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Old 02-01-2016   #141
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Re: Recent Reading

Currently dipping into Black Water: The Flamingo Anthology of Fantastic Literature, edited by Alberto Manguel. Here’s a quote from the Foreword:

“Unlike tales of fantasy (...), fantastic literature deals with what can be best defined as the impossible seeping into the possible, what Wallace Stevens calls ’black water breaking into reality’”.

Judging from what I’ve read so far, the selection seems exiting. I’m especially thrilled by stories like “How Wang-Fo Was Saved” by Marguerite Youcenar, “House Taken Over” by Julio Cortázar, "Pomegranate Seed" by Edith Wharton, and “The Mysteries of the Joy Rio” by Tennessee Williams.

Connoisseurs of urban decay will appreciate Williams’ wonderful description of the once grand opera house turned seedy cinema:

“Places like the Joy Rio and the legends about them make one more than usually aware of the short bloom and the long fading out of things. The angel of such a place is a fat silver angel of sixty-three years in a shiny dark-blue alpaca jacket, with short, fat fingers that leave a damp mark where they touch, that sweat and tremble as they caress between whispers, an angel of such a kind as would be kicked out of heaven and laughed out of hell and admitted to earth only by grace of its habitual slyness, its gift for making itself a counterfeit being, and the connivance of those that a quarter tip and an old yellow smile can corrupt.”
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Old 02-01-2016   #142
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Piranesi View Post
Currently dipping into Black Water: The Flamingo Anthology of Fantastic Literature, edited by Alberto Manguel. Here’s a quote from the Foreword:

“Unlike tales of fantasy (...), fantastic literature deals with what can be best defined as the impossible seeping into the possible, what Wallace Stevens calls ’black water breaking into reality’”.

Judging from what I’ve read so far, the selection seems exiting. I’m especially thrilled by stories like “How Wang-Fo Was Saved” by Marguerite Youcenar, “House Taken Over” by Julio Cortázar, "Pomegranate Seed" by Edith Wharton, and “The Mysteries of the Joy Rio” by Tennessee Williams.
I found a copy of the Black Water anthology in a secondhand bookstore twenty years ago, and in its pages I discovered a writer who would become indispensable to my existence: Bruno Schulz. For those interested, here are the contents:



"Reality is the shadow of the word." -- Bruno Schulz
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Old 02-20-2016   #143
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Re: Recent Reading

Today I am starting Quentin S. Crisp's collection All God's Angels, Beware!

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 02-20-2016   #144
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Re: Recent Reading

I have been busy reading a number of books -- among them K.A. Opperman's The Crimson Tome, a feast of sorcerous and ghoul-intoxicated poetry in the vein of Clark Ashton Smith, George Sterling, and Poe; Fritz Leiber's Our Lady of Darkness, a book I had always wanted to read and did not disappoint with its esotericism and its ability to paint San Francisco as a dark town where unknowable fear and evil lurks behind every shadowy corner. The moment where one character presents an arcanic history of fin de siècle San Francisco is impressive.
I have also become interested in T.C. Lethbridge, a radical English archaeologist who later turned to investigating paranormal and psychical matters with a scientific frame of mind. He had many interesting ideas, even if they are quite outlandish and doubtful -- for example, I certainly do not believe that megalithic monuments such as Stonehenge were erected as beacons for extra-terrestrial space-crafts! I do not believe that star-men played any part in ancient human affairs.
In connexion with Lethbridge, I have become deeply enamoured with the writings of Colin Wilson. I am currently reading The Occult, which, despite being disturbingly credulous in many places that are most likely cases of charlatanism, is still an insightful read; and I sympathise with his idea of what he christened Faculty X, the latent power in every human mind that, if harnessed, would lead man to experience a more profound and deeper sense of reality than we are aware of.

Faculty X is the key to all poetic and mystical experience; when it awakens, life suddenly takes on a new, poignant quality.

I have yet to read his probable masterpiece, The Outsider.

On a sadder note, I am very sorry to hear of the deaths of Gas Station Carnivals, David G. Hartwell, Alan Rickman, Umberto Eco, and David Bowie. I have never read any Eco, but he was undoubtedly a highly intelligent and great writer, and the popular world has lost two magnificent Englishmen who were too good for popular culture. G.S. Carnivals, on the other hand.... T.L.O. has lost its most prolific member, but each and every one of his posts reveal a lively character who brought healthy doses of humour to an otherwise blackly pessimistic realm. I imagine many people will not look back nostalgically upon 2016.

But on a happier note, I am greatly looking forward to attending my first Arthur Machen meeting in Auld York in March and, hopefully, meeting some kindred spirits.

I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
-- J.G. Ballard

Golgonooza

Last edited by Doctor Dugald Eldritch; 02-20-2016 at 12:16 PM..
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Old 02-21-2016   #145
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Re: Recent Reading

I can no longer totally take Colin Wilson seriously, but I have to say that "Religion and the Rebel" explains a lot of what I've tried to convey to both the genuine and trend riding atheists on here.
He started out "hungry", as Mickey in "Rocky" would put it, and then sort of petered out into crankery. He always makes it interesting, though.

One of the best weird poets out there is really largely unsung: Alan Gullette.

“The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.”
― Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island
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Old 02-21-2016   #146
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Re: Recent Reading

"Mathieu oder Die Ausschweifungen des menschlichen Geistes" (Mathieu, or the debaucheries of human mind) by Henri Joseph Du Laurens.

This is a rare piece of French literature, which was among clandestine literature of its time.

I'm not sure whether there is an English translation.

Du Laurens (1719-1793) was a scandalous abbé, whose works are full of debauchery,eroticism, anticlerical opinions, criticism of Enlightement, atheistic tendencies, partial misanthropy...

He was prosecuted because of his works and finally died mentally disturbed in prison. In an interrogation he said he wrote his works for a living.

"Mathieu" is about some rascals, the leader of whom os Mathieu (some kind of cleric). They arrive at many stations and they're either involved in philosophical discussions, where they give vent to radical opinions, or they do sins and commit crimes, which they are eventually chased for.

The book is a bit lengthy, but I enjoy it quite much.
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Old 02-25-2016   #147
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Re: Recent Reading

The Trumpets They Play by Al Columbia.
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Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all is done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 03-06-2016   #148
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Re: Recent Reading

I have been going through the short fiction of L. P. Hartley. I can't believe how underappreciated and underdiscussed his ghostly fiction is online. At his best, he's as good as Aickman or de la Mare. Any fans here? The joy of discovering forgotten greats of weird fiction is among the few highs in life I can still experience.

I am also continuing to enjoy Quentin's collection, which I am reading slowly as to fully savour and process with due attention. I haven't got as much reading as I would like done lately due to severe mental health difficulties.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 03-06-2016   #149
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Re: Recent Reading

I haven't read Hartley but I think Joshi was a big fan.

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Old 03-06-2016   #150
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Re: Recent Reading

Recently knocked this out:


http://www.amazon.com/Shivers-VII-Richard-Chizmar/dp/1587672251


Found it to be hit and miss, though enjoyable enough to look into acquiring I-VI. Lots of big names, few big works. Still, what it lacks in mind-blowing and memorable stories it makes up for in topic diversity and creativity.

Like a decent Chinese buffet - not a lot of five star food, but a delicious offering of 3-4 star dishes.
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