This is the second time I have read The Great Gatsby and it will likely not be the last. The first was F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald
This is the second time I have read The Great Gatsby and it will likely not be the last. The first was for the extreme pleasure that the novel yields and this most recent time was to study how Fitzgerald did it. As a writer I am constantly peeking behind the literary curtain of others writers to see how they did it; how they pulled off the fictional magic trick. In this instance it was to see how Fitzgerald levitated Daisy through this Jazz Age classic novel.
To me, Daisy is the most interesting character in TGG and the most damning. She is infinitely complex and impossible to nail down just like the varied guests that float in and out of Gatsby's parties. Daisy drifts through rooms and people's lives as she does life. It's not a stretch to realize that Fitzgerald based her on his wife Zelda who he called "the first American flapper." Both Daisy and Zelda were from Southern states: Kentucky and Alabama, respectively. They were unrestrained and had a thirst for living a wealthy lifestyle. For Gatsby, he was driven to bootlegging in an effort to quench this insatiable desire by Daisy. Fitzgerald took to writing novels, which after a number of years of writing them myself I can tell you of their many similarities. The difference between writing novels and bootlegging is that one can get you thrown in jail, cause you to drink heavily, and make you become associated with criminals. The other is bootlegging.
It's easy to imagine Zelda and F. Scott flying down some New York back road in their coupe, off to partying another Jazz Age night away. Easy indeed. Fitzgerald can, after all, write a party scene like no one else in the literature. He had lots of practice in his life. In TGG the party scenes never stop, each one is bigger than the last; each gala trying to outdo the other. Still, Fitzgerald wrote even better ones in his short story collection Flappers and Philosophers that is not to be missed.
TGG is unsurpassed in capturing the Jazz Age, one of the most wild and reckless (and fun!) periods in American history. It could only have been captured in the way that it was in TGG by a great artist who had lived it in spades. In my view Gatsby is one of the most sympathetic characters in literature. Why is he vilified? He was just a guy, like millions before and after him, trying to impress his girl. He wanted her unconditional love and never got it. Ultimately she got him killed. Daisy. The one who was guilty of vehicular homicide and love suicide. Daisy. The one Fitzgerald magically levitated like the Zelda of his own life. ...more
My literary hat is off to Ken Kesey for writing one of the best English language novels of the 20th century! It belongs on the shelf next to Flowers fMy literary hat is off to Ken Kesey for writing one of the best English language novels of the 20th century! It belongs on the shelf next to Flowers for Algernon, The Catcher in the Rye, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Three Stories, The Great Gatsby, and other great American novels that took characters to new heights in the past century. The title of novel is taken from a children's rhyme:
Vintery, mintery, cutery, corn, Apple seed and apple thorn, Wire, briar, limber lock Three geese in a flock One flew East One flew West And one flew over the cuckoo's nest
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest shines brilliance in every corner of the dark asylum in which it's based. It's a place where patients are hosed down, tied to their beds at night, their mouths stuffed with colorful pills to make them behave and if they don't, if they should dare challenge the bulking nurse--Miss Ratched--they are given a ticket to the amusement park funland called the electro-shock therapy lab.
The novel is told from the POV of an American Indian who has no business being in an insane asylum other than to escape his oppressive upbringing. Times are hard until McMurphy enters the asylum. The Jack Nicholson movie of the same name is quite good, too, but even the great actor cannot measure up to McMurphy, the character he plays in the movie. He lands in the looney bin for no other reason than to escape a hard labor sentence for his crimes. That's when the fun really begins as he incites the others to stand up for themselves against the oppressive regime.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was published in 1962, nearly 120 years after Charles Dickens toured the North East insane asylums of America, which he recounted in his "American Notes." There he told of a cruel system that did little to rehabilitate the insane. Edgar Allan Poe and many others felt Boz did American wrong when he returned to England and wrote his unflattering account. Three years later Edgar Allan Poe would pen one of the first English language short stories set in an insane asylum ("The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether"), in which he lampooned many politicians of the day as analyzed in Edgar Allan Poe's Annotated Short Stories.
Sadly, little had changed from the Victorian Age of Dickens and Poe, to the early 1960s when Kesey published OFOCN. The novel, however, did what Charles Dickens was unable to do by changing the way the insane were treated in America. It's still not a perfect system and probably never will be, but one that is less reliant on drugs and that has nearly eliminated lobotomies. So says my aunt who spent nearly her entire career as a nurse in an insane asylum. I can still remember as a boy, sitting wide-eyed around the table, while she told of the many fascinating things that when on there. Some of them were funny and some were downright creepy. I thought it would be impossible to attempt to capture these fascinating characters into a novel. Heck, I thought it crazy to even try.
Yet, Kesey has somehow accomplished it. He has distilled the experience (based on his own time spent working at an asylum) into one fantastic novel where freedom triumphs over oppression and conformance, when it is coherent and not drugged up or sent smoldering to bed after a few hundred volts were applied to the temples....more
Gormenghast is the second book in the fantastic Gormenghast trilogy. In it, Mervyn Peake has managed to make the sprawling, never ending Mervyn Peake
Gormenghast is the second book in the fantastic Gormenghast trilogy. In it, Mervyn Peake has managed to make the sprawling, never ending castle of gray and stone, one of the main characters. Death is everywhere, lurking in dark corners and worn stairs and crumbling archways. As with the first book in the trilogy, Peake doesn't let up and cements his trilogy as one of the great Gothic texts of the twentieth century.
Robert Smith and his band The Cure were heavily influenced by Gormenghast. "A Forest" and "The Drowning Man" draw on Gormenghast and the ghastly doings that happen within it ever moldering walls. A must listen and a must read!...more
We can forgive the sappy title of "Flowers for Algernon" only because of the fantastic novel Daniel Keyes has given us. For the most part the characteWe can forgive the sappy title of "Flowers for Algernon" only because of the fantastic novel Daniel Keyes has given us. For the most part the characters are robust and transformative. Apart from a different title, more showing and less telling would rocket this novel to greatness. Still, it is one that makes us laugh and cry. A must read in literary fiction circles and a novel that should be remembered for a long time....more
“L'Elixir de Longue Vie” was first published in the Revue de Paris for October 1830. It is, of course, better known today in America as the horror sto“L'Elixir de Longue Vie” was first published in the Revue de Paris for October 1830. It is, of course, better known today in America as the horror story called The Elixir of Life. In it Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) gives us an excellent story that melds religious and supernatural elements into a horrific concoction sure to induce nightmares. It is included in Middle Earth: The Best Fantasy Short Stories 1800-1849 that I edited.
Surely the ending will be remembered the next time any reader steps foot in their place of worship. In the horror story Balzac subjects his readers to a Gothic setting at the deathbed scene:
Before long Don Juan had crossed the lofty, chilly suite of rooms in which his father lived; the penetrating influences of the damp close air, the mustiness diffused by old tapestries and presses thickly covered with dust had passed into him, and now he stood in the old man's antiquated room, in the repulsive presence of the deathbed, beside a dying fire. A flickering lamp on a Gothic table sent broad uncertain shafts of light, fainter or brighter, across the bed, so that the dying man's face seemed to wear a different look at every moment. The bitter wind whistled through the crannies of the ill-fitting casements; there was a smothered sound of snow lashing the windows. The harsh contrast of these sights and sounds with the scenes which Don Juan had just quitted was so sudden that he could not help shuddering. He turned cold as he came towards the bed; the lamp flared in a sudden vehement gust of wind and lighted up his father's face; the features were wasted and distorted; the skin that cleaved to their bony outlines had taken wan livid hues, all the more ghastly by force of contrast with the white pillows on which he lay. The muscles about the toothless mouth had contracted with pain and drawn apart the lips; the moans that issued between them with appalling energy found an accompaniment in the howling of the storm without.
When the father passes away, the son grabs a "mysterious phial." He tries a dab of the liquid on her father's eye and it comes back to life. Unlike Nathaniel Hawthorne's Doctor Heidegger's Experiment, Balzac's elixir of life is not ingested, but rather spread on the body. This opens the door to the body only being partly animated and the terrifying results if the elixir is spilled part way through the process of reanimation. When the son is near death, he gets the elixir and has his own son spread it on his face and rest of his body. But when the face and first arm was covered, the following horrific event happens.
By the soft moonlight that lit strange gleams across the country without, Felipe could dimly see his father's body, a vague white thing among the shadows. The dutiful son moistened a linen cloth with the liquid, and, absorbed in prayer, he anointed the revered face. A deep silence reigned. Felipe heard faint, indescribable rustlings; it was the breeze in the tree-tops, he thought. But when he had moistened the right arm, he felt himself caught by the throat, a young strong hand held him in a tight grip—it was his father's hand! He shrieked aloud; the flask dropped from his hand and broke in pieces. The liquid evaporated; the whole household hurried into the room, holding torches aloft. That shriek had startled them, and filled.them with as much terror as if the Trumpet of the Angel sounding on the Last Day had rung through earth and sky. The room was full of people, and a horror-stricken crowd beheld the fainting Felipe upheld by the strong arm of his father, who clutched him by the throat. They saw another thing, an unearthly spectacle—Don Juan's face grown young and beautiful as Antinoiis, with its dark hair and brilliant eyes and red lips, a head that made horrible efforts, but could not move the dead, wasted body.
The partially animated corpse is taken to church and Balzac gives his readers a unique terror that will not be forgotten.
Te Deum laudamus! cried the many voices. "Go to the devil, brute beasts that you are! Dios! Dios! Garajos demonios! Idiots! What fools you are with your dotard God!" and a torrent of imprecations poured forth like a stream of red-hot lava from the mouth of Vesuvius. "Deus Sabaoth! . . . Sabaoth!" cried the believers. "You are insulting the majesty of Hell," shouted Don Juan, gnashing his teeth. In another moment the living arm struggled out of the reliquary, and was brandished over the assembly in mockery and despair. "The saint is blessing us," cried the old women, children, lovers, and the credulous among the crowd. And note how often we are deceived in the homage we pay; the great man scoffs at those who praise him, and pays compliments now and again to those whom he laughs at in the depths of his heart. Just as the Abbot, prostrate before the altar, was chanting "Sancte Johannes, ora pro nobis!" he heard a voice exclaim sufficiently distinctly: "0 coglione!" "What can be going on up there?" cried the Sub-prior, ar he saw the reliquary move. "The saint is playing the devil," replied the Abbot. Even as he spoke the living head tore itself away from the lifeless body, and dropped upon the sallow cranium of the officiating priest. "Remember Dona Elvira!" cried the thing, with its teeth set fast in the Abbot's head. The Abbot's horror-stricken shriek disturbed the ceremony; all the ecclesiastics hurried up and crowded about their chief. "Idiot, tell us now if there is a God!" the voice cried, as the Abbot, bitten through the brain, drew his last breath.
In the introduction Balzac refers to a “stray fancy of the brain” by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) for the general idea of the story. He is referring to “The Devil’s Elixirs” (Die Elixire de Teufels) by Hoffmann that was first published in 1814. While Balzac is quick to give Hoffmann his due, he is being too humble. As with many Honoré de Balzac stories, “The Elixir of Life” has areas of slowness. Yet one can always rest assured that they are in good hands with Honoré de Balzac who forged new ground in the horror short story genre. Balzac's unique blending of religious and supernatural elements, along with an ending that rivals anything penned by Edgar Allan Poe, make this story one of the foremost elixir of life stories ever written....more
In most areas of my life I am organized. That is not the case when it comes to my reading pattern. It is rather chaotic. I'm not one of those people who sit down at the beginning of the year, line up the books I am going to read in a corner of the bookshelf, and start reading them in order. I usually have a general idea of the book I want to read next and despite my best laid plans, if I like the book in hand it inevitably leads me on to some other book I am unfamiliar with as I follow the trail through the literary forest until I step off a cliff or the trail comes to a dead end and I have to follow the bookmarks that I dropped along the way to lead me back out of the forest. And The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is no exception.
What made me follow the trail of this nonfiction book with the bombastic title when I rarely read nonfiction? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest--one of my favorite books of the twentieth century--is to blame. So it was a bird that I followed into the forest. I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 2013 after seeing the movie of the same name a decade earlier. You can read my review here ( Andrew Barger's Blog ). When I finished I wanted to learn more about the high-artist (no pun intended) named Ken Kesey------
------the straight-laced Stanford student who showed up one day at a government funded LSD experiment to earn $25 and ended up promoting the drug like no other in the fledgling days of the hippies. Ken Kesey decides to paint a school bus in Day-Glo colors and drive it across country with his merry band of pranksters. That's where Tom Wolfe comes in. The (pre-novelist) journalist followed those merry band of pranksters on their trip and recorded their adventures in in the 1968 book: The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Why the crazy title? Well you will have to read the book. But what is not to like about the title?
And speaking of crazy, the slapdash way Tom Wolfe writes in the book gives one the early impression that he is trying to capture the frenetic, drug fueled pace of the pranksters, which he verifies with an author's note at the end. He does a fine job of it, too. At times, however, he sacrifices clarity to accomplish this. New people pop in and out of scenes, never to be heard from again. There is often little setup to events that happen in the book. Poooooooof! Zaaaaamoooooo! Kablaaaaam! People come and go. Drug busts. Misery. Ecstasy. All on the same page. The bus rolls on in a Day-Glo sheen. The drugs flow. Tie-dye is invented and the hippie generation is ushered in thanks to Ken Kesey and his merry band of pranksters.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is a pure rush of literary adrenaline by a journalist in full command of the English language and every crazy symbol found on the ASCII keyboard as if there is no shortage of how many colons can be strung together even though we know that the colon is an endangered species in the English language. Why? Because Tom Wolfe used most of them in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
The book is recommended as it is part of America's culture in the sixties and so is the movie Ken Kesey and the pranksters filmed of the bus tour--The Magic Trip. I am watching it now. But what I am enjoying most are Ken Kesey's interesting comments about the making of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, not the least of which is that he wrote the first pages high on peyote. And we all know how Edgar Allan Poe and other early literary pioneers have been portrayed for taking hallucinogenics as portrayed in Coffee With Poe. Let's hope the general perception turns out better for Ken Kesey as time passes. ...more
The first rule about Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, but I am going to anyway (or at leastReview of Fight Club Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
The first rule about Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club, but I am going to anyway (or at least the novel ).
Chuck Palahniuk is the author with the unpronounceable last name who penned the wildly successful “Fight Club” nearly 20 years ago. The book has taken on something of a cult status in dark corners of the reading world, due in large part to the movie of the same name starring Brad Pitt.
MY IMPRESSION “Fight Club” is a fistful of fun and an enjoyable read that will punch you in the face. KA-POW! **Spoiler Alert** What Palahniuk has done is provide a modern take on “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” that Robert Louis Stevenson gave the world back in 1886. In the middle of FC we learn that the mild mannered desk clerk and the wild founder of the underground fight clubs and Project Mayhem are the same person. Palahniuk does a good job of masking it, but ultimately the foundation of originality in the dissociative personality trait stuck in a novel rests with Stevenson.
The originality in FC is found on the surface in the fight club concept and the plans of Project Mayhem. Readers also learn all they ever wanted to know about making soap from the extracted fat of the rich and how to sell it back to them. And who in their lives hasn’t longed to have that knowledge bouncing around in their brain? There is also a love story going on in the novel. I was surprised as anyone in reading the afterword by the Palahniuk when he claimed that the novel is a romance. Does it belong on the shelves next to pink-covered Joan Collins novels? I’ll let you be the judge.
I RECOMMEND IT “Fight Club” is not a perfect novel and what piece of art is, especially when it is a first novel? There are the little annoyances like quote malfunction in the form of the opening quote being reversed. This may be from the print to ebook conversion, but who knows? Maybe it’s High Art.
I recommend this wild read of a novel. It has action, pithy text, original surface contexts and a love story. “Fight Club” is, after all, a “romance.”
The Hound of the Baskervilles brings Sherlock Holmes to his closest encounter with the supernatural. There are no vampires or ghosts, but a purportedThe Hound of the Baskervilles brings Sherlock Holmes to his closest encounter with the supernatural. There are no vampires or ghosts, but a purported hound from hell measures out a good dose of horror. The novella is also one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most Gothic tales, set along the mores of England and in an ancient mansion that borders them. What we have is Doyle at his best and his excellent character Sherlock Holmes--who is derived from Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin as I pointed out in Edgar Allan Poe Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems Edgar Allan Poe Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems--does not disappoint with his sleuthing prowess, either. If Poe had written one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, this would have been it. A must read!...more
Joseph Sheridan le Fanu is perhaps the best ghost story writer to emerge from the Victorian Age. His ghost classics include The Familiar, Devereux's DJoseph Sheridan le Fanu is perhaps the best ghost story writer to emerge from the Victorian Age. His ghost classics include The Familiar, Devereux's Dream, Madam Crowl's Ghost, An Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House and A History of a Tyrone Family, which was included in The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849 that I edited. The Best Ghost Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Ghost Anthology
And let's not forget his devil tales: The Drunkard's Dream and The Fortunes of Sir Robert Ardagh that are the foremost of their kind. Green Tea is one of his most anthologized tales along with A Strange Event in the Life of Schalken the Painter, included in The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849. The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849: A Classic Vampire Anthology While Fanu's 1872 Carmilla is one of the greatest vampire stories of the nineteenth century.
So when Fanu penned his most ambitious work, set in an ancient mansion, the literary community took notice. In "Uncle Silas" Fanu has given us one of the best Gothic novels of the late nineteenth century. This was a time when corpses remained in the house for three days after death and laudanum, a cocaine derivative, was taken for the nerves. "Uncle Silas" has some of the best characters Fanu invented and is time well spent over a few wonderful stormy nights. ...more
I’ve recently read “Charlotte Sometimes” if for no other reason than to compare The Cure lyrics of their classic song Charlotte Sometimes to parts ofI’ve recently read “Charlotte Sometimes” if for no other reason than to compare The Cure lyrics of their classic song Charlotte Sometimes to parts of the children’s fantasy. This is what I learned and it’s very interesting. ***Spoiler Alter***
All the faces, All the voices blur Change to one face, Change to one voice
First sentence: By bedtime all the faces, the voices, had blurred for Charlotte to one face, one voice.
Prepare yourself for bed
Second sentence: She prepared herself for bed . . . .
The light seems bright, And glares on white walls
Book 2nd paragraph, 6th sentence: The light seemed to bright for them, glaring on white walls . . . .
All the sounds of
Book 4th paragraph, 4th sentence: All the sounds about her . . . .
Charlotte sometimes Into the night with Charlotte sometimes
Book 5th paragraph, 1st sentence: She must have slept at last . . . .
Night after night she lay alone in bed Her eyes so open to the dark
Part II, chapter 4, 1st sentence: Night after night, Charlotte lay in bed with her eyes open to the dark . . . .
The streets all looked so strange They seemed so far away But Charlotte did not cry
Part II, chapter 4, paragraph 15, 1st sentence: The streets looked strange . . . .
The people seemed so close Playing expressionless games
Part II, chapter 2, paragraph 24, 3rd sentence: Charlotte, on the other hand, became absorbed, concentrating wholly on her fingers’ easing . . . .
The people seemed so close So many other names
Part II, chapter 2, paragraph 37: “Good night, Mr. Chisel Brown,” she said with almost a curtsy. “Good night, Mrs. Chisel Brown. Good night, Miss Agnes Chisel Brown. Good night, cat. Good night, dog . . ..”
When all the other people dance - Reference to school dance
Expressionless the trance - Reference to séance
So many different names - Reference to names of Brown family
The sounds all stay the same - Reference to airplane sounds overhead
On a different world - Past where Charlotte travels
On that bleak track (See the sun is gone again) The tears were pouring down her face She was crying and crying for a girl Who died so many years before
Part III, chapter 2, paragraph 53, 1st sentence: On that bleak track, the sun almost gone again, tears were pouring down her face. She was crying and crying for a girl for a girl who had died more than 40 years before.
Charlotte sometimes crying for herself
Part III, chapter 7, paragraph 13, last sentence: She began crying bitterly, could not stop . . . .
Charlotte sometimes dreams a wall around herself
Part III, chapter 7, paragraph 10, 1st sentence: She dreamed she stood below the picture, The Mark of the Beast, and there were soldiers all around her in red uniforms, stiff as toys but tall as men. There were dolls, too, like Miss Agnes’s doll, as tall as the soldiers . . .
Glass sealed and pretty
Part III, chapter 7, paragraph 15, 4th sentence: And when she looked at the wall at the picture glass, it looked quite empty, as if a mirror hung there, not a picture at all.
Two other songs by The Cure, Splintered in Her Head and The Empty World, are based on “Charlotte Sometimes.” You can check out my analysis of those lyrics on my blog: www.AndrewBarger.blogspot.com. Thanks! ...more
"The Secret Sharer," which is one of the two short novels in this bi-novel package, taps into that classic theme of a person hiding in a room who does"The Secret Sharer," which is one of the two short novels in this bi-novel package, taps into that classic theme of a person hiding in a room who does not want to be found. It was first published by Joseph Conrad in 1910. The writing is topnotch, though the means of building suspense by having someone in a room who does not want to be found out handled (much better) by Honore de Balzac in his short story "The Mysterious Mansion" published in 1830 that can be found in my Best Horror Short Stories anthology. Because of this I suggest reading Balzac's classic instead of Conrad's seafaring regurgitation.
On to Conrad's crowning achievement: "The Heart of Darkness." The hunt into the heart of a depraved jungle for Mr. Kurtz is one that had few equals up to its publication in 1902. It drew on Conrad's own experience in the Congo and what he saw there. His style of writing is uncomfortable and heated, mimicking the way a person feels on a sultry day. That much is genius and so is one of the first quests in literature for a crazzzzzy person. Francis Ford Coppola got it right in Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now Redux:
I need to study this novel, but unfortunately have little time for it at the moment. Sigh. Perhaps when my writing schedule slows down, but there is no end in sight like the darkling jungles as Charles Marlow and his band of sailors troll up the Congo in search the their greatest fears....more
This collection is named after the first story, which is a certain classic and is a must read. The last story is not a classic but still excellent. ThThis collection is named after the first story, which is a certain classic and is a must read. The last story is not a classic but still excellent. The other stories sandwiched between these are fillers and pale in comparison. Save time and skip the middle of this book. But whatever you do, get your eyes on the title story and read it. ...more
On June 5, 2012, Ray Bradbury passed away. Long live Ray Bradbury.
To readers he will live on through his myriad short stories and a few novels that arOn June 5, 2012, Ray Bradbury passed away. Long live Ray Bradbury.
To readers he will live on through his myriad short stories and a few novels that are destined to be classics. The first is “Fahrenheit 451,” a nineteenth century classic that warns of the dangers in banning books and censorship. The second Bradbury classic is “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” with a title no less intriguing than the first.
In SWTWC Bradbury has given the world a fiendish tale reflected through the eyes of two young boys and their wonderment of a traveling circus. At times the metaphors, the similes, the personifications are overwritten; but mostly they sing across this dark field of a novel, soaring over flapping circus tents and the bizzarrie inside them. Though lesser known than the decade older “Fahrenheit 451,” SWTWC is a classic that will be read for decades to come.
Ray Bradbury isn’t dead. He lives on. Long live Ray Bradbury....more
Lovecraft is often portrayed as the successor to Poe in the genre of short horror stories, but after reading Lovecraft's stories (and editing Edgar AlLovecraft is often portrayed as the successor to Poe in the genre of short horror stories, but after reading Lovecraft's stories (and editing Edgar Allan Poe Annotated and Illustrated Entire Stories and Poems), I can tell you that he is no Poe. Lovecraft is much less a pioneer than Poe in both character and Gothic atmosphere. Lovecraft gave us the Cthulhu Mythos of cosmic horrors, of ancient horrors lying dormant, of horrors that transcend space and time and dimensions. He holds his rightful place of high esteem in horror literature for this and must be remembered as a result.
Lovecraft studied Poe. He worshiped him and rightly so. He wrote "The Outsider" in apparent homage to Poe. But the similarities stop there. Let's not forget that Poe wrote 80-100 years before Lovecraft, too. Lovecraft also used the word "foetid" more than any other writer that has ever lived by a factor of ten, but that's another article. Plus, he looked downright creepy, too. Although Lovecraft was no Poe he gave us some great stories and these are my favorites:
"The Call of Cthulhu" "The Colour Out of Space" "The Dunwich Horror"...more
I have an inkling that C.S. Lewis could have (should have) given his readers much more in The Screwtape letters where Screwtape, a senior demon, writeI have an inkling that C.S. Lewis could have (should have) given his readers much more in The Screwtape letters where Screwtape, a senior demon, writes to his underling about undermining the Christianity of his "patient" on earth. I was disappointed to find that only the letters of Screwtape are included. There are no letters from the underling demon or narrative regarding the moves of the Christian patient. Rarely does the reader know what the patient is doing on earth. The Christian is, after all, the unseen, unknown protagonist of the novel. What work of fiction stands on solid legs under that guise?
Still, the premise of the The Screwtape Letters is imaginatively presented and unique in the literature on which I always place a premium. The voice of Screwtape is less evil than calculating and that is likely a realistic portrayal of the demon. In the end, the novel left me wanting more; not more of Screwtape but of the junior demon and his Christian patient. For these reasons I was left feeling that I received only half a novel, or just a third. It had so much potential....more