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Old 08-09-2017   #111
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Re: Arthur Machen

I am continuing to read RITUAL & OTHER STORIES, dipping into it every now and then, inbetween other books. It is a most wonderful collection.

"A Remarkable Coincidence" and "A Double Return" are two insidiously nightmarish stories, about what might happen - when you fail to pursue your ambitions and career, and when you neglect your wife.
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Old 08-09-2017   #112
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Re: Arthur Machen

My favourites from that book are Rus in Urbe, the Ornaments in Jade pieces, Opening the Door and Change.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 08-09-2017   #113
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Re: Arthur Machen

There is no comparison, or equal talent to Machen, in his given field. (One may perhaps mention Walter de la Mare or Algernon Blackwood, but all these three worked in separate ways and states of minds.) Machen does what he does perfectly. So brilliant, so sharp, intellectually controlled, so wise, so beautifully composed.

Lovecraft, although vastly admiring Machen, seemed a bit too impressed by him, and daunted by his seriousness. He thought that Machen's work was hysterical in its intensity, and that his own spirit was closer akin to the more relaxed and non-attached approach of Dunsany.
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Old 08-09-2017   #114
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Re: Arthur Machen

Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
There is no comparison, or equal talent to Machen, in his given field.
I would rate Aickman highest because of the consistent quality of visionary and stylistic excellence he reaches, but 1890s Machen is certainly up there, and The Great God Pan, The Inmost Light, Novel of the Black Seal, Novel of the White Powder, The Shining Pyramid, The White People and The Hill of Dreams form a distinguished, unique body of dark fiction. A lot of his work after the start of World War One is flat and unmemorable, but it doesn't detract from how eminently rereadable his earlier fiction is.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 08-10-2017   #115
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Re: Arthur Machen

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
There is no comparison, or equal talent to Machen, in his given field.
I would rate Aickman highest because of the consistent quality of visionary and stylistic excellence he reaches, but 1890s Machen is certainly up there, and The Great God Pan, The Inmost Light, Novel of the Black Seal, Novel of the White Powder, The Shining Pyramid, The White People and The Hill of Dreams form a distinguished, unique body of dark fiction. A lot of his work after the start of World War One is flat and unmemorable, but it doesn't detract from how eminently rereadable his earlier fiction is.
Just curious James.. who would you list as the top 5 writers of 'dark fiction'? Aickman and Machen I think are must includes. I would also rank probably Ligotti, Poe, and the 5th on the list is the hard one to me... Kiernan? Bradbury? Grabinski? Campbell? Jackson? It's a hard choice.
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Old 08-10-2017   #116
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Re: Arthur Machen

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Knygathin View Post
There is no comparison, or equal talent to Machen, in his given field.
I would rate Aickman highest because of the consistent quality of visionary and stylistic excellence he reaches, ...
I have not had time to explore the work of Aickman yet, otherwise I probably would have mentioned him more often. I have only read "The Swords" and "The Wine-Dark Sea", both of which impressed and gave me great pleasure, especially the latter one.
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Old 08-13-2017   #117
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Re: Arthur Machen

I apologize if this has been posted here already, but I've been listening to this guy's reading of Hieroglyphics over the weekend, and he did a pretty solid job:
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Old 08-26-2017   #118
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Re: Arthur Machen

The Great God Pan and Other Horror Stories - Hardback - Arthur Machen, Aaron Worth - Oxford University Press

A decent selection of Machen's work as it developed through his life, though it is regrettable that The Great Return and A Fragment of Life are absent.

The truly perfect Machen starter kit has yet to be published. I would have replaced The Terror in the Joshi book with The Great God Pan and have replaced it in Tales of Horror and the Supernatural with A Fragment of Life.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 08-26-2017   #119
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Re: Arthur Machen

James wrote, "The truly perfect Machen starter kit has yet to be published."

James, would you please list the three or four (or five) collections / editions that you consider indispensible for Machen readers?

I found your previous similar posts on Walter de la Mare to be truly helpful!

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Old 08-26-2017   #120
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Re: Arthur Machen

In terms of dark fiction all a reader would need would be Tales of Horror and the Supernatural and The Hill of Dreams. Neither Machen nor de la Mare were remotely prolific writers of dark supernatural fiction, despite being among the form's greatest practitioners. They make Aickman's oeuvre seem infinitely larger in comparison, though they make up for their short supply by being among the only writers of comparable quality.

More comprehensively, obtaining The House of Souls, The Three Impostors, The Hill of Dreams, Ornaments in Jade and The Secret Glory would give a reader all of his best pre-WW1 fiction, and with the exception of the Ornaments each is available on Gutenberg.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/214

After the beginning of the war among the only essentials of his fiction are the stories The Great Return and N, both included in Tales of Horror and the Supernatural, though his autobiographies are marvels of psychogeography, and while I'm mentioning his non-fiction it would do well to recommend his 1890s manifesto Hieroglyphics.

Much like Lovecraft after him, Machen's work is often baulked in presentation by over-inclusiveness. Somebody really does need to put together a collection of just those six 1890s horror stories and his dark novel The Hill of Dreams rather than all this insanity of marketing a book as his horror pieces and including lilting prose poems and uplifting nationalistic wartime parables.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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