Forbidden Ecstasy

Literary insights from Anthony Nanson….

Anthony Nanson's Deep Time

Hill of DreamsYou know that feeling of discovering an author you’ve never read before who really hits your buttons, so you want to seek out everything they wrote? It doesn’t happen to me as much as it used to, my taste having got fastidious with age, but it did in 2014. The author was Arthur Machen. It was Lovecraft’s essay on ‘Supernatural Horror in Literature’ that put me on to him. I read the selection of stories in Penguin’s The White People first, then the unforgettable The Hill of Dreams, then everything else I could find, culminating in asking my town library to seek the Holy Grail of Machen novels: the unexpurgated The Secret Glory including the legendary Chapters 5 and 6 which Machen suppressed. The library succeeded, bless them, and it was worth the wait.

Among the writers of ‘weird tales’, why does Machen strike such a deep nerve? Lovecraft…

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