Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Books of the Year - James Machin
James Machin, editor of Faunus, the journal of The Friends of Arthur Machen, writes:
Discovering John Gross’s The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (1969) was one of the high points of my reading this year. Gross’s lively account of ‘English literary life since 1800’ is almost endlessly enjoyable and enlightening. By turns perspicacious and gossipy, it is as impressive stylistically as it is for Gross’s exhaustive knowledge of his subject.
I’ve recently been dipping in to some of the less-celebrated contributions to Weird Tales and, intrigued by mention of it in Robert Weinberg’s The Weird Tales Story (1977), thoroughly enjoyed Allison V. Harding’s ‘The Damp Man’ (1947). It surpasses its pulp guilelessness to become rather more than the sum of its parts, mainly through the sheer peculiarity and relentlessness of the eponymous antagonist, and its stifling, claustrophobic atmosphere. There were two sequels, but it’s perhaps time for the Damp Man to rise again.
Image: Lesser Known Writers (Doug Anderson)