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Old 09-18-2016   #461
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Re: Recent Reading

Prince James Zaleski write: "Currently trying to find the darkest, bleakest material possible."

Have you checked out the novella "the Night of Lead" in Hans Henny Jahnn's collection, "The Living Are Few, the Dead Many?"

It's hard to better this reader review from Amazon, for all I know it's from one of us here on TLO:

"The Night of Lead is a complete submersion into a thousand foot deep vat of tar that our disembodied protagonist attempts to swim his way out of. He is a soul dropped onto the streets of a nameless city, apparently left by some colossal presence to navigate the landscape. Inside the facades there are supposedly flickering lights; outside their doors perhaps a doorman to show the way in. Once entered the proceedings are gauzy, the spaces fleeting, with characters urging that this instant, this moment, can never be returned to. The door will lock behind you. There is doubling, but doubling like you've never quite seen it, done so ingeniously and with such purpose that it quite literally baffles on first reading. Huge, this novella. As though being dropped into the labyrinth beneath a casket."



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Old 09-18-2016   #462
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Re: Recent Reading

Druidic wrote: "James -- You're one of the guys who continues to bring this forum back to what should always be it's raison d'etre: macabre literature. "

I feel impelled to echo what Druidic wrote above - James's comments are one of several reasons that I continue to appreciate this community.

"....a dark candle illuminating shadowy, cobwebbed shelves and the mysterious tomes that reside there."

I always enjoy your insights, thank you for being you!
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Old 09-19-2016   #463
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Re: Recent Reading

Hanns Heinz Ewers is an astonishingly powerful writer, even in this spurious translation I'm reading of his novel Alraune.

'No, the one he was looking for should be a prostitute. Not because she couldn't be anything else, but because every inch of her body screamed for new embraces. Because under the caresses of one lover, her soul already longed for the kisses of another. She needed to be a prostitute just like he – he hesitated. What was he? Tired and resigned, he finished his thought: just like he needed to be a dreamer.'

This book is an ecstasy of sin.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-19-2016   #464
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Prince James Zaleski View Post
Hanns Heinz Ewers is an astonishingly powerful writer, even in this spurious translation I'm reading of his novel Alraune.

'No, the one he was looking for should be a prostitute. Not because she couldn't be anything else, but because every inch of her body screamed for new embraces. Because under the caresses of one lover, her soul already longed for the kisses of another. She needed to be a prostitute just like he – he hesitated. What was he? Tired and resigned, he finished his thought: just like he needed to be a dreamer.'

This book is an ecstasy of sin.
Ewers is fantastic, and extremely underrated.
You oughta check out "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" too. Somewhat different beast from Alraune, rambling, filed with musings about philosophy and human condition, to a point where maybe 10-15% or so of the novel is relegated to its plot, but it is well worth a read, deliciously cruel and decadent. Finale of Braun's sojourn in that isolated Italian village is something that gets carved into one's memory.

Anyhow, I've just started reading "Elegies & Requiems" by Colin Insole. Blurb compared the fiction contained within to Mark Valentine, as well as old masters such as Machen and Rodenbach, and the very first story managed to justify all three of those comparisons. Such a beautiful, melancholy piece about beauty and magic lost, that can be regained for but a moment, and for a price, in these squalid latter years.
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Old 09-19-2016   #465
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Re: Recent Reading

I have read The Spider and The Sorcerer's Apprentice so far. You are spot on about the ending of the latter.

Ewers was a genius of the dark poetic side of imagination. Such forbidden and uncomfortable beauty. I have to read everything he has done. The horror novel is something only a handful of people have mastered. He is one of them.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-20-2016   #466
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Re: Recent Reading

The Suprematist Manifesto by Kazimir Malevich:

Kazimir Malevich. Suprematism. Manifesto.

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 09-20-2016   #467
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Re: Recent Reading

I just ordered a very cheap book containing twenty or so of M.R. James' ghost stories thanks to Zaleski's (our resident ghost specialist) recommendation. I realize James is perhaps the most well-known author of ghost stories, but I wasn't aware of him until recently. Aside from Lovecraft and Ligotti, I'm very much new to weird fiction because I was preoccupied with a great deal of Western philosophy. I actually feel at home here, though.
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Old 09-20-2016   #468
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Re: Recent Reading

He lacked the existential profundity and literary flair of Aickman, Le Fanu or de la Mare, but his minute accrual of detail to evoke a revelation of terror has been matched but never beaten. M. R. James is a writer whose technique must be studied closely. It's deceptively simple much of the time, and whilst he does often undercut the true terror of his stories with a certain cosiness and distance, stories such as Count Magnus and A Warning to the Curious (my favourite of his) are terrifying masterpieces of bleak, icy dread.

Walter de la Mare, Vernon Lee and L. P. Hartley are better literary stylists, but it's hard to recommend them to people starting off as their works are fewer in number and less accessible in presentation than M. R. James due to being spread all over the place. It's hard to find more consistent collections in terms of both quality and genre importance than Le Fanu's In a Glass Darkly and M. R. James' Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. They're the perfect beginner packs.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay

Last edited by James; 09-21-2016 at 04:21 PM..
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Old 09-20-2016   #469
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Re: Recent Reading

I just finished reading "Count Magnus." The fact that there are no real clues regarding why the Count is a sinister being makes the story chilling.
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Old 09-20-2016   #470
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Re: Recent Reading

So many unforgettable sinister details. That guy found against the tree still pushing at something, the Black Pilgrimage to Chorazin, the tentacle arm, the beautiful timing with the falling padlocks...

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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