Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Inner Rooms: A Weird, Ecstatic Cosmology - Daniel Watt

"Perhaps weird tales show us, more easily than most genres, the mystical heart of literature by leading us back to ourselves…revealing the inner unknown..."

In our opening essay in Wormwood 26, just published, acclaimed weird fiction writer Daniel Watt discusses a different dimension in fantastic literature than that most often seen, for example, in the work of H.P. Lovecraft or Thomas Ligotti. In their fiction we usually witness a cosmic threat from outside ourselves, in which humanity is insignificant, in an indifferent universe.

But, this essay argues, there is another, equally compelling approach to the weird, which explores our interior worlds. Daniel Watt examines in particular three stories from noted practitioners in the field that illustrate this: Robert Aickman’s ‘The Inner Room’ (1966), Daphne du Maurier’s ‘The Doll’ (1937) and Elizabeth Jane Howard’s ‘Three Miles Up’ (1951).

And as this discussion shows, our inner worlds can be just as strange and troubling as anything that comes from without…

D.P. Watt’s An Emporium of Automata was reprinted by Eibonvale Press in 2013, and his The Phantasmagorical Imperative and Other Fabrications is available in paperback. A third collection, Almost Insentient, Almost Divine, is due from Undertow Publications soon. You can find him at The Interlude House.

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