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Old 09-09-2015   #71
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Re: Recent Reading

Starting to appreciate Shakespeare's poetry more. In the past I found his stuff to be above my head. I am persevering with him, but some of his stuff still remains beyond me at the moment.
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Old 09-10-2015   #72
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Re: Recent Reading

Am sure we have all heard this before, but I truly listened too his words recently, and not just heard them.

William Shakespeare. Hamlet's Soliloquy.
To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them: to die, to sleep no more, and by a sleep, to say we end the heart ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to? Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream; Ay, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death, what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause. There's the respect that makes calamity of so long life: For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressors wrong, the proud man's contumely, the pangs of despised love, the laws delay, the insolence of office and the spurns, that patient merit of the unworthy takes, when he himself might his quietus might make with a bare bodkin? Who would fardel's bear, to grunt and sweat under a weary life, but that the dread of something after death. The undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveller returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ill's we have, than fly to other's that we know not of. Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of thought, and enterprises of great pitch and moment, with this regard their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action.

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Old 09-13-2015   #73
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Re: Recent Reading

I would like to hear your opinions. Would you post that on a pessimistic or optimistic page?
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Old 09-19-2015   #74
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Re: Recent Reading

I've become slightly obsessed over these past few months with the deceptively simple ghost fiction of MR James. I had always enjoyed James' tales as what I then saw as cosy entertainment, rating his first collection in particular as a brilliant one, but it is only recently I have gained appreciation for his body of work on an artistic level. For a long while I associated MR James with what I saw as a strain of clear formulaic conservatism within the literary horror community, and it is upon distancing myself from that milieu that I have been able to approach his fiction from a fresh perspective untainted by aggressive cultural nostalgists.

Whilst I do still find his distant and conversational style intrusive or not to my taste at times, I am marvelling on reread at how much more depth and texture I am discovering in his stories, despite the plain prose. I maintain that the peaks of Machen and de la Mare beat the best of James, but his body of supernatural work contains more focus and consistency. I may prefer The White People to any of James' tales, but I could name a lot more great James stories than I could Machen stories. Aickman is still top (the same) dog for this island's uncanny output though, of course.

When I am done rereading James' stories for the third time in the last six months (just finished The Thin Ghost – which has grown on me a fair bit), I plan on reading the first Ring novel next.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 09-19-2015   #75
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by James Sucellus View Post
I've become slightly obsessed over these past few months with the deceptively simple ghost fiction of MR James. I had always enjoyed James' tales as what I then saw as cosy entertainment, rating his first collection in particular as a brilliant one, but it is only recently I have gained appreciation for his body of work on an artistic level. For a long while I associated MR James with what I saw as a strain of clear formulaic conservatism within the literary horror community, and it is upon distancing myself from that milieu that I have been able to approach his fiction from a fresh perspective untainted by aggressive cultural nostalgists.

Whilst I do still find his distant and conversational style intrusive or not to my taste at times, I am marvelling on reread at how much more depth and texture I am discovering in his stories, despite the plain prose. I maintain that the peaks of Machen and de la Mare beat the best of James, but his body of supernatural work contains more focus and consistency. I may prefer The White People to any of James' tales, but I could name a lot more great James stories than I could Machen stories. Aickman is still top (the same) dog for this island's uncanny output though, of course.

When I am done rereading James' stories for the third time in the last six months (just finished The Thin Ghost – which has grown on me a fair bit), I plan on reading the first Ring novel next.
I hope you don't mind my asking, have you read Le Fanu? Not from this island, of course, but certainly a serious rival to MR James in terms of the creation of a spine-tingling atmosphere.

I think the very effectiveness with which James creates his atmosphere argues for the depth of his writing, though some might call it one-note in the sense it is more or less the same atmosphere each time.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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Old 09-20-2015   #76
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by qcrisp View Post
I hope you don't mind my asking, have you read Le Fanu? Not from this island, of course, but certainly a serious rival to MR James in terms of the creation of a spine-tingling atmosphere.
I have read and enjoyed Carmilla and Green Tea, along with a fair few others. I do need to get better acquainted with his work.

I love how bizarre some of MR James' entities are. The pillow with teeth. The vampiric flannel. The tentacled little guy. The frog man. These beings seemed so surreal and unexpected within such stuffy settings. It's a shame that so many of his imitators stole the stuffy settings (which were at least justifiable as an everyday, normal setting for MR James), whilst implementing the supernatural elements in a more mundane manner, with too much explicit detail.

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

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Old 09-27-2015   #77
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Re: Recent Reading

A lot of stuff about Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan, the Golden Suicides:

Folie A Deux | The Wit Continuum

http://www.newsweek.com/truly-madly-deeply-100261

In a cocoon of their making - latimes

Jeremy Blake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Golden Suicides | Vanity Fair

The Lovely Theresa, Jennifer Chang

The Scientology Conspiracy Theory About Two Artists

the seaword

The Theresa Duncan Tragedy | L.A. Weekly

The Wit of the Staircase

Theresa Duncan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Theresa Duncan And Jeremy Blake, The Suicides That

Two Artists, A Double Suicide And A Tumblr - BuzzFeed News

Why Did Artists Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake Commit Suicide? - A Chronicle of Their Descent Into Madness -- New York Magazine

And other interesting links:

http://memoriesoftheresa.tumblr.com/

The Lovely Theresa

The Theresa Duncan CD-ROMs are now playable online

The Wit Continuum | not at my wit

Theresa Duncan Central

Also, a screenplay about them was written by Bret Eaton Ellis, but it is not in production yet.

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 09-28-2015   #78
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by Cynothoglys View Post
Quote Originally Posted by orwell84 View Post
Starting to appreciate Shakespeare's poetry more. In the past I found his stuff to be above my head. I am persevering with him, but some of his stuff still remains beyond me at the moment.
The book below hasn't been released yet, but it might be of interest to you. I have the Longman editions of Spenser, Milton, and Blake (and many more on my wish list!), and each one of them is worth far more than their apparently high asking price. I'm not sure how they do it, but the detail in the copious annotations is exhaustive without being obtrusive. They're truly remarkable volumes, and I hope to own them all some day.



Many thanx for alerting us to this. Shakespeare is my God of Literature and I am obsess'd with ye Sonnets--so this is a book I will need to add to my extensive library of titles by and about ye Bard. Thankfully, I have until next Spring to save up for it. This year has me broke due to all of ye Lovecraftian titles that have been pouring forth.

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 09-28-2015   #79
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Re: Recent Reading

Quote Originally Posted by orwell84 View Post
I would like to hear your opinions. Would you post that on a pessimistic or optimistic page?
Reflections on suicide may be consider'd pessimistic--and yet ye idea of extinction & oblivion is so pleasant that I am forc'd to consider ye idea dead optimistic.

"We work in the dark -- we do what we can -- we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art."
--Henry James (1843-1916)
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Old 10-04-2015   #80
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Re: Recent Reading

I've started reading Submission, by Houellebecq.

I'm just over 50 pages in, and finding it compelling. It's good to see a mainstream contemporary novel focusing so much on Huysmans (as the obsession of the I-character of the novel). There's also much mention of Bloy, and, flicking ahead I see even René Guénon gets a mention.

It's sharp in a 'Gallic shrug' kind of way. For instance, on the two-party system of many Western democracies:

Quote
Western nations took a strange pride in this system, though it amounted to little more than a power-sharing deal between two rival gangs, and they would even go to war to impose it on nations that failed to share their enthusiasm.
Another representative quote:

Quote
The sushi still hadn't arrived. I poured myself another whisky, my third. Nick Drake went on evoking pure maidens, princesses of old. And I still didn't want to give her a child, or help out around the house, or buy a Baby Björn. I didn't even want to #### her, or maybe I sort of wanted to #### her but I also sort of wanted to die, I couldn't really tell. I felt a slight wave of nausea. Where the #### was Rapid Sushi, anyway?
The narrator makes an interesting point about the misuse of the term 'Cassandra' by centre-left newspapers in relation to predictions of civil war between Muslim immigrants and European indigenous populations.

All in all, I have the impression of Houellebecq Gallic-shrugging his way amusingly along a tightrope that many would consider to be outrageous provocation.

There are very few writers around at present who do anything half as daring or interesting as this.

"As the Director of one of the five greatest museums in our Eastern States has more than once remarked to me, From the Stone Age until now, what a decline!" - Ananda Coomaraswamy
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