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Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 23 September, 2020 05:46PM
By the way, ireelevant mostly, but I think it was largely Mervyn Peake and Machen who got me particularly interested in Dickens, who turned out in years ahead to be one of my favorite authors of all.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 September, 2020 05:49PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> More on Machen's thought. I think too much is
> made of his attention to "the occult" and not
> enough of his love of Dickens. I need to read it
> again (after 40 years or so!), but I would expect
> to find in Dickens's relatively short novel Hard
> Times a kindred spirit with Machen. Both men were
> hostile to a utilitarian education and both were
> sure the soul needs more than "Facts" -- in the
> Dickens novel, it's symbolized by the circus,
> while in his nonfiction Machen liked to reminisce
> about being an actor, a "strolling player"-- which
> he took up after his first wife's death from
> cancer, as I recall. The circus and the traveling
> stage could be emblems of a way of life
> acknowledging the essential role of the
> imagination for a flourishing human life.

Of course, from the perspective of early 21st C, it seems like Machen, and by extent Dickens, felt that it was an "either/or" situation--that there was no room in late 19th C materialism for the legitimate existence of the spiritual and largely aesthetic imagination. I'd say that while this may have been true then--you'd know about this better than I would--this has not been the case since the 60s, when occultism and spiritualism of all stripes was in vogue, and that has lasted until the present, and in its commercialized version is labeled "New Age".

"Oh, wow, man. Heavy....". :^) Surely you recall this, huh?

Are we on the same wavelength, Dale?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 23 September, 2020 06:01PM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> By the way, ireelevant mostly, but I think it was
> largely Mervyn Peake and Machen who got me
> particularly interested in Dickens, who turned out
> in years ahead to be one of my favorite authors of
> all.


That's interesting, Dale. Peake is the Titus Groan guy, right?

I could never connect with Dickens--he's one of those guys I somehow could never read, like Henry James.

Now a guy from the same era whom I *can* read is Melville. I cannot tell you why, not having really discussed this in any detail. Bartleby the Scrivner is, like Crane's Blue Hotel, right up there as an early modern tale, in my book.

I can read Poe, usually. It's less the content (mostly don't much care for Poe's brand of horror) but maybe the style, or maybe the way the narration is structured. The deranged narrator--although often overdone.

Do you see Masque of the Red Death as having maybe influenced CAS?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 04:55AM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If you're interested in Machen's well-known horror
> fiction, you could try these:
>
> The White People
> The Black Seal
> The Inmost Light
> The Great God Pan*

****

"The Shining Pyramid", "The Children Of The Pool" and "Adventure Of The Missing Brothe" (the latter is included in the book "The Three Impostors") are also great horror/weird fiction tales by Mr. Machen.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 10:18AM
Minicthulhu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dale Nelson Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > If you're interested in Machen's well-known
> horror
> > fiction, you could try these:
> >
> > The White People
> > The Black Seal
> > The Inmost Light
> > The Great God Pan*
>
> ****
>
> "The Shining Pyramid", "The Children Of The Pool"
> and "Adventure Of The Missing Brothe" (the latter
> is included in the book "The Three Impostors") are
> also great horror/weird fiction tales by Mr.
> Machen.


Thanks!

I'm in the middle of White People and will look into these others, most likely.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 02:03PM
Sawfish, Machen would make a severe distinction between the poetic and mystical tradition he appreciated and Sixties occultism. I'm sure it's no accident that in a couple of stories he has a 19th-century author named Mr. Hampole -- Richard Rolle of Hampole being one of the late medieval English mystics along with Walter Hilton, Lady Julian of Norwich, and the author of The Cloud of Unknowing.

(I had fun writing a long short story or novella with Mr. Hampole as a character -- alas, unpublished.)

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 02:05PM
Yes, Mervyn Peake wrote Titus Groan and Gormenghast. He illustrated an edition of Dickens's Bleak House. Perhaps his masterpieces as illustrators of other authors' books are Alice in Wonderland and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But Peake hasn't retained his grip on my imagination such as he had in the 1970s.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 02:07PM
And, Sawfish, yes, it's certainly believable to me that Poe's "Masque" influenced CAS.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 05:31PM
I think that's accurate. Machen's admiration for Dickens is clear in Heiroglyphics, and in an interview clip on YouTube he can be heard comparing Thackeray unfavorably to Dickens, further proving your point. I recommend Machen's later stories, especially those in The Children of the Pool and other stories (1924) to Sawfish as they suggest a new direction; they are underrated, IMO. "Out of the Picture", in that volume, is similar in tone to The Three Imposters. (I disagree with your criticism there), but expresses Machen's tripartite interest in aesthetics/pathological behavior/ and the romance of hidden things in general. I have just begun to read his two-part autobiography. Machen, like Doyle, developed a polished prose style that is semi-conversational, anecdotal-tinged, and imaginatively surcharged.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 07:01PM
Kipling Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think that's accurate. Machen's admiration for
> Dickens is clear in Heiroglyphics, and in an
> interview clip on YouTube he can be heard
> comparing Thackeray unfavorably to Dickens,
> further proving your point. I recommend Machen's
> later stories, especially those in The Children of
> the Pool and other stories (1924) to Sawfish as
> they suggest a new direction; they are underrated,
> IMO. "Out of the Picture", in that volume, is
> similar in tone to The Three Imposters. (I
> disagree with your criticism there), but expresses
> Machen's tripartite interest in
> aesthetics/pathological behavior/ and the romance
> of hidden things in general. I have just begun to
> read his two-part autobiography. Machen, like
> Doyle, developed a polished prose style that is
> semi-conversational, anecdotal-tinged, and
> imaginatively surcharged.

Thanks for this additional viewpoint. I just completed The White People, and now have that, plus The Black Seal and The White Powder under my belt. I may try to read some of his later stuff from among those works you recommended.

Two additional comments:

1) I come at this differently. I'm not a scholar, but rather a consumer. To that end I seldom care to learn much about an author, or only so much as it informs his method of expression. This means that it's possible for me to like the works of completely reprehensible characters in real life, or find no interest in the works of admirable characters. The work, itself, is paramount, and both intellectual outlook, and authorial style play a big role for me, with subject matter acting as a sort of beacon.

2) In speaking of Dickens and Thackeray, what is your opinion of your ED username's work, Kipling? I ignored him almost completely until about 2 years ago, and then got some of his stuff off of Project Gutenberg. I was thoroughly impressed with much of what I read. He's underappreciated, and possibly this is because he was a product of his age, and the characteristics of his age are viewed currently as unenlightened.

He was prolific, and this too, ironically, seems to have worked against him.

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 10:36PM
Sawfish or Kipling, if either of you would like to propose a Kipling thread, perhaps focusing on the weird fiction first.... I'd likely participate in that.

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2020 11:38PM
I propose that we look into the short story Maestro's weird fiction, as you suggest, as it seems ripe for reevaluation. I'll begin by recalling my disappointment with a Kipling tale called "The House Surgeon". I anticipated a masterpiece to rank with "The Mark of the Beast" (which I read again 2 days ago). What I found was a slow-moving narrative, bogged down in detail, instantly forgotten. I confess that I have read precious little of Kipling, whose early and children's works were unsurpassed in popularity. The Penguin edition of The Phantom Rickshaw & others is a good place to start, btw. Well, does his prolificity account for his neglect as Sawfish suggests? It's kind of like that with de Maupassant too, isn't it? Since I've just read "The Mark of the Beast," I move that we begin there. Is it better, or not as good as Edward Lucas White's "Lukunndu"?

jkh

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 25 September, 2020 10:01AM
Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sawfish or Kipling, if either of you would like to
> propose a Kipling thread, perhaps focusing on the
> weird fiction first.... I'd likely participate in
> that.


Good idea.

I'm for it!

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Dale Nelson (IP Logged)
Date: 25 September, 2020 11:46AM
Let's have an unhurried walk with Kipling, and then maybe spend some time with John Buchan -- ?

Re: SUPER THREAD: getting "into" Machen
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 25 September, 2020 01:04PM
Don't know Buchan, at all. Any recommendations for an introduction to his work, recalling that I'm a consumer and not a scholar?

Sawfish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think."

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