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Old 1 Week Ago   #131
Hidden X
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Re: Arthur Machen

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2049213653
Pretty interesting review, this guy sees more in "The White People" than those who limit themselves by their knowledge of Machen's outward Christian faith do.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #132
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Re: Arthur Machen

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
Does anyone here value "Out of the Picture" as I do? I also agree with Borges that "The Three Impostors" is a great novel. I've never been enthusiastic over "The Great Return" and find "The Hill of Dreams" contains way too much self-pity for me. "N" is a nice underrated piece that Joshi and other critics wrongly dismiss. His darkest works from the 1890's are magnificent.
"Out of the picture" is a gem. I love its digressive/discursive nature. People often complain about the great Welshman's journalistic tendencies, but i actually like that aspect of his writing. Without it, narratives that present as 'ordered documents' like the Great God Pan and the White People wouldn't work nearly as well, i'd propose.
"N" has something like a companion piece in The Exalted Omega - what do you think of that one, Druidic, sir?

"What can a thing do with a thing, when it is a thing?"
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Old 1 Week Ago   #133
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Re: Arthur Machen

I don't get why the lengthy digression about the telekinetic kid is in the story, but otherwise Out of the Picture is decent.

'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   #134
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Re: Arthur Machen

Hey, Ibrahim! May I call you Abe?

I'm glad I found another who appreciates those two stories.
I've never been disappointed in Machen's later work because I don't expect to find another "Great God Pan." What I find and what I enjoy are well written works that contain echoes of those great works of the past. It's enough for me.

I'm very fond of all three stories you mention!

Great luck with Malpurtius.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #135
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Re: Arthur Machen

I don't think his post-The Secret Glory fiction is generally as powerful or memorable, but there is the odd exception with The Great Return, N and a few others. I like Change.

I think he had mostly said everything he had to say with his fiction before the advent of WW1, which accounts for the general decline in quality, but his lesser WW1 era material at least provides an interesting insight into the period.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #136
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Re: Arthur Machen

I think Machen is showing similarities with "the telekinetic kid" and the damage he causes when compared to the artist and the twisted thing he gives birth to. There are more complex explanations, no doubt.

I simply saw it as using a technique from"The White People."

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Old 1 Week Ago   #137
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Re: Arthur Machen

The same diversion is in his novel The Green Round. I generally enjoy Machen's rambling, but at times it dilutes the impact of his work. Novel of the Black Seal is a lot more focused than something like Out of the Picture and achieves a greater unity of effect, and the same goes for The Hill of Dreams when compared to The Green Round.

I still enjoy later, lesser Machen, but I am aware of his weaknesses and how, as with many writers of such fiction, the quality tapered off towards the end, though Ritual, N and others are pleasant stories I find myself returning to.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #138
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Re: Arthur Machen

Actually, I enjoy "The Green Round," through you're right, it's a weak piece at best.

It just doesn't feel finished. Perhaps it wasn't.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #139
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Re: Arthur Machen

My attitude regarding Machen's early stories is pretty much the same as my attitude regarding Lovecraft's early and later work.

I don't focus exclusively on the things I loved in Lovecraft's early tales of pure Gothic horror when I read his later tales with elements of SF (though I think these elements are overhyped; In my opinion Lovecraft only wrote 3 tales, maybe 4, that could be reasonably described as SF.)

Same thing with the differences between Borges' early and later works. You can regard it as a decline in a writer's quality (not in Lovecraft's case, I'd certainly argue) but I still find such 'lesser' work interesting and with its own rewards.

You're quite correct in pointing out the differences of quality in these stories. What I would regret would be readers, conditioned to such criticism, just dismissing these works altogether. Mistake.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #140
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Re: Arthur Machen

The prose of his later works doesn't sing to me as much as his pre-WW1 fiction. The descriptions of the pictures in Out of the Picture are great and worth reading the story for, but then the story lapses into somewhat dry and distant reportage when detailing the irrelevant telekinetic boy and murder spree.

Still readable and enjoyable, but not Machen at his best.

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