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Old 06-17-2009   #1
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Topic Nominated Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

I don't know if a thread like this already exists. Anyway, I have a number of ideas for things that could be included here. I'll start with this, though, which comes from the poem 'The Convergence of the Twain' by Thomas Hardy, a poem about the sinking of the Titanic:

Over the mirrors meant
To glass the opulent
The sea-worm crawls - grotesque, slimed, dumb, indifferent.

ôSpecialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 06-18-2009   #2
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places


ôSpecialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 06-18-2009   #3
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

This poem - Clown's Houses - by Dame Edith Sitwell:

Dame Edith Sitwell - THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK

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Old 06-18-2009   #4
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

"His monologue, continued.

'It's just as well that God is dead at last. He was such a prig. Some scholars have professed to find it odd that Milton's sympathies were with his fiend and not with God, but there's nothing remarkable in that. Even the Evangelist more often purloins his fires from hell than heaven. He certainly gives it much closer attention. It's simply so much more interesting, not to say relevant. Hell is closer to the facts that we know.

'Let's carry our honesty even a little further. Hell is not merely preferable to heaven - it's the only clear notion of an afterlife (that is to say, of a goal worth striving towards) that human imagination has been able to devise. The Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans originated our civilization, populated it with their gods, and formed, in their chthonic wisdom, a heaven underfoot. Some heretical Jews inherited that civilization, changed its gods to demons, and called heaven hell. Oh, they tried to pretend there was a new heaven somewhere up in the attic, but it was a most unconvincing deceit. Now that we've found the stairs to the attic, now that we can zoom about anywhere we choose in that unpopulated and infinite void, the game is up, absolutely, for that heaven. I doubt the Vatican will survive to the end of the century, though one should never underestimate the power of ignorance. Oh, not the Vatican's ignorance, for heaven's sake! They've always known which way the deck was stacked.

'Enough of heaven, enough of God! They neither exist. What we want to hear of now is hell and devils. Not Power, Knowledge and Love - but Impotence, Ignorance and Hate, the three faces of Satan. You're surprised at my candour? You think I betray my hand? Not at all. All values melt imperceptibly into their opposites. Any good Hegelian knows that. War is peace, ignorance is strength and freedom is slavery. Add to that, that love is hate, as Freud has so exhaustively demonstrated. As for knowledge, it's the scandal of our age that philosophy has been whittled away to a barebones epistemology, and thence to an even barer agnoiology. Have I found a word you don't know, Louis? Agnoiology is the philosophy of ignorance, a philosophy for philosophers.

'As for Impotence, why don't I allow you, Cheeta, to speak of that? Ah, look at him blushing. How he hates me, and how helpless he is to express his hatred. Impotent in hatred as in love. Don't fret, Cheeta - it is, at root, our common condition. At last, at the end of all things, each atom is by itself - cold, immobile, isolate, touching no other particle, imparting no momentum, caput.

'And is that such a terrible fate, really? Come that great day, the universe will be much more orderly, to say the least. All things homogenized, equidistant, calm. It reminds me of death, and I like it.

'Now there's a value I forgot to include on my list: Death. There's something to help us break out of that weary old quotidian. There's an afterlife that's not hard to believe in.

'That's the value that I offer you, Cheeta, and to you too, Sacchetti, if you have the guts to accept it. Death! Not just your own individual and possibly insignificant death, but a death of universal dimensions. Oh, perhaps not the Heat-Death at the end of time, that would be asking too much, but a death that would advance that cause almost perceptibly.

'An end, Sacchetti, to the whole ####ty human race. What do you say, my boy - will you buy that.

'Or is my proposition too sudden? You hadn't considered buying an entire set of encyclopaedias, is that it? Well, give it time, let it sink in. I can come back in a week, after you've talked it over with your wife.

'But let me say, in closing, that anyone with so much as a grain of self-knowledge knows that he wishes for nothing so much as to be out of it. To be well out of it. We wish, in Freud's eloquent words, to be dead.

'Or to quote yourself: O puppet of ill, annihilate. Annihilate all, and us.'"
Thomas M. Disch - Camp Concentration

"What does it mean to be alive except to court disaster and suffering at every moment?"

Tibet: Carnivals?
Ligotti: Ceremonies for initiating children into the cult of the sinister.
Tibet: Gas stations?
Ligotti: Nothing to say about gas stations as such, although I've always responded to the smell of gasoline as if it were a kind of perfume.
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Old 06-18-2009   #5
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x70481_bill-viola-anthem_creation

"The spirit of an individual reaches its own absolute through incessant negation."
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Old 06-20-2009   #6
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

There's a quote from someone - I forget who - that reverses the normal idea of artistic influence. It's something like, "All good artists create their own predecessors". I think that's true, actually. The Edith Sitwell poem, the passage from Disch and the Bill Viola film are all distinctly Ligottian, but would we have been able to connect them without Ligotti, I wonder?

I think the Lena Zavaroni is also Ligottian in the song's emphasis on the futility of procreation, and in certain aspects of the performance, though perhaps this is less distinct than the other samples here. Also, my original excerpt from the Hardy poem, it occurred to me, more than Ligotti or Lovecraft, resembles the work of Poe; it's a strong resemblance, however.

ôSpecialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved." - Max Weber
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Old 06-20-2009   #7
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
There's a quote from someone - I forget who - that reverses the normal idea of artistic influence. It's something like, "All good artists create their own predecessors". I think that's true, actually.
I remembered to have heard that quote from Borges himself. I'll try to find exactly where (probably from Other Inquisitions). In his case, he referred to H. P. Lovecraft, who, he said, have created his own predecessors. I believe that he said that it is not the fact that Lovecraft did it, but after Lovecraft, all the other writers like Algernon Blackwood, Machen, and Chambers, all of a sudden showed up. Whether he invented this thought or he copied it from someone else I don't know.

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Old 06-20-2009   #8
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

If I am not mistaken, the heterogeneous pieces I have enumerated resemble Kafka; if I am not mistaken, not all of them resemble each other. This second fact is the more significant. In each of these texts we find Kafka's idiosyncrasy to a greater or lesser degree, but if Kafka had never written a line, we would not perceive this quality; in other words, it would not exist. The poem, 'Fears and Scruples' by Browning foretells Kafka's work, but our reading of Kafka perceptibly sharpens and deflects our reading of the poem. Browning did not read it as we do now. In the critics' vocabulary, the word 'precursor' is indispensable, but it should be cleansed of all connotation of polemics or rivalry. The fact is that every writer creates his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future. In this correlation the identity or plurality of the men involved is unimportant. The early Kafka of Betrachtung is less a precursor of the Kafka of somber myths and atrocious institutions than is Browning or Lord Dunsany.

From "Kafka and his Precursors", in "Other Inquisitions", by Jorge Luis Borges.

Or the whole chapter could be read here, online,

Kafka and his Precursors by Jorge Luis Borges - Sillysoft Forums

Unfortunately, the quote doesn't refer to HPL.

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Old 06-21-2009   #9
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

The Lena Zavaroni clip captures her at 18, just on the edge of her transition into the despair and psychosis that dominated her adult life. Her last ever recorded performance, a few years later, is still more disturbing. What this clip shows, to me, is the indissoluble link between 'torch' singing and an ugly, abusive showbiz perception of femininity as self-destruction: the singer is expected to perform the psychic equivalent of bleeding to death on stage, so that we can 'identify' with her Icarus-like flight pattern. Zavaroni said as an adult that her childhood had been torn away from her. Watching TV appearances from the height of her fame (several years before this clip), the mimicry of adult sexuality and adult romantic emotion in a child is really frightening.

Is this Ligottian? Well, the Ligotti story that the clip and its tragic background make me think of, inevitably, is 'Purity'.
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Old 06-22-2009   #10
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Re: Ligottian, Lovecraftian and cosmic horror in unexpected places

I don't know what "Ligottian" means, therefore I don't know exactly if I should remain silent or maybe not and I should add a few silly thoughts on this subject. There was an Argentine poet, Alejandra Pizarnik (I added three of her dark poems, and a link to some more, and her biography online Dark Poetry - Page 34 - THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK), she died at 36, apparently suicide. This fragment from the same link could be Ligottian literature, but at that time Ligotti was just a small kid playing with toys.


"A subterranean world of creatures with unfinished shapes, a place of gestation a swarm of arms, of trunks, of faces, and the dolls' hands suspended like leaves on the cold stringy trees flapped and resonated moved by the wind."


Alejandra Pizarnik

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