A Voyage to Arcturus A Voyage to Arcturus discussion


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Emotional impact of literarure

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David M The 1946 V.G. edition of "Voyage to Arcturus" includes an introduction written by E. H. Visiak which made some interesting statements. Of the novel, Visiak says:

"...its effect upon the mind, or the nerves--according to the temperament of the reader--is of such a kind, I dare affirm, as is not to be experienced in any other author.(1)
This effect, whatever may be the cause or peculiar subconscious energy that was involved, is violently disturbing. The reader's very intellect is assailed; his imagination is appalled...
(1) No exaggeration. Described in one reader's experience as veritably a 'a state of spiritual terror.'"

My question, then, to others who have read the book:
How profoundly were you affected, either emotionally or intellectually? Is this an inflated and sensationalist description, or does it sincerely apply? Were people of that era more sensitive to sacrilege or the supernatural?
And also, can you think of any literary works which have really shocked, disturbed, or otherwise emotionally distressed you?


John D. The effect of "Voyage To Arcturus" on a reader depends on when you encounter it, how much experience you have of mind-blowing literature. I found in when I was in my twenties (a long time ago), and was very impressed with Lindsay's story, though perhaps not as affected by it as previous generations. I'd already read stuff like William Burrough's "Nova Express", for example, and other Beat fiction, as well as various New Wave SF guys, like J.G. Ballard, so was used to fiction expressed in almost psychedelic terms. So I suspect the modern reader won't be as 'assailed' by the book as previous generations.


Renee E The book that recently affected me that way is "The Man Who Could Make Things Vanish," by Jack Cady.

I'm working my way through Cady's catalogue and this one is completely different in every way. Hot, righteous anger roiled from it, almost palpable. It shook me like a Terrier shakes a varmint.

Reading it was an incredible experience that I will repeat . . . but not for awhile yet.


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