THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK
Go Back   THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK > Miscellanea > Questions & Answers
Home Forums Content Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read Contagion Members Media Diversion Info Register
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes Translate
Old 03-16-2012   #1
pseudonym
Mannikin
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 19
Quotes: 0
Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41
Level up: 68% Level up: 68% Level up: 68%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
"Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

I started discussing this branch of literature yesterday on goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...nesque-fiction) and librarything ("Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature | The Weird Tradition | LibraryThing) to pretty positive response and thought it might be worth sharing here:

I'm working on a "weird fiction"-based senior capstone project and my discussion is leaning increasingly towards the niche occupied by Blackwood, Machen, and occasionally Sarban. I find it interesting that these two (sometimes three) authors are conflated as often as they are, and would like explore their connections -- potentially in terms of the use of space and Rudolf Otto's concept of the "numinous."

I'd be interested to hear any theories on this sub-genre/niche, or any fiction/non-fiction recommendations.

Works I've read that I'd like to include:
Fiction-
The Willows & The Wendigo (Blackwood)
The White People (Machen)
The Events at Poroth Farm (T.E.D. Klein)
Primeval Wood (Richard Gavin)
Yns-Y-Plag (Quentin S Crisp)
Non-fiction-
Haunted Presence (S.L. Varnado)
Closed Space (Manuel Aguirre)
The Weird Tale & The Modern Weird Tale (Joshi)

Reading: Ringstones (Sarban)

Things I intend to read soon:
Cwm Garon (L.T.C. Rolt)
Five Degrees of Latitude (Michael Reynier)
Midnight Sun (Ramsey Campbell)

I'm also looking for an alternative to "Blackwoodian," which just isn't working for me
pseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks From:
Draugen (03-16-2012)
Old 03-16-2012   #2
Sand's Avatar
Sand
Mystic
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 173
Quotes: 0
Points: 6,798, Level: 57 Points: 6,798, Level: 57 Points: 6,798, Level: 57
Level up: 24% Level up: 24% Level up: 24%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

Yes, Machen and Blackwood are often grouped together & did indeed share the ability to convey the numinous in their writing. They were both members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and they certainly met on a few occasions, but were not closely acquainted.

One key difference between them is the source of their inspiration. Machen's was in classical paganism (Greek/Roman), the alchemists and hermeticists, and later in Celtic Christianity and the Grail cycle.

Blackwood was more drawn to Egyptian and Eastern influences. For example, he clearly had belief in reincarnation and the transmigration of souls, whereas Machen didn't, and was scathing of the popular interest in Eastern religions.

There is reasonable evidence that Sarban read Machen (his daughter thought so, and there were Machen books in his library), though he more specifically quoted de la Mare and H G Wells as influences. However, Sarban said he had not read Blackwood before writing any of his published stories. Even so, others have made the link: John Betjeman compared his "A Christmas Ghost Story" to "The Willows".
Sand is offline   Reply With Quote
6 Thanks From:
Derek (03-17-2012), Draugen (03-16-2012), G. S. Carnivals (03-16-2012), MadsPLP (03-19-2012), Nemonymous (03-16-2012), pseudonym (03-16-2012)
Old 03-16-2012   #3
pseudonym
Mannikin
Threadstarter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 19
Quotes: 0
Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41
Level up: 68% Level up: 68% Level up: 68%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

Thanks, Sand. That's incredibly helpful!
pseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-16-2012   #4
Draugen's Avatar
Draugen
Acolyte
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 92
Quotes: 0
Points: 6,920, Level: 57 Points: 6,920, Level: 57 Points: 6,920, Level: 57
Level up: 85% Level up: 85% Level up: 85%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

It's interesting you grouped Sarban with Machen and Blackwood.. Sarban is someone I'm ashamed to say I just haven't yet got round to reading . I don't know why, but I didn't think he would have been closely related to Machen.. he has definately shot up my to read list if that's the case.

I'm interested to see what you come up with. I've read several collections by Blackwood, and find I am very drawn to his nature mystic side - several stories in this vein I have found very moving.

For the more fearful side of the numinous I would say Robert Aickman has many memorable moments and could be added to your list.
Draugen is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks From:
pseudonym (03-17-2012)
Old 03-16-2012   #5
Sand's Avatar
Sand
Mystic
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 173
Quotes: 0
Points: 6,798, Level: 57 Points: 6,798, Level: 57 Points: 6,798, Level: 57
Level up: 24% Level up: 24% Level up: 24%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

I don't know how widely you want to cast your net, but another key writer of the numinous in the period would be David Lindsay. His visionary fantasy A Voyage to Arcturus tends to overshadow the three supernatural fiction romances that followed - The Haunted Woman, Sphinx and Devil's Tor. These are each troubled attempts to express an encounter with the numinous.
Sand is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Thanks From:
Nemonymous (03-17-2012), pseudonym (03-17-2012)
Old 03-17-2012   #6
pseudonym
Mannikin
Threadstarter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 19
Quotes: 0
Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41 Points: 3,901, Level: 41
Level up: 68% Level up: 68% Level up: 68%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

Draugen: Ringstones by Sarban - Free eBook
I managed to read the first 30 pages at work, and from that I'd say it fits squarely in Blackwood/Machen (especially machen) territory. Really enjoying it.

Quote Originally Posted by Sand View Post
I don't know how widely you want to cast your net, but another key writer of the numinous in the period would be David Lindsay. His visionary fantasy A Voyage to Arcturus tends to overshadow the three supernatural fiction romances that followed - The Haunted Woman, Sphinx and Devil's Tor. These are each troubled attempts to express an encounter with the numinous.
I thought Arcturus was great, and anything within that supernatural/numinous line of thought is pretty inherently interesting to me. Duly noted.

The recommendation also has me wondering (peripherally) to what extent works are compared to Machen/Blackwood/Sarban just based on nature/supernatural/pagan content. In the goodreads thread, for instance, someone brought up Mark Samuel's "The Man Who Collected Machen and Other Weird Tales." There's an obvious Machen influence in several stories and I wouldn't doubt a Blackwood influence, but it's a bit harder to detect in urban environments. I would be interested to read a work that embodies the Blackwoodian/Machenesque/Sarbanian without using any of the standard tropes- and I wonder if I would even recognize it.



Here's an explanation of my net that's hopefully interesting:
It went through a few wide iterations (literature of microcosm, literature of numinous spaces, etc) before it caught on the idea of representative/prototypical "weird fiction," which I take to mean "weird fiction" that closely corresponds to what Lovecraft proposes in "Supernatural Horror in Literature." This quote from Ligotti's "The Dark Beauty of Unheard-Of Horrors," is probably what sent me in that direction:

"'The Music of Erich Zann'" was Lovecraft's early, almost premature expression of his ideal as a writer: the use of maximum suggestion and minimal explanation to evoke a sense of supernatural terrors and wonders. It is also among those of his stories that bear the greatest resemblance to the masterpieces Lovecraft most admired and held as touchstones for excellence in the realm of the weird: Blackwood's "The Willows," Machen's "The White People," and Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher""

This set of works connected my interest in numinous spaces to my interest in weird fiction about as well as I could hope for, and the original plan was to look at these stories within that context to speak to wider qualities of weird fiction. I moved from that to a Machen/Blackwood emphasis because they wrote Lovecraft's favorite two weird tales, for the conflation thing I mentioned, and because their works seem especially conducive to a discussion of space and the numinous. It also gives me an excuse to read some works/authors I've been meaning to under the guise of school.
pseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
3 Thanks From:
Derek (03-17-2012), Draugen (03-17-2012), MadsPLP (03-19-2012)
Old 03-18-2012   #7
Draugen's Avatar
Draugen
Acolyte
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 92
Quotes: 0
Points: 6,920, Level: 57 Points: 6,920, Level: 57 Points: 6,920, Level: 57
Level up: 85% Level up: 85% Level up: 85%
Activity: 7% Activity: 7% Activity: 7%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

I agree A Voyage to Arcturus is an astonishing book, one I keep meaning to re-read. I rememeber I looked it up after reading one of Colin Wilson's books on existentialism. Although he thought Lindsay was a second rate writer at best, he called Arcturus the "greatest imaginative work of the 20th century - possibly in all literature". I own a slim volume called The Strange genius of David Lindsay in which Wilson examines his work, worth picking up.

Not sure if it's of interest, as it's non-fiction, but the numinous holds an important place in Carl Jung's idea's. I read most of the collected works in my younger days, and think it was here that I first even encountered the word. If I remember correctly, Jung viewed the human unconcious as containing primal figures or 'archetypes', and encounters with these could be felt as deeply numinous experiences, archaic, full of awe.

It's an interesting idea, as surely some of the best (numinous) moments in horror/fantasy/aesthetics are effective because they resonate or give us a partial glimpse of something half forgotten but profound.
Draugen is offline   Reply With Quote
2 Thanks From:
MadsPLP (03-19-2012), pseudonym (03-20-2012)
Old 03-18-2012   #8
gveranon's Avatar
gveranon
Grimscribe
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 753
Quotes: 0
Points: 17,119, Level: 90 Points: 17,119, Level: 90 Points: 17,119, Level: 90
Level up: 49% Level up: 49% Level up: 49%
Activity: 27% Activity: 27% Activity: 27%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

I think Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood might be along the lines of what you're looking for.
gveranon is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks From:
pseudonym (03-20-2012)
Old 03-19-2012   #9
MadsPLP's Avatar
MadsPLP
Grimscribe
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 554
Quotes: 0
Points: 31,443, Level: 100 Points: 31,443, Level: 100 Points: 31,443, Level: 100
Level up: 0% Level up: 0% Level up: 0%
Activity: 0% Activity: 0% Activity: 0%
Send a message via MSN to MadsPLP
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

Some recent examples of what you're searching for could be Barbara Roden's very fine story "Northwest Passage" and Simon Strantzas' very fine "Pinholes in Black Muslin".
MadsPLP is offline   Reply With Quote
Thanks From:
pseudonym (03-20-2012)
Old 08-09-2014   #10
SpookyDread's Avatar
SpookyDread
Mystic
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 233
Quotes: 0
Points: 1,581, Level: 23 Points: 1,581, Level: 23 Points: 1,581, Level: 23
Level up: 81% Level up: 81% Level up: 81%
Activity: 73% Activity: 73% Activity: 73%
Re: "Blackwoodian" and "Machenesque" literature

A Strange Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder by James De Mille . He's a Canadian author. It was published posthumously in 1888. It's technically the first pulp fiction novel ever, as far as I am aware. The novel is framed by a narrative about a group of sailors who discover the adventures written on papyrus floating in the ocean. A lot of what critics marvel at about De Mille's novel itself is the way in which he has included a narrative out of literary criticism, a quote:

"What a pity it is," continued Melick, "that the writer of this manuscript had not the philological, theological, sociological, geological, palŠological, ontological, ornithological, and all the other logical attainments of yourself and the doctor! He could then have given us a complete view of the nature of the Kosekin, morally and physically; he could have treated of the geology of the soil, the ethnology of the people, and could have unfolded before us a full and comprehensive view of their philosophy and religion, and could have crammed his manuscript with statistics. I wonder why he didn't do it even as it was. It must have been a strong temptation."


Northrop Frye , another Canadian dude, famous for making this kind of critical approach to literature en vogue (right? I think..).. one of the most impressive things about this novel is this way in which the author criticizes his own work through these various other disciplines.

The actual story itself is about a guy who gets marooned on a volcanic island in Antarctica, and then finds channels into the interior of the earth where he discovers a lost civilization … inspired by myths about hyperborea? geomantic leylines? and so anyway the people he meets (they're the Maori, right?) are night-mare hags ( less New Zealand, more Newfoundland? ) that are part of an actual and spiritual economy to do with the exchange of mana - see also Marcel Mauss' The Gift . This exchange of mana or alchemy stems from a profuse and kowtowing or abasement of the self to a lower power - lower because they lack generosity, and perhaps other reasons - who are worshipped, but the one who gains in reciprocity is the one who gives. When people fall in love, they have to immediately separate.. they're a people who love death, abjection and poverty. There are clear moments of gothic supernatural horror, echoes of Dante's Inferno and Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the main character, named Adam, is disturbed mostly because he's witnessing a tribal culture performing human sacrifice, with Christian values more intense than his own.

ok If I could describe it in brief as far as the point of the novel it'd be something about the way in which he is perceiving the Kosekin is the following,

- They really are night-mares, he's not being racist or imagining them wrong, they really are.

- The worship of the night-mares brings enlightenment , about ourselves our relationship to each other and society and life after death.

- This act of worship is a kowtowing, an offering of the soul, therefor it is fundamentally in the character's eyes Christian, sacrificial, which is why it is disturbing to him, because it is better than what he was taught or raised to believe about religion. Its about a kind of true religion or true faith.

#4 This spiritual economy or socialism is proto-Canadian. At its heart its a critique of runaway capitalism in the Victorian era, as well as a defence of a kind of national or popular gnosticism. Supported as it is not by the elect but by the people.

There is so much to this book I'm probably kicking it in the shins for trying to summarize it , it's a lot more emotionally complex than that. It's a harrowing journey into hell but also about redemption.

but it is absolutely Canadian and absolutely hostile to American thought, about education and a lot of assumptions about religion. Consider the fact that it is a pulp fiction story, serialized in Harper's weekly , with erudition. It's a silly novel that is asking for intellectual thought, from people used to reading bad literature.

####ing Weird Book. Certified Masterpiece.

Used to be on high school reading lists in Canada until McDonald's .
SpookyDread is offline   Reply With Quote
3 Thanks From:
bendk (08-10-2014), ChildofOldLeech (08-09-2014), Hell-Ghost (08-10-2014)
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
blackwoodian, literature, machenesque
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"Video Test" of "Cat with Hands" barrywood VideoBox 5 6 Days Ago 07:13 AM
"More Dark" by Laird Barron, featuring "Tom L" and other TLOers... Sam General Discussion 95 1 Week Ago 04:36 AM
"A Season In Carcosa" and "The Grimscribe's Puppets" are coming! Joe Pulver Ligotti News 124 03-23-2014 11:44 AM
film inspired by Lovecraft's"Shadow out of Time" and "Shadow Over Innsmouth" rresmini H. P. Lovecraft 1 04-10-2011 12:06 PM
"A Mask" and "Killer on a Lift" The Silent One The Silent One 2 12-26-2006 11:47 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:53 PM.



Style Based on SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER as Published by Silver Scarab Press
Design and Artwork by Harry Morris
Emulated in Hell by Dr. Bantham
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Template-Modifications by TMS