Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fantasy Worlds is now available

Fantasy Words is International Authors' anthology of fantastic fiction, poetry and essays for very intelligent students.  Please click HERE to view the Amazon sales page.


  Sedna, Mistress of the Underworld
  A Story of Oki Islands
  from The Iliad Book 1.1-52
  from The Iliad Book 18.202-214
  from The Iliad Book 18.462-616
  from The Odyssey Book 11
  from Paradise Lost Book 1.1-330
  from Paradise Lost Book 2.614-1055
  The Hall of Fantasy
  Young Goodman Brown
  from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  The Tyger
  The world is too much with us
  I wandered lonely as a cloud
  On First looking into Chapman’s Homer
  Le Belles Dame sans Merci: A Ballad
  The Lady of Shalott
  The Kraken
  Sailing to Byzantium
  The Second Coming
  W. B. Yeats
  The Scientists Take Over
  The Yellow Wallpaper
  The Country of the Blind
  The Crystal Egg
  The Call of Cthulhu
  from Supernatural Horror in Literature
  The City of the Singing Flame
  Beware the Subtle World
  Meeting Dr. Malthusian
  Everything Changes

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

Embarkation of the Pilgrims at Delft Haven, Holland, July 22, 1620 by Robert Weir

Weir's painting depicts the Pilgrims aboard Speedwell before their departure for the New World from Delft Haven, Holland, on July 22, 1620:  William Brewster, holding the Bible, and pastor John Robinson leading Governor Carver, William Bradford, Miles Standish, and their families.

Mayflower and Speedwell set sail for America on August 15, but Speedwell developed a leak and  both ships turned back for England, landing first at Dartmouth and then at Plymouth. Mayflower set sail for America alone on September 16.  Sixty-six days later the Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts.  William Bradford writes:
Being thus arived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean, and delivered them from all ye periles & miseries therof, againe to set their feete on ye firme and stable earth, their proper elemente. And no marvell if they were thus joyefull, seeing wise Seneca was so affected with sailing a few miles on ye coast of his owne Italy; as he affirmed, that he had rather remaine twentie years on his way by land, then pass by sea to any place in a short time; so tedious & dreadfull was ye same unto him.

But hear I cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amased at this poore peoples presente condition; and so I thinke will the reader too, when he well considered ye same. Being thus passed ye vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before in their preparation (as may be remembred by yt which wente before), they had now no friends to wellcome them, nor inns to entertaine or refresh their weatherbeaten bodys, no houses or much less townes to repaire too, to seeke for succoure...

Let it also be considred what weake hopes of supply & succoure they left behinde them, yt might bear up their minds in this sade condition and trialls they were under; and they could not but be very smale. It is true, indeed, ye affections & love of their brethren at Leyden was cordiall & entire towards them, but they had litle power to help them, or them selves; and how ye case stode betweene them & ye marchants at their coming away, hath already been declared. What could not sustaine them but ye spirite of God & his grace? May not & ought not the children of these fathers rightly say: Our faithers were Englishmen which came over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willdernes; but they cried unto ye Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie…
Verily, as we sit down on this day to the feast of remembrance ponder with all gentle humility those miseries and doubts such as our Fathers overcame,--as well for your spirit's sake, appreciate gladly and mildly that wonderful juicy turkey, those savory potatoes, hardy stuffings, toasted green vegetables, cranberry sauce, steaming rolls and muffins, sparkling beverages, which nourish and vivify our bodies with strength and energy, and pumpkin pie withal!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

La Magia

Tomorrow while many of us are dining upon turkey, Dario Rivarossa will be lecturing on magic and witchcraft for the Dante Alighieri Society.

Please click HERE for Dario's announcement.

And click the following title for Dario's book on the subject:  Dante Was a Fantasy Writer.  Here (from the Amazon page) is Professor Hodges' brief review of that book:
Mr. Rivarossa, a writer of surprising, imaginative insights, is willing to entertain the possibility that many of the features found in current-day fantasy literature are also present in Dante's Divine Comedy. He thus finds not only fairies, elves, dragons, witches, and magical enchantments, but even such Gothic features as vampires and werewolves! Accompanying these speculative re-readings of Dante are Mr. Rivarossa's own illustrations, his imaginative reconstructions of what Dante describes. Always with good humor, Mr. Rivarossa presents his speculations not as indisputable fact -- such would not be worthy of fantasy! -- but as a means of getting us to reconsider what Dante was saying. As a work of imagination that provokes thought, and does so in a lively style, the book receives five stars from me.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CBS Radio Workshop: Brave New World (introduced by Aldous Huxley)

Please click HERE to listen to Brave New World and other radio plays.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Butterworth coming to America?

Highbrow readers are familiar with the Butterworth/Savoy Exhibition at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester. Back channel conversation hints that the show will come to North America in 2015.  Watch this space for further developments.

Please click HERE for a description and additional links related to the show.

Please click HERE for Gareth Jackson's photos.

Philip Murray-Lawson's interview with Michael Butterworth:  Part I   Part II

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Nostalgia of the Infinite (2100 BC)

Remains of ziggurat from Uruk honoring Inanna

Je suis le ténébreux, le veuf, l’inconsolé,
Le Prince d’Aquitaine á sa tour abolie… 

                              -- Gérard de Nerval

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Friday, November 7, 2014

H. P. Lovecraft on Clark Ashton Smith

In his essay on Supernatural Horror in Literature,  H. P. Lovecraft offers the following gloss on Clark Ashton Smith:
Of younger Americans, none strikes the note of cosmic horror so well as the Californian poet, artist and fictionist Clark Ashton Smith, whose bizarre writings, drawings, paintings and stories are the delight of a sensitive few. Mr. Smith has for his background a universe of remote and  paralyzing fright—jungles of poisonous and iridescent blossoms on the moons of Saturn, evil and grotesque temples in Atlantis, Lemuria, and forgotten elder worlds, and dank morasses of spotted death-fungi in spectral countries beyond earth’s rim. His longest and most ambitious poem, The Hashish-Eater, is in pentameter blank verse; and opens up chaotic and incredible vistas of kaleidoscopic nightmare in the spaces between the stars. In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Mr. Smith is perhaps unexcelled by any other writer dead or living. Who else has seen such gorgeous, luxuriant, and feverishly distorted visions of infinite spheres and multiple dimensions and lived to tell the tale? His short stories deal powerfully with other galaxies, worlds, and dimensions, as well as with strange regions and aeons on the earth. He tells of primal Hyperborea and its black amorphous god Tsathoggua; of the lost continent Zothique, and of the fabulous, vampire-curst land of Averoigne in mediaeval France. Some of Mr. Smith’s best work can be found in the brochure entitled The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies (1933).
In his Introduction to the Dover edition of Lovecraft's essay, E. F. Bleiler expresses his disagreement:
In terms of critical position, Lovecraft, I believe, overrated both Lord Dunsany and C. A. Smith. The case of Smith, the only contemporary American author whom Lovecraft regarded with awe, is puzzling.
In answer to Bleiler, and setting aside Dunsany for the nonce (we will consider him in some future Highbrow installment), I should not consider it impossible to assume that Lovecraft's praise is an expression of admiration for a friend. Indeed, however, the nature of this friendship is literary. Considering the "vibrating" enthusiasm of his praise--the curious pharmacological language underscoring toxicants, paralysis, and the "spaces between the stars"--I can only conclude that Lovecraft is not simply considering the material of Smith's work, but is moreover praising Smith as a person who has thoroughly and genuinely fallen under his (Smith's) own spell. That is, the criterion that so impresses Lovecraft is the legitimacy of Smith as a flesh and blood exponent of the self-same mystique Smith is aspiring to achieve through his work. Smith's independence and reclusive nature are well known. Indeed--and I think this is Lovecraft's detail--Smith is not only the poet of those spaces between the stars, he himself is the embodiment of those grand dimensions. Considering the nature of their--Lovecraft and Smith's--craft, could there be a higher departure point for praise?

Clark Ashton Smith in 1912