Thursday, 15 February 2007


Your chance to discover a unique, previously unknown piece of Machen's wonderful shocker The Three Impostors. Later this year, FoAM will publish in Faunus a selection of letters between Machen and his publisher John Lane. They include the revelation that Lane insisted on the removal of one word from the very last page of the book. Only three members of FoAM know what that word is.

One lucky member will become the proud owner of a sealed envelope in a limited edition of one containing a page with the banned word, and learn its dread secret months before anyone else. This will therefore be a very rare and unusual Machen first edition. To be that member, all you have to do is bid successfully for it! You can either send an email with your secret bid to Mark Valentine at lostclub@btopenworl by 28 February 2007, or bid for it at the book auction at the AGM on 3 March. The winner will be the highest of any postal or personal bid. Proceeds will go to FoAM funds, and please note you are pledging a donation of the sum you specify in return for the word in the limited edition sealed envelope. You will be asked not to divulge the word to anyone else before Faunus publication, on pain of enjoying the ministrations of the minions of Dr Lipsius !

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.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Voyaging into the Hill of Dreams

A literary walk from The Friends of Arthur Machen February 11th 2007, 2pm

By the steps to south entrance of the British Museum, Great Russell Street,
look for the mysterious, decadent Welshman clutching a copy of Arthur Machen's The Hill of Dreams, and join him on a free walk through Machen's London, with readings from the decadent masterpiece to mark the centenary of its publication.
"All London was one grey temple of an awful rite, ring within ring of wizard stones circled about some central place, every circle was an initiation, every initiation eternal loss."
Arthur Machen, The Hill of Dreams

The year 2007 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Arthur Machen's death. It is also the centenary of the publication of The Hill of Dreams in February, and is also the 110th anniversary of Machen completing the book in 1897. On Sunday February 11th there will be an intrepid venture into the territory of The Hill of Dreams, when The Friends of Arthur Machen and any others who wish to celebrate Machen will gather to mark the centenary of what most consider Machen's greatest work. The Hill of Dreams is a semi-autobiographical work which follows the career of a young writer from his strange visions of his Welsh homeland, on to London where his bleak wanderings across the vast metropolis are described in Machen’s lush prose. It has been described as "the most Decadent book in English Literature" , Henry Miller called it "a dream of a book", and H.P. Lovecraft said it was the "memorable epic of the sensitive Aesthetic mind". It was written by Machen in complete defiance of the moral panic following the trial of Oscar Wilde in 1895, remaining unpublished for ten years as a result.
We will wander through Machen's London, accompanied by readings from The Hill of Dreams, in search of scenes that inspired the book's tragic protagonist, Lucian Taylor. Our ultimate destination: "the blazing public-houses as the doors swung to and fro, and above these doors were hideous brassy lamps, very slowly swinging in a violent blast of air, so that they might have been infernal thuribles, censing the people".

The Friends of Arthur Machen World Fantasy Award Nominee 2006