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Old 1 Week Ago   #101
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
Quote Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
Machen was a dad.
Machen actually wasn't.
He had a son named Hilary and a daughter named Janet.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #102
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

For the most part, I like the old dead white farts, dads or otherwise. They're all we had at the time, of course.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #103
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
He had a son named Hilary and a daughter named Janet.
Ah, the second, later marriage. I often forget about that because I almost solely focus on his work during the 1890s. The children came after his main fiction writing period.

Edit: It's kind of hilarious to me how the quality of Machen's work decreased after he became a white dad.

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

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Old 1 Week Ago   #104
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by Geoffrey View Post
Man, those dead white dudes have written for a long, long time. Some of em were even duh duh... dads.
I laughed.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #105
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I prefer Clive Barker to any of the contemporary (non-Ligotti) writers Joshi has praised over him and think his work will stand the test of time while all these Unutterable Noir books are binned at the end of each year.
I wonder about the scale of Clive Barker's contemporary fan-base and influence? He reached mainstream culture and then seems to have fallen into obscurity. With Anne Rice, I can at least see her being eclipsed by imitators and changing trends...

Quote Originally Posted by Ucasuni View Post
Interesting take on the materialism vs spiritualism framework that guides some of Joshi's critiques. In the case of Barker, I've always thought of it in a slightly differently but related way: the awful versus the awesome. It seems that the Lovecraftian/Joshian view sees cosmicism as an unmitigated horror. But I've always found that it can very effectivley coexist with cosmic wonder. This duality that captures the terrifying and the sublime is at the core of so much of Barker's fiction. His stories are—and his reputation is—built around grotesqueries. Barker frequently writes of creatures and acts of horrifying gruesomeness... and yet those scenes are almost uniformly overflowing with adjectives that are associated with magnificence, beauty, or tragedy. He's enthralled by his horrors.

But beautiful doesn't mean benign, as evidenced by Barker's frequent return to the themes of pleasure and pain. And perhaps that's what could be jamming Joshi up. Maybe he's just ABSOLUTELY not wired to to recognize that duality, and failing to recognize it he struggles to come up with a self-consistent criticism (as Speaking Mute notes); he doesn't like it, he doesn't get, but he can't articulate why.
I think you've managed to define exactly what I've found lacking in contemporary horror - there's very little sense of the wonder or awe that often accompanies fear. I agree with Spiral that Lovecraft was all about the sublime - I think Joshi's interpretation beats the life out of his fiction. And it's definitely there in Hodgson, Blackwood, James, Machen etc. A lot of modern writing is either too cynical or urbane to bother with it, or seems to think that mystery or strangeness for the stake of strangeness is enough to elicit wonder.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #106
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

The White Dad meme was so last year. Anyone still talking about White Dads in 2018 will start to sound like a White Dad himself.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #107
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

There was a piece in which Joshi said Lovecraft was all about imaginative liberation. I think that's kind of going in the direction of acknowledging the importance of the sublime?

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Old 1 Week Ago   #108
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by gveranon View Post
The White Dad meme was so last year. Anyone still talking about White Dads in 2018 will start to sound like a White Dad himself.
“He who mocks white dads should look to it that he himself does not become a white dad"

― Friedrich Nietzsche

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Old 1 Week Ago   #109
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
I think you've managed to define exactly what I've found lacking in contemporary horror - there's very little sense of the wonder or awe that often accompanies fear. I agree with Spiral that Lovecraft was all about the sublime - I think Joshi's interpretation beats the life out of his fiction. And it's definitely there in Hodgson, Blackwood, James, Machen etc. A lot of modern writing is either too cynical or urbane to bother with it, or seems to think that mystery or strangeness for the stake of strangeness is enough to elicit wonder.
Quote Originally Posted by Robert Adam Gilmour
There was a piece in which Joshi said Lovecraft was all about imaginative liberation. I think that's kind of going in the direction of acknowledging the importance of the sublime?
I confess that my recall of Lovecraft's fiction is far from encyclopedic, but I can't think of any stories in which the objects of horror were simultaneously framed as objects of desirability. The Great Old Ones are (to my memory) uniformly presented negatively. Those characters that worship, serve, or are otherwise attached to these beings are considered woefully in error and/or themselves thoroughly corrupted. Don't get me wrong, the horror frequently has scale—overwhelming scale—but it doesn't inspire any sort of positive emotion. That's what i was trying to get at by talking about duality in Barker's fiction.

I hate to put a disclaimer, but know the sensitivities surrounding HPL can quickly escalate any discussion about him into a flamewar. So to be totally clear, I'm not suggesting that one approach is necessarily better than the other ("The Outsider" is one of my all-time favorite stories). I was just observing what I thought to see a fundamental stylistic difference between Barker and HPL, one which might inform Joshi's mental block with regards to the works of the former. Incidentally, I'd be curious to be pointed in the direction of an HPL story that captures the sublime.

EDIT: @Speaking Mute — Sadly, I agree that Barker's legacy is highly questionable. I'm not convinced that he's entirely blameless on this count. But the greater problem is that he DOES have a legacy... it's just born of a profound misunderstanding of his vision. His legacy is a legacy of grue... without any of the aforementioned duality. I'd venture that 9 out of 10 Barker fans have erroneously distilled what made him great into mere blood and guts. And the cottage industry born of the splatterpunk movement, of which he is considered a principal practitioner, testifies to that. It's how we get people breathing Barker's name in the same sentence as Laymon's....
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Old 1 Week Ago   #110
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Re: LAIRD BARRON

"I confess that my recall of Lovecraft's fiction is far from encyclopedic, but I can't think of any stories in which the objects of horror were simultaneously framed as objects of desirability. The Great Old Ones are (to my memory) uniformly presented negatively. Those characters that worship, serve, or are otherwise attached to these beings are considered woefully in error and/or themselves thoroughly corrupted. Don't get me wrong, the horror frequently has scale—overwhelming scale—but it doesn't inspire any sort of positive emotion. That's what i was trying to get at by talking about duality in Barker's fiction."

The Shadow over Innsmouth ends with a willing descent into madness and metamorphosis. The Haunter of the Dark can be seen as a story about obsession, where the antagonist, maybe against his understanding, is seeking and desiring the darkness and the not-human.
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