The AGE of LOVECRAFT

 

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Just received this purchased book….

Edited by Carl H. Sederholm and  Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock

Foreword by Ramsey Campbell

Featuring words from James Kneale, Isabella van Elferen, Brian Johnson, Jed Mayer, David Simmons, Jessica George, David Punter, W. Scott Poole, China Miéville.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS 2016

In due course, I shall comment on this book in the thought stream below.

37 thoughts on “The AGE of LOVECRAFT

  1. I have just read the first six pages of the Introduction. Very satisfying fare. Highly textured with mind-awakening philosophy, even at this early stage of the book. “Why Lovecraft, why now?” Cosmic indifferentism seems akin to the results of gestalt real-time reviewing fiction books as objects become preternatural forces separate from humanity. Do they retain such power even if no-one reads them? impossible to answer, of course.
    age

  2. Dreamcatching?…
    “…a rethinking of traditional philosophical vitalism that strips humanity of its exceptionalism and resituates it as the fragile product of cosmic coincidence.”

  3. The introduction deals thoroughly with the whys and wherefores of the high profile of Lovecraft in modern days, his racism etc etc

    The first essay proper is:
    GHOULISH DIALOGUES: HP Lovecraft’s Weird Geographies
    by James Kneale (cultural and historical geographer at University College London.)

    My review will continue in due course below….

  4. From Introduction –
    “Since one purpose of this book is to reflect on the significance of Lovecraft’s increasing popularity, not to mention his marked impact on early twentieth-first-century discourse, we cannot dismiss the problem of racism as irrelevant, nor can we resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction.”

  5. MY EARLIER REAL-TIME REVIEW OF “THE HAUNTER OF THE DARK” Panther COLLECTION, AT THE BOTTOM OF WHICH PAGE IS ALSO A LINK TO MY REVIEW OF ‘THE DREAM QUEST OF UNKNOWN KADATH’: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/the-haunter-of-the-dark-hp-lovecraft/

    —————–

    I have now read the first few pages of the James Kneale essay where we seem to be given permission to brainstorm upon HPL’s style and influence, where, just as one example, style awkwardness can lead to some sort of weird truth or insight (as my review above has ALREADY done!) i.e.:-

    “The Age of Lovecraft might, in fact, be weirder than many of the fictions in his name.”

    Weird style outweighing its weird content.

    More later…

    • Content versus style, a tension that concerned me personally ever since studying Russian Formalism in the 1960s and Wimsatt’s Intentional Fallacy. There is much food for thought in this essay, cubism and triangulation, and objects seen in their own right as flensed and flayed from under ‘unimagined’ layers of allusion. And his stories’ triangulated growing technics of transmission now taken further abroad within HPL’s residual ‘gray areas’ and spacing – as sexed up by the Internet?
      References to Poe, Miéville and Stross. And Graham Harman.

    • Looking back from the beyond of HPL’s Gothic narratives, and by dealing with the Gothic as THING-POWER, there are factored in, inter alia, Danielewski’s HOUSE oF Leaves, KIngs’s Overlook Hotel, Poe’s House of Usher, the Whovian TARDIS, and forbidden texts like The Necronomicon, and we are given a decidedly oblique slant on Lovecraft fiction texts, text that radiates more than what the words themselves mean, I guess. And, for me these thing-powers represent the flotsam and jetsam that I myself talked about in 2006:-

      “It is much more complex than simple suspension of belief (or even disbelief). Horror fiction, at its best, enters our individual territories and becomes part and parcel of a revolving realm with Death at its core: and, in this realm, all the flotsam and jetsam of life (the richest life being generated by the imagination as well as by the day-to-day interaction of our minds and bodies) spin round, some colliding only to ricochet off, others sticking together, some being swallowed whole or bit by bit. Eventually, the various items are sucked into the core where they are minced up or refined into streams of sense (or apparent sense or, even, nonsense) which are then released from that realm into other revolving realms which create new collisions, fusions and spin-offs. This is using Death as a positive tool, as it surely is. Without Death, we’d be nothing.”
      Above quoted from my blog here in 2006: http://weirdmonger.blogspot.co.uk/2006/04/free-fiction.html

  6. The third essay is
    HYPER-CACOPHONY: Lovecraft, Speculative Realism, and Sonic Materialism
    By Isabella van Elferen (Professor of music and director of research for the School of Performance and Screen Studies at Kingston University London.)

  7. The fourth essay is
    PREHISTORIES OF POSTHUMANISM: Cosmic Indifferentism, Alien Genesis, and Ecology from H. P. Lovecraft to Ridley Scott
    By Brian Johnson (associate professor and graduate chair of English at Carleton University)

    More later…

    • “Just as Lovecraft personified his materialist philosophy of ‘cosmic indifferentism’ in a timeless pantheon of alien ‘gods’ productive of epiphanic ‘cosmic horror’ in human discoverers of their presence, so too did O’Bannon, Scott, and the film’s other scriptwriters embody the amorality of the universe in a deadly alien life form…”

      I am sure others will find this essay fascinating, but since I have long suffered from ‘cinematic indifferentism’, I don’t think I am in a position to comment further on its comparisons with the films Alien and Prometheus.

  8. The sixth essay is
    H. P. LOVECRAFT’S RELUCTANT SEXUALITY: Abjection and the Monstrousn Feminine in ‘The Dunwich Horror’
    By Carl H. Sederholm (associate professor of humanities at Brigham Young University)

    More later…

    • “In other words. Lovecraft’s sexual loathing, his attempt to separate human behaviour from animal action, and his apparent wish to escape physical instincts, desires, or passions, all suggest a difficulty reconciling intellectual fantasies with physical realities.”

      A refreshingly open-ended and exploratory essay, describing, inter alia, possible associations with his father’s death by syphilis, the “paradoxes of the body”, Lavinia Whateley’s imputed coupling with Yog Sothoth and Joshi’s apparent propensity, in his studies, not to pursue HPL’s sexual side, beyond reference to a possible low sex drive.

  9. The seventh essay is
    H. P. LOVECRAFT AND REAL PERSON FICTION: The Pulp Author as Subcultural Avatar
    By Davud Simmons (senior lecturer in English and screen studies at Northampton University.)

    More later…

  10. The eighth essay is
    A POLYCHROME STUDY: Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” and Lovecraft’s Literary Afterlives
    By Jessica George (PhD from Cardiff University)

    More later…

    • “Lovecraft is, if not everywhere, in many places — and, as such, is many things.”

      “…that human identity may rely upon writing, but the identities we inhabit when we write, and when we rewrite by reading, are always multiple and partial.”

      This remarkably seems to represent my long-term ethos of gestalt real-time reviewing, i.e. reader and author in mutual synergy, the two-way pecking order of author, narrator, characters and readers, a filter in both directions. The potential public triangulation of any work as it is hawled or dreamcaught through a myriad of real-time reviewers, Wimsatt’s Intentional Fallacy, Jungianism and more. As well as this essay being another revelation regarding the phenomenon that is Lovecraft. A unique name that only he and his family bears – as the final irony? A watershed for me, too.

  11. LOVECRAFT: Suspicion, Pattern Recognition, Paranoia
    By David Punter (Professor of English at the University of Bristol)

    As well as this essay’s attempt to reconcile the paradox of its own aim to ‘prove’ the modernity of HPL texts despite their overt, presumably ‘intentional’, archaism, it also deals, as part of that reconciliation, with apophenia and pareidolia which two linked obsessions anyone reading my gestalt real-time book reviews will attest are fully present in me!
    Paranoia, conspiracy, incantatory recurrencies like lists of forbidden books, a minimalist music or a French anti-novel?
    Another watershed for me. I have ever considered HPL’s work ‘modern’ but never really addressed this point before. Thanks, Mr Punter.

    I see that it can also relate to what I have long called Aickman’s ‘disarming strangenesses’ which in turn can be related to TS Eliot’s ‘objective correlatives’ (TSE being a writer I believe HPL did not like!)
    My things about AICKMAN linked here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/robert-aickman/
    Other possible related real-time reviews concerning works by Blackwood, Machen, Poe and John Cowper Powys:
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/ancient-sorceries-and-other-chilling-tales-by-algernon-blackwood/
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/the-three-impostors-arthur-machen/
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/tales-of-mystery-and-imagination-edgar-poe/
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/the-inmates-john-cowper-powys/
    And other older or classic books triangulated by myself potentially relevant and linked from here:
    https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/reviews-of-older-books/

  12. LOVECRAFT’S COSMIC ETHICS
    By Patricia MacCormack (Professor of continental philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge)

    “Against many critics, Lovecraft offers entryways into feminist, ecosophical, queer, and mystical (albeit atheist) configurations of difference. [.….] …to show that Lovecraft is uncannily relevant for posthuman philosophies, and that traditional criticisms of his work as nihilistic, misogynistic, unethical, and generally concerned with the maintenance of traditional values ought to be reoriented.”

    I wonder if you will consider this essay meets with such a goal. I, for one, have found it impressive and compelling.

  13. LOVECRAFT, WITCH CULTS, AND PHILOSOPHERS
    By W. Scott Poole (Professor of history at the College of Charleston)

    This seems to me to be a bit of a balance to some of this book’s other brainstorming. Basing HPL’s racism on his interest (subsumption?) in witchcraft (as well as cosmic horror, great old ones etc). This article does not excuse but perhaps explains. What do you think? I find it less interesting from an Intentional Fallacy point of view, and prefer the hyper-cacophony, pareidolia and modernity side of the HPL texts, if not the personal side of HPL himself.

    I do not usually carry out real-time reviews on anything but fiction, and I have tried, in this review, to draw out a texture rather than an acrimony. I may or may not have some skill in dreamcatching pure fiction, but I make no claims about reviewing academic literary-criticism, biography, history, philosophy, science, religion, sociology…

    imageI have found the afterword interview with Miéville offputting and unnecessary. But I did admire the Campbell foreword as a hors d’oeuvres. Meanwhile, I think anyone reading the main eleven essays as a gestalt will find a new gestalt of HPL as a multi-faceted phenomenon, a preternatural configuration beyond the tentacles, one that paradoxically attracts, repels and purges. Those who study, admire, hate or pastiche him are lucky to work in his shadow, a shadow more defined after this book but crazily even more ill-defined, too!
    Attracts, repels and purges, yes, and it is a book that I can now remove from the lid of the biggest purging device of our civilisation called the Lavatory. It seems to conclusively disprove a contention I found someone making about academic studies of HPL in connection with this specific book: an on-line statement that academia “went completely into the toilet with postmodernist insanities like poststructuralism and deconstruction after the 1960s.” At least we can now purge that particular myth. I hope my fiction reviews utilise such methods, among many other methods new and old, to triangulate the books I buy to read.
    Today’s Age of Lovecraft, derived from a prophetic sort of walking, breathing, complex, entangled Age of the Internet that is part of the same palimpsest. So, yes, the cosmic HPL HyPerLink attracts, repels, purges AND connects – for good and ill as humanity’s intrinsic nature that ever needs purging, laving, loving.

    end

  14. Pingback: Lovecraft’s last lav | The Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Review

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