at some point, too. I'm not sure it counts as Gothic literature, but it's fun to learn these chains of influence.

A first thought was that he was an influence on Bram Stoker: I thought I saw definite influences on his The Crystal Cup and Under the Sunset. Then I realised I'd got my dates quite askew as Stoker was much the older man and the two works pre-dated The Gods of Pegana by at least twenty years. I strongly suspect Stoker was an influence on Dunsany, especially given their somewhat shared background.

I've currently got an infuriating gap in my memory. I think I know a possible earlier influence on all these, but I can't remember the author, the title or, even, the story. Ridiculously, if you could take me back forty-something years to my then local library I could walk right to it - turn left through the doors, turn left again, third bay on the right, fourth shelf up on the left-hand side, a plain, black book without a dust jacket - why the hell won't my memory picture the title and author?! Title and author are tantalisingly just off the edge of my memory and I can't quite get a grip on them.

I had to be in the right mood for Dunsany, though. I tried to read this some time ago and couldn't stick with it. A little too whimsical?

24alaudacorax
Edited: Oct 13, 2017, 4:23am Top

>23 alaudacorax: - I've currently got an infuriating gap in my memory.

Hah! I've been worrying away at that since I woke up this morning. It's finally just occurred to me to google 'early fantasy novels' and up it popped, almost instantly - George MacDonald, Phantastes. I still can't remember the story, though - have to re-read it at some point.

Have we had this conversation before? I'm suffering some serious déjà vu, here.

ETA ... and now I'm suffering some serious déjà vu about writing 'I'm suffering some serious déjà vu' ...

25pgmcc
Oct 13, 2017, 4:23am Top

I have started The Castle of Otranto for, I am ashamed to say, my first time.

I have found his prefaces very entertaining and revealing.

26alaudacorax
Oct 13, 2017, 4:25am Top

>24 alaudacorax: - I have found his prefaces very entertaining and revealing.

Yes, when I first read them I was instantly a fan.

27pgmcc
Oct 13, 2017, 4:27am Top

>23 alaudacorax: Your description of the memory being just out of reach is very reminescent of so many "otherness" stories in which one reaches for a memory or glimpses something just beyond their field of vision.

By the way, to make both you and me less worried I shall say, "It happens to everyone."

28alaudacorax
Oct 13, 2017, 4:37am Top

>24 alaudacorax:, >27 pgmcc:

Thanks. Incidentally, my memory was slightly more fallible than I thought. A hunt on AbeBooks reminded me that the book I was thinking of was actually dark blue - a Gollancz edition without a dustjacket of Phantastes and Lilith in one book.

29pgmcc
Oct 13, 2017, 4:46am Top

>28 alaudacorax:. Yea! Happens to us all. Honest. :-)

30housefulofpaper
Oct 13, 2017, 6:37am Top

>23 alaudacorax:

I recently had a conversation, or tried to, where absolutely none of the proper nouns I needed would come to mind!

I guessed George MacDonald, before reading on - the Folio Society has published at least one of his fairy tales and I've got another, printed letterpress, by Pegana Press.

31AndreasJ
Oct 13, 2017, 6:38am Top

>23 alaudacorax:

The workings of human memory are strange and sometimes a little scary.

32housefulofpaper
Nov 1, 2017, 7:47am Top

Looking for something suitable to read on Halloween, and also wanting to cut my "currently reading" list down to a sensible number, I spent a good deal of yesterday (and finished this morning) a poetry anthology from Valancourt Books, The Graveyard School edited by Jack G. Voller.

They mostly date from the middle of the 18th Century, when the "Augustan" type of poetry (think Alexander Pope) is softening with an increase in "Sensibility" but is still a long way from the directness of the Romantic poets, so it appears in retrospect quite artificial and the product of a rather fallow time for English poetry. That said, the contemplation of nature and mortality, almost invariably in a Christian context (these poems also often feel, or actually are, sermons) provided a great deal of the imagery and language used by the early Gothic novelists.

33LolaWalser
Nov 1, 2017, 11:23am Top

I was going to read the three versions of Maupassant's Le Horla but instead spent the evening talking with friends in NYC. Really, what's the point of looking for spooks in fiction these days...

34pgmcc
Nov 1, 2017, 1:11pm Top

>33 LolaWalser: Reading spooks in literature might be a welcome stroll towards the normal after watching, listening to, or reading the news of the real world.

35housefulofpaper
Feb 5, 2018, 6:54pm Top

I'll try to provide a brief update on what I've been reading since my post about The Graveyard poets >32 housefulofpaper:.

First then, also read in November (and shockingly, the details are already fading from memory) Sorcery and Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen was the last publication, I think, from Hieroglyphic Press. It's an anthology and features names familiar from the UK weird fiction/small press world (not all UK authors though. Steve Rasnic Tem is probably the biggest name present). The various authors address various elements of Machen's stories, either in tone or subject matter, or referring to specific works by Machen. Inspiration comes from his life as well as his work in a couple of stories. Overall the collection is weighted towards the spiritual rather than the horrific. Only one story, (as I recall) Ron Weighell's "An Image of Truth" captures some of Machen's humour.

36housefulofpaper
Edited: Feb 5, 2018, 7:08pm Top

The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter.

From 1978, Carpenter's group biography of J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Charles Williams etc.

The relevance to this group lies, if there's any at all, in the plot summaries and discussions of Williams' "spiritual thrillers such as War in Heaven. You can also do a "compare and contrast" between the Inklings and their almost-contemporaries across the Atlantic, H. P. Lovecraft and his circle.

37housefulofpaper
Feb 5, 2018, 7:17pm Top

Strange Tales Volume IV edited by Rosalie Parker - despite what the touchstone might say!.

This is from 2013 I think. I've really fallen behind with my reading. It's the fourth of an occasional anthology series published by Tartarus Press, of which Rosalie Parker is co-proprietor.

Like the Machen tribute noted in >35 housefulofpaper: there are some familiar names drawn from the pool of UK weird fiction writers. It's a strong collection of generally quiet horror, timeslips, creeping unease. There's a sense of Arthur Machen's shade hanging over the collection - Robert Aickman's too. Tartarus Press was originally founded, I gather, to bring both authors back into print, back in the 1990s.

38MusesPublisher
Feb 7, 2018, 5:10am Top

The Tree: The First Book of the Chronicles of Ana It's a Southern Gothic set in the distant future. There no vampires in it like "True Blood" but with a ghost revenant running around killing people you don't need a vampire.

39frahealee
Edited: Feb 7, 2018, 12:05pm Top

New to the group and to LT. Hiya! Juggling a few right now:

Completed:
The Castle of Otranto (new to me, on Kobo)
The Purloined Letter and The Fall of the House of Usher
(both rereads, Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, hardcover)

Current: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (reread, on Kobo)

Cusp: The Italian - A Sicilian Romance, The Mysteries of Udolpho (3xRadcliffe, Jan2018 Kobo purchases)
(Ann Radcliffe was brought to my attention in Northanger Abbey)

Rarely monitor my reading, so was thunderstruck to see an input of 200 books off the top of my head clearly reveal Gothic tags. Always loved Poe (thank you Vincent Price) and the Bronte sisters, etc. but doesn't everyone?!

Amid many 2018 goals, one is to increase my gothic intake, and although vampires are not usually my thing, may try Dracula. I have read one Anne Rice book, but not the popular ones. Bram Stoker's novel is deemed better than expected, which was the case with Frankenstein. After seeing I, Frankenstein (2014) which was based on a graphic novel I'd never heard of, I devoured the original and was pleased with it. Looking forward to more.

-ps- I read different things at different times of the day, and my mood may overrule my intent, so several books are often on the go. My 50 Book Challenge thread says I am reading Moby-Dick, which I am. My habit is to pick up poetry books which open to random pages, but I am trying to improve diligence with cover to cover completion, even with Poe. Stories, poetry, essays ... love it all.

40housefulofpaper
Feb 7, 2018, 6:42pm Top

>38 MusesPublisher:

Hello! We have a thread on Southern Gothic but it's been dormant for over a year. for me, it's very much a subject still to be explored..

41housefulofpaper
Feb 7, 2018, 6:56pm Top

>39 frahealee:

Welcome to the group!

I've read Dracula at least twice (that's not particularly impressive I know, but I don't reread novels all that often). I find the retellings of the story, primarily in dramatic form but also in other media such as graphic novels or even dance - Pages From a Virgin's Diary - fascinating for the different hints they can pull out of Stoker's narrative, or the different emphases they place on elements of plot or characterisation.

Ann Radcliffe is an author whose books are on a shelf not 10 feet from me as I type, but who I haven't read yet. Something to aim for in 2018!

42frahealee
Edited: Feb 7, 2018, 9:02pm Top

>41 housefulofpaper: Such a relief to know about Ann's books being within reach but still unread ... as much as to read in >25 pgmcc: that Otranto was new to someone else also. Whew! I was embarrassed enough to admit Dracula had been sidelined all this time.

>20 housefulofpaper: You mention Paradise Lost (also in my "cusp" file) - is that important to read before the other poetry you spoke of? Or is it simply an observation on your part? Milton would be horrified, but when not forced to consume various genres of literature for school commitments, they take forever to muddle through. =( Some day soon ...

By the way, aren't you five hours ahead with the time difference? That makes it rather late for your welcoming words. Thank you for the sacrifice teehee! =D Midnight reading perhaps? Makes the rest of us look bad; I can barely string two words together and it's merely 9pm.

Bon soir zzzz

43housefulofpaper
Feb 8, 2018, 6:32pm Top

>42 frahealee:

With regard to Gothic literature in general, I don't think it's necessary to read Milton but it might be helpful if you wanted to dig into the "prehistory" of the genre. Paradise Lost is cited as one of the sources for a lot of later Gothic and Romantic imagery (the Greek tragedies and Shakespeare are two others that were cited in some of the studies of the Gothic that I've read).

With regard to Clark Ashton Smith's poetry, I was hearing echoes of Milton here and there, which was interesting, but I don't necessarily think that familiarity with Milton would especially illuminate the themes of Smith's poems.

You're right, the UK is five hours ahead, and I'm suffering a bit from staying awake too late last night! It's approaching the witching hour again tonight so I'll sign off now!

44frahealee
Edited: Feb 8, 2018, 7:50pm Top

>43 housefulofpaper: Well then I will consider Milton essential. I had no idea. If I can tackle The Canterbury Tales, I can will myself through Paradise Lost. I've spied a "Clothbound Classics" hardcover from Penguin of Dracula online, and might spring for it - my eldest is used to me asking for things like that for Mother's Day (May) in lieu of flowers. The others can fight between them for dibs on Anna Karenina, The Woman in White, etc.

45frahealee
Edited: Feb 14, 2018, 3:52pm Top

>39 frahealee: so much for the best laid plans of mice and men ...

Chose to abandon The Hunchback of Notre Dame today, and Moby-Dick, to enjoy an audio of Romance of the Forest to accompany another silent snowy day. I wanted to read the three Ann Radcliffe books in my "on the cusp" list in order of their publication, but this one called to me, loudly! So be it. =) An audio of the book, interspersed with Radcliffe's poetry (alternating voices may keep me from zoning out) is in the public domain on YouTube, so although this might be an abominable breech of propriety, today I am fine with that!

>12 alaudacorax: As an aside, thrilled to discover that Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay for Moby-Dick on John Huston's insistence. I will watch the film with Gregory Peck once my reading concludes.

46housefulofpaper
Feb 10, 2018, 7:48pm Top

>45 frahealee: You might be interested in Bradbury's fictionalised account of working Moby-Dick (the film), Green Shadows, White Whale. Although I found a copy a couple of years ago I haven't read it yet, and so I can't offer my personal impressions of the book. I seem to recall a review - or it might be the Joel Lane piece referred to earlier in this thread - that suggested it was uneven (it's fairly late Bradbury, published in 1992) and the best bits are previously-published Irish stories woven into the text.

I read The Greenwood Faun by Nina Antonia just before Christmas. This is another book from a small UK publisher, and another work that references Arthur Machen. It's a sequel of sorts to The Hill of Dreams, in that it concerns the manuscript of the book written by the hero of Machen's novel and its effect on the cast of characters who come into contact with it (including the real-life poet Lionel Johnson). There book has had some favourable reviews and although I enjoyed it I has some reservations. It's set in late Victorian (maybe early Edwardian) England. Although the language didn't jar the story seemed to move too fast, the paragraphs were too short. There was too much white paper showing on each page. It wasn't dense enough to be a convincing pastiche of the prose of the period (but to be fair, there's no reason to suppose that was what the author was aiming at).

And moving in 2018, I read Who Is Dracula's Father? by John Sutherland. Sutherland - Lord Northcliffe Professor Emeritus at Universiyt College London - has written a a few books of literary detection (with titles such as Is Heathcliff a Murderer), mostly collections of essays on multiple subjects. This one is all about Stoker's novel (with a note here and there to connected matters such as J. Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla". Sample chapter titles: "What colour is Dracula's moustache", "Why does Van Helsing swear in German?" "How rich is Dracula?" - variously use close reading of the text, biographical information about Stoker, and other resources to illuminate aspects of the novel. Having previously read works by the likes of Christopher Frayling and Clive Leatherdale not everything here was new to me, but there are plenty of original insights here.

47frahealee
Edited: Feb 14, 2018, 4:05pm Top

>46 housefulofpaper: Will read anything by Bradbury. I like the way he became a writer, and his work ethic, as much as anything he wrote. Not what would be considered a sci-fi literature fan (most sci-fi absorbed by TV or film) but I make an exception for him. And Orwell. Years of catching up ahead of me.

Whipped through the audiobook of Radcliffe over the course of an entire snowed in weekend, which left me craving more, but held myself accountable to Quasimodo before jumping into another one. Finished it yesterday and for whatever reason, the detail is much more vivid this time through. Although it always makes me want to take a Latin course (Kobo was good for French translation assistance, but not Latin). Grew up singing hymns without knowing what I was saying, and that has always bugged me. I have reread Les Miserables several times (hardcover, 1200p.) over the past 30 odd years, but this is my first time rereading Notre-Dame de Paris. Might try another Hugo next year. Then I will watch Conrad Veidt in action, since I only know him from Casablanca. Planning to sift through the CV thread on another occasion.

48housefulofpaper
Feb 18, 2018, 7:53pm Top

>47 frahealee:

I read a lot of science fiction, to the exclusion of almost everything else, between, roughly, the ages of 10 and 20. I remember being blown away by Bradbury's lyricism. Nineteen Eighty-Four was one of the books I had to study for my English "A" level - in 1984!

Back then you could, with the assistance of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (now online and much expanded, by the way) feel that you could cover the whole field, at least know about all the writers (and films) from the English-speaking world plus a handful of foreign-language "names". What you could get in paperback was mostly reprints from the US magazines from about the 1940s onwards - the big names like Asimov and Heinlein were still alive and writing. I don't really know what the state of play is now...I do actually have a recent science fiction novel on the go, Adam Robert's The Thing Itself but I got bogged down before Christmas and haven't finished it. I'm a bit ashamed to admit...

Over the last few few days I re-read "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", because I'd decided to finish the collection Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of H. P. Lovecraft after having it on my shelf for about 10 years. I've been reading it in a stop-start way, but put off for months on end by the many misprints (which I feel compelled to correct) - and after all, I have already read all the stories at least once.

49housefulofpaper
Mar 12, 2018, 7:58pm Top

I finished re-reading M. R. James' ghost stories in the Oxford University Press Collected edition of a few years ago - the paperback is the current Oxford World's Classics edition of James.

I know there's a belief (most recently expressed in some Folio Society literature about an upcoming edition) that all the "classic" stories are in the first two of James' books - the front half of a collected edition, but I enjoyed all these stories. They do get a bit knotty ("Two Doctors' especially) but still easier to follow than some of Ambrose Bierce's stories, and some basic ideas get recycled, but at least one undeniable classic ("A Warning to the Curious") comes from this later period.

An analysis of Folk Horror in film by Adam Scovell - Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange left me, in the end, unconvinced that it's a uniquely British phenomenon. For example, I thought I detected a strong "family resemblance" in The Ballad of Hillbilly John/ Who Fears the Devil; and Valerie and Her Week of Wonders seems to have been co-opted from the moment the phrase was coined. But then, as with any attempt to define a genre or trope, the edges are fuzzy. Apart from the cover, the book's not illustrated. I only mention this because the Amazon listing was not clear on the point.

Holy Terrors: A collection of Weird Tales is not the Penguin collection of Arthur Machen's fiction that appeared (I think) the year before his death, but a different selection of six stories, being a tie-in to a small budget (very small) film adaptation of them, shot in and around Whitby.

Another small press book is the second edition of The White Road by Ron Weighell. I entered the game too late to see/buy the original edition but I was aware of its rarity. This second edition has I think already sold out. It has slightly revised contents - some stories dropped, a new novella added. The stories are in general either Jamesian tales, or have a more occult flavour than "Monty" would like. Some of them have an Egyptological background. Some stories have continuing/ recurring characters, and the new story brings these characters together.

Finished the Lovecraft book.

Read The Hounds of Tindalos by friend of Lovecraft and early writer of "mythos" tales using Lovecraft's world and ideas, Frank Belknap Long. Or rather I've read half of it. The UK publisher Panther decided to split the book (that is, the original collection from Arkham House) across two shortish paperbacks. That gives what you could reasonably call juvenilia in a Lovecraft vein from the '20s and early '30s, and some more assured fantasy and science fiction stories sold in the '40s. The fantasy points somewhat towards the Twilight Zone style I think (I know Long never wrote for the show, and was on the wrong side of the country to collaborate with the Southern Californian writers - Matheson, Beaumont, Bradbury - who joined Rod Serling's stable of writers). Funnily enough, its the more professional, assured stuff that seems more dated.

and that brings us up to date!

50frahealee
Edited: Mar 12, 2018, 11:15pm Top

Wowsa, tough act to follow. Not intimidated in the least =(

Completed:
The Romance of the Forest: A Gothic Novel by Ann Radcliffe (Feb.)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (Feb.)
Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt (CanLit, unsure if gothic genre but very weird)
Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (Mar.)
The Imp of the Perverse by Poe (Mar.)
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar by Poe (Mar.)

Current:
Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Cusp:
another Radcliffe, a dose of Southern Gothic (Faulkner?)

Researching Canadian Gothic, which is not just Canadian authors pumping out Gothic novels, but actually using local landscape as a backdrop. Excited to pursue this vein, as we have our share of bleak, isolated, supernatural, violence (not sure about mansions). Just never thought about classifying it as such! Wuhoo =D Also might try to catch Paradise Lost at the Stratford Festival (Ontario) this year, but will read it asap regardless.

>48 housefulofpaper: 1984 in 1984 ... missed that earlier, how perfect!

51alaudacorax
Mar 13, 2018, 8:37am Top

>50 frahealee:

If you think there's distinctively Canadian school of Gothic literature I'm quite eager to explore it. I find the idea quite enticing - I've been aware for some years of a deliciously weird thread in Canadian screen culture and I'll be intrigued to see if there is any kinship.

52Rembetis
Mar 13, 2018, 9:27pm Top

>49 housefulofpaper: >50 frahealee: Goodness me - I thought I was a prolific reader!

At the moment, I am reading 'In Search of Mary Shelley' by the poet Fiona Sampson (nearly finished this). I can't make my mind up whether this book is good or not. Sampson loses a lot of points by slating every Frankenstein film ever made as 'shlock' or 'camp' horror in the books early pages. She also says the 1931 Universal classic is 'badly acted' - what an insult to Boris Karloff, who gave one of the most nuanced sympathetic portrayals in film history. Sampson uses the present tense which is odd. She makes too many assumptions about how Mary is feeling (how on earth could anyone know?), and the narrative jumps around a lot. On the other hand, many passages are evocative, and I am learning many things about Mary and her circle that I didn't know.

I am also reading 'Something in the blood' by David J Skal - a huge biography of Bram Stoker. Only 120 pages in. This book is fascinating and so detailed about everything around Bram Stoker (his family, his friends, his work ethic, his heroes and heroines, etc) and touches on so much cultural history of the time (probably too much). I am enjoying it!

53frahealee
Mar 15, 2018, 8:08am Top

>48 housefulofpaper: I see that Necronomicon appears on the top Gothic novels list at #36. Having not read Lovecraft before (no, never, another confession in which my head hangs in dejected disgust), is this collection a good place to start? Is there a pattern to his writing, as you said for Bradbury, where early stage offerings were considered better than those later in life? He seems daunting to penetrate. As with Stephen King, there is so much available that I don't know where to start. I have only read Firestarter many years ago likely due to Drew Barrymore, and have seen several King films, without having read any of them first. I don't mind overlap, but there seems so many options, so little time. I remember as a teenager burning through Agatha Christie books borrowed from various family members, and from libraries, and picked up at used book kiosks, but after about 30 of them, I'd had enough. Gothic seems a more precise genre than crime/detective/thriller/horror/fantasy/sci-fi/etc. which all blurs together in my memory.

There are a ton of Gothic gems on that list, many unfamiliar, but I was pleased with having read so many of them without concerted effort!

Any thoughts, opinions, direction, suggestions ? Do you have a top 5 or a favourite from each author ? Even with Machen, the comments are very interesting on those threads, but since the plots are unknown, sometimes hard to follow. All in time...

54frahealee
Mar 15, 2018, 8:23am Top

>52 Rembetis: Books like the two you describe would likely help my understanding of the differences in genres, etc. I wish time allowed for non-fiction as much as for fiction. My reading history has never streamlined categories, fickle as ever I suppose. Led by gut and enjoy an underdog more than mainstream. Dracula is on deck for later this year, and Frankenstein was indulged recently for the very first time. Visual media was so saturated that I consciously avoided both books, but my views on the mythology surrounding story and author would have altered considerably had I just hunkered down and read the originals. My loss.

When researching authors, I find, as you say, that so much is already known and discussed and misinterpreted, but there is always an enlightening new nugget in the sluice that makes the entire effort a joy.

55AndreasJ
Mar 15, 2018, 9:06am Top

>53 frahealee:

It's generally thought that Lovecraft's best work is from the latter part of his career, starting with 1926's "The Call of Cthulhu".

Not familiar with the collection you mention; FWIW my own first direct acquaintance with Lovecraft was the Penguin The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, which is a best-of sort of affair including both early and late works. It appealed enough to me to get his complete prose fiction.

56frahealee
Mar 15, 2018, 10:55am Top

>55 AndreasJ: Your suggestion is listed on the Gothic toppers at #24 (Goodreads is not my preference, it is just the one that keeps popping up, voted I assume by readers not scholars, which is ok for my purposes). I'd like to get through the top 100 eventually, since some of my favs don't show up until the 70s and onward. I find popular opinion a bit confusing, and would rather travel the author's path from first to last, and mark his progress through writing styles and confidence, etc. as much as the content itself. Some float into the 1001 books to read before you die, some are categorized geographically, and it makes for intense study just narrowing down my options! All "fwiw" ideas are well worth. =) Thank you for taking the time.

I was unaware of the 'Necronomicon: The Best Weird Tales of HPL' until housefulofpaper spoke of it, and am tempted, if only to locate those annoying typos! =)

For the record, I am better with reading these many stories, even if the time commitment is more, than seeing the disturbing visuals on screen which stay with me much longer than I'd like. Not tempted by gore as much as by inference. My imagination goes as far as it wants, within my own realm of propriety, but stretching the boundaries is sometimes fun. To see a film before reading the book, I mean.

I read through all of Hemingway and Steinbeck (what was at hand) chronologically and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Orderly and enlightening. Only difficulty is getting them all into my possession...

57housefulofpaper
Mar 15, 2018, 12:30pm Top

>53 frahealee:

I think I'd agree with AndreasJ in suggesting The Penguin The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories. It's the collection that finally got me into Lovecraft after a couple of false starts.

I think the stories are printed in order, either of composition or publication. As Andreas has already said, the selection covers the whole of Lovecraft's career. The earliest stories are heavily influenced by either Poe or Lord Dunsany.

There is a middle period that's less defined. It's not evident until he finds it, that these are stories where he's still trying to find his own voice, or consciously doing less than his best work - a couple of gruesome serials for example, published in humour magazines.

The stories where he really found his voice, and developed the "mythos" of Earth practically under seige from aliens or alien gods trying to use either science or sorcery to "break through" into our reality, are from the latter part of his career. Charles Stross wrote somewhere about Lovecraft constructing his horror stories like detective stories. Lovecraft himself wrote about using the techniques of the hoaxer (or as he put it, the "hoax-weaver").

Have you linked to the Goodreads list you referred to? I've found several Gothic/Horror lists, but I don't think any of them is the actual one.

58housefulofpaper
Mar 15, 2018, 3:41pm Top

>50 frahealee:

Algernon Blackwood was not a Canadian author, of course, but he did set some of his stories in Canada, including one of his most famous stories, "The Wendigo".

59frahealee
Edited: Mar 16, 2018, 10:21am Top

>57 housefulofpaper: Here is the top gothic novels site that pops up on bing search:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1230.Best_Gothic_Books_Of_All_Time

It says at the bottom of the first section, after book 100, that the list has a total of 490 books mentioned, and was compiled in Dec2008. I am not a Goodreads member, just stumbled upon it.

Not that I intend to read 400+ options, but it is fun to find those I've read or plan to read or are known to me but of no interest, etc. Might list mine by author, alphabetically, rather than by popular preference, to minimize erroneous rereads. Clawing my way through the maelstrom ... and loving it !! Interesting link in one of the comments, to the castle that inspired Walpole, that it was built by him before writing his novel in 1764, that the story was inspired by a dream he'd had while living in his own home. All of this minute detail helps fill in the blanks.

Even the non-gothic options in the list appeal to my sense of adventure, ie. The Inheritance by Tom Savage. Sounds like a great story whether defined as being within the genre or not.

Also looking into Gothic poetry, since finding the patter on The Last Countess intriguing enough to warrant a full-fledged investigation. And here I thought The Raven was my only option! =D

60frahealee
Edited: Mar 16, 2018, 10:56am Top

>58 housefulofpaper: Blackwood's The Willows is mentioned in spot #83 - not seeing the one you noted... yet. Most of the books listed after about #111/112 have fewer than 10 votes (descending to 1 vote by #490) so only scanned them lightly. Disheartened to see Margaret Atwood listed at #221 with The Blind Assassin (although I didn't realize it was Gothic) so this Goodreads list is likely more about the obvious options than true genre gems. For me, it is a place to start at any rate. I will likely make lists of authors, like Algernon Blackwood (great name!), and slip into their style with a noted work, then spread out from there.

In watching a Youtube link yesterday by bibliophile Ray Russell, it caused me to notice book #189 on this list, Haunted Castles. Unsure if it's the same person, but lots of layers of overlap in these threads that are bringing these books to life! Thanks to all LT Gothic posters for sharing knowledge/wisdom and lengthy reading trails with the rest of us. I know most of the juicy tidbits should come from book reviews, but I am finding great morsels in random threads often mentioned just off the cuff. Time consuming but so fruitful. Lots of nostalgia lies in between the lines. It was post #53 in the Interesting Editions thread.

Trying to recall my 1st intro to Ichabod Crane ?? The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving is #33 and I've seen it so much with my own children, cannot remember if I've ever actually read the book! That was another Tim Burton movie I had to experience on a large screen. Laptops and tvs cannot possibly do visual justice to the detail in those sets, his artwork, etc. Wished I'd seen his collection when it landed in Toronto a few years back. Oh well, back to books ...

61alaudacorax
Mar 16, 2018, 11:19am Top

>60 frahealee:

I suspect you're conflating two Ray Russells - the one of Haunted Castles authorship died before YouTube was invented. Thanks for reminding me, though - I've had that one on my wish list for years. The creator of this group, veilofisis (now sadly AWOL for some time), wrote a glowing review of it and that's pretty much a guarantee of quality.

An interesting list, though (always fascinated by lists!): there are a number of titles and authors I've never heard of ... and a number I've been meaning to read for years but haven't ...

Pleased and slightly amused to see Northanger Abbey on there. Long ago I used to think it was one of Austen's weakest; since I've taken to studying Gothic literature it's become one of my favourites! A little surprised to see And Then There Were None. I don't remember that I've actually read that particular Agatha Christie, but, from what I have read, she's not a name I readily associate with the Gothic.

62frahealee
Edited: Mar 16, 2018, 1:00pm Top

>61 alaudacorax: Yes, it amused me too. Unfamiliar with it until buying a Kobo, which offered 80 free classics, including Northanger Abbey. Happened to scan the dvd lenders at our local library, and one was the JJ Feilds interpretation. Watched it, loved it, read the novel! This led me to Radcliffe, and so it goes. It made me appreciate Anne Bronte and her Tenant of Wildfell Hall a little bit more. Lesser known works offer me more satisfaction, it seems. In reading Villette right now, Charlotte has become my least favourite of the 3 sisters, with Emily far out in front, Anne a modest 2nd, and Charlotte's jealous vain corruption far back in 3rd. If she really did fudge her sisters' stuff, shame on her. Was questioning the gothic nature of Villette right up to chapter 31!! =( Jane Eyre is marvelous, of course, but it fell into my hands only in the past decade. Wuthering Heights has been long loved since high school English class. My father went after my teacher for forcing Lord of the Flies into my hands, and went mano a mano until it was agreed I would sit separate from the class, with WH, and do all tests/exams from a previous year. Never been so thankful of anything in my life. He never explained why he did that, and I never asked. To this day, LOTF has not been read by me, although my three sons were forced to study it too. Funny what crops up with book histories. I thought only music did that, transported you to a different time and place ...

And there it is, you're correct; the author lived 1924-99, the bibliophile is involved in Tartarus Press. Layers peeled.

63housefulofpaper
Mar 16, 2018, 6:24pm Top

Ray Russell of Tartarus Press writes as R.B Russell.

64housefulofpaper
Mar 16, 2018, 6:29pm Top

>59 frahealee:

Thanks for linking to the Goodreads list. It looks a bit ragged to me, both because it includes short story collections with overlapping contents, and because it includes works that I'd struggle to consider as Gothic - The Black Dahlia is a tough-as-nails crime novel set in 1940s LA and based on a real-life case.

65housefulofpaper
Mar 16, 2018, 6:51pm Top

>60 frahealee:

The Wonderful World of Disney used to be a fixture on BBC early evening television. My memories of it date back to the 1970s. As I remember it, the majority of the editions were natural history films. Naturally I was far more excited when it was a cartoon instead.

"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" was one such cartoon edition - but I remember that it scared me and, if it didn't give me nightmares, certainly gave me some uncomfortable moments after night had fallen, for several days afterwards. I've never seen the Disney version again.

I've got Tim Burton's film on DVD but never managed to watch it on the big screen.

66alaudacorax
Mar 16, 2018, 9:15pm Top

>62 frahealee:

Good lord - do they still make school kids read Lord of the Flies? We did it when I was in my early teens - early sixties - but I don't think I read it properly until a few years after I left school - and I've never read it or anything else by Golding since.

I've always suspected its presence on the curriculum was as much to do with some weird shade of political correctness as with literary quality.

In the kids' books of my childhood - including one of my favourites, The Coral Island, which LOTF is supposed to parody - the underlying assumption was that most kids were decent sorts. I suppose LOTF was seen as some sort of counter-culture riposte to those and, thus, cutting-edge and PC. I suppose we were to take it as some sort of warning about behaviour, but all I remember was that 'sucks to your arse-mar' became a pretty popular catchphrase amongst us.

Did Golding really intend it as a children's book? I suspect not.

As I was writing the above, it occurred to me to wonder if Golding was influenced by The Island of Doctor Moreau, which we've looked at here, I think. Oh dear, do I now re-read LOTF or just put the whole thing out of my mind?

67alaudacorax
Mar 16, 2018, 9:23pm Top

>66 alaudacorax:

I didn't really make myself clear in those first two paragraphs. What I meant to suggest was that as a youngster I disliked it because I suspected some sort of worthy warning was being rammed down our throats. I thought it was one of those "You're not supposed to enjoy it - it's good for you!" things ...

68alaudacorax
Mar 16, 2018, 9:31pm Top

>62 frahealee:, >66 alaudacorax:, >67 alaudacorax:

Curious as to why Francine's dad was so set against it, though ...

69alaudacorax
Mar 16, 2018, 9:48pm Top

Something else has just occurred to me on Lord of the Flies. If it's been on school curriculums around the English-speaking world for the last half-century, the fact that it's a best-seller really doesn't mean anything. I suspect that without the schools it would have faded away by now.

70jualobatpenis
Mar 16, 2018, 9:59pm Top

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71AndreasJ
Mar 17, 2018, 5:16am Top

>66 alaudacorax:

Outside the Anglosphere, they made us watch a cinematic version sometime around age 15. I think the teacher liked it because he thought it made for good discussion fodder, esp. about whether people are intrinsically good or bad.

72alaudacorax
Mar 17, 2018, 6:55am Top

>71 AndreasJ: - ... because he thought it made for good discussion fodder ...

Yeah, I suspect that's the nub of its popularity ...

73frahealee
Mar 17, 2018, 10:10am Top

>62 frahealee:
>68 alaudacorax:
I could go into a long-winded hypothesis, but suffice it to say that the memory of the event is what's special to me. As the youngest of four daughters, I had never before seen my father cross the threshold of the high school (secondary school in Canada is grade 9-13 at that time, now grade 9-12, not sure what this equivalent is in the USA or the UK or Europe etc.). He had never 'defended my honour' in such a robust manner with a completely unknown opponent. He bypassed the main office and escorted me in one hand with the book in the other, to demand an immediate alternative. The poor English teacher, yes I can still picture him, had no recourse but to submit. Perhaps I should have been embarrassed by his typical "Italian male ego" making such a fuss, but I was tremendously proud of him, and his love and support of me was shown in a way I had never seen, could have never hoped for. We sparred often, he and I, but that was one of his finest moments in my eyes. He was not disrespectful, only set ablaze by his own purposes. This is why I never questioned it. Born in 1930, he'd worn thin by life and it was magnificent to see that moment first hand. No other witnesses.

And the gift of that day, the result was Wuthering Heights. That would have been 1979/80ish and it's still clear as a bell in the mist of my many memories. He died in 2012 so it will have to remain a mystery, and that is fine by me. =)

My eldest is 21 now, my twins will be 20 shortly, and they all studied it in grade 10 or 11. My daughter has special needs so will not be subject to that temptation.

74frahealee
Mar 17, 2018, 10:22am Top

Having just finished Villette yesterday, I am breaking from gothic to complete The Bell Jar and Walden before Easter, then will wallop my way through the rest of Ann Radcliffe. Perhaps I will start off with The Italian, which seems a fitting timely tribute. =D

In the interest of clarification, my paternal grandfather was born in Canada, but his parents and all of his siblings were born in Sicily. My 3 other grandparents were born in England. So my dad's mother sailed from Liverpool, but unsure if she was born there in 1902. My other grandparents fared from Kent. Dad was raised an only child but assumed all the force and lifeblood passed down from his own father, wound tightly within the surname. Those two entities still wrestle on a daily basis; the grist of Latin blood, the etiquette of my mother's insistence. This might explain my eclectic reading tastes as well. Flopping from one thing to another, the fickle nature of my selections, bears birth in my lineage. So be it!

75frahealee
Edited: Mar 17, 2018, 10:40am Top

>64 housefulofpaper: Agreed. I researched The Black Dahlia online, but have not read it or seen it. Gruesome story.

>65 housefulofpaper: We had a VHS tape of Sleepy Hollow paired with the toad bit from The Wind in the Willows I think. Where he takes off driving and everyone is concerned for his safety. My boys loved that tape, watched it often, post-dinosaur phase of course. We had Disney on Sunday nights at 6pm, once a week only, on CBC, with tv trays propped up in the living room. The only time I remember being allowed to eat in there. It was a very big deal back then. Glad you caught it at least once, fears and all!

I wish I had all Burton dvds; the bonus features must offer insight into the stories he selected to adapt to film. I have only Scissorhands & Alice. =( And I own far more Johnny Depp than I should admit to, but what the heck, a gal can dream.

76alaudacorax
Mar 18, 2018, 6:55am Top

>73 frahealee:

Oh well - I'll have to accept never knowing.

That's rather a lovely story, though (yours - not Golding's).

77frahealee
Edited: Mar 24, 2018, 7:47pm Top

>76 alaudacorax: I get a bit chatty, but mean well. Thanks. I came from an environment where religion, politics, sex were never discussed and none of us were even allowed to watch the 6pm news with Dad. Seems absurd with today's bombardment but I appreciated his efforts to protect his daughters from maturing, body and brain, before we were ready. Fear in a child can stagnate/pollute/dwarf developmental growth, a tendency to misunderstand or shift the blame to self, not question its origin. There was a tv episode of Quincy M.E. (Jack Klugman was terrific) about incest that drove him right out of the room, because he was just not ready to explain that kind of thing to me, to have to admit that something so appalling existed in the world. But then again, even Love Boat bothered him. He was beyond strict with us, but we grew up safe and sound, appreciating his determination. The end justified the means.

More to the point, had a great week of reading;
The Canterville Ghost (first run through)
The House of the Seven Gables (reread)
A Sicilian Romance (audiobook, now on to Udolpho)

(also read The Bell Jar again, as a novel written by a poet, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to dispel the gloom after ... this makes 5 books in 10 days wuhoo!)

78frahealee
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 9:09pm Top

>58 housefulofpaper: Found The Wendigo takes place in Western Ontario, near a lodge I once applied to work in one summer, that has since burned to the ground. I thought Minaki Lodge between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, near Kenora, was stunning, and missed my chance. Always thought a vaulted log structure would suit a ghost story, as the environment lends itself to mystery. Also located Joseph Boyden's Wenjack which I might read along with The Wendigo, for comparison. I planned to read Through Black Spruce anyway, as so this makes a Cdn. trifecta!

A point I read in the Canadian Gothic links that was fascinating concerned aboriginal traditions. Just because their plots weave in spirits, doesn't make it Gothic. Although characters are often contemporary, their traditions are ancient. So we've got isolated landscape, sparse population, scary creatures and loners mingling in the woods, for sinister or perfectly respectable reasons (ie. forest fire staff on the lookout, devastating in recent years). Must there be a mansion, or an estate, or a family lineage tied into the earth like Tara/Terra? Many were born nomadic. Would Gone with the Wind be more (Southern) Gothic than (Northern) Inuit or Indiginous stories because of sinister architecture? A German schloss or a French manor or an English estate is easy to picture, but it only becomes Gothic with hints of supernatural, is that correct? From my research, the time period is flexible (does not have to take place in 1764-1864-1964). The Yellow Wallpaper kept cropping up in the links, so that has also gone on my tbr list.

I am thinking The Secret Garden kind of isolation, remote moors, etc. The dance around the fire to conjure a message to the Uncle, etc. That is easy to imagine, but the woods, the vast suffocating feel is something quite different to the sprawling moors. These shifting elements offer endless appeal! I am trying to sort it out in my mind for writing purposes. Napowrimo; 7th year, and plan to integrate Gothic into 30 days of poetry. This is why books were devoured Jan-Mar. It'll drop off considerably in April. Switched this week to tidying up Walden before Easter, then will hit Paradise Lost before completing Udolpho, and then The Italian, back to back.

79frahealee
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 8:46pm Top

Took another look at 1001 books to read before you die, and noticed how many Gothic authors are on there, as compared to the Goodreads list. There are so many on it that I will never read, but is there any way to identify the Gothic novels on that list which I am completely unfamiliar with? Not very tech savvy, I'm afraid, so be gentle. =)

Re: Edith Wharton ... I've read 2 of her books but noticed 6 exist on the 1001 list, which surprised me. I wanted to get her ghost stories. Has anyone read them?

80housefulofpaper
Mar 24, 2018, 6:54pm Top

I've read a couple of Edith Wharton's ghost stories. I got a whole book of them, but it's still in the "TBR" pile. What I have read were good, probably what you'd expect from a turn of the 19/20th Century novelist (I suppose we have to start making the distinction now we're well into the 21st Century) - literary but not post-modern, dramatic irony, and set among the moneyed classes.

81frahealee
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 9:22pm Top

>80 housefulofpaper: What have you got against Wharton and Radcliffe? So close at hand, but buried. I know, too many choices. You would be proud of me for reading a sci-fi novel this week. And yes, Edith's ghosts are likely vastly different than ghosts to be found haunting my place.

Here's the summary from Chapters/Indigo online;
One might not expect a woman of Edith Wharton's literary stature to be a believer of ghost stories, much less be frightened by them, but as she admits in her postscript to this spine-tingling collection, "...till I was 27 or 28, I could not sleep in the room with a book containing a ghost story." Once her fear was overcome, however, she took to writing tales of the supernatural for publication in the magazines of the day. These 11 finely wrought pieces showcase her mastery of the traditional New England ghost story and her fascination with spirits, hauntings, and other supernatural phenomena. Called "flawlessly eerie" by Ms. magazine, this collection includes "Pomegranate Seed," "The Eyes," "All Souls'," "The Looking Glass," and "The Triumph of Night."

82housefulofpaper
Mar 24, 2018, 8:18pm Top

>81 frahealee:

But I have started reading Wuthering Heights!

83frahealee
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 8:50pm Top

>82 housefulofpaper: Sexiest thing ever, that Heathcliff. Man alive. I suppose he'd be considered a stalker in our current clime, and be threatened with a restraining order, which he would ignore. I read that he might be an Irish waif found on the streets speaking incoherently, but unsure if that is in the novel or just someone's impression. Also, read a summary on real estate laws existing in 1845-ish to figure out how he got control over both properties, but it was beyond me. Good to know folks care enough to delve into the detail for the benefit of the rest of us! Wuthering Heights must have its share of remakes too, although I have only seen Olivier and Hardy put their spin on the role.

Enjoy! I will live vicariously through you ... I churn through it around Christmastime every few years. =)

84alaudacorax
Mar 25, 2018, 5:49am Top

>78 frahealee: - Must there be ... ?

You could spend the rest of your life trying to figure out the parameters of the Gothic - 'fluid' is the word, I think.

The best way to think about it is that there is this whole lot of motifs that typify the Gothic and to be Gothic a work needs a bunch of them but not necessarily all.

Keep in mind that nobody exactly agrees what the whole bunch are, or exactly how many of them a work needs to be Gothic, and everything's as clear as crystal!

... but the woods, the vastness and yet suffocating feel is something quite different ...

... I think these fit quite aptly into Edmund Burke's idea of the sublime, which is so important to lit-theory on the Gothic.

85alaudacorax
Edited: Mar 25, 2018, 6:57am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

86frahealee
Mar 25, 2018, 9:00am Top

>84 alaudacorax: This is helpful, thank you. An online teaching tool that someone posted outlined the same thing, that for writing contemporary Gothic you needed some of the elements but not all. I was unsure if that was just her take on it, but since you've seconded it, it gives me the flexibility to try it out!

87frahealee
Edited: Mar 25, 2018, 2:16pm Top

>80 housefulofpaper:
>81 frahealee:

I hope I caused no offense. The photos of your library shelves would render me catatonic on the floor with eyes wide. They look amazing!

* additional note * good grief - another spelling I was unaware was American (offense) until you answered with the UK version of offence - it all mixes together in my mind from overexposure and muddled border identity hehe - it will be stored away for future reference!

88housefulofpaper
Mar 25, 2018, 12:07pm Top

>87 frahealee:
No offence taken at all. Thank you for the kind words. I wish I had enough room for more shelves. A lot (nearly all my paperbacks, for example) are in boxes. but then, even great national libraries have books hidden away in the stacks, don't they?

89frahealee
Edited: Mar 26, 2018, 9:31pm Top

>88 housefulofpaper: Your 'currently reading' list makes me want to dust off Blake for poetry month. I thought juggling half a dozen was challenging but your brain must be a steel trap! My fear with sci-fi is that the scientific elements will blast right over my head.

Keats was my first love (ECW class) with Blake a more recent indulgence, if you can believe, after looking up Lara Croft Tomb Raider poem.
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour."
William Blake

90frahealee
Edited: Mar 28, 2018, 7:45pm Top

>82 housefulofpaper: Found this nugget interesting;

"Wuthering Heights is a gothic novel. Gothic novels focus on the mysterious or supernatural, and take place in dark, sometimes exotic, settings. The double is a frequent feature of the Gothic novel, as well. In Wuthering Heights, the love of Hareton and Cathy doubles that of Heathcliff and Catherine, and Linton doubles Edgar. The novel itself consists of two entire stories, each consisting of seventeen chapters; the second half of Wuthering Heights doubles the first."

(copied from Cliffs Notes, Wuthering Heights at a Glance, online)

Although I noticed the similarity, I didn't realize that it was intentional as an element of Gothic literature. Will be sure to keep this in the back of my mind as I read through future novels and short stories, to tally up examples. With twins, it is a given in our home, to notice the effect of 'double' or mirror image observations.

I posted another WH online movie watched recently, but wanted to make this comment on the book thread, so I could keep track of it. I scrolled through the similar thread from JUL2011-AUG2017 (yes all 347 posts), and although a lot of the books and comments overlap, I am discovering them for the first time, and it is all helpful. It looks like Paul hit the group about a year before you did. Lots of great provocative discussion over the years.

Also, had never heard of the Folio Society before LT. I have nothing in my house that would be a problem to replace if broken or stolen or burned to the ground. With four kids, after the inadvertent destruction of a treasured wall mirror from my grandmother's home that was passed on to me after her death, I promised myself to never put objects before children. I might grab a dozen books on my way out the door, but they are sentimental memories, nothing of value. Maybe now they're all older ... =)

91Cecrow
Mar 29, 2018, 12:01pm Top

Recently finished The Castle of Otranto and Wuthering Heights, now I'm starting A Sicilian Romance. I'll have to give some thought afterwards towards what they all have in common.

92housefulofpaper
Mar 30, 2018, 6:24pm Top

>90 frahealee:

Recent work commitments have stopped me making much headway with Wuthering Heights, unfortunately, so I don't really have anything to bring to the discussion yet.

I don't really have a settled notion of "The Gothic" either. I hesitate to go into the subject at any length because I haven't checked back on what I wrote on earlier threads; I suspect that I did some harder thinking then, than I've managed now, and if now I contradict my earlier thoughts it won't be to my credit!

Some authorities don't even use the term. Eino Railo, in his book The Haunted Castle surveys a strain in English literature from The Castle of Otranto to, say The Monk or Melmoth the Wanderer (the exact span of the literature under consideration is a bit fuzzy because after analysing specific works in detail, Railo moves in to look at specific themes he's identified in them, tracing them back as far as the Bible in some cases, and as far forward as the late 19th century).

Although this looks like the textbook study of the Gothic, in fact the book's subtitle is "A study of the elements of English Romanticism", and within the text Railo uses terms such as "terror-romantic literature".

On the other hand, Nick Groom in The Gothic: a Very Short Introduction takes just about everything ever named or described as "Gothic" - barbarian tribes, ecclesiastical architecture, musical subculture, (interestingly: "eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, and twentieth- and twenty-first century film and music"), and argues that "they are part of a common history and occasionally share common features."

93frahealee
Mar 30, 2018, 8:15pm Top

>91 Cecrow: Had you read any of them before, or are you starting from scratch with each?

94frahealee
Mar 30, 2018, 8:25pm Top

>92 housefulofpaper: Maybe that intangible element is what keeps us all caught in the web, digging, intrigued with every shifting piece of sand. One big ole treasure hunt! My hesitation comes not so much from books, but from online 'info' or 'teaching' sessions which might be true to form or might be a complete farce posted by somebody also trying to wrap their brain around ambiguous findings. Narrowing it down helps identify future book choices, if nothing else, saving me a bit of time in the search of what turns my crank.

95alaudacorax
Mar 31, 2018, 6:31am Top

>92 housefulofpaper:

I'm getting afraid to read houseful's posts - he keeps triggering my book-buying gene.

I really don't need another introduction to the Gothic, but I was intrigued by your first parenthesis - you seem to imply that Nick Groom sees the Gothic genre as, somewhere in the early 20thC, moving from literature to film and music - an interesting idea. I thought I'd just check on Amazon to see if there were any reviews, and he's collected a number of well-written, glowing ones. Then I thought I'd just check the price, and it's quite cheap ...

I should think about it for a day or two ...

To my shame, I've had the Eino Railo here for about six years and have yet to read it - must get round to it soon.

96Cecrow
Apr 3, 2018, 9:03am Top

>91 Cecrow:, all new to me. Closest I've previously come was probably Frankenstien, Dracula, Jeyll & Hyde, etc.

97frahealee
Edited: Apr 11, 2018, 5:47pm Top

>96 Cecrow: Me too. Started on Ann Radcliffe novels after finding The Castle of Otranto. Dracula is scheduled for later this year, Hallowe'en perhaps?! =) RLS was always in the house (Treasure Island), but can't pin down my first Jekyll&Hyde foray. Might not have been until my 20s. Then I binged on all things Jack-the-Ripper. Frankenstein was more recent, about 2-3yrs ago. Last Spring, did a push through film-noir, and came across a character actor with a tragic past from his time in WWI, Rondo Hatton, who died at age 51. I tried to find as many of those old films of his as possible, and the books on which they were based. The first in line might have been The Pearl of Death (1944) based on Arthur Conan Doyle's story.

He would be on my list of ten people living or deceased that I'd like to meet and share a meal with. He really turned his rotten luck into an attribute. No blame game. Takes a special frame of mind to accomplish that, so kudos to him. Must have been an incredibly painful affliction.

Anyway, at the same time, I researched Karloff and Legosi and watched Ed Wood, that kind of thing. Led me right back around to Mary Shelley.

98frahealee
Edited: Apr 13, 2018, 4:05pm Top

>92 housefulofpaper: " I don't really have a settled notion of "The Gothic" either "

Spending my Friday-the-13th researching all things Gothic online, and fell upon David Punter (English Prof at Univ.of Bristol, where Angela Carter went) clips describing the history and aspects of the genre:

1. Origins (Walpole, Radcliffe, Lewis, reviled by Wordsworth, then Maturin, Le Fanu, Stoker, RLS, Wilde - the gothic resurrects as did its prototypes, refusing to stay dead although distasteful)
2. Horror & Terror (physically repulsive vs. less brutal, more implication; what is the appeal of fear)
3. Supernatural (fear of unknown, unseen, lack of logical explanation)
4. Settings (castles, where vile things doom aristocracy; monasteries or convents, where ghastly opposition fights RC control, getting lost in labyrinths, imprisonment, claustrophobia, buried alive, storms, barricades, trap doors, madness, persistence of the past when we want modernity)
5. The Sublime (wonderful description of the importance of the ability of nature to make humanity seem frail, yet seeking access through exploration; two meanings, references Burke)
6. Transgressions (Ambrosio & Matilda in The Monk, Hamlet, etc.)
7. Forbidden Knowledge (not just the unknown, but the taboo; Prometheus and punishment for the struggle; Garden of Eden, Frankenstein, science/technology/ethics)
8. Life & Death (blurred boundaries, permanence, reunion may be loving or terrifying, everlasting life, the cursed; mentions Coleridge/Mariner, Maturin/Melmoth, The Wandering Jew, etc.)
9. Hero Villains (Lord Byron, vampires, Heathcliff, the right to rebel, to mistrust convention, to source out what it means to be human, etc.)
10. The Satanic (The Monk, Prometheus, Blake, Milton, devil admirable but not justifiable)
11. The Vampire (Polidori, Le Fanu, Stoker; defender of Christendom but also a manifestation of suppressed desire or excess, loss of control, allure - myth/legend/history woven together - eve of wedding scenario)
12. The Past & Inheritance (sins of the Fathers transferred over time, known or unknown by next generations)
13. Class (relations between genders and social classes, aristocrats in places of social privilege - middle class rising in power, aristocracy unwilling to let their role 'die' thus the undead, not just life vs. death)
14. Revenge (interesting mirror image interpretation)
15. Gothic Women (highlights Catherine from Wuthering Heights)

If time allows, full lecture of est.45min. that links them all. I'll plan to read every book mentioned by 2020.

Seems rather sublime that my twin sons turn 20 today! Their birth was an Easter Monday in '98, now it's Friday the 13th, and they are identical twins - all full circle Gothic fated coincidence, I'd say. Any reason for a haunted mansion cake! or two!! Maybe one can look like the tarn with a reflection and one can be the House of Usher before it falls. They'll think I've lost my ever-loving mind. Bring on the task of lighting 40 candles...

99housefulofpaper
Apr 15, 2018, 5:48pm Top

>98 frahealee: Belated birthday wishes to your sons!

David Punter has a chapter (on "Scottish and Irish Gothic) in The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction - a book I should have thought to mention before now!

100frahealee
Edited: Apr 15, 2018, 8:00pm Top

>99 housefulofpaper: Will pass that along, thanks. One of them has the middle name Andrew!

The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction you mention had just been ordered/received by Paul in Sep2011 (post #32) right around the time you first joined the Gothic group, as noted in the "So Watcha Readin', Kids?" original thread linked at the top of this thread (look waaaay up!). I often scan the book list on the right side, or the authors for that matter, just to see what registers with me ... like Rappaccini's Daughter, when I first skimmed the list didn't stand out, but now it's on my tbr asap list. Fun to see progression, increased recognition, improved memory of plots similar to other plots, newly absorbed authors, etc. A few of the Weird Tradition comments were also interesting (although not part of the group) to pick up odds and ends similar to watching a landscape puzzle slowly come together. Hope lurking there is okay. No way weekly challenges are possible but many of those comments are eye-opening (I too saw the old man's eye vs. teeth comparison). It was the Poe short stories that I spotted on the planning list for Apr-Jun2018. Wow, that is precision study!

-ps- FYI the Oxford Book of Gothic Tales is noted in post #17 on that same thread link at the top of this page. Unsure what the difference would be, if similar or if one is superior to the other. You have made tons of helpful references in past posts, fear not! Repetition ad nauseam, right?! Rote rote rote your boat ...

101alaudacorax
Edited: Apr 22, 2018, 4:52am Top

>100 frahealee:

The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction is a bit of a slog in places - different writers for different sections - and, if you're anything like me, you'll find yourself unable to go along with some of their theorising. Also, there are one or two sections where the writer is clearly failing to keep a firm grip on his/her material, so the reader has to work extra hard ...

I think it gives a good grounding in literary theory as regards the Gothic, though. Even though I feel some of the theory is intellectually a bit shaky, I feel it's given me the background to know what these people are talking about when reading introductions, reviews, journal articles or what have you, as well as occasionally adding a little extra to the actual reading. I really feel it was well worth the money and effort.

The Gothic and the cultural theory on the Gothic that's grown up in the last few decades are separate fields of interest, I suppose, and, of course, it all depends on how far you want to get into the latter ...

102frahealee
Edited: Apr 30, 2018, 7:40pm Top

>58 housefulofpaper: Found an audiobook of The Wendigo by Blackwood, short and sweet, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Thanks for that push in the right direction. =) Also, two of Edith Wharton's ghost stories. Been a good weekend.

My son (Nathan Andrew!) took a sci-fi philosophy course at college and it's all he can talk about, now that he's home again, so I know how the next four months will pan out...

Apparently my twins also studied Dracula and never bothered to tell me. They read the book, along with two others, then watched the films in class. It's on (my) deck for Oct.31, catch up time! The other two were Babette's Feast and the first Matrix. My daughter gets stuck with Music Man, no fair.

103housefulofpaper
May 8, 2018, 5:53pm Top

>102 frahealee:

Glad you enjoyed the Blackwood story. I found a brief reference to him in a back issue of the Folio Society magazine from summer 1985 (the magazine had turned up in a charity bookshop). In an article about the short story, David Holloway mentions Blackwood in passing: "Before it developed its mania about 'talking heads' (with camera focussed on one man for a period of time) it was possible for short stories to be told on television. Old Algernon Blackwood was the classic example"...you can sort of see Blackwood in a action on Youtube. Yes he told his stories on television and those programmes are apparently lost. But cinema was not above borrowing televisions stars and stories from its new competitor - that's how we got The Quatermass Xperiment, after all - and Blackwood also recorded some shorts for the cinema, two of which have been found (I hope these aren't blocked outside the UK. I also can't remember if I've posted these links already).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATAOHgHJv3E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRy4D11qc8I

Curiously, given that the book had been out of print for nine years at this point, the magazine also includes an article on The Castle of Otranto, illustrated with one of Charles Keepings lithographs from their 1976 edition.

And to round off the Gothic thread, the magazine included the results of a competition to update (or "up-date" as they have it - 1985 is a long time ago now) the classics in e.g. working class demotic or the deadly dull language of business (oh, it's all very middle class!). One of the entries is an update of "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" by modern Gothic author Tanith Lee, which starts

"Hey, what's up, professional soldier,
Pale, on your lonesome, hanging about, like?"...

104frahealee
Edited: May 12, 2018, 3:38pm Top

>43 housefulofpaper: Managed to eat up both The Canterbury Tales and Paradise Lost (the former made the latter much easier!). Glad to have done so, but kicking myself for putting it off so long. Should have read it at age 15. References in book VII are lifted right out of the Easter Vigil Mass (2hrs). The entire epic poem was strangely soothing, familiar, and suited my hometown gothic church building (1880 is ancient for Cda!), which I pictured as I read it. Audiobook voices varied (followed tandem text on the Univ. of Adelaide site) but I envisioned my favourite priests. Milton seemed to place himself in that altar podium and words flowed. Took my time, and will be happy to dive in again in the future. Catholics rarely read their own bibles, with first and second and Gospel readings presented weekly (or daily), in a 3 or 4 year cycle; they are seen more as Sacramentals than as library tomes. Each has been blessed, so uneasy toting one around, but Paradise Lost can be tucked into a backpack or purse and carried hither and yon! Great experience. Now to pursue CAS poetry...

>103 housefulofpaper: Also, your Blackwood links worked here, and heard a radio reading of 'Pistol Against a Ghost' in his own voice. Highly entertaining. He reeks of gentleman mischief, with hints of Henry Higgins. Then found the voice of Arthur Machen talking about Chesterton's view of Dickens vs. Thackeray. For writing, this is critical stuff! Wonderful snippets of old recordings create great context for the words themselves. Glad to see they've been preserved for new fans too.

Poor Keats. ;D

105housefulofpaper
May 13, 2018, 8:00pm Top


>104 frahealee:

When I look at the opening lines of Paradise Lost, I can't help but hear them in the voice of Sir John Gielgud (I don't think I've ever actually heard him performing it). Religion doesn't really play a role in my life - I come at it via literature, history, art-history, philosophy and not through worship or any personal faith. I was very interested in your explanation of the poem chimed with your Catholicism and your Gothic church.

Milton is identified with Cromwell and the English Republican (Protestant) Revolution (although looking - for example - at his Wikipedia entry, his personal beliefs were idiosyncratic, even heterodox). And living when he did, he was steeped in the Classical world; he definitely would have expected Ecclesiastical architecture to look more like a Roman temple than a medieval cathedral. But every reader brings there own experience to a work of art. I wonder if I've matured, or at least changed, in the years since I read the whole poem to experience it in a significantly different way if I were to tackle it again now?

And it's more than twenty years since I read the Canterbury Tales. I had managed to read and understand the original Middle English, with the help of plenty of notes, but I would need to relearn it now...

My reading's been more than a little disrupted recently, but speaking of Clark Ashton Smith, I read one of his short stories yesterday, The Garden of Adompha - one of his overripe fantasy tales from the thirties that (I would guess) drew on William Beckford's Orientalsim and the Conte Cruel. It's in a small letterpress pamphlet which was particularly expensive because, when I saw the announcement of its publication, it reminded me of the Allen Press Rappaccini's Daughter, and something prompted me to look on AbeBooks...!

I'm glad the links to Algernon Blackwood worked! And that you found the Machen recording (the only one that still exists, apparently). If you are interested in his literary views you might be interested in his book Hieroglyphics. Print-on-Demand copies seem to be available .I..there's a trend developing here...got a copy of the Grant Richards 1902 edition via AbeBooks. Luckily books are my only vice :)

106LolaWalser
Edited: May 20, 2018, 7:03pm Top

Doods, check out the covers of my cheapo Lovecrafts et al.:



HORRID, no?

Actually not the pics of my actual books, was too lazy for that, but mine are in superb condition, not a wrinkle, not a stain, not a breath of fading.

Why do I post this; because the covers are why I bought them and if I start reading them, it will still be mainly because of these fabulously HORRID covers. :)

107housefulofpaper
Edited: May 21, 2018, 5:21pm Top

>106 LolaWalser:

Splendid. They don't make 'em like that any more. (They also catch something of the streak of shlockiness or goofiness in Lovecraft, in his more unbuttoned moments).

I don't have much to report on the reading front; and only debatably Gothic - rereading Arthur Machen's "N"; H.G. Wells' short story "The Sea Raiders", and two stories into Robert Aickman's 1966 short story collection Powers of Darkness.

(edited a comma to a semi-colon; separating, I hope, the re-read from the newly encountered stories).

108LolaWalser
May 20, 2018, 9:07pm Top

>107 housefulofpaper:

Ha, I have you and your mention of the Dunwich Horror to thank for this loot, I don't often look at the pulp horror shelves--and they had just had a treasure trove come in!

On the point on notmaking them like this anymore, I concur and also wonder WHY? Tell me they wouldn't sell like hotcakes!

Oh right--I also picked up an apparently rare ghostly Wells, Tales of the unexpected... but the logging in will be delayed while I ogle Lovecraft's creepycrawlies some more... :)

109housefulofpaper
May 21, 2018, 6:05pm Top

>108 LolaWalser:

Why don't we get covers like that any more? I've been wondering about that for a while now. My local Oxfam charity bookshop has held a healthy stock of '60s and '70s paperbacks over the past few years and it brings home the difference in how books were presented then, compared to today. Of course the same thing can be said about almost any aspect of popular culture and easily investigated in the case of film, TV programmes, and even TV commercials by wasting hours on YouTube.

I don't imagine either of us would accept the lazy accusation that it's all the fault of "the P.C. Brigade"!

Just limiting the subject to UK paperbacks, I can tentatively suggest some possible reasons for the business trying to "go classy":

- Hardback publishers and paperback publishers were usually separate until the era of corporate takeovers and transnational businesses really got going it the '80s.
- Paperback publishers (Penguin apart) were disreputable, even sleazy; certainly they used sex and shock to sell, when they could get away with it. This also means they had to be smart, look at trends, get in quick to outdo their competitors, and so on.
- Now the paperback publishers are the same "respectable" firms that publish the same authors in hardback (in reality, they are mostly corporate Behemoths, with all the nimbleness and wit traditional in such a beast).
- The distinction between ordinary paperbacks in "A" format and the bigger "B" format books didn't exist until (I think) Picador started in the '70s. I didn't see a spinner full of nothing but assertively classy and literary B format Picadors in a bookshop until sometime in the 1980s. There was a kind of egalitarianism before then, I think. Certainly I've seen some undeniably literary works in populist/cheesy/misleading/exploitative '70s covers in Oxfam.
- The end of the net book agreement, which in practice allowed some cross-subsidising of less successful authors by best sellers, pretty much killed off the midlist. I'm sure that the authors published by, say, Tartarus Press would have been able to shift healthy numbers of paperbacks 40 years ago. So to a degree the books aren't out there any more, but even when they are they get moody/generic covers - for which read boring (I think, actually, it's worst for crime novels. Incredibly generic moody lighting/out-of-focus silhouette(s)/stormclouds over field or city-by-night. Over and over again).
- Maybe the video nasty moral panic had an effect? One of the things that came out of that debacle was a crackdown on the cover art of rental videotapes. Maybe there was some extension of these norms to books?

110LolaWalser
May 21, 2018, 6:44pm Top

>109 housefulofpaper:

You've made me wonder where have all the pulps gone, and maybe that's it--there just aren't (m)any being published anymore? Maybe electronic has thoroughly taken over the pulp genres?

My first question was actually way dumber (heh)--I was wondering why those specific covers (editions) aren't being reprinted exactly as they were, but then, as you raise all those points, I guess it's a tangle of publishing decision and probably copyright and whatnot... I mean, I have some notion why Penguin, say, intermittently changed the design for their books--orange stripes, solid black, the greens, the silvers etc.--it's to refresh the look, attract new eyeballs, update design...

But things like those Lovecrafts, one would think, might be even more attractive as time goes by and the style itself becomes a "classic" of sorts. So why not simply reprint them?

Indeed, I don't know about the UK, but in North America in the last... maybe more than a decade, even... there have been lines of reprinted pulps, or issues in "faux-fifties-pulp" look. (I have a few Jim Thompsons and Charles Willefords dressed up like that.) But another thing, speaking of sex in advertising, is that "fifties pulp" style of sexy just isn't the game anymore, because style AKA fashion changes all the time. It gets used and "quoted" ironically, but it's so wedded to the period that it can't be separated from it. Like WWII pinup style. A girl in Marilyn's Playboy pose on the cover would signal, I think, an original old book or a new book playing to nostalgia. The association is too strong to deploy images as if they were new.

Or maybe someone is deliberately creating collectors' items. Some time back my brother asked me if I could get for him some Agatha Christie replacements, but he was looking for specific ones from... I'd guess 1980s, and was it Fontana?--at any rate, an edition with photographed macabre still lifes--and I barely chanced upon one. There's a million of Christies everywhere, but in gajillion editions. Anyone who's after a specific design becomes a collector of (relative) rarities.

111housefulofpaper
May 22, 2018, 6:34pm Top

>110 LolaWalser:

Photographed macabre still-lifes, I'd guess, would be late 60s-early 70s (that would tie in with the house style for Fontana's ghost story anthologies (actually classy affairs, initially edited by Robert Aickman) and the long-running Pan books of horror series.

The retro-fifties covers are certainly something I've seen, but only the rare lone example outside Forbidden Planet (the specialist Murder One bookshop went out of business and has an afterlife as a shelf in FP). Maybe their UK counterparts would be the golden age/cozy crime reprints from the British Library with their pastiche '30s covers? Although they never aimed at being sexy.

I take your point that 50's sexy isn't sexy any more but nostalgic or tongue-in-cheek...but isn't this just a matter of fashion? 60s paperbacks used 60's sex to sell themselves, 70's books did the same (70's sex is just straightforwardly nudity, as least in the UK publishing world!) - but I don't see the 2010s equivalent on the shelves.

Ok, this may be a local UK phenomenon. I was going to suggest that there are no sexy pulp/genre covers any more (sexy to the heterosexual male viewer/potential purchaser, I should clarify). For all I know you may be able to counter this with loads of right-wing militaristic SF with pneumatic ladies in too-tight spacesuits on their covers, but in the UK, SF paperback covers went rather staid before the end of the '70s. They all had Chris Foss paintings (or Chris Foss style paintings) of spaceships against stellar backgrounds.

Certainly, heading into Reading town centre, looking around Waterstones; and then going to the Oxfam charity bookshop with it's 40-year old stock, it's Oxfam that comes out looking the more louche.

Like my apparently innocent spaceship-covered paperbacks from back in the day, today's genre books may have all sorts of mayhem, naughtiness, and questionable politics between the covers; but they're not directly drawing attention to it.

112AndreasJ
May 23, 2018, 12:38am Top

>111 housefulofpaper:

I'm unreliably informed that any vaguely rocket-shaped spaceship on a cover is really a penis, so those might not be quite so innocent :p

Publishers, at least the big ones, do actual research on what sorts of covers help shift stock, so it may be that lurid covers are simply bad business for books, or certain kinds of books, rather than any more narrrowly cultural factors. Or perhaps rather, the cultural factors one should look at may be among the reading public rather than the publishers.

113LolaWalser
May 23, 2018, 9:53am Top

>111 housefulofpaper:

(sexy to the heterosexual male viewer/potential purchaser, I should clarify).

Ha yes, for those purposes basically "sex"="nekkid women". Although let's note there existed gay pulps too, with lots of shirtless men of chiselled physique etc. So men as sex objects do exists on these covers (I saw this book in the wild yesterday: Gore Vidal: A thirsty evil) but in general it's all very clearly directed at male and straight male audience; no one else need apply.

As for current trends, I run out of info fast because I don't follow contemporary fantasy, horror, sf, but from what I see, I'd say sex in advertising, generally speaking, is very much alive and present and not going anywhere. Recently I passed this on to my brother (he does graphic design) XXX: The Power of Sex in Contemporary Design, it's quite good if you want to get an idea how versatile and clever the use of sex for marketing purposes has got. Also, ubiquitous--and daring--and explicit. We're a long way off from Grandpa Rufus getting verklempt over cancan bloomers and suchlike.

The broad question "why they don't make them like that anymore" is probably too broad to answer from a single perspective. It reminds me of Sherlock Holmes pastiches and all similar products of a desire to have more of something that appealed once. Are they ever the same thing? In the end, it's asking "why does time pass".

114robertajl
May 23, 2018, 9:57am Top

>106 LolaWalser:

I encountered those editions when I was young and the covers definitely made me spend my babysitting money. I think the artist was Gervasio Gallardo, although I'm not certain.

115LolaWalser
May 23, 2018, 10:05am Top

>114 robertajl:

Thank you for mentioning this, it's exactly something I meant to explore--unbelievably, the artist isn't named anywhere in those six books (printed in 1973, "in cooperation with Arkham House" or something like that).

Hmmm, on googling Gallardo, I see some covers for Lovecraft (I have a few of those already, I think they are later than the '70s edition) but not the ones above--and the style looks to me rather different?--although it's not out of the realm of possibility for one artist to employ different idioms.

116LolaWalser
Edited: May 23, 2018, 11:34am Top

Ah, funnily enough, "gervasio gallardo lovecraft" found this!:

https://2warpstoneptune.com/2014/10/24/john-holmes-h-p-lovecraft-covers-1975-bal...

Never heard of John Holmes (well not THAT John Holmes), pleased to meetcha.

P.S. So Gallardo's covers for Ballantine's Lovecraft editions predated Holmes, according to this blog.

DO check out the Nabokov cover on the bottom!

P.P.S. That famous cover of Germaine Greer's The female eunuch--

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2011/oct/18/john-holmes-obituary

117LolaWalser
May 23, 2018, 1:00pm Top

Just added "Fungi from Yuggoth"--also Ballantine edition--from 1971--and this one DOES note the cover artist, Gervasio Gallardo. Oh, and there's also "illustrated by Frank Utpatel" on the front cover.

Would Holmes being British have anything to do with anything? Possibly there's no rhyme nor reason to these practices.

118robertajl
May 23, 2018, 2:19pm Top

Well, it's not Gothic but it is one of my favorite mass market covers. In 1984, Volker Schlöndorff directed Swann in Love, starring Jeremy Irons as Swann and Ornella Muti as Odette. I always thought that Irons looked liked Dracula swooping in on Lucy Westenra.

119housefulofpaper
Jun 25, 2018, 8:30pm Top

Good grief, I've taken my eye off the ball with this thread.

>118 robertajl: It actually looks a lot like the quad poster for Hammer's first Dracula (though mirror-reversed)(oh all right, Horror of Dracula in the US).

>113 LolaWalser: That book's a few years old now. I really do get the feeling of a different environment in popular culture since the turn of the millennium.

What have I been reading? Ian Fryer's book The British Horror Film. I'd put it to one side for a while - the story of Hammer was just too familiar, not only from Jonathan Rigby's book but from a recent diet of extras and commentaries on recent Hammer DVD and Blu-Ray re-releases. But I picked it up again and read it through over the last week or so. Very informative (and much more benevolent to Milton Subotsky than Mr Rigby!). It's a same that small publishers seemingly can't afford to proofread though.

I've also just started French Decadent Tales, which should include some examples of the fantastique. If the current hot weather sticks around I'll need a paperback that can hold up to several long wallows in the bathtub!

120alaudacorax
Jul 1, 2018, 9:18am Top

I've been belatedly reading Ray Russell's Haunted Castles over the last week or so. Another of those books I've been meaning to get round to for a long, long time.

Um ... slight disappointment, so far ...

Sardonicus I was familiar with - from anthologies - and it's the best of the three I've read so far.

Sagittarius I thought was a bit of a mess with its series of reveals - or 'not-reveals', don't know - poorly handled. The last twist in the tail I particularly thought poorly done and unconvincing.

Talking about twists in the tail, I worked out the one in Sanguinarius not long after the start - which can't be good. The result was almost disappointment when said twist showed up on cue.

Having said all that, they did keep me reading all the way through.

Four more to go (almost four, I should say - started Comet Wine a night or two ago) - let's keep hoping he hits higher.

121housefulofpaper
Jul 1, 2018, 7:24pm Top

>120 alaudacorax:

I've read "Sardonicus" in an anthology (is it the Oxford Gothic anthology? It's too late at night to check..). I've got Haunted Castles but it's unread as yet.

I've just finished reading Cathode Love, an anthology of material that's more The Chapel of the Abyss subject matter than this group's...selections from French 19th century Decadents, Antonin Artaud manifesto for the Theatre of Cruelty, pieces on the cinema of Jean Rollin and Jesus Franco. On the Gothic/Supernatural side, the fiction included "Clarimonde" by Theophile Gautier and Count Stenbock's werewolf story, "The Other Side".

This seems to have been a long-gestated personal projector the editor's that I found out about at the last minute (actually was it from The Chapel of the Abyss? And was it a post from Lolawalser? Thanks for the heads-up, if it was.

Evidently not everything came together as intended, the more prestigious edition was supposed to have an accompanying vinyl LP but this did not come to pass. It did, though, include a film strip from Rollin's personal print of The Grapes of Death signed by his son.

122alaudacorax
Jul 3, 2018, 8:13am Top

>121 housefulofpaper: - I've just finished reading Cathode Love ... was it a post from Lolawalser?

Now, that's odd - I know I've come across the title in reason days, but a search of LT only shows up your post and one in a long-dormant thread. That's going to niggle me till I remember ...

Got it! Hell of a coincidence - the Cathode Love facebook page cropped up among my facebook recommendations when I logged-on yesterday or the day before. Usually I completely ignore facebook recommendations, but I remember that one looking interesting, amd meant to investigate, then I promptly forgot about it until your post.

Having said that, was there something in my recent online meanderings that caused it to pop up on facebook? Oh dear ...

123alaudacorax
Jul 3, 2018, 8:32am Top

>121 housefulofpaper:

I'm not sure I'm understanding perfectly. Did they actually cut up the reels of film and send little strips out with each book?

124alaudacorax
Edited: Jul 3, 2018, 8:51am Top

>121 housefulofpaper:

Something else niggling at me - where does that image of the faded rose in the silent music box come from? It's ringing bells like Quasimodo - or I'm suffering from raging déjà vu today.

ETA - Is it from one of Rollin's films?

125alaudacorax
Jul 3, 2018, 9:06am Top

>121 housefulofpaper:

I surrender ... couldn't resist that (not the box and film strip, just the book - postage seemed excessive, though).

126LolaWalser
Jul 3, 2018, 9:44am Top

Don't think it was me, houseful, the title is completely unfamiliar. Hi guys, sorry am in a rush can't talk, just wanted to post this:

https://www.amazon.com/Paperbacks-Hell-Twisted-History-Fiction/dp/1594749817

May hold some answers to the question of "why they don't make them like that anymore", regarding horror pulps that is.

BBL

127housefulofpaper
Jul 3, 2018, 7:08pm Top

>123 alaudacorax:
Yes they did!

>124 alaudacorax:
Is it from Cocteau's La Belle et la Bete? (It might also be referencing the iron rose ornament that's a motif in The Iron Rose)

128housefulofpaper
Jul 8, 2018, 8:53pm Top

>126 LolaWalser:

I've got that book. I've got some ideas about "why they don't make them like that anymore" too, but I can't remember if they're from that book or other sources. Middle ages memory...

I do recall that at one point there's a discussion of why the "mid-list" disappeared in the US market (probably the biggest single reason). It was a totally different reason to the UK (where the abolition of the net book agreement led to the mid-list authors disappearing rom publisher's lists. When popular authors couldn't be sold at discount prices there was a degree of cross-subsidy across publishers' authors).

Oh, and serial-killer detective novels crossing over from horror into crime (when The Silence of the Lambs crops up in lists of horror films it always looks like someone's made a mistake; but I remember that how it was marketed on its original release).

129LolaWalser
Edited: Jul 8, 2018, 9:46pm Top

>128 housefulofpaper:

Should have checked your library first... OF COURSE you'd have it! :p

Does it say anything about changes in cover art?

I'm afraid I don't read nearly enough in the usual suspect genres to have fresh ideas about how these things come and go... Speaking of, I bought just the other day 5-6 John MacDonald pulp crime titles, those with "colour" in the title, this is the cover on the one I read:



Something dates that cover irresistibly, doesn't it? (it's from 1964), but what? The fact that it has a girl on the cover, or something about the style of the painting? I think the latter...

P.S. Or her pose, hairdo, make-up?

130housefulofpaper
Jul 22, 2018, 8:37pm Top

>129 LolaWalser:

I think you're right about the style of painting. There's also a strong suggestion of Cat Ballou era Jane Fonda - coincidental, I suppose, if the film is from the following year.

A good comparison from the UK might be the covers for the Modesty Blaise series. I've got an examples from the 1960s (much like the John D MacDonald you found) a 1970s photographic cover (model in leathers), early 1980s (how to describe it? designery pastels or architectural sketch but still the subject's a female body in a "sexy"pose. It's unmistakably from the '80s for all that I can't describe it. I'll have to try to post some pictures. The latest reissues I've seen have gone for a retro look with paintings by, i think, the original 1960s comic strip artist. The pitch is clearly going for nostalgia rather than sex this time.

131housefulofpaper
Jul 22, 2018, 8:56pm Top

I have just finished a book about the films of Jean Rollin, Lost Girls: the Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin from a small Canadian press.

The book consists of essays by exclusively female writers. After reading the book I'm still not sure of the motive. To disarm criticism of sexism or misogyny, or because a male critic, poor thing, can't be expected to see past the on-screen nudity and engage with the deeper themes of the works?

Only one essay was too academic for me, e.g. "Feminist materialism forms an alliance with this culture and discourse in its analysis of matter, and thus the body, the corpo(real)."

The essays look at one or two films in Rollin's oeuvre, or take on themes that run throughout his work, but are arranged to give a broadly chronological overview.

There are plenty of pictures including lots of stills and on-set photographs, and - a word of warning, I guess - of course there is a lot of bare flesh on display.

132tess_schoolmarm
Jul 22, 2018, 9:15pm Top

Reading The Phantom of the Opera. Saw the musical twice but never read the book! Very good so far!

133housefulofpaper
Jul 23, 2018, 7:41pm Top

>132 tess_schoolmarm:

I'm glad you're enjoying it. I read it not too many years ago. I've seen the Lon Chaney film a couple of times, and the 1940s version - once - but never seen the musical.

There's a connection between Gaston Leroux and Jean Rollin - more than one of the essays explain (and I do this it's "explain' rather than "excuse") the apparent naiveties of Rollin's plots by pointing out his love of the movie serials of the silent era. In France, that means works such as Fantomas and Les Vampires.But they also mention literary inspirations, and Leroux's other work is specifically mentioned. I have actually got a couple of Leroux's novels, other than Phantom,to read.

134alaudacorax
Jul 23, 2018, 9:36pm Top

>132 tess_schoolmarm:

Got to read that again. I read it a few years back; find I didn't star it or enter the reading dates or make any notes, and now I can't disentangle it from the films (not the musical - never seen that).

>133 housefulofpaper:

That's a fascinating point about the Rollin connection. I've been meaning to watch Fantomas for ages. I'll be interested to get on with it, and Les Vampires if I can find it, and then watch some Rollins with fresh eyes.

135alaudacorax
Aug 21, 2018, 5:01am Top

I'm an occasional lurker on the 'The Weird Tradition' group, especially the 'THE DEEP ONES' threads, and on a whim last thing last night I read The Death of Malygris by Clark Ashton Smith. I have quite a collection of CASes but seemingly not including that one.

That's a definite gap - tremendous story - I was riveted. Having said that, their discussion thread starts tomorrow (22nd) so I won't go any further into the story, but ... and having written that I can't decide what I should write ...

Whatever - I'll just repeat that it's a tremendous story and I'm quite looking forward to what they have to say about it.

136housefulofpaper
Aug 22, 2018, 7:33pm Top

>135 alaudacorax:

I won't be able to post anything over there until the weekend but yes, I think this is one of CASs best stories as well.

137frahealee
Aug 27, 2018, 3:00pm Top

Although she has Southern Gothic stories, the two short works by Eudora Welty that I recently heard online in her own voice, may not qualify. They may be tagged as American South instead (as was Harper Lee when I entered her novels into my list of 200). Why I live at the Post Office. A Worn Path. Charmed by both.

I looked her up after seeing that Atwood's The Robber Bride is a nod to The Robber Bridegroom by Welty, which is a nod to The Grimm Brothers. Loving this overlap.

I sometimes lurk in the weird tradition group also, to learn bits and pieces about the writers mentioned here. I have yet to read King, Oates, Lovecraft, Machen, etc. Must start somewhere! The short stories are easier to slot into hither-and-yon moments than the BFBs. Time for those later...

138frahealee
Edited: Aug 27, 2018, 3:35pm Top

>132 tess_schoolmarm: I have not read the book (nor seen any films), but loved the musical, when Colm Wilkinson landed in Toronto for a spell. Bawled my eyes out when he hit that low note, felt in my marrow. Music had never done that before. At this time, I was new to the city from a small town and had only seen a few live performances (King Lear at Stratford Festival, Carmen at the O'Keefe, etc.). I pushed through The Hunchback of Notre Dame this year and thoroughly enjoyed the reading and the research, so perhaps I can slot this for 2019.

139housefulofpaper
Aug 29, 2018, 2:57pm Top

>136 housefulofpaper:

rat-tat-tatted four paragraphs on The Death of Malygris over on The Deep Ones thread. First draft, felt a bit like those cent-a-word fellows of the pulp era.

There's bound to be at least one dreadful typo in there...

140alaudacorax
Edited: Sep 12, 2018, 6:00am Top

This is not about what I'm reading now but what I was reading last week, and I'm probably about to convince you all that I've finally flipped.

Andrew's evocative picture of Strasbourg Cathedral over in the 'More Gothic gossip' thread reminded me of something. Cathedrals bring to my mind gargoyles and ...

Background: One week's holiday on the Gower peninsula last week and my laptop packed in on the first day - I was having to hand-write my holiday journal - picture me in the evenings hunched over a pen and exercise book in the pool of light from a table lamp - nostalgia indeed! Anyway, I was cut off from my websites (actually sort of liberating).

Then someone grievously offended me and I wanted to run to you lot for sympathy and I couldn't - frustrating!

The culprit was Clark Ashton Smith and it was doubly hurtful because he's rapidly been becoming one of my favourite authors. I was re-reading his short stories in the evenings and I'd got to ‘The Maker of Gargoyles’ (here's a link).

This is set in mediæval times and it's actually quite good. However, it includes the following sentence: “The terror that soon prevailed, beneath the widening scope of these Satanical excursions and depredations, was beyond all belief—a clotted, seething, devil-ridden gloom of superstitious obsession, not to be hinted at in modern language” (my italics).

It is that '... not to be hinted at in modern language ...' that so offends me. Breaking the fourth wall? He's pretty much thrusting his arm through and poking me in the eye - ouch! It's almost as bad as that bit in (I think) The Hobbit where Tolkien crunchingly anachronistically likens a dragon to an express train- worse in a way as I regard CAS as much the better writer. Actually, I felt he was starting to lose his grip on the tale's internal reality with 'superstitious obsession', but that final clause is just plain offensive. How could he let that into print? What about his editor?

It completely derailed my absorption in the work and I feel it spoils an otherwise good story. So am I being overly-picky? Over-reacting? Obsessive? Bonkers?

ETA - Or is CAS not as good a writer as I think and I should have been reading him with more critical attention?

141AndreasJ
Sep 12, 2018, 7:36am Top

Given that CAS had a bit of running battle with editors who didn't appreciate either his archaicizing vocabulary nor his proclivity for "mature" content, I have to wonder if it's a dig at such constraints.

142LolaWalser
Sep 12, 2018, 9:10am Top

>140 alaudacorax:

Well, if it derailed you, it derailed you, can't be helped. But isn't that sort of address to the reader fairly common in older literature? "You can't imagine what happened next, dear reader..."

143alaudacorax
Sep 12, 2018, 9:13am Top

>142 LolaWalser:

It's not so much the address to the reader, as the sudden wrenching of the piece completely out of its time context.

144frahealee
Edited: Sep 12, 2018, 2:22pm Top

Just added The Thorn Birds to my BigFatBooks 'pending' list (as with some other folks, when I miss my parents, I pick up books that remind me of them, not photos). Today is Rachel Ward's birthday, and I recall watching the mini-series in 1983 (my final year of high school) with my mother since she was a fan of both Christopher Plummer and Chamberlain. Rachel met her hub Bryan on that set, and it is steeped in nostalgia, the tv show and the book, which I likely read at the time without my father's knowledge. Decided to revisit it for a few reasons, but curious to know if it qualifies as gothic. Is there a genre of 'Outback Gothic' for Australia? If there isn't, there should be. I love an author who can put me in unknown environs and hold me hostage from cover to cover!

I know it is primarily an epic romance family saga combo, but I have Radcliffe's first novel on the brain from 1789, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, which will tie in nicely with her other saga called The Touch: A Novel I am always up for a Midas lesson. Love a gold rush trail, so a mine in Australia will be new! Ousted from Scotland, he sends for a bride when he's ready for her. My stars, ugh. =(

ETA: Patrick White with The Hanging Garden & The Tree of Man, Bush Studies, Ironstone, My Life as a Fake, The Plains, and the genre of Tasmanian Gothic … all considered Australian Gothic. Wonders never cease.

146alaudacorax
Sep 30, 2018, 8:10am Top

I've just discovered an unknown-to-me Charles Dickens short story on my own bookshelves. That's the trouble with short story collections - I forget that I'm reading them, or that I haven't read all the stories.

It's 'A Madman's Manuscript' - I gather from The Pickwick Papers, which I've also never read.

It is rather tremendous. I mean, it was quite gripping, but it was only after reading, when I thought it over for a few minutes, that the real depth and grotesquenesses of it hit me. There are quite oblique slants on madness and morality in there. And it cries out and rattles its chains for a good actor to read it aloud ...

147alaudacorax
Edited: Sep 30, 2018, 8:49am Top

>145 agmlll:

Don't know whether I want to put that on the wish lists or not. It sounds pretty unique - a little intriguing and a little daunting.

ETA - Damn! Now I'm worrying if it's grammatically incorrect to qualify 'unique'. Sometimes it's not easy being inside my head ...

ETA, again - It's a bit perverse to be worrying about grammatical correctness whilst willfully leaving out the pronouns - get your act together!

148frahealee
Sep 30, 2018, 10:17am Top

>147 alaudacorax: Drop the pretty. Continue with optional pronouns. =)

149housefulofpaper
Sep 30, 2018, 10:26am Top

>146 alaudacorax:

I thought you might be looking for a Dickens story apparently entitled The Trial for Murder (I'm sure I've read it, possibly in the Oxford Anthology of Victorian Ghost Stories, but I don't remember it under that name; possibly it's been anthologised under more than one? And I've got Pickwick Papers on a shelf to read - most of Dickens I've still to read, actually. I knew there was at least one ghost story in there that gets reprinted as a stand-alone item, "The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton".

I've strayed away from the Gothic and the Weird for the past couple of weeks but came across mentions, in two separate books on gardening (Life in the Garden and The Curious Gardener) of Humphrey Repton and his designs for the grounds of British stately homes, and contrasting his approach with that of the slightly earlier "Capability" Brown.

The point is, although both men rejected formal garden design for a more "natural" appearance (albeit involving diverting rivers, flattening hills, displacing whole villages if they spoil the view, and so on), their different approaches - Brown going for a classical dream of Arcadia, Repton aiming for "picturesque" roughness and raw nature (faux raw nature) reflected the turn in post-Enlightenment thought, from a serious minded but optimistic to the point of complacency, to febrile Romanticism. (I remember Kenneth Clarke's Civilisation illustrating the change musically - a transition from Mozart to Beethoven. and then of course tying the changing tastes in the arts to the Age of Revolution.)

Penelope Lively's book reminded me that a Repton-type landscape gardener features in Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia and in fact this Classical/Romantic transition is one of its themes. She also cites the artist Claude Lorrain as someone Brown drew on whilst Repton favoured Salvator Rosa.


150frahealee
Edited: Sep 30, 2018, 11:18am Top

>149 housefulofpaper: Extremely interesting! I found myself studying natural forest 'decor' vs. landscaping vs. rigid garden structure like the use of hedges and topiary to line walkways or fences, after reading Edith Wharton's ghost stories. Her home and its view with rolling hills was fascinating to tour 'online'. They even served tea in the way she would have enjoyed it during her lifetime. It all lends itself to a writer's life, memories, etc. I barely remember my mother's mum but I remember her rose gardens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkA43EwZNIM

Your 'displacing whole villages' mention reminds me of an unsettling section of Anne Michael's The Winter Vault where many villages, churches/cemeteries, etc. were flooded with the initial construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Her description of those looking on in horror as their reality became submerged came to mind when Ryan Gosling directed Lost River (2014) about an underwater city. Ghastly idea. Haven't seen it, only want to. Another film is Kate Winslet as gardener to the late Alan Rickman in one of his final performances. Wistful longing for that one. A Little Chaos (2014)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2639254/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_4

As an aside, the nasty wife in this film (Helen McCrory) played Ann Radcliffe in a brief cameo in Becoming Jane (2007). So effective in both. Also love Jennifer Ehle.

Still currently plugging away at The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. Easy endless reading.

151agmlll
Oct 1, 2018, 8:32am Top

>147 alaudacorax: David R. Bunch's story "The Good War" is available to read online if you want a sample.

https://lithub.com/the-good-war/

152alaudacorax
Oct 1, 2018, 8:41am Top

>146 alaudacorax:

I was wondering if A Madman's Manuscript could have been influenced by Poe - it feels sort of Poe-ish - but I don't know I can make dates of publication fit. Now I'm wondering how aware each might have been of the other in the 1830s.

153frahealee
Oct 28, 2018, 5:10pm Top

Hitting Dracula this week, as intended. So excited for my very first read through! Chapters 1-6 today.

154housefulofpaper
Nov 4, 2018, 7:59pm Top

A bit of a "Folk Horror" theme over the past week, courtesy of some books from Wryd Harvest Press. Specifically two books about Folk Horror music - which (apparently) ranges from the 1960s Folk boom unearthing creepy old ballads (with a nod to American Blues and Country), to Occult-themes Heavy Rock, a bit of '70s Prog and "Folk Prog", through to Industrial and Electronica...and after that historical survey, looking at the artists tapping into those musics today whether as Folk acts or nostalgic/creepy "Hauntological" artists conjuring up a lost/never was world of Radiophonic TV themes and Brutalist architecture and coldly officious but also paternalistic Welfare State...yes, if ever there was a genre that can only be defined as "I'll know it when I see it/ hear it" and then pointing to specific examples, this is it!

There was a also a whole book devoted to a one-day event held at the British Museum, consisting of transcripts of the various talks/events that took place. Not just about music, also film and TV, psychogeography, neopaganism, a bit of Magic(k)...

I've also received the latest volumes of Ghosts and Scholars (new fiction and non-fiction pertaining to M. R. James) and Tartarus Press's journal, Wormwood (subtitled "Literature of the fantastic, supernatural and decadent) - always a good, no an essential read.

155pgmcc
Nov 5, 2018, 3:43am Top

I have passed the third-way-through point in Melmoth the Wanderer and am enjoying it greatly. There are parallels between it and The Monk and I see strong links to The Unfortunate Fursey and The Return of Fursey as well. The Fursey books were written with humour in mind, but they use some tropes and elements of Melmoth and The Monk, as well as having their own social messages.

156alaudacorax
Nov 5, 2018, 9:15am Top

>154 housefulofpaper:

Andrew has a nasty way of making my hand twitch towards my credit card ... always seems to find the really interesting stuff ...

157alaudacorax
Edited: Nov 5, 2018, 9:28am Top

>154 housefulofpaper: - ... 1960s Folk boom unearthing creepy old ballads ...

I've possibly written here about this before, but one of my favourite folk recordings from my youth is Ann Briggs' recording of She Moves Through the Fair. I don't think I then picked up on what seems so obvious to me now - that a lot of the words must have been lost down the years. I imagine it originally had a plot to it on the same pattern as The Bride of Corinth (link to thread) - it's a pretty widespread folk/horror tale.

158alaudacorax
Nov 5, 2018, 9:39am Top

>157 alaudacorax:

... and having just read the Wikipedia page for the song ... perhaps I'm wrong ...

159housefulofpaper
Nov 7, 2018, 7:05pm Top

>158 alaudacorax:

Interesting. One of the essays in Folk Horror Revival: Harvest Hymns 1: Twisted Roots describes a similar process, where ballads that began as real-life reportage evolved into something much more non-specific and mythic.

160alaudacorax
Edited: Dec 16, 2018, 7:52am Top

Honestly, I have no sense of single-mindedness. I'm painfully and slowly making my way through a pile of heavy-duty reading (and watching), which I really should have finished by now. But then when my mind wandered I got myself into one novel, then another, neither of which have I finished yet. Then on top of that I let myself get led astray by a 'The Weird Tradition' thread and more or less impulse-bought a rather nice H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fiction - the Barnes & Noble 'Leatherbound Classics' one. Arrived yesterday and, of course, the inevitable happened: I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening re-reading Lovecraft ...

161WeeTurtle
Dec 18, 2018, 5:40am Top

No real plans for Gothic reading in the future outside of a couple things I want to read on my e-reader. I picked up Castle Otranto and Seven Gothic Tales and will add another couple from the weird end of things. I do have The Golem (not sure if it counts) and In search of Mary Shelley hidden away in my wrapped tbr list so at some point I'll discover them.

I saw mention of Agatha Christie, and that reminds me that I'm thinking about re-reading Appointment with Death. I had to track down the title again as I read it back in my teen era but I've always remembered the cast, particularly the former prison warden matriarch of the family, who winds up dead. The family matriarch seems to provide an omnipresent aura of nasty over the group, so I wonder if there isn't some gothic feel in there as well. It's a Hercule Poirot mystery, as I mostly read those. I think it might also be one of the tv productions that I didn't see. I don't remember it. I would like to give some Miss Marple a try. I've only ever watched those, but they're pretty good. I'd like to read A Caribbean Mystery and Nemesis and see how they match up with the shows.

162frahealee
Edited: Dec 18, 2018, 8:01am Top

My final two weeks of the year will be wrestling three to the ground; one CanLit, one more Hardy, and Uncle Silas. =) Makes a suiting finale. Wow, what a year. Might hibernate 'til Spring to regain my brain capacity to absorb stories.

On a bit of a Kate Beckinsale bender, investigating; Lady Susan (Austen), Eliza Graves (Poe), Haunted, Van Helsing, and even Underworldx5 appeals somewhat. I will continue my gothic binge in film and novels and short stories and poetry. It helps fuel my writing, offers rewarding research, and makes me grin like a frothing fiend. =D Happy Christmas and Happy New Year, brimming with whatever genre fills your sails!

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1772264/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_11 Silas Lamb, great name.

163alaudacorax
Dec 18, 2018, 8:31am Top

>161 WeeTurtle:

I don't have too high an opinion of Agatha Christie. I do have some favourites, particularly, The Moving Finger, A Murder is Announced and The Murder at the Vicarage and I've frequently looked for another of those but I'm usually disappointed.

I recently read And Then There Were None and the most I would call it is 'competent'. I was a little puzzled, though, that Christie seemed to be quite consciously keeping it non-Gothic - the plot obviously has that potential and I think she might have had to work at keeping Gothicism at bay.

So when I came across Endless Night recently and read some stuff that suggested she might have been trying for a Gothic novel (gypsy curse, shunned old ruin) curiosity got the better of me ...

... and BY THE GODS this thing is slow. At the moment I'm too stubborn to give up on it (gave up on They Came to Baghdad not long ago and still feeling guilty) and I'm forcing myself to read one chapter an evening - and some evenings I just can't face it. According to my Kindle I'm 40% through it and she's done little more than set the scene. And the characters just seem unsatisfactory, somehow - just barely there ...

164alaudacorax
Dec 18, 2018, 8:35am Top

>163 alaudacorax:

Can't keep switching back and fore between Christie and Lovecraft or Poe - could get severely injured by culture shock ...

165WeeTurtle
Dec 18, 2018, 5:05pm Top

I remember trying to get through Murder in Retrospect. To this day I remember nothing of it beyond the title.

I don't have much of a switching issue, but then, I'm that person that wears a vintage My Little Pony shirt (until it got too small) and has bookshelves adorned with gargoyles.

166LolaWalser
Dec 18, 2018, 7:10pm Top

>163 alaudacorax:

Dame Agatha was a sorry hack--not that one can blame her for feeding her public what it wanted. A few early titles have a certain verve, but tend to suffer from other problems... although they sanitised her quite a bit post-war.

I ditched Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories after reading about a half (a few I'd read before); the Best Mention goes to Robert Aickman's Ringing the changes (newlyweds meet zombies by the seaside). Forgettable selection all in all, with a weird touch in Dahl's nasty old man sexist rambling in the intro. What a git.

167alaudacorax
Dec 19, 2018, 6:33am Top

>165 WeeTurtle:

You've just made me collapse in laughter. I had this image of you walking past your bookshelves with the My Little Pony on your shirt cowering in terror beneath the basilisk stares of groups of gargoyles.

168alaudacorax
Dec 19, 2018, 7:05am Top

>166 LolaWalser:

The irony is that I'm not really interested in detective stories. It's weird that I've read as many as I have.

A friend introduced me to Dorothy L. Sayer and I really loved her - at her best she transcends the genre, I think. It was pretty much all downhill after Sayer. The same friend was a big fan of Christie, had rows of them, so I read some of her and stuck with it even though the first thing I read was a collection of short stories that contained some really poor stuff. Daft in retrospect.

By far the best things I've come across in that line (apart from Sayer) are some really funny parodies of Miss Marple by a writer called Heron Carvic - probably not respecful of the genre by me.

169LolaWalser
Dec 19, 2018, 3:21pm Top

>168 alaudacorax:

The irony is that I'm not really interested in detective stories. It's weird that I've read as many as I have.

I feel the same. I keep saying I can't be considered a mystery fan but somehow or other it turns out I've read hundreds. Probably a reflection of the genre's ubiquity... Plus of course there's stuff like Simenon that often "transcends" the genre, whatever that means... Have you read Reginald Hill? Like Sayers, he was erudite and a language-lover, but with a great playful streak. And contrary to the usual trend with a long series, his Dalziel and Pascoe novels kept getting better. The last two or three are literary fantasias only a well-established lion can allow himself, at the end of his run.



170pgmcc
Edited: Dec 21, 2018, 5:10am Top

I finished reading Melmoth the Wanderer last week and have pages of notes on all the themes, allusions, hidden barbs at certain groups in authority, and the links between this book and others. It is impossible to separate the man, i.e. Charles Maturin, from his work. There is so much in this book that reflects elements and experiences of his real life that it is impossible to see this book as anything other than an instrument he used to communicate not just his supposedly austere morality and faith, but also his contempt for the hierarchy who stimeyed his progess within the church when they discovered he was writing Gothic stories.

The book is very much affected by the events of the day and show the views Maturin was expected to hold as a Church of Ireland minister, but could also be interpreted as the views he envisaged his audience wanted to see him hold. We must remember that he was put under financial pressure by being limited to his £90/year curate’s salary because of his writing Gothic literature and it was this very censure that forced him to write more Gothic literature in order to earn enough money to keep his family.

Edited to correct typographical errors. Any remaining errors are totally intended and if you cannot see their meaning then you are not digging deep enough. :-)

171alaudacorax
Dec 21, 2018, 4:13am Top

>170 pgmcc:

I've yet to read that, but, if I remember correctly, it's another of those works that Punter & Byron's The Gothic regards as a 'key work' of the genre (and you've made it sound fascinating), so I'm going to create a thread for it ...

172pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 5:08am Top

>171 alaudacorax: I spotted your new thread before seeing your post here. I hope you find it as fascinating as I did. He tends to go on a bit in some parts but I found it worth carrying on. I did not feel the 700 pages passing.

In terms of "key work" I have spotted links between it and a few other works I have read, namely, The Monk, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the two Fursey books, The Unfortunate Fursey and The Return of Fursey. The last two are relatively recent (1940s) and are more humorous/satirical that Gothic, but both worthwhile reads.

173LolaWalser
Dec 21, 2018, 10:43am Top

>172 pgmcc:

I did not feel the 700 pages passing.

Amazing! Well, in contrast to my experience. One of the worst books I ever read, AND possibly the most boring.

I found the anti-Catholicism amusing and IIRC there was some interest when "Immaculata" (sorry, my pun) entered the narrative, but all that was smothered by the logorrhea and ludicrous structure.

174pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 11:04am Top

>173 LolaWalser: I found the historic context interesting as it was written when there was a lot of talk and discussion about Catholic emancipation in Ireland that did not happen until several years after the publication of Melmoth. I found Maturin's anti-Catholicism significant as his target audience would have been keenly watching that debate and worried about what would happen. I could see Maturin attempting to stir up fear amongst his Protestant Ascendancy readers. The vocabulary used and the works he referenced all points to his writing for a particular audience. His use of Latin and Greek quotation would confine him to the educated classes and thereby exclude the majority of the Irish population which surrounded the world of his readers.

As you can see, it was more than the story that interested me. It was the historic context, Maturin's motivations in writing it, and the relationship between the content of the novel and his personal experiences in life.

175LolaWalser
Dec 21, 2018, 11:41am Top

Right, but he doesn't take long to make those points, while the text is like a blown-up pufferfish. Enormous yet largely empty on the inside.

That said, I fully understand why it's more interesting to you. I don't remember much from the notes in the edition I read (this was more than ten years ago)--DID it stir some, er, troubles? :) I mean for anyone other than Maturin himself.

176pgmcc
Dec 21, 2018, 12:49pm Top

>175 LolaWalser:
I am not aware of its directly causing any civic disorder but it would have been consistent with the general sewing of bigotry and grinding down the natives, something that would have been seen as important to preserving British rule in Ireland and the preserving of the position of the Protestant ascendancy. Giving Catholics the vote, even if it was only property owning Catholics, could threatenthe status quo. Melmoth was published only 22 years after the rebellion of 1798. While Maturin was short of a few bob he was still part of the privileged elite.

I think the worst that hapoened him as a result of Melmoth was his being accused of being an atheist by his superiors, an allegation he strenuously denied, but I am not so sure. :-)

He did overcook many of his points, e.g. the torture of the young monk and the girl’s time on the island. When you look at his motivation to build up disgust at the Roman Catholic church it makes sense to dwell on the torture. On the island he was preaching hatred of Hinduism and Islam.

I could go pn but I hate typing on a phone screen.

177alaudacorax
Edited: Dec 26, 2018, 5:49am Top

I had to finish The Screaming Skull by F. Marion Crawford this morning. I started last night, a ghost story for Christmas, but it had been a full day and I just couldn't stay awake. I italicised 'had to', though, because it had that much of a grip on me - it had great build-up in tension and I had to get back to it.

It's almost all in first-person, but the story is partly told to an old friend the narrator has staying with him in his lonely old cottage and partly happening around them as he is telling it and reflected in his words. The narrator betrays his fears, hopes, indecision and uncertainty about the matter as he goes along. It's very nicely done.

I wish they hadn't let me alone this morning with all these dishes of sweeties around the place - they're a sore temptation ...

178alaudacorax
Dec 26, 2018, 7:56am Top

>163 alaudacorax: - So when I came across Endless Night recently and read some stuff that suggested she might have been trying for a Gothic novel (gypsy curse, shunned old ruin) curiosity got the better of me ...

I finally finished this. A crime novel with Gothic touches to it is perhaps the best way to describe it. It did pick up pace a bit in the last third or so - much more incident and development - and I didn't see the ending coming. My final impression, though, was that Christie had made a novel out of enough material for only a longish short story.

179frahealee
Edited: Jan 5, 12:05pm Top

Are we continuing here in the New Year? I wasn't sure if a new thread was typical at the close of one and the cusp of the next...

Found an online audiobook of At Chrighton Abbey, a short story by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I had not heard of the author or the story before, and although I am not a fan of 'the hunt', this nostalgic ghost story filled an empty hour nicely. It cleansed the palate after The Listener by Blackwood. =( Grisly.

I have made it through four of five stories in the Le Fanu collection In A Glass Darkly, with January focused on gothic leftovers from last year. Carmilla is the final puzzle piece... I liked the many references in Dragon Volant that I get now; Walter Scott, Don Quixote, etc. I liked it better than the three short stories, unexpectedly.

For novels, I am half done The Italian by Radcliffe, with The Monk and Melmoth soon to follow, hopefully within a few reasonable weeks. I'd like to do three vampire themed reads in February, following Carmilla.

>163 alaudacorax: I will be sad to finish my final Radcliffe. She is kind of like Christie, in that it is easy to skip from one to the next without much thought. I read likely 30xAC mysteries back in my early 20s since my sister collected them (her name being Christie) and prefer Poirot to Marple. I have only read one since then since it was on the 1001 books to read before you die list (The Murder of Roger Ackroyd). I watched And Then There Were None 2015 with Maggie Smith's boy, Toby Stephens, since I didn't feel the need to read the book first, at the time (last year sometime). Good cast, nice remote island.

180alaudacorax
Jan 6, 5:42am Top

>179 frahealee: - Are we continuing here in the New Year? I wasn't sure if a new thread was typical at the close of one and the cusp of the next...

No, just start new threads when the old ones get slow to load or navigate.

I don't know how many film versions of And Then There Were None I've seen, but I think all were probably more fun than the book.
Had no idea Toby Stephens was Maggie Smith's son. Somehow, I never thought of her as the marrying, family kind.

181housefulofpaper
Jan 7, 7:32pm Top

Rosemary Pardoe has been involved in the small press/fan press since the late 60s. She specialises in M/ R. James and has published Ghosts and Scholars/ The Ghosts and Scholars Newsletter (the difference being the lack of fiction in the newsletter - although it crept back, and the publication has accordingly just reverted back to its original name) for something like 30 years, maybe longer.

The Black Pilgrimage is an oversized softcover book reprinting many articles on James and related authors and matters ghostly.It's scholarly without being dry or stuffed with jargon.

Howard David Ingham has written a book, based on and expanding on a blog, that in essence is a collection of film and TV reviews of works that can be classed as folk horror. He's another person who is erudite and informative whilst still writing lively and engaging prose. But he also brings in the personal - there are passages of childhood reminiscence, of political anger, used to drive a point home or create a connection with the reader. His criticism too, struck me as consistently sound and illuminating, The book's entitled We Don't Go Back.

Helen's Story by Rosanne Rabinowitz is a novella I've had for a while but hadn't picked up to read. It's a partial rewrite and continuation of Arthur Machen's "The Great God Pan", in which Helen Vaughn didn't die, but lived on into the present day. Helen's unspeakable perversions and metamorphoses, and her effect on others, are neither condemned nor discreetly hinted at here.

Sleeping With the Lights on is a short in page length, but pretty dense and meaty, book about horror by Darryl Jones. It's published by OUP and looks like it might have been intended for their "A Very Short Introduction" series.

The last book I finished reading is, in fact, a genuine volume in that series. The Devil: A Very Short Introduction by Darren Oldridge.

182Rembetis
Jan 8, 8:25am Top

>168 alaudacorax: Last year, I read Agatha Christie's 'The Hound of Death and other short stories' (1933), I believe it's her only collection of supernatural short stories. It was a mixed bag, some stories were dreadful (including the title story), but some were very good - 'Last Seance', 'Wireless', 'The Lamp', and one was outright surreal and ethereal - 'The Call of Wings'.

The British Library has a new and ongoing series of paperback books (with striking covers) under the umbrella title 'Tales of the Weird'. Over Christmas, I read 'Spirits of the Season - Christmas hauntings', which I enjoyed. Some of the stories were familiar to me ('The Kit Bag' - Algernon Blackwood, 'The Shadow' - E Nesbit) whilst others weren't ('The Four Fifteen Express' - Amelia B Edwards, 'The Christmas Shadrach' - Frank R Stockton). It made for good seasonal reading. I shall be getting more in this range.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywo...

183alaudacorax
Edited: Jan 8, 12:04pm Top

>182 Rembetis:

... and such is my love/hate relationship with Christie that I'll probably end up reading The Hound of Death now that you've made me aware of it ...

184LolaWalser
Jan 8, 10:13am Top

I second Rembetis' remarks about The Hound... and would add there is a similar strain of "otherworldly" atmosphere and supernatural touches in many (most?) stories in The mysterious Mr. Quinn. (These are not overlapping selections, are they? I'm pretty sure I have both books from the same publisher.) That said, when I started re-reading them recently, at least the first few struck me as markedly weaker than my remembered impression from my teens, so... no guarantees of anything...

185Rembetis
Jan 8, 8:40pm Top

>183 alaudacorax: I know what you mean about love/hate with Christie! I have read her since childhood, and return to her almost like a comfort blanket, once or twice a year.

>184 LolaWalser: Thanks for alerting me to 'The Mysterious Mr Quinn'. I wasn't aware that Christie had written another anthology of 'atmospheric/supernatural' stories! This collection predates the 'Hound' by 3 years (1930) - I checked and there are no overlapping selections.

186LolaWalser
Jan 8, 10:47pm Top

>185 Rembetis:

Not to spoil too much, but it's probably fair to warn the "supernatural" is rather discreet in these stories, really mostly existing around the mysterious figure of Mr. Quin (I see I misspelt his name above...) I found the time to reread two or three during my latest vacation and now they struck me as very naive, but who knows, there may be some charm in that...

187frahealee
Edited: Feb 8, 11:29am Top

With a burst of intention, I flurried through several short stories/novellas/novels by William Hope Hodgson, listed in order of preference not the order that they were read;

The Boats of the Glen Carrig
The Ghost Pirates
Carnacki, The Ghost Finder
The Voice in the Night
The Goddess of Death (this started it off, with The Weird Tradition group discussion)
The House on the Borderland
The Night Land

Some were on Kobo/ebook, some audiobooks, some online text only. Similar experience with some other authors, in that I made a great start, then found the final one difficult to complete, mostly due to repetition of certain themes, which snagged certain sections and decreased the lustre as I went. All good stories, but even if there is a great one I've missed, I've had enough of this guy for awhile. Sad that his life was cut short though, since his writing style was so smooth. His use of the word 'presently' became unbearable though. =)

Feeling the need for a substantial tangible read next, that might take all of February... The Woman in White? By Gaslight? Could flip a freezing cold coin... We've had four 'snow/ice days' in the past two weeks which makes for lots of reading time. Not a bad thing. I need to kick up my CanLit content during Lent.

-ps- I felt the same about The Little Prince, read recently with my daughter. The author died the year after publication, during the war. I had not read this one as a child, although I'd heard of it, but might pursue the allegory aspects another time. Can't help but contemplate the other stories he might have gifted us had he lived longer.

188alaudacorax
Feb 11, 2:18pm Top

Just finished reading Carnacki, The Ghost Finder. The stories held my attention - I didn't lose interest - but they left me a bit unsatisfied. I'm not much of a fan of rational explanations.

189LolaWalser
Feb 11, 2:28pm Top

Not Gothic literature sensu stricto, but sort of in its neighbourhood--The Case against Satan by Ray Russell (originally published in 1962, a tale of exorcism predating The exorcist) and Das Wachsfigurenkabinett, a collection of international horror/horrorish fantasy with stories dating from the early 19th- mid-20th century. But the special attraction here is illustrations by Alfred Kubin.

190WeeTurtle
Feb 12, 1:27am Top

I'm going to be utterly deprived of my gothic and weird until I'm done school, unless someone has some suggestions for kid's books from 2-12 range that cover Gothic fiction? I've already got Mary Who Wrote Frankenstein.

191alaudacorax
Edited: Feb 12, 8:00am Top

>188 alaudacorax:

Also, the common frame Carnacki Hodgson gives each of the stories doesn't sit well with me - for me, it verges on silly.

192alaudacorax
Feb 12, 7:59am Top

>189 LolaWalser:

Your post had me googling Alfred Kubin. Quite pleased to find he did a lithograph for 'The Bride of Corinth' - a favourite of mine and which we have a thread for, but now I'm rather frustrated on coming across his painting 'The Groom', being intrigued by it, and not being able to find online a decent-sized, good-quality image of it or an explanation of the subject matter.

193pgmcc
Feb 12, 8:24am Top

>189 LolaWalser: I recently acquired The Case Against Satan but have not read it yet. I bought it on the strength of having found Russell's Haunted Castles very amusing.

194LolaWalser
Feb 12, 12:26pm Top

>192 alaudacorax:

Is this large enough? (Click on image)

Der Bräutigam (Rhinocerus und Jungfrau)

A cursory google brings up a remark on this drawing within the framework of the exhibition Salon der Angst:

Several mythological motifs are joined together in Der Bräutigam (Rhinocerus und Jungfrau) (c.1903–04, The Bridegroom: Rhinoceros and Virgin): the black rhinoceros above the helplessly sprawled virgin is reminiscent of the classical myth of Zeus and Europa. At the same time, the rhinoceros represents exotic foreignness; it signals xenophobia and the colonial era.


>193 pgmcc:

It's a quick read (it's just that I'm delayed by a million things) and so far amusing indeed. Plus other things.

"I don't drink," said Talbot flatly. "Listen, Garth. Before I opened my own print shop, I used to work as night clerk in a hotel. You learn a lot in a job like that. People come and go--good people and bad, most of them bad. And you get to know everything about them, every mean little nasty vice. The old sugar daddies come in with their eighteen-year-old girls. Eighteen? Seventeen, sixteen, younger! Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Ha! (...) And the priests come in. Oh yes. With their coat collars turned up, thinking they are fooling everybody. But they never fooled me. Yes, the priests come in, Garth. With their frightened little girls. And little boys."

195alaudacorax
Feb 13, 6:50am Top

>194 LolaWalser:

Thanks Lola, but that's not the same image. This is the one that's piqued my curiosity:

https://www.wikiart.org/en/alfred-kubin/the-groom-1906

I'm assuming the 'groom' is 'bridegroom' rather 'stable groom' and that he's the weird little (supernatural?), central figure.

Other than that, I can't make head or tail of it. Is the figure with the topper human? What I can make out of the face is weird. What is the little figure to the right and what is it wearing, and is it carrying a bunch of flowers or is something looking round from behind it? Where are they--a forest after dark? The lady doesn't seem dressed as a bride. Are she and her companion stepping down out of a cave? Are there more figures following behind them? It's all rather weird and puzzling. Not least because, in reversal of fairy tale convention, she seems to be tripping forward quite happily while he seems to be being dragged by the scruff of the neck.

196alaudacorax
Feb 13, 6:54am Top

>195 alaudacorax:

And having written that, it's occurred to me that the groom might be the chap in the topper and that he might be leaning on the shoulder of the queer little creature.

197alaudacorax
Feb 13, 6:59am Top

>195 alaudacorax:, >195 alaudacorax:

Or it's nothing to do with weddings at at all and the central figure is a stable groom being held by the scruff of the neck; in which case I have even less idea of what's going on ...

198LolaWalser
Feb 13, 12:32pm Top

>195 alaudacorax:

I wasn't sure whether those were labelled correctly, as I couldn't find them on German websites. The rhino drawing pops up more often (at least in my search conditions) and apparently predates the pastels. I presume this may refer to that pastel or a similar one:

In 1901, when he was in his early twenties, Kubin met his first Maecenas, the publisher Hans von Weber. This man prompted the first publication of "Facsimiles of artistic drawings", the so-called "Weber portfolio". The early work already contains what will remain Kubin's interest to the end of his life: the experience and sensation of the demonic, the monstrous and the terrible, in his world and that of the observer. His drawings and books are filled with spirits, witches, gnomes and ghosts.-- Even such a scene as the meeting between the bride and the bridegroom, usually experienced as joyous and happy, in this instance {note: no image given} appears dominated by gloom, and those present--the bridal pair and possibly the witnesses--are almost devoured by the darkness of the forest. At the same time the drawing and especially its protagonist illustrates something else that dominated Kubin: "A certain well-known factor in Kubin's life and work is the sense of ageing...(...) All to the end of his life there will be no letter and almost no written trace from Kubin that doesn't revolve, almost monomaniacally, around the fact of ageing, the decline of his body or even death. {...} It's also possible that in "Der Bräutigam" Kubin processed the death in 1903 of his fiancée Emmy Bayer and his ensuing marriage to Hedwig Gründler.


There are references to some monographs of Kubin's work; not sure whether there may not be more information on sources etc. for specific works there--also, Kubin wrote some biographical books, for example Dämonen und Nachtgesichte (Demons and faces appearing in the night) but that doesn't seem to have been translated in English... pity, it gives a very good general picture of his obsessions.

199alaudacorax
Feb 13, 1:35pm Top

>198 LolaWalser:

Thanks Lola.

Oh well, I suppose not every picture must have a story behind it. Interesting reference to gnomes--I suppose the central figure could very well be a gnome. And that's sent me off down another path: I've just realised I have no childhood memory of ever reading or hearing a story about a gnome, so I'm wondering how they came to infest British gardens the way the little brutes do. I've seen gardens with whole gangs of them.

I wish I could find a good image of that picture--I've just realised there is something strange poking out of the ground in the patch of light foregrounding the group of figures.

200DavidX
Edited: Feb 15, 2:09am Top

I'm currently reading "The Hidden Children" by Robert W. Chambers and it is quite interesting, also shockingly violent. It would make an excellent historical horror film set during the revolutionary war if handled well. The historical setting is the "Sullivan Expedition" during the revolutionary war which completely destroyed the Iroquois League, the survivors fled to Canada. The book begins with these dark enigmatic verses, written by one Samuel Dodge during the Revolutionary War, which inspired the novel.

THE LONG HOUSE

"Onenh jatthondek sewarih-wisa-anongh-kwe kaya-renh-kowah!
Onenh wa-karigh-wa-kayon-ne.
Onenh ne okne joska-wayendon.
Yetsi-siwan-enyadanion ne
Sewari-wisa-anonqueh."

"Now listen, ye who established the Great League!
Now it has become old.
Now there is nothing but wilderness.
Ye are in your graves who established it."

"At the Wood's Edge."

NENE KARENNA

When the West kindles red and low,
Across the sunset's sombre glow,
The black crows fly—the black crows fly!
High pines are swaying to and fro
In evil winds that blow and blow.
The stealthy dusk draws nigh—draws nigh,
Till the sly sun at last goes down,
And shadows fall on Catharines-town.

Oswaya swaying to and fro.

By the Dark Empire's Western gate
Eight stately, painted Sachems wait
For Amochol—for Amochol!
Hazel and samphire consecrate
The magic blaze that burns like Hate,
While the deep witch-drums roll—and roll.
Sorceress, shake thy dark hair down!
The Red Priest comes from Catharines-town.

Ha-ai! Karenna! Fate is Fate.

Now let the Giants clothed in stone
Stalk from Biskoonah; while, new grown,
The Severed Heads fly high—fly high!
White-throat, White-throat, thy doom is known!
O Blazing Soul that soars alone
Like a Swift Arrow to the sky,
High winging—fling thy Wampum down,
Lest the sky fall on Catharines-town.

White-throat, White-throat, thy course is flown.

I have a new understanding of why upstate New York is so creepy. There are similarities to Chateuabriand's Atala/Rene. I love Chambers prose style, and his vivid descriptions and characters.

201alaudacorax
Edited: Feb 16, 1:20pm Top

Finished reading Agatha Christie's The Hound of Death and Other Stories today--a collection of stories with a supernatural element to them. I think one of you may have mentioned them and brought them to my attention.

In terms of quality they were a startlingly mixed bunch. One or two were really quite good and powerful, some not so much, and some, frankly, irritating.

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