View Full Version : Lovecraft & Danvers hospital: Saving Arkham Asylum

matt cardin
09-09-2005, 06:00 PM
Now available: an online article at the Website for the North Shore Sunday newspaper, specifically at http://www2.townonline.com/lynnfield/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=322302. It just went live today, and it's the article I mentioned in a previous message, the one that my sister's new boss/editor was writing. I find it interesting that she devoted an entire article to detailing the nonspecific imaginative links between Lovecraft and the Danvers State Hospital. Aside from the fact that she mentions Arkham Asylum several times without specifying that this fabled institution is actually a part of the Batman universe instead of the Lovecraft mythos, I feel like she did a nice job of providing accurate background information on the aspects of Lovecraft's life and writings that have a bearing on this historic structure, and vice versa.

09-10-2005, 11:51 AM
Matt Cardin, a horror story writer who has a long relationship with Lovecraft, feels the author's interest in the past led him to mine the North Shore for ideas and images.

Why, Matt, I have no idea you were that old! :lol:

Just kidding, of course. You know, it's quite a good article, and even though the idea that

A core theme in Lovecraft's imaginary world is reality and madness. In his skewered vision, insanity isn't something that takes over when someone loses touch with reality. In fact, it's the opposite. Madness occurs when an individual arrives at a moment of clarity, when one understands the dark and ferocious forces that have dictated the past and doom the future.

is something that anyone with more than a passing interest in Lovecraft already knows (or should know, at any rate), it's nice to actually see it stated in the article as succinctly as she does.

Good read, though I'm surprised she didn't reference Session Nine.

Off-Topic: Matt, I've already told you this, but I love your essay on Lovecraft and Ligotti and look forward to the next installment. My only worry is that it might be someone like Nabokov or Schulz, to name just two of the many influences on Ligotti that I haven't really read as much as I have Lovecraft. Also, I know this is a series you were planning for yourself, but I think the work of Cornell Woolrich also has a lot in common with Ligotti, despite significant differences. I'd love to do something along those lines, perhaps following your pattern, but then I don't want to step on your toes.

matt cardin
09-11-2005, 11:36 AM
Hi, Andrew. It's nice to cross paths with you again, especially since it seems like quite awhile since the last occurrence.

Taking last things first, yes, please, by all means write up an essay on Woolrich. I've not read a word of his work even though I hear it's wonderful. He's on my backburner list of must-read-someday authors, and I'd love to see what connections you might draw between his dark worldview and Ligotti's.

By the way, you're not the only person who has volunteered to write additional essays to flesh out the relationship between Ligotti and his literary influences. One of our members here has sent me two articles/essays for review and editing, one about Borges and the other about Thomas Bernhard. And now that I look back at it, it's been -- great Groddeck -- four months and I still haven't fully seen to these items. In a word, I suck. So yes, please do tackle Woolrich for this endeavor, which I intended from the beginning to be a group endeavor anyway. Feel free to email your eventual to me me in private or via a private message here at TLO, and I'll try to be get on the ball. (Incidentally, I suppose all of these comments and provisos are simply by way of warning you about my slowness. Between moving from house to house and state to state, changing jobs, and trying to continue producing some meager semblance of my own personal creative work, I've not been very good at staying in touch for, well, a very long time now.)

I agree that Barbara, the author of the Danvers-Lovecraft article, did a nice job in that paragraph you quote of summarizing the inverted (according to conventional standards) relationship between madness and sanity in HPL's work. Although it's something she could easily have picked up from any number of introductory articles, I like to think that maybe I had a little something to do with it since in our phone conversation I spent a couple of minutes stressing that very same issue in much the same phrasing that she ended up using.

Reverting topics for a moment, I'm glad you enjoyed the Lovecraft-Ligotti essay. I can't remember whether I've already mentioned this, but S.T. Joshi has accepted it for publication in the next issue of STUDIES IN WEIRD FICTION, which should be out some time in the next few months.