Radcliffe's final novel, never published in her lifetime (the editor suggests Ann, conscious of its radical/reform subtext, kept it to herself to prevRadcliffe's final novel, never published in her lifetime (the editor suggests Ann, conscious of its radical/reform subtext, kept it to herself to prevent public fuss, but I side with the contemporary reviewer who considers it a fun literary experiment exercised mainly for her own amusement). Gaston is her attempt at a 'false document' Gothic, and is deliberately written in a fairytale-like cod-medieval style (as with any self-conscious narrative gimmick, hammered obnoxiously in the opening chapters and then mercifully dialled down), which actually works, most of the time.
The novel has its moments - Radcliffe has always excelled at thrilling escapes and escape attempts; there's only one poem and it's an actually entertaining one; it even looks as though meticulous historical research has been done into the era for once (no anachronistic coffees or pianoforte solos here) - and it's actually, wonder of wonders, short. But that's all I can say for it, really....more
A sort of general overview, in article-sized samples, of UFO mythology from the 19th Century to the present day (the airship craze; the Flatwoods MonsA sort of general overview, in article-sized samples, of UFO mythology from the 19th Century to the present day (the airship craze; the Flatwoods Monster; the Chiles-Whitted and Socorro sightings; George Adamski's terribly convincing photographs; Roswell Through The Ages; the abductees, etc.).
There's nothing terribly exciting here if you're already reasonably well-read on the subject, which it increasingly looks - to my only very mild shame - like I am. I suspect all the questionable and lolarious accounts were left on the cutting-room floor....more
A star and a half for the vividly drawn picture of West Indian life in the early 19th Century (that is to say, naturally, 'West Indian life for an entA star and a half for the vividly drawn picture of West Indian life in the early 19th Century (that is to say, naturally, 'West Indian life for an entitled white brat'), and a star and a half for the few 'adventure' segments that actually still sizzle (yellow fever! hurricanes! various wrecks, battles and maladies!).
Venusian man allows the author to photograph him in silhouette against background of lighted spacecraft. Space people are reluctaWell, I'm convinced:
Venusian man allows the author to photograph him in silhouette against background of lighted spacecraft. Space people are reluctant to permit clear photographs of their features, because they might be recognised while mingling with Earth people. An aura or force field can be seen around spacecraft in original photograph, but much detail is lost in printing process.
This shot taken on the Moon shows spacecraft landing near dome-shaped building. The author was permitted to take only a few photographs during his visit to the Moon, and some of them have not yet been released for public showing.
Space woman walks toward the author. Just after she touched the shiny gadget on belt she disappeared. A space man standing near her said she had returned to the craft.
Worth reading - and re-reading - for Renee's chilling, carefully-drawn descriptions of her increasingly eerie inner world:
The recreation period at sch
Worth reading - and re-reading - for Renee's chilling, carefully-drawn descriptions of her increasingly eerie inner world:
The recreation period at school was often a source of the unreal feeling. I kept close to the fence as though I were indeed a prisoner and watched the other pupils shouting and running about in the school yard. They looked to me like ants under a bright light. The school building became immense, smooth, unreal, and an inexpressible anguish pressed in on me. I fancied that the people watching us from the street thought all of us prisoners just as I was a prisoner and wanted so much to escape. Sometimes I shook the grating as though there were no other way out, like a madman, I thought, who wanted to return to real life.
For the street seemed alive, gay and real, and the people moving there were living and real people, while all that was within the confines of the yard was limitless, unreal, mechanical and without meaning: it was the nightmare of the needle in the hay.
I caught myself in this state only in the yard, never in class. I suffered from it horribly, but I did not know how to get free. Play, conversation, reading - nothing seemed able to break the unreal circle that surrounded me.
These crises, far from abating, seemed rather to increase. One day, while I was in the principal's office, suddenly the room became enormous, illuminated by a dreadful electric light that cast false shadows. Everything was exact, smooth, artificial, extremely tense; the chairs and tables seemed models placed here and there. Pupils and teachers were puppets revolving without cause, without objective. I recognised nothing, nobody. It was as though reality, attenuated, had slipped away from all these things and these people. Profound dread overwhelmed me, and as though lost, I looked around desperately for help. I heard people talking but I did not grasp the meaning of the words. The voices were metallic, without warmth or colour. From time to time, a word detached itself from the rest. It repeated itself over and over in my head, absurd, as though cut off by a knife. And when one of my schoolmates came toward me, I saw her grow larger and larger, like the haystack [in Renee's nightmares].
During class, in the quiet of the work period, I heard the street noises - a trolley passing, people talking, a horse neighing, a horn sounding, each detached, immovable, separated from its source, without meaning. Around me, the other children, heads bent over their work, were robots or puppets, moved by an invisible mechanism. On the platform, the teacher, too, talking, gesticulating, rising to write on the blackboard, was a grotesque jack-in-the-box. And always this ghastly quiet, broken by outside sounds coming from far away, the implacable sun heating the room, the lifeless immobility. An awful terror bound me; I wanted to scream.
On the way to school in the morning at seven-thirty, sometimes the same thing happened. Suddenly the street became infinite, white under the brilliant sun; people ran about like ants on an ant-hill; automobiles circled in all directions aimlessly; in the distance a bell pealed. Then everything seemed to stop, to wait, to hold its breath, in a state of extreme tension, the tension of the needle in the haystack. Something seemed about to occur, some extraordinary catastrophe. An overpowering anxiety forced me to stop and wait. Then, without anything having actually changed, again realising the senseless activity of people and things, I went on my way to school.
If you value your own sanity, however, I advise you to skip Dr. Sechehaye's densely jargonistic appendices - which cost this thing a whole orange star....more
Dissociation of a Personality's precocious baby sister: interesting, charming, and - comprising just two not-very-lengthy articles from 'The Journal oDissociation of a Personality's precocious baby sister: interesting, charming, and - comprising just two not-very-lengthy articles from 'The Journal of Abnormal Psychology' - terribly, terribly short.
While I'm almost positive 'B.C.A' represents an iatrogenic case of multiplicity - Our Heroine experiences none of the typical amnestic blanks you'd expect as she alternates between her two 'selves' until Dr. Prince starts using hypnosis to treat her, and she uses a great deal of Prince's own psychiatric jargon to describe her condition later - she does seem to be fairly far along on her own before her therapy, and her summation of the experience raises all sorts of possibilities as to how dual personality might form and progress, as it were, In The Wild.
I wonder if there were other, later, articles on the 'B.C.A' case?...more
Sags a little here and there - and steals the Marquis de Montalt's oh-so-convenient exit from The Romance of the Forest for an ending - but is still mSags a little here and there - and steals the Marquis de Montalt's oh-so-convenient exit from The Romance of the Forest for an ending - but is still miles more enjoyable than Udolpho, and with infinitely less padding (not a poem in sight!).
The dreamy, dreary little sequence with Ellena by the sea displays some of the most effectively eerie writing of Radcliffe's whole career; it really does feel like a long, slow-percolating nightmare....more
**spoiler alert** There aren't too many full-length accounts of dual/multiple personality between the 'golden age of the subconscious' and the grim po**spoiler alert** There aren't too many full-length accounts of dual/multiple personality between the 'golden age of the subconscious' and the grim post-Sybil set; so it's really a shame that this one is so brief and unsatisfying.
Franz, a California doctor, treats a 40something man (C.J. Poulting, the title's 'Person 3') who was apparently rendered amnestic by a head injury some time during the First World War. After intense and repeated questioning on his past by Franz - no hypnosis, thankfully, so we can judge the case more or less on its own merits - Poulting suddenly begins to alternate between this state and that of his 27-year-old self (John Charles 'Jack' Poultney, the title's 'Person 1'). At different points in the narrative, both of them seem to recover the blanks in their respective memories, but they continue to alternate thereafter, with no memory of their brief reintegrations (if 'reintegrations' is the right word) even as the story ends, with Poultney returning home to his wife and sons in Ireland after fifteen years MIA. Franz seems to consider him cured.
Some of Poulting/Poultney's wartime memories are delightfully unlikely:
He told of a number of disconnected incidents which he referred to the journey between Mombasa and Nairobi. For example, he seemed to recall having been captured by the German troops. He also recollected that he, with a second British soldier who was also captured, was given over to some negro troops of the German forces. He told the story of how he and his companion killed the two negro soldiers who guarded them, took their guns and ammunition, and made their escape. How long and how far they travelled together he was uncertain. He thought they were travelling in the direction of the British troops. They saw many wild animals, and Poulting reported that both lions and leopards were especially bold, and would attack men.
One night, shortly after their escape from the Germans, Poulting, who was not too confused to recognise the danger of sleeping on the open ground, climbed a tree, into which he tied himself, while his companion, who was tired and who refused to do this, slept on the ground near the tree. During the night, Poulting awoke and found that his companion had been attacked by leopards, which had overcome him. They killed and then they ate him.
This particular incident, however, is almost certainly linked to the 'eureka!' memory of a pet monkey at Voi that represented 'Person 1's' first flashback to his 'Person 3' identity*:
This animal was apparently his closest, and perhaps his dearest, companion. He kept him on a leash. One night, when in his tent (?) at Voi, Jack was disturbed by the chattering of his monkey. He arose and picketed the animal to a tree or a bush ten or twenty yards away. Later, the same night, he was again awakened by the cries of the animal, and then in the clear moonlight he saw a leopard approach, pounce upon the monkey, tear it away from its picket and carry it away.
I think - though Franz doesn't - that they're likely both versions of the same event: one beefed-up into a men's magazine adventure, and one left as-is. But who knows?
The case has enough in common with both early accounts of 'dual personality' (Thomas Hanna and Mary Reynolds both had initially amnestic other selves with whom they would alternate) and with accounts of dissociative fugue (see: Ansel Bourne; Boris Sidis' 'Air. S') that I think they must represent different forms of the same basic syndrome. As 'Person 3', Poultney feels a constant 'wild desire to travel', under the vague impression that he might 'find [him]self' somewhere else in the world; in his brief 'confused' states - which may represent aborted attempts at further fugues - he also travels some distances, a defining fugue trait. (Perhaps dual personalities represent temporary fugue identities that somehow - perhaps empowered by all the attention they recieve? - manage to briefly persist even when the original self 'wakes up'.)
The most disorienting dislocation in space and time is probably Poultney's 1926 trip - as 'Person 1' - from Los Angeles to Panama:
When [Person 3] took his 'unconscious' trip [...] he travelled by the boat on which he had already taken three trips, and he knew the boat quite well. He "woke up" when travellers were disembarking at the Panama Canal. According to an account which he overheard at the time he came to himself, it seems that he boarded the boat without a ticket, and that a man passenger was ill and did not go to his meals, so that Poulting was able to substitute for him in the dining saloon. He was also told that he had been "the life of the party" on board the boat, that he organised games and took part in them; he kept groups of passengers amused and was not suspected of being a stowaway until he could exhibit no ticket when the other passengers were landing and sightseeing in the Canal Zone.
What ultimately becomes of Poultney - or, for that matter, the rather sad family that took him in on the mistaken but determined belief that he was their missing son - is, due to the swift publication of the book after the events of the case, not related. I'd love to know.
* There may or may not have been a 'Person 2' in the seven months left blank between these states; he makes no appearances here, unless Poulting and Poultney's 'confused spells' represent - like Félida X's incoherent state - his manifestations. The title is based on Franz' conjecture....more