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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #101
Speaking Mute
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
I believe Aickman disliked feminism because that is what he said.

...
Yes, but that's not addressing the question I raised - again, where is his dislike of feminism "present and obvious" in his work? Following tartarusrussell's suggestion, where can Aickman's anti-feminist views illuminate stories like The Late Breakfasters, Growing Boys, No Stronger Than a Flower etc.? Going from the texts themselves and when they were published, I find it difficult to see them as anything other than feminist. I can understand that Aickman's might have personally held contrary views - but it's the assertion that such views permeate his fiction that continues to puzzle me. All I'm asking for is actual examples from his fiction.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #102
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

The husband in "Growing Boys" (Phineas) is portrayed as a lazy good for nothing "government" man. It's pretty clear that Aickman meant for that character to be contemptible.

What I don't understand is why Aickman's "conservatism" is instantly viewed as objectionable. You would think he wore a top hat with a pencil mustache while tying young damsels to railroad tracks. Seriously?

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #103
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

I suspect that Aickman believed in many of the core ideas of feminism. But he would have detested Feminism as a political movement of the Left.
He seemed to have a strong, almost personal, identification with his female characters so how could this be surprising?
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #104
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Veech View Post
The husband in "Growing Boys" (Phineas) is portrayed as a lazy good for nothing "government" man. It's pretty clear that Aickman meant for that character to be contemptible.

What I don't understand is why Aickman's "conservatism" is instantly viewed as objectionable. You would think he wore a top hat with a pencil mustache while tying young damsels to railroad tracks. Seriously?
Indeed - and Phineas is even being courted a Labour candidate. But as I pointed out when I first noted Phineaus, Aickman never goes after Phineas's political beliefs or links them to his loutish behavior - Phineaus is portrayed as devoid of principles aside from ambition. Furthermore, Aickman doesn't reserve such criticism solely for members of Labour - his portrayal of the Tories in The Late Breakfasters is equally satirical. Aickman is definitely cynical in his portrayal of politics, but I don't see it as specifically coming from a right-wing position - when Aickman goes after politicians, it's their personality and conduct that he lampoons.

For an example where I can definitely see right wings politics in fiction, there's Mark Samuels' "The Other Tenant", where it's crystal clear that the main character's sleazy personality (I forget his name and have long since sold Written In Darkness) is supposed to be a routine trait of people with leftist views.

As to your point about political conservatism, I agree. Moreover, I find it bizarre that people take such offense at his belief in ghosts and his 'anti-modernism' - which from what I can tell primarily manifested itself as opposition to the urbanization and development of the English countryside.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #105
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
I suspect that Aickman believed in many of the core ideas of feminism. But he would have detested Feminism as a political movement of the Left.
He seemed to have a strong, almost personal, identification with his female characters so how could this be surprising?
There are also many people who disdain the label "feminism" but otherwise espouse the core tenants of female equality and self-determination. On the other hand, it's always possible that Aickman was just cognitively dissonant - maybe he identified with women being boxed in by entitled and controlling men while writing but never intellectually connected it to the need for social reforms etc.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #106
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim View Post


The fiction a front for its maker, or - far more enticing - the other way around?
Indeed.

A perfect trope to represent the long-seasoned, untranscendable force of the Intentional Fallacy in the preternatural gestalt of literature.

MY WEBSITE: www.nemonymous.com
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #107
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Postmodernism has a lot to answer for.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #108
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Speaking Mute View Post
Moreover, I find it bizarre that people take such offense at his belief in ghosts
Concerning his belief in the "supernatural" and the way in which some folks react to it, I can't say that I am too surprised. As was displayed by the worst elements of the New Atheist movement, those who are supposed to be free thinkers can, in fact, be anything but.
And there is also this popular belief that writers of ghost stories, or supernatural fiction in general, tend to be hard skeptics, and that purpose of the supernatural in the more "literary" examples of such fiction is almost always allegory and social commentary. I believe that many placed Aickman firmly into that particular pigeonhole, even saw him as an archetypal example of such take on supernatural fiction. Hence the apparent offense at the mere possibility that he actually believed in such "silliness"...
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Old 1 Week Ago   #109
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Quote Originally Posted by Druidic View Post
I suspect that Aickman believed in many of the core ideas of feminism. But he would have detested Feminism as a political movement of the Left.
He seemed to have a strong, almost personal, identification with his female characters so how could this be surprising?
Kirby McCauley once quoted Robert as saying there were no longer any vivid men.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #110
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Re: Aickman's Philosophy

Now that the greyhound/bicycle pump issue has come to light, I don't think there's any amount of verbal folderol that could obfuscate Robert Aickman obviously having been a horrible, horrible person by any reasonable metric or yardstick. Once that revelation came out it was over, and it would have been over even if we subsequently hadn't learned about the custard, which just put the final nail in the coffin. It's possible to enjoy Robert Aickman's fiction but we have to agree that he was definitely not a good person in any sense.
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