Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Faunus 21

The latest editions of the Friends of Arthur Machen publications went out to members earlier this year. Faunus volume 21 a highly collectable hard bound journal contains Machen’s intriguing review of Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol from 1898. An excellent essay by Ken Faig Jnr discusses Machen’s mysterious first wife Amelia Hogg and her family background in India and other aspects of her life. Amy Hogg was Machen’s wife in the 1890s and he wrote most of his most famous works while living with her and it was her death in 1899 which marked a key moment in Machen’s life.

Machen has long been recognised as an important influence on modern horror, and also on fantastic writing in general. Now unlikely as it may seem at first glance Faunus reveals that a key creator of the modern thriller genre, John Buchan, was in his youth a Machen enthusiast and at least two of his earliest stories were heavily influenced by Machen. In a well written piece Peter Bell carefully draws out the interconnections between these two men and their work. Another interesting article written by Machen shows his acquaintance with contemporary American Literature and gives some interesting judgements on writers as varied as Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Walt Whitman.

Machenalia is dedicated to Machen’s fellow master of Supernatural Horror Algernon Blackwood and contains Machen’s glowing review of one of Blackwood’s most famous tales ‘The Wendigo’ plus other Blackwood rarities. Besides this it examines the curious case of The White Comrade, another story which like The Bowmen swept through the trenches of WW1 as a supposedly true tale. It also covers the surge in Machen translations in Portugal and some new radio documentaries on Machen. There is also a long feature on Dennis Wheatley and the terrifying mystery of the White Pumpkin.

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