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Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 June, 2014 04:09PM
"Carmilla", oh how beautiful! . . . I am speechless.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2014 08:03AM
Which are the best authors, and best ghost stories, or horror stories, graphically describing scenes of mossy, mouldy graves and tombs, housed by undead and animated corpses with worms spilling out of their eye sockets, flesh falling off their bones, . . . and similar such things?

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2014 08:27AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Which are the best authors, and best ghost
> stories, or horror stories, graphically describing
> scenes of mossy, mouldy graves and tombs, housed
> by undead and animated corpses with worms spilling
> out of their eye sockets, flesh falling off their
> bones, . . . and similar such things?

I can cite one classic example for you. The song we all heard as children about the worms crawling/creeping in and out dates back to 1796 when Matthew Gregory Lewis included the ballad "Alonzo the Brave and Fair Imogene" in THE MONK. Here is one relevant passage:

His presence all bosoms appeared to dismay,
The guests sat in silence and fear;
At length spake the bride, while trembling, "I pray,
Sir Knight, that your helmet aside you would lay,
And deign to partake of our cheer."

The lady was silent, the stranger complied;
His visor he slowly unclosed;
Great God what a sight met fair Imogene's eyes,
What words can express her dismay and surprise,
When a skeleton's head was exposed!

All present then uttered a horrified shout;
And turned with disgust from the scene;
The worms, they crept in and the worms they crept out,
They sported his eyes and his temples about
While the spectre addressed Imogene:

"Behold me, thou false one, behold me," he cried,
"Remember Alonzo the Brave;
God grant that to punish thy falsehood and pride,
My ghost at your marriage should sit by your side,
Should tax you with perjury, claim you as a bride,
And bear you away to the grave."

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2014 01:06PM
There's also this translation of a piece by Bürger:

[www.rc.umd.edu]

There are several other translations of this on the 'net, including the one by Scott.

The old ballads often included rather grisly passages dealing with death, corruption, the undead, etc., sometimes quite effective and eerie, sometimes lapsing over into the ludicrous or inane. It has been a very long time since I last read it, but you might also want to take a look at Lacey Collison-Morley's Greek and Roman Ghost Stories, which I believe has an example or two:

[www.gutenberg.org]

Lewis, of course, also includes some quite graphic descriptions of death and decay in The Monk; several of the lesser Gothics also have such passages. Keats' "Isabella; or, the Pot of Basil" doesn't deal with an animated corpse in (or emerging from) the grave, but the "spirit" of the dead one is certainly present -- though not explicitly stated -- and it is also surprisingly graphic in its depiction of corruption... not to mention disturbing in other ways.

You may find the following of interest in suggesting possible sources:

[www.greenmanreview.com]

[www.sacred-texts.com]

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2014 02:10PM
Lewis was undoubtedly influenced by Bürger's "Lenore", and printed William Taylor's translation of it as "Lenora" at the end of the second volume of TALES OF WONDER (London: J. Bell, 1801). His own "Alonzo the Brave and Fair Imogene" was reprinted near the beginning of the anthology's first volume.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 June, 2014 02:57PM
jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lewis was undoubtedly influenced by Bürger's
> "Lenore", and printed William Taylor's translation
> of it as "Lenora" at the end of the second volume
> of TALES OF WONDER (London: J. Bell, 1801). His
> own "Alonzo the Brave and Fair Imogene" was
> reprinted near the beginning of the anthology's
> first volume.

Oh, most certainly. Not to take away from Lewis, but he had no problem (any more than many another writer of the period) directly imitating not only the spirit, but the letter, of such things. (E.g., Zofloya, which takes from his Monk, and Shelley's little essays into the form, which nearly take verbatim from both....) Be that as it may, he nonetheless created a piece which remains an important contribution to the field, however flawed.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2014 10:00AM
Thank you. I have not read The Monk. It seems to be an interesting book.

However, I don't like verse.

Verse was originally developed as a way to remember the words of a story. It was more effective than prose, which is easier to forget. It is part of the oral tradition. The invention of writing is what allowed prose to develop. The invention of printing and movable type caused it to flourish. The fact that prose can present facts with greater clarity, in turn, caused verse to decline in importance. Prose is vastly superior.

There is a saying: “Poetry is a dead art, and those who practice it are necrophiliacs. Be sure and wash up afterwards.”

For the subject matter of my original post, I look preferably for work written in consummate prose, and in settings from the 1920's and onward.

The 1950's EC horror comics were full of such images, and I suppose they must have been tapping literary sources.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2014 11:06AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thank you. I have not read The Monk. It seems to
> be an interesting book.

Actually, it is silly, boring, and horribly written.

> However, I don't like verse.

It is also full of verse.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2014 04:54PM
I can't quite agree with Jojo on The Monk. It has grave flaws, certainly; and parts of it would fit his description very well... but when Lewis gets it right, he is quite effective and he certainly came up with some of the grisliest, nastiest bits of description in literature. Still, it's at best an uneven book, so take it with caution. As for his comment about it being "full of verse"... well, not quite. Verse it has, yes; but nearly all novels of the period do, for that matter; some integrate it better into the story, some less. The Monk hits somewhere between. Most of the verse is actually the epigraphs for the chapters, with a few spots being original to the novel.

As for your comments about verse... I couldn't disagree more. I would say it is verse which is actually vastly superior in any artistic sense, as it utilizes much more intensely the impressionistic imagination or imaginative faculty (including, of course, metaphorical language with its richness and complexity). Verse, when done properly, is actually much more concise while retaining broader implications, than prose; hence the use of the term "prosy" for the less imaginative, more down-to-earth person or (to use the more scornful phrase with which it has often been synonymous) "Philistine". This is also why the best prose generally uses poetic techniques (Poe, Lovecraft, Smith, Peake, etc., being prime examples of this).

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 5 July, 2014 11:30AM
I disagree with Jojo and agree with jdworth.

THE MONK is far from perfect, but, as E. F. Bleiler states "it lives". It is one of the few traditional Gothic novels I have found worth rereading, and the the verse is only a portion of it. Lewis uses the verse for a variety of purposes - atmosphere, counterpoint, and even to prefigure events in the plot.

Just because so many bad poems have been published does not mean that verse is inferior to prose - merely by weight in cubic tons, there has been considerably more bad prose published than bad verse. I defy anyone to produce in prose what poets like the Pearl Poet, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Dryden, Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Goethe, Whitman, Matthew Arnold, Tennyson, Baudelaire, Yeats, and many others have been capable of conveying in their best verse. There are special cases, like Thomas Traherne, whose prose is superior to their verse, but the figurative language Traherne uses is far closer to verse than it is to prose, and writers like Whitman would have published it as such.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 5 July, 2014 11:52AM
jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I disagree with Jojo and agree with jdworth.

Ganging up on me now, are we?

There is an adventure subplot, involving nasty highwaymen or something, that sits uncomfortably right in the middle of THE MONK and that I found mildly engaging. But the main matter of the work is just risible.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 5 July, 2014 01:14PM
> -----
> > I disagree with Jojo and agree with jdworth.
>
> Ganging up on me now, are we?
>
Yes, it is all an evil plot, a plot more dastardly than any found in THE MONK.

Jim

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 6 July, 2014 01:43AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> There is an adventure subplot, involving nasty
> highwaymen or something, that sits uncomfortably
> right in the middle of THE MONK and that I found
> mildly engaging. But the main matter of the work
> is just risible.

Hmmm. I'd have said that the main story is actually rather well done, though it certainly has its risible elements (some of which are quite consciously so -- Lewis had a very broad sense of humor, and aspects of The Monk are reminiscent of the "comic scenes" in Marlowe's Faustus, for instance); but overall the story of Ambrosio's damnation is handled rather well. And, of course, the inclusion of the episode with the Bleeding Nun, not to mention the rape in the crypt and the horrific descriptions of the mother imprisoned with the rotting corpse of her infant... those are certainly among the most memorable descriptions of sheer horrific nightmare I can think of from that period.

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 6 July, 2014 01:51AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For the subject matter of my original post, I look
> preferably for work written in consummate prose,
> and in settings from the 1920's and onward.

I had somehow got the impression you were looking for something of a more literary source, rather than the more pulpish type of tale. Of the latter, I've no doubt there were quite a few (though memory fails me at this point, as most of those tend to blur into one another after a while, and I've not read many such in decades); but as for something which might fit the "best writers" dealing with such... those are a bit more scarce, in my recollection. I'd have to do some looking through things to refresh my memory on that, I'm afraid.
>
> The 1950's EC horror comics were full of such
> images, and I suppose they must have been tapping
> literary sources.

Not necessarily; and even where they were, they were often doing so from a considerable distance... though their adaptations of some of Bradbury's stories (e.g., "The Handler") were a good deal closer to the source....

However... you might want to look into some of the writings of Hugh B. Cave; particularly that massive collection of his stories, Murgunstrumm and Others:

[en.wikipedia.org]

The literary quality there is anything but high, but you might enjoy them, particularly with Coye's illustrations. As Karl Edward Wagner put it, letting Coye loose on those stories by Cave was a bit like letting a psychopath loose with a straight razor.....

Re: Less Familiar Weird Literature
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 6 July, 2014 01:03PM
One of the most quintessential scenes in horror, and still so little available in literature. The story of the lich, the corpse in the vault. It's moments like these I wish I had been a writer myself.

jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The literary quality there is anything but high, ...

Rather than read something of inferior quality, I'd preferably take a shot at it myself, and try put together my own amateur telling of the subject, just for the scare of visiting a hoary old cemetary, unlawfully pry open the mossy lid of a tomb, reluctantly go down out of pervers curiosity, . . . and have the character meet his doom, as punishment for his profane impious behaviour, in uncalled for grisly confrontation.




"I don't believe either in liberty or democracy. I believe in actual, sacred, inspired authority: divine rights of natural kings; I believe in the divine right of natural aristocracy, the right, the sacred duty, to wield undisputed authority."
- D. H. Lawrence

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