Tuesday, September 10, 2019

July: Hemingway and Lovecraft-Part Two

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) and H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) were hardly alike as writers and men, but if Leslie A. Fiedler was right to put them together in the mainstream of American literature (or to lead us in putting them together), then maybe they were more alike than what we think.

First, both had fathers who more or less abandoned them and who also ultimately destroyed themselves (thus setting a pattern for their sons' own self-destruction). Both also had overbearing, oppressive, or domineering mothers. If you're a Freudian, you might look for family dynamics like those to lead to psychosexual problems among the offspring, and in the case of these two men, you might find what you're looking for. Whereas there is reason to believe that Hemingway had latent homosexual tendencies, also tendencies towards a general kind of gender bending, there aren't any indications at all of that kind of thing in Lovecraft. If anything he suffered from a kind of asexuality.

Hemingway married four times and had three sons, one of whom thought in later life that he was a woman. Lovecraft married only once and died without issue. Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, was eight years older than he, while Lovecraft's only wife, Sonia Greene, was seven years his senior. Again, if you're a Freudian, you might see some significance in those age differences, especially in regards to the relationships that these two men had with their mothers. In any case, Hemingway was married for most of his adult life and was doted upon by women. Lovecraft lived a scarce two years as a married man (his divorce was never finalized), but he, too, was looked after by the women with whom he shared a household.

Hemingway admired Mark Twain and helped to bring a new kind of prose style into American literature. Lovecraft had his own nineteenth-century American idol in Edgar Allan Poe. In terms of prose, he is not really thought of as an innovator. In fact, Lovecraft was a backward-looking author and was fond of archaic words, spellings, and pronunciations. Nonetheless, I detect elements of modernism in his work, specifically in "The Call of Cthulhu," with its nonlinear narrative, multiple viewpoints, and use of found sources, such as newspaper articles and diary accounts. Hemingway may have gone against all of that old-fashioned prose of the pre-World War I era, and Lovecraft may have written after those fashions, yet Lovecraft is still read with real pleasure by people of today. In fact there may be more Lovecraft fans than there are Hemingway fans among readers of the twenty-first century. It's not so simple to dismiss Lovecraft's prose, no matter its shortcomings, as an artifact of the early twentieth century. It still holds up, at least for his fans. Like Hemingway, he carefully labored over his writing, all for what he hoped would be maximum effect.

Hemingway famously nicknamed himself Papa. What's less well known is that he did this while he was still in his twenties. In calling himself Grandpa or Grandpa Theobald, Lovecraft also took on a nickname denoting age, wisdom, and authority. I don't know when he did this, but it seems to me that Lovecraft thought of himself as an old man even when he was quite young. Both men seemingly wanted to be looked up to and thought of as men of wisdom. Both were part of extensive literary circles.

Lovecraft is mentioned, but only by his last name, in Love and Death in the American Novel by Leslie A. Fiedler (1960, 1966). Hemingway gets a little more coverage in those pages. Seemingly by Fiedler's estimation both are within the mainstream of American literature, though perhaps for slightly different reasons. In Hemingway's case, it's because of the author's obvious flight from women into the wilderness and into the company of men. Lovecraft fled from women, too, but he more nearly matches the other half of Fiedler's thesis, namely, that "the American novel is pre-eminently a novel of terror," (Delta/Dell, 1966, p. 26) and that "our classic literature is a literature of horror for boys." (p. 29)

Here is Fiedler on a quite different author, but in discussing Herman Melville, could he just as easily have been talking about Lovecraft?:
Everywhere the figure of the Stranger moves through Melville's work . . . . Snob, greenhorn, madman, schlemiel, god and exile: the Outsider has a score of forms in Melville's fiction, but he remains, in his various masquerades, always the artist, society's rejected son with his "splintered heart and maddened hand . . . turned against the wolfish world." Though Outsider, he is not alien; invariably a native white American in Melville, he remains so as Twain's Huck and Faulkner's Ike McCaslin and Hemingway's Nick Adams or Jake Barnes: lonelier and lonelier in a country overrun by other stocks; "Chinese and African and Aryan and Jew, all breed and spawn together until no man has time to say which one is which nor cares . . . ." (pp. 361-362)
Remember Lovecraft's story "The Outsider." Remember, too, Lovecraft's notorious nativism. I'm not sure that Lovecraft had the confidence in character--any character--that those other writers had, though.

I'll close by pointing out that Lovecraft was not really a sentimental author, whereas Hemingway very often was. I'm not sure that Hemingway was a believer, but he also doesn't seem to have worked out a philosophy of cosmicism as Lovecraft did. Okay, so humanity is saved and Cthulhu is returned to his crypt at the end of "The Call of Cthulhu," but that's only because the stars aren't quite right. They will be right one day, we can be sure of that, and when they are, well, it will be Katie, bar the door. And then there's this last thing: we should consider in all of this talk of maturity and immaturity the possibility that Lovecraft was a more mature person than was Hemingway.

Chew on that one for a while.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, September 8, 2019

July: Hemingway and Lovecraft-Part One

You don't ordinarily see the names Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) and H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) together in one place, but they're in Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (1944), Hemingway near the end of the section called "Tales of Terror," Lovecraft at the very end of "Tales of the Supernatural." They're also in Love and Death in the American Novel by Leslie A. Fiedler (1960, 1966). Lovecraft is barely mentioned in that book. Hemingway gets a little more space. If Fiedler was right, both fit within the mainstream of American literature.

I wrote the other day that Hemingway "was not an escapist and did not seek to retreat into otherworldly fantasy," also that he "was not an arrested adolescent." Those things aren't entirely true; my purpose in writing them was to draw a contrast between men of Hemingway's generation and those of today. The contrast appears strong, but it may also be deceptive and due more to time and circumstance than to anything else. More to the point, today's Star Wars fans may simply be acting out a natural evolutionary process that began long before Hemingway came into the world and of which he was only a part. Maybe there's less of a difference than I indicated.

Hemingway killed himself on July 2, 1961. A year later, literary critic Maxwell Geismar (1909-1979) wrote an evaluation. My emphasis here is on the twin questions of fantasy and arrested adolescence. Geismar began in that regard by writing:
Hemingway . . . had very early trapped himself into the stereotype of the romantic and virile literary "man of action," so American in essence, and so little conducive to either intellectual or emotional development.
The suggestion here is that by trapping himself in this stereotype, Hemingway was never able to move beyond a kind of childishness, immaturity, or arrested adolescence either in his personality or in his writing. Geismar was not the first nor the last to see the author in this light, nor was Hemingway the first nor the last American author to act out the stereotype of a "virile literary 'man of action'."

A second quote from Geismar:
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"--a novel of the Spanish Civil War which sold close to a million copies. Sometimes called Hemingway's best novel, too, it is a curious mixture of good and bad, of marvelous scenes and chapters which are balanced off by improbably or sentimental or melodramatic passages of adolescent fantasy.
Here, then, are the words themselves, adolescent and fantasy. Along those same lines, Geismar wrote towards the end of his essay, using here the words youth and romantic instead:
Hemingway . . . continued to pour the romantic emotions of youth, now somewhat stereotyped and stylized, into his aging later heroes. In this respect, "Across the River and Into the Trees" (1950) was probably his worst novel. (1)
And so we have Hemingway and his work characterized, first, by youth, adolescence, and a lack of "either intellectual or emotional development"; and, second, by romanticism, sentimentality, melodrama, and fantasy. So Hemingway wasn't given to fantasy and was not an arrested adolescent? Maxwell Geismar had a different opinion on all of that.

You'll find the same kind of thing in Love and Death in the American Novel, the main thesis of which is that the American novelist repeatedly acts out a flight not only from women and mature, erotic, and progenitive love with women but also from everything that women might represent, including domesticity and civilization. Put another way, in and through our literature we flee into the wilderness and into worlds of men without women, wherever those worlds might be found (2). Like Geismar, Fiedler remarked on the immaturity of the American novelist:
     There is a real sense in which our prose fiction is immediately distinguishable from that of Europe, though this is a fact that is difficult for Americans to confess. In this sense, our novels seem not primitive, perhaps, but innocent, unfallen in a disturbing way, almost juvenile. The great works of American fiction are notoriously at home in the children's section of the library, their level of sentimentality precisely that of a pre-adolescent. This is part of what we mean when we talk about the incapacity of the American novelist to develop; in a compulsive way he returns to a limited world of experience, usually associated with childhood, writing the same book over and over again until he lapses into silence or self-parody. (Delta/Dell edition, 1966, p. 24)
What Fiedler wrote here about the American novelist in general can be applied more specifically to Hemingway, including that last part where the American author "lapses into self-parody." We can't rule out that Geismar was influenced by Fiedler, or vice versa. In either case, both seem to have been on to the same thing, namely, that in Hemingway in particular and in the American novelist in general, there is, first, childishness, juvenility, immaturity, arrested adolescence, and an overall lack of emotional or psychological development; and, second, a tendency towards romanticism, sentimentality, melodrama, and fantasy of one kind or another.

Fiedler didn't otherwise devote a lot of space to Hemingway, but here is an apt quote:
     In Hemingway the rejection of the sentimental happy ending of marriage involves the acceptance of the sentimental happy beginning of innocent and inconsequential sex, and camouflages the rejection of maturity and of fatherhood itself . . . . and surely there is no writer to whom childbirth more customarily presents itself as the essential catastrophe. (p. 317)
Again we see an American author in flight from maturity, erotic and progenitive love with a woman, and adult responsibility into perpetual childhood or adolescence. (3) That flight, which began in our earliest literature, continues even today in our most popular forms and genres, namely, in movies, television, comic books, video games, science fiction, fantasy, and the literature of mystery, crime, and detection. It is also within our general society, in which men have run away from women (or have been driven away) for whatever reason and seem determined to stay there.

Back to my original point, it's not really accurate to say that Hemingway was not an arrested adolescent, but compared to countless men of today, he might be called a paragon of masculinity and adulthood. Likewise, I wrote that he "was not an escapist and did not seek to retreat into otherworldly fantasy." Hemingway obviously was an escapist, though, the difference being that his was an escape into the West, Spain, Africa, or wartime Europe. In every case he remained in the real world and played at real-world games of life and death. He definitely did not play video games. He obviously also indulged in fantasy. In staying in the American mainstream, though, his fantasies were romantic, sentimental, or melodramatic in nature. (4) They were not otherworldly, and he did not dress up as Yoda. (Of course there weren't video games and Star Wars during his lifetime, but you get my point.) In any case, maybe what I have described as a hard break between generations of the past (B.S.W.) and the present (A.S.W.) is actually more of a natural evolution, a kind of stepping down from the conventional American romantic, sentimental, or melodramatic fantasy of the past and into the more extreme otherworldly fantasy of the present: Star Wars as a natural outgrowth of the Leatherstocking Tales. So maybe there isn't after all a strong contrast between the men of yesterday and the men of today. Like us, Hemingway was a man of his time, he remained in a state of arrested adolescence as many men of his time did, and he indulged in the romantic, sentimental, or melodramatic fantasies of his time. Maybe we of today are not very much different from him, for we are also arrested adolescents, and we all indulge in our own types of fantasy. The difference is that after Star Wars our fantasies detached themselves from the real world and became otherworldly--and we have followed them where they have led to the point where we have become ridiculous, even contemptible.

Leslie Fiedler's idea is that American literature is essentially gothic in nature. Although I would not describe Hemingway as a writer of gothic works, he still remains within the mainstream of our literature by writing on themes of death, violence, and the flight from women. But if we have never grown up and will never grow up--if we have always fled and will always flee from reality into fantasy, from women into the company of men, from civilization and domesticity into the wilderness--then what we are witnessing today is really just a continuation of an old story. Maybe in fifty or sixty years, once we have all retreated into our FaceGoogle virtual fantasy pods and our gender-fluid bodies have wasted away into soft, white, maggot-like masses, we will look back on the grown men of today--those who wear flip-flops, shorts, baseball caps, and t-shirts and wield plastic light sabers--as like Ernest Hemingway. And using our Amazoft brain-to-brain interfaces we'll say to each other, Now that's when men were men. Except that by then men and maleness will have been extirpated from the earth and we'll all be happier for it.

Notes
(1) Quotes are from "Was 'Papa' a Truly Great Writer?" by Maxwell Geismar in the New York Times, July 1, 1962, accessible by clicking here.
(2) A phrase that--with or without irony--forms the title of an early collection of short stories by Ernest Hemingway, Men Without Women, from 1927.
(3) Fiedler also commented on suggestions of homosexuality in Hemingway's life and work. You could easily follow that line of inquiry into another issue involving the men of today.
(4) Even the hardest American authors seem incapable of escaping sentimentality in their work.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Thursday, September 5, 2019

C.L. Moore in Traces Magazine

The magazine of the Indiana Historical Society, called Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, has published my biographical article on Catherine L. Moore (1911-1987). Entitled "Amazing Tales: The Weird and Wondrous Fiction of C.L. Moore," it appears in the Summer 2019 issue of the magazine. The article is eight pages long and includes photographs as well as full-color reproductions of the covers of Weird Tales and many hardbound and paperbound books.

C.L. Moore grew up in Irvington, the same neighborhood in which my brothers and sisters and I grew up on the east side of Indianapolis. One of the houses in which she lived as a child was only about two blocks away from our own childhood home. Strangely enough, around the corner from the Moores lived the Cornelius family, who later financed and printed Weird Tales. Catherine's house is gone now, but I believe the Cornelius family home is still standing on Layman Avenue.

C.L. Moore was an innovative writer in her chosen field of weird fiction. As a Hoosier, Indianapolitan, and Irvingtonian, I'm proud to recognize and write about her. I'm happy and thankful to Traces magazine and its editor, Ray E. Boomhower, for the opportunity to introduce her to readers and fans of Indiana history.

Copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

July: Weird Tales #363

Four years ago this month I asked the question, "Where Is Weird Tales?" The magazine hadn't been seen since Spring 2014 when issue #362 was published. For years afterward there wasn't any news forthcoming from the publishers and the Weird Tales website was stuck in an information-less state. Now I have news that Weird Tales is back with issue #363, published in July 2019 and announced on August 14 on a website which shall remain nameless. The Weird Tales drought seems to have ended for now.

The Internet Speculative Fiction Database doesn't yet have anything on this issue. Information seems hard to find in general (a continuing trend, I guess), but I have the following:

Weird Tales #363, July 2019
Publisher: Nth Dimension Media (presumably)
Editor: Jonathan Maberry
Cover art by Abigail Larson
80 pages

Contents
  • "The Eyrie"
  • "What Waits in the Trees" by Stephanie Wytovich
  • "Up from Slavery" by Victor LaValle
  • "Erasure" by Stephanie Wytovich
  • "By Post" by Josh Malerman
  • "A Housekeeper’s Revenge" by Lisa Morton
  • "A Woman Who Still Knows How to Die" by Stephanie Wytovich
  • "Due to the Memory of Scars" by Stephanie Wytovich
  • "The Shadows beneath the Stone" by Jonathan Maberry
  • "Outside the Shells of Horseshoe Crabs" by Stephanie Wytovich
  • "I-O-U" by Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • "Payday" by Hank Schwaeble
  • "Distant Drums" by Marc Bilgrey
  • "Amelia Delia Lee" by Tori Eldridge

I don't know whether there is any interior art. If there is, I hope that it doesn't include any digital dreck, but that's probably too much to hope for these days.

The blurb above the title reads: "The Return of the Magazine That Never Dies." Down below you'll see that this is "An Unthemed Issue." (I guess the plan for an all sword-and-sorcery issue went by the wayside years ago.) The cover, by the way, is a swipe of Margaret Brundage's iconic bat-woman from October 1933. And although the Weird Tales website now has some content, it is--well, suboptimal might be a nice way to put it. Finally, I should tell you that I don't have any of this directly from the publisher or editor, and I have no idea how they are going to handle the backlog of complaints against them, from authors, fans, readers, and subscribers. Anyway, Weird Tales is back. Let's hope that it's a worthy successor to previous incarnations, and let's wish the new editor and staff good luck in their efforts.


Copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

July: Ernest Hemingway, Star Wars, and the Adolescentization of America

Two birthdays came in July while I was working on my story. One was of a girl I knew a long time ago (though not in a galaxy far, far away). The other was Ernest Hemingway's. Both came on the same day, July 21, and I thought of both as I wrote.

Ernest Hemingway was not a genre writer, even if his name is in the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. (It's there because his story "The Killers" appeared in Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, from 1944.) In fact it's hard to imagine an author less interested in genre fiction than he would have been. (Being blown up at age eighteen will do that to you.) He was not an escapist and did not seek to retreat into otherworldly fantasy. On the contrary, he faced life (except when he didn't anymore) and pursued and embraced life at its extremes. No matter what else he might have been, Hemingway was active and engaged in the world, as an outdoorsman, journalist, wartime ambulance driver, author of big novels, war correspondent, world traveler, adventurer, bon vivant, father of three sons, and husband of four remarkable women. He was, in short, a man (more or less), and a strong contrast to entirely too many genre authors, moreover, to too many myriads of fans of science fiction and fantasy of today. Although he wrote about adolescence, most notably in his Nick Adams stories, Hemingway was not an arrested adolescent, or at least not as we might think. Unlike another suicide about whom I read recently, a forty-two-year-old man who lived and worked in the West, Hemingway was not buried in a baseball cap and a Star Wars t-shirt. Even if there had been Star Wars in 1961 when Hemingway killed himself, he would not have owned a Star Wars t-shirt, let alone have been buried in one. Men of his time didn't do such things. They were too busy being men. In these and so many other things, he was emblematic not only of his own generation but of the two generations of men that followed his own. (The women of those generations were pretty tough, too.) But all of that changed, and if I had to pinpoint the date that it all changed, I might say that it was on May 25, 1977, when the one and only Star Wars was released.

Star Wars was great. There's no getting around that. The movie itself, though immensely enjoyable, especially for children, is not great (not in the big sense), but the phenomenon of Star Wars was. But only for children. Therein lies a problem, for Star Wars, far more than Star Trek and most if not all other science fiction and fantasy franchises, has allowed, attracted, and invited grown adults to remain in adolescence for all of their lives. (1) Even now, forty-two years after the movie was released, we live among children masquerading as adults and attempting at all costs to avoid life as adults and the responsibilities and obligations that come with it. (That man who killed himself was forty-two when he died by the way.) They would rather try to live as children, even though living such a life beyond childhood is an absurdity and an impossibility. Call it the adolescentization of America, and consider the possibility that it began in 1977, coincidentally or not the year in which the largest cohort in American history aged out of their teens and into their twenties. (Carrie Fisher was older than they were by only a year.)

* * *

Kat Timpf is a humorist and political commentator. In November 2015, about a month before Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened, she said and wrote these words:
"I have never had any interest in watching space nerds poke each other with their little space nerd sticks, and I'm not going to start now."
And:
"Yesterday I tweeted something, and all I said was that I wasn't familiar with Star Wars because I’ve been too busy liking cool things and being attractive." (2)
In response--and probably very predictably--Star Wars fans threatened to assault, rape, sodomize, and murder her, or they expressed hope that these things would happen to her. In other words, they confirmed the stereotype of Star Wars fans--and fans of fantasy and science fiction in general--as immature geeks and nerds who don't know how to deal with adult situations or differences of opinion, or how to respond to disagreement, or least of all how to treat women. Or, as Joaquin Pheonix's character in Signs points out, they're the kind of guys who don't have girlfriends. Or, as I have written here, they have never moved beyond adolescence and are forever stuck at an age when somebody else made their lunches for them and the clothing that now seems to be a uniform among adults in our country was what you wore because you were a kid. How did this ever happen--grown "men" with their Big-Mac-and-pizza guts and their ugly, crusty feet dressed not even as teenagers dress but as a bunch of five-year-olds in t-shirts, shorts, baseball caps, and flip flops? When are they ever going to grow up? Never, I guess, not in our thoroughly adolescentized America. (Yeah, I know, it's an ugly word.) I suppose all of this represents a business opportunity for the enterprising casket makers and undertakers of the near future, as these generations of never-adults go the way of Darth Vader (yeah, I know, he was burned up, but stay with me here): caskets made to look like your favorite Star Wars spacecraft, plus all of the accessories you'll need when you go into the ground, including your favorite-colored nerd stick at your side or clutched in your cold, dead hands. (3)

Note
(1) Just this week on the radio, in a story about how there are too many white men who have accomplished things, I heard a medical student--a grown man--talk about the talking portraits in Harry Potter and how something or other . . . (I just couldn't listen anymore after that.)
(2) To read more, go to "I Will Not Apologize for Making a Joke About Star Wars" by Kat Timpf on the website National Review, dated November 24, 2015, by clicking here.
(3) Or here's another possibility: the undertaker, dressed as Darth Vader (both wear black after all), sweeps through your standing corpse with his light saber, and in that instant you are vaporized (through some currently undeveloped and un-patented process), your Jedi's cloak and light saber drop to the ground, and all of your mourners (consisting only of your mother) cry and cheer now that you've gone to that great beyond. Before your death, you could even record messages like a jihadi and these could be played back at key moments after your death in a blue 3-D haze as if you're a Force-ghost. (Just make sure your comments are generic enough to suit all occasions.)

Pulp magazines didn't just go away: they evolved. One successor to them was the mass-market paperback, which, even if it contained a piece of serious literature, might have pulp-type art on its cover. Such was the case of  the Bantam edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls. I had this book at one time. I wish I had it back.

The men's magazines of the 1950s through the 1970s were another successor to pulp magazines. They, too, had pulp-type art on their covers and in their interiors. Artists such as Ed Valigursky and Norman Saunders kept busy on them even after their previous employment in pulp magazines had dried up. Note the links to Hemingway: Booze, sex, war, Chicago, and Cuba.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Sunday, August 25, 2019

July: Edith and Ernest

Once a month I go to a book club on weird literature and art. In July (on July 25 to be precise, while I was working on my own story), we looked at the works of Edith Wharton (1862-1937), specifically her short stories "Afterward" (1910), "The Eyes" (1910), and "Pomegranate Seed" (1931). These are good and well-written stories, though I found "The Eyes" to have a lot of ugliness in it. My favorite among them is "Afterward." One line alone, actually a fragment of a line, is worth the price of admission for this story: "but he wasn't dead enough . . . ."

I read "Afterward" in my copy of Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural, edited by Herbert A. Wise and Phyllis Fraser and published in 1944 by Random House as part of its Modern Library. One of the things that I noticed in reading this story is how drastically American prose styles changed in just a very short period, from prewar to postwar. Written by a woman born in the Victorian era and published in 1910, "Afterward" is to my mind dense and weighty. It's not a story that moves. In reading it, I thought, "Thank God Ernest Hemingway came along and knocked the stuffing out of Victorian prose." It's not that Edith Wharton was a bad writer, because she wasn't--not at all. But my tastes are more to lean, muscular, quintessentially American prose. If your story can be adapted to a movie starring Steve McQueen, I'm there, but if it takes someone like Hugh Grant to bring it to life, I might pass. Or, as I said in the July meeting of our book club, if I read even one more story in which even one more character drinks even one more cup of tea, I might scream.

* * *

Here is the New York Times on Ernest Hemingway's first novel, The Sun Also Rises, from 1926: "It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame." (1) That's what I'm talking about, and I'm not the only one to recognize it and prefer it. Hemingway's writing may have been a kind of death knell for all of those old-fashioned authors--old-fashioned in their prose, their concerns, or both. They were from another time and their time had passed. Few today even read what they wrote. I'm thinking here of writers like Booth Tarkington (a Fortean and fellow Hoosier by the way) and Robert W. Chambers, the so-called "Boudoir Balzac" who also happened to be a teller of weird tales. Hemingway's early work still lives, though, as do stories such as The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, originally published in 1925 but still astonishingly contemporary and as near-to-perfect as any novel by an American author. Older by a generation, Edith Wharton may have seen the writing on the wall: her story "Pomegranate Seed," from 1931, is a far cry from her stories of just twenty years before. There are even automobiles in it.

* * *

Ernest Hemingway is also in Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural with his story "The Killers," originally published in 1927. I get a sense that the editors were stretching the bounds of their title in order to get him (William Faulkner, too) into their book. I suppose the idea was to lend Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural an added kind of weight and importance by including works by two men who were very soon to win Nobel prizes in literature. In fact, most of this volume is filled with works by authors held in some kind of esteem by the literary establishment. Nonetheless, H.P. Lovecraft is in its pages, the only author there to have been more closely associated with the pulps than with slick magazines or more literary hardbound fiction.

* * *

I'll have more to say about Ernest Hemingway in the next part of this series, but before that, I would like to point out that Necronomicon Providence, the International Festival of Weird Fiction, Art, and Academia, is taking place in Providence, Rhode Island, this weekend and that the leader of our book club, Nathaniel R. Wallace, is presenting his paper "A Sequence of Paintings so Horrid: 'Pickman’s Model' Visual Adaptations" there. Good luck, success, and safe travels to Nate this weekend.

Note
(1) From "Marital Tragedy," dated October 31, 1926, and accessible here.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley

Saturday, August 24, 2019

July: Losses and Gains

During the month of July just passed I did two things: forestry work and work on my story.  And during a very hot week and more here in the Midwest, I stayed home and wrote for ten to twelve hours a day some days. That might not have been good for work that pays, but it was good for my story: in about four days' time I wrote 10,000 to 12,000 words, and in another week or so I wrote 5,000 to 10,000 more. I finished my first draft on July 28 and printed it on July 31, thus meeting my own personal deadline. It's not often that I meet or have met deadlines during these past few months or years, but I did in this case. That alone was cause for happiness, but to write a story at its own rapid pace and to finish it to my own satisfaction was a kind of elation. As C.L. Moore wrote, "To be panting along behind a headstrong story . . . is one of life’s major glories--a high better than drugs or drink." (1)

* * *

Also during July I wrote a little on this blog, but only a little, and I missed out on a lot. If it's okay with you, I would like to catch up . . .

On July 16, I noted the passing of João Gilberto, who died on July 6, 2019, at age eighty-eight. What I failed to note is that his wife, Brazilian singer Miúcha, had died six months earlier, on December 18, 2018, at age eighty-one. Their daughter, singer Bebel Gilberto, then, lost both of her parents in half a year's time. I would like to express my sorrow for her loss and to extend the same feelings on behalf of all of you if you'll have it. I would also like to urge all of you to listen to Bebel Gilberto's very fine album Tanto Tempo (2000), which opens with a slow, sultry rendition of "Samba da Bênção" by Vinicius de Moraes and Baden Powell, two giants of Brazilian music with whom her parents performed and recorded.

* * *

I was also saddened to learn of the death of Rosemary Ellen Guiley, who left us on July 18, 2019, at age sixty-nine. I met her at the Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, many years ago, and she seemed to me a kind and gracious person. Rosemary wrote on occult and quasi-religious topics, but she also wrote on Fortean topics and was an editor with Fate magazine, co-founded by Raymond A. Palmer as a journal of Forteana. I don't think that she wrote fiction, but in being influenced by the writings of Charles H. Fort, directly or indirectly, Rosemary Guiley joined legions of authors of fantasy and science fiction, including many tellers of weird tales. This is the centennial year, by the way, of the publication of Fort's first book, The Book of the Damned.

Note
(1) Quoted in "C.L. Moore (1911-1987) [and] Henry Kuttner (1915-1958)" by Frederick Shroyer and Richard Bleiler in Science Fiction Writers, 2nd edition (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1999), pp. 545-546.

Charles Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained by Damon Knight (1970). In addition to being a biographer, critic, and author of science fiction and related topics, Damon Knight was a poet and artist who contributed to Weird Tales. His first illustration for the magazine was for H.P. Lovecraft's "Herbert West: Reanimator," from the issue of November 1942. So again, we have mention of Lovecraft in the week of his birthday.

Original text copyright 2019 Terence E. Hanley