Posts tagged ws
“ Survived, rediscovered—a peculiar occurrence. A man sits in a room writing novels. Nothing happens. The books don’t sell—four hundred apiece, the last one a few more. There are scattered reviews. Then thirty years later, suddenly, the books are brought out, again and again, acclaimed. A small-sized mystery.”
Excerpts from Jonathan Clements’ Encyclopedia of Science Fiction entry on Kiodomari Allan (今日泊亜蘭), pseudonym of Yukie Mizushima (1910-2008):
…A renowned polyglot, supposedly conversant to some extent in thirty languages, he also created his own, Heresugo, which he used in some of his genre works. A monocled eccentric and suspected anarchist, he led an adventurous early life, including being deported from Germany in the early 1930s, where the would-be scholar had arrived after stowing away on the Trans-Siberian railway at Harbin, China.
…For such a child prodigy in languages, Kiodomari came relatively late to fiction…In collaboration with Tetsu Yano and Keisuke Watanabe, he formed Japan’s first SF fan group, the “Omega Club”, in 1957 and published the fanzine Kagaku Shōsetsu [“Science Novels”]. Owing to a feud with an early editor of SF Magazine, Kiodomari’s work did not appear in Japan’s other primary journal of sf record until the 1970s.
He is best remembered for Hikari no Tō [The Spires of Light] (1962) in which Earth is attacked in 2011 by unknown invaders, who construct mysterious glowing towers all around the world…[continue reading]
Also see the Japanese wikipedia entry.
This is the fifth item in the series Collection Q, published in 1969 by the College of Pataphysics in Paris. Written by Emmanuel Peillet as “Le T.S. [Anne] Latis,” a pseudonym Peillet used as a member of the Oulipo group.
No one reads Emmanuel Peillet (1914-73). I can’t find a bio in English (French wikipedia entry), but you can get a sense of his personality from this quote in Roger Grenier's The Difficulty of Being a Dog:
Cover by George Grosz for a 1932 German edition of Oklahoma Town, the first collection of stories by a writer no one reads, George Milburn (1906-1966).
From a 2010 article by Sarah Denton:
Milburn left Oklahoma in 1932 and never returned. In the next two years, he moved around the Northeast, with his wife and young daughter in tow, before receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1934 and leaving for Europe. It was during his time abroad that he began work on his first novel, Catalogue, a tale about an Oklahoma town full of discontented residents whose lives and dreams are negatively influenced by items in mail-order catalogues.
In 1935, he returned to the U.S., purchased a farm in the Missouri Ozarks, and began a gradual descent, struggling with the pressures of earning enough to support his family while still reserving time to produce quality writing. Despite his efforts, his second novel, Flannigan’s Folly, about an Oklahoma farmer, was received indifferently, as was his last novel, Julie, from 1956.
By the time of his death, he had been largely forgotten, especially by those in his home state. He died of heart disease and liver cancer on Sept. 22, 1966, in New York.
And here is Girondo’s Nocturne #9, translated by Heather Cleary, also from Stonecutter 4:
with my skeleton,
like a toad in its hole,
stretching out into summer,
amid thousands of bugs
in a delirious directionless pastime,
just like the fever
caught by cities.
Alone, with the window
open to the stars,
among chairs and trees that don’t know I exist,
with no desire to leave,
nor an urge to stay
to spend other nights,
with the same skeleton,
and the same veins,
like a toad in its hole
surrounded by bugs.
Heather Cleary also translated Oliverio Girondo’s Poems to Read on a Streetcar for New Directions.
I’m currently reading the novel Prince Ishmael (based on the legend of Kaspar Hauser) by Marianne Hauser and it feels like a lost classic.
Biographical note by University of Florida Smathers Libraries (where her papers are housed):
Marianne Hauser was born in Strasbourg, Alsace, on December 11, 1910. She graduated from the University of Berlin in 1931 and from Sorbonne in 1934. In 1937 Hauser moved to New York City, and she became a U.S. citizen in 1944. She was fluent in French, German, and English. She worked as a literary critic for the Saturday Review of Literature, the New Republic, the New York Times, the New York Herald Tribune, and the Sewanee Review. She also was a columnist for Swiss and French periodicals and newspapers, which allowed her to travel throughout North Africa, India, China, Japan, and Hawaii from 1931-1939. She taught at Queens College in New York City from 1966-1978 and at New York University in 1979.
She wrote several short stories that were published in various magazines, and put together a collection of her short stories titled A Lesson in Music (1964). Hauser also wrote several novels: Monique (1934), Shadow Play in India (1934), Dark Dominion (1947), The Choir Invisible (1958), Prince Ishmael (1963), The Talking Room (1976), The Memoirs of the Late Mr. Ashley (1986), Me and My Mom (1993), and Shootout with Father (1998)…
She was married to orchestra conductor Frederic Kirchberger and lived with him in Kirksville, Missouri…The two divorced and Hauser returned to New York City…She died at age 95, in June 2006.
You can read most of Larry McCaffery’s interview with Hauser (from his book Some Other Frequency) on Google Books. (“Moby Dick remains for me the greatest book in the entire world”…And about Beckett: “To me he is a visionary—superior to any contemporary writer.”)
Cover image by Ellen Raskin for the 1963 Stein & Day edition.
The poet Rosemary Tonks, who has died aged 85, famously “disappeared” in the 1970s. The author of two poetry collections and six published novels, she turned her back on the literary world after a series of personal tragedies and medical crises which made her question the value of literature and embark on a restless, self-torturing spiritual quest.
[…]Living for the next four decades as the reclusive Mrs Lightband in an anonymous-looking old house tucked away behind Bournemouth seafront, she cut herself off from her former life, refusing to see relatives, old friends, or publishers like me who hoped she might change her mind and allow her poetry to be reissued. As far as the literary world was concerned, she “evaporated into air like the Cheshire cat”, as Brian Patten put it in a BBC Lost Voices half-hour feature, The Poet Who Vanished, broadcast on Radio 4 in 2009.
Moving into the Bournemouth house in 1980, she completed the obliteration of the person she had been, consigning an unpublished novel to the garden incinerator…
From The Sofas, Fogs and Cinemas via:
On my bad days (and I’m being broken
At this very moment) I speak of my ambitions…and he
Becomes intensely gloomy, with the look of something jugged,
Morose, sour, mouldering away, with lockjaw….
I grow coarser: and more modern (I, who am driven mad
By my ideas; who go nowhere;
Who dare not leave my front door, lest an idea…)
All right. I admit everything, everything!
Oh yes, the opera (Ah, but the cinema)
He particularly enjoys it, enjoys it horribly, when someone’s ill
At the last minute; and they specially fly in
A new, gigantic, Dutch soprano. He wants to help her
With her arias. Old goat! Blasphemer!
He wants to help her with her arias!
No, I…go to the cinema,
I particularly like it when the fog is thick, the street
Is like a hole in an old coat, and the light is brown as laudanum…
Photo: “Rosemary Tonks in the 1960s…Photograph: Jane Bown”
A newly acquired book by Virginia Woolf’s mother shares practical nursing and care-giving advice.
No one reads Julia Stephen.
Stephen’s little book is not a nursing manual but rather a collection of practical advice on tending the sick (this task would have been an inescapable part of life for every Victorian). The text is not without a sly, allusive wit worthy of Woolf: “The origin of most things has been decided on, but the origin of crumbs in bed has never excited sufficient attention among the scientific world, though it is a problem which has tormented many a weary sufferer.”
The stories of R. A. Lafferty are returning to print*, though in small editions: Centipede Press will publish his collected stories as limited-edition hardcovers — up to 12 volumes — starting with The Man Who Made Models. Centipede says:
In a career that began in 1959 and continued until his death in 2002, R.A. Lafferty garnered the admiration of authors and editors including Robert A.W. Lowndes, Harlan Ellison, A.A. Attanasio, Gene Wolfe, Michael Swanwick and many, many others. His body of short fiction is comprised of well over 200 stories and, despite his vast popularity, there was never a concerted effort made to produce a comprehensive collection of his short fiction, until now.
Welcome to the first volume in a series that will run to a dozen volumes collecting all of R.A. Lafferty’s short fiction. Whether it be well-known stories such as “Narrow Valley” or more obscure work such as “The Man Who Made Models,” all will be collected here in the Lafferty Library. Each volume will feature close to 100,000 words of Lafferty’s fiction and each volume will feature an afterword by series editor John Pelan and a guest introduction by a notable author in the field of fantastic fiction.
These scans are from the 50 Watts hoard (the cover art for Nine Hundred Grandmothers is by Leo & Diane Dillon). No word when or if Lafferty’s novels will be reprinted. I love Past Master (1968) — it’s science fiction but the main character is Thomas More — and my copy is in tatters.
Here also is the bio from Centipede's site:
R.A. Lafferty (1914–2002) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer known for his original use of language, metaphor, and narrative structure, as well as for his etymological wit. He also wrote a set of four autobiographical novels, In a Green Tree, a history book, The Fall of Rome, and a number of novels that could be more or less loosely called historical fiction. Lafferty’s quirky prose drew from traditional storytelling styles, largely from the Irish and Native American, and his shaggy-dog characters and tall tales are unique in science fiction. Little of Lafferty’s writing is considered typical of the genre.
*The first volume is already sold out (at least from the publisher). When I drafted this post last week it was still available. Kind of sad.
No one reads “the sandwich-man of the Beyond.”
Joseph Péladan was born in Lyons, in 1858, into a milieu obsessed with occultism…In 1884 Péladan imposed himself on the Parisian public by publishing Le Vice Supreme, a fantastic mystico-erotic novel in which poetry alternates with a no less studied prose: ‘Faithful to your monstrous vice, O daughter of da Vinci, corrupting Muse of the aesthetics of evil, your smile may fade from the canvas, but it is engraved for ever in my heart.’
Péladan, who changed his name from Joseph to Joséphin, described himself as ‘the sandwich-man of the Beyond,’ exhumed a mystical society founded in Germany in the late Middle Ages, declared himself its leader, and crowned himself Sar Merodac, a title which enabled him to dress himself up in a costume reminiscent of Lohengrin and Nebuchadnezzar. He was a dark, handsome man, with bushy hair and a bushy beard, ready to swallow — and utter — all sorts of nonsense. In the despairing Paris of his day, which he convinced of its decadence, Barbey d’Aurevilly sang his praises, and young men such as Jean Lorrain and d’Annunzio copied him… Péladan obtained immediate fame, drawing on two sources from which all those who were disgusted with materialism would drink: occultism and aestheticism. His books came out in rapid succession, under the general title La Decadence Latine.
The text comes from Dreamers of Decadence by Philippe Jullian and the post idea and image from Strange Flowers. There’s also a blog (in English) devoted to Péladan. I think I would prefer reading a biography — especially if it was titled “The Sandwich-Man of the Beyond” — rather than any of the 19 volumes of La Decadence Latine (never translated into English as far as I know).
update: illustrator Mahendra Singh says: “Joseph Péladan plays an occult role in Jean-Christophe Valtat’s Luminous Chaos (Melville House), the 2nd volume of his mind-bending, psychotropically overheated steampunk trilogy, Mysteries of New Venice. When I illustrated Sâr Péladan, I soon discovered the true meaning of ‘occult hair.’” Here it is!: