Wednesday, 7 February 2007

The Friends January Posting

The Friends of Arthur Machen start the year in spectacular fashion. Despite failing to win a World Fantasy Award in 2006 the Friends try to live up to the honour of a nomination for this prestigious award by producing more high quality material for their members.

The hardback journal Faunus 15 contains many remarkable things including Machen’s spectacular report of a Baseball match between the US Army and Navy in WWI, essential reading for sports fans. Gwilym Games explores whether Machen’s report hints subtly at strange primeval rites in connection with this wholesome game. There are extracts from one of Machen’s rarest translations Fantastic Tales, by the mad canon of Tours, Beroalde de Verville, and an obituary for Machen biographer Wesley Sweetser who died last year. The adventure of Arthur Machen and the Swiss Roll Factory is revealed. Critical items includes Bob Man’s important investigation of how the events of Machen’s tale Drake’s Drum (1919) became tied into older legends of the Drum and went onto to be quoted as true in published accounts just like The Bowmen inspired tales of the Angels of Mons. William S. Simmons article examines carefully the insightful nature of the Machen’s mystical stories The Green Round and The Secret Glory. Gwilym Games also explores use of Machen’s quotations in the Oxford English Dictionary, including the first ever use of the word Tank in a literary work as a vehicle.

The latest Machenalia has a Decadence theme with a special feature on Pan’s Labyrinth by Brian Showers, alongside firm evidence of Machen’s influence on an early version of the screenplay, if not the final film. There is an article on music inspired by Machen alongside various items on psychogeographic mysteries of interest to Machenphiles including the latest Hawksmoor developments and the newly discovered Lost City of Gwent, the rise of primeval Snake Gods, our usual visions of angels of Mons roundup [the legend never dies], lots of reviews of many books decadent and otherwise, including Kirsten Macleod’s vital new work on the 1890s Decadent Fictions which focuses heavily on Machen, The Decadent Handbook, Rabelais, a book on London Writing which names Machen as one of thirty essential London writers and an incisive review by the famed Dr Stiggins.

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