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Old 08-26-2017   #121
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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   #122
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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   #123
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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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Old 08-26-2017   #124
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Re: Arthur Machen

The Chaosium trilogy of books covers a lot of ground, including Ornaments In Jade.

Check out the contents if you wish.

Series: The Best Weird Tales of Arthur Machen

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Old 08-27-2017   #125
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Re: Arthur Machen

"The House of Souls, The Three Impostors, The Hill of Dreams, Ornaments in Jade and The Secret Glory"

Thanks so much James, these books I do have on my shelves in one form or another and have greatly enjoyed them, along with "The House of the Hidden Light," and "The Cosy Room and Other Stories." I also agree that "N" is an especially great psychogeography tale; it's included in "The Cosy Room."

Though I have yet to actually read "Tales of Horror and the Supernatural" itself. Does this one contain works not included in the books above?
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Old 08-27-2017   #126
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Re: Arthur Machen

A few, yes. Notably The Great Return, which is a Machen classic (Mark Samuels and Robert Aickman agree), and The Terror, which is frustrating in its lumbering circumlocution, but it provides an interesting insight into the public mindset of the WW1 period, and when the story finally reaches the rhapsodic manuscript climax it irrupts into excellence.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #127
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Re: Arthur Machen

https://soundcloud.com/henrik-moelle...ubtila-ondskan

Swedish podcast on Machen containing interviews (in English) with Richard Stanley and Gwilym Games.

'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   #128
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Re: Arthur Machen

Does anyone see strong elements of natural law in Machen's work?

"What lay behind me was no longer any normal, familiar life, that everyday life out of which the impulse to pray raises us, with still at the back of our minds that whensoever we wish we can return. A void was behind me. And in front a wall, a wall of darkness." Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

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Old 1 Week Ago   #129
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Re: Arthur Machen

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.

Including a handful of prose poems or even poems in a collection of short stories is something I would champion. If done well, with attention to atmosphere and developing themes, it can only strengthen a volume of fiction.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #130
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Re: Arthur Machen

Quote Originally Posted by Arthur Staaz View Post
Does anyone see strong elements of natural law in Machen's work?
That is an interesting and enigmatic inquiry, which I find impossible to answer definitely. His stories certainly take place in intimate closeness to Nature, but they are mystical. He seems to treat supernatural elements, like the "little people", as if they were natural law (at least to himself).
His prose could be natural law in itself, because it is so perfectly flowing.
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