Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto:  Message ListNew TopicSearchLog In
Cosmic Horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 11 January, 2014 03:00PM
Hey,

who do you think is the real father of "Cosmic Horror"? Of course, many think the appropriate name to my question cannot be no other but Lovecraft, but I think several authors wrote what is called "Cosmicism" before HPL and his disciples did.
My money's on Machen, Blackwood, Shiel and Hodgson who wrote in "Cosmic horror" vein dekades before the one who is regarded as the real and only father of the genre.

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 11 January, 2014 04:29PM
First, I think it would be best to define our terms. What is meant by "cosmic horror" here? HPL came close to defining it, but he also used the term much more broadly than his already somewhat vague definition would indicate. So what do you mean when you use the term?

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 11 January, 2014 05:06PM
Regardless of what can be hidden under the term "cosmic horror", for me it represents a certain ridge in horror literature, a kind of getting rid of all the spooks and bogeymen, and a swing to much more modern conception of horror genre.

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 11 January, 2014 10:59PM
I'm really not trying to be pedantic here, but attempting to clarify understanding. Can you describe what, to you, "cosmic horror" is? Could you give some specific examples (stories, not writers), to give a better understanding of what the term means to you.

The reason I ask this is because I've engaged in numerous discussions of this type, and unless the terms are explained, confusion is almost always the result, with tons of suggestions which are completely off what the poster is actually looking for....

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2014 04:29AM
OK, here are stories I consider to be "pre-lovecraftian cosmic horror":

The Great God Pan
The House On The Borderland
The Baumoff Explosive
The Willows
Horla
Xélucha

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2014 08:02AM
Some of the titles on your list would fit into my understanding of "cosmic horror" (early benchmarks would be Clark Ashton Smith's "The Shadows", Hodgson's THE NIGHT LAND, many works by H. G. Wells, Olaf Stapleton, etc.), but others do not even come close:

Yes to:
Hodgson's "The House On The Borderland"

Hodgson's "The Baumoff Explosive" - what separates this from the stories I have excluded below is Hodgson's focus, which BEGINS with a story central to Christianity, but whose mechanism is rationalistic.

Blackwood's "The Willows"


But I see nothing cosmic in the other three:

"The Great God Pan" - the frame could be seen as science-fictional (though Machen's later story, "The Inmost Light" might be a better candidate), but the central story is about as close to traditional demon-haunted Good vs. Evil Christianity-based horror fiction as Machen came, with a decadent touch, which enraged his contemporaries.

"The Horla" - one of the earliest classics dealing with a race of invisible beings (see also Fitz-James O'Brien's "What Was It?", Bierce's "The Damned Thing" and multiple works by Jean Ray), but although some writers have explored the alien-ness of this phenomenon, de Maupassant makes it just as likely that the narrator is insane.

"Xélucha" - a decadent ghost story. Now, if you were to cite "Vaila" (aka "The House of Sounds") I might be more inclined to agree with you.

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: Minicthulhu (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2014 08:29AM
"What Was It?" is a ridiculous story, but I remember it because of the stupidity of the main characters who wanted to find out the physical identity of the invisible being by casting it instead of painting it black. :-)

Re: Cosmic Horror
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 12 January, 2014 08:41AM
The advantage of making a cast is the production of an artifact (like a death mask), which could be studied in greater detail long after the original had been lost to decay.



Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
Top of Page