Monday, 15 January 2018

Arcana - Magazin für klassische und moderne phantastik

And here is some more from Robert N. Bloch: Arcana (Verlag Lindenstruth) - a magazine of modern German fantastic literature. I first mentioned this journal in my post Why Germans Can Say Things No One Else Can (2) - Notebook of the Night. If you read German and would like to stay up-to-date with German-language genre publications, this is the right place to start. The magazine, edited by Robert N. Bloch and Gerhard  Lindenstruth is the German equivalent of the best critical journals from Necronomicon Press such as Lovecraft Studies (now superseded by Lovecraft Annual published by Hippocampus Press) and Studies in Weird Fiction. Arcana collects critical works and reviews by such pioneering German scholars and writers as Franz Rottensteiner, Robert N. Bloch, Marco Frenschkowski, Michael Siefener, Malte Schulz-Sembten, Uwe Vöhl and many others. The whole run also has a number of translations from English and French and some interesting interviews with both established and new writers.

Bibliographie der Utopie und Phantastik 1650 - 1950 (2)

I am returning to Bibliographie der Utopie und Phantastik 1650 - 1950 mentioned last year so that I can finally do this opus magnum some justice. This magnificent compendium of German-language  fantastic and utopian literature was compiled by the connoisseur of the genre who has spent over 30 years researching the subject in question. In Germany he is known under the nom de plume of Robert N. Bloch. The gorgeously designed hardcover edition, which you can see on the picture was released by Achilla Presse in 2002, nineteen years after the volume's initial release. This edition extends the period covered by the book by over 100 years (1850 to 1950) to include genre fiction (leaving out dramas, poetry and nonfiction). As pointed out by Franz Rottensteiner in his foreword, this comprehensive volume should be placed on the reader's bookshelf in the company of E. F. Bleiler's Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Considering the amount of works that got lost and due to the scarcity of the titles - both the aftermath of World War II - the book is a titanic achievement.
The volume of 350 pages contains:
- 3 pages of b&w cover illustrations of some of the titles that appear in the volume
- Foreword by Franz Rottensteiner
- Introduction by Robert N. Bloch
- Bibliographic information on 3473 titles of fantastic and utopian literature listed alphabetically by author's surname
- An index

The whole book is in German, however being a bibliography I can recommended this title to anyone hunting for original-language first editions. I must add that the compendium also provides a great resource for translators looking for some German material so far unavailable in the target language.

With this book Robert N. Bloch has established himself as an important authority on the genre. However, his achievements go far beyond this single publication. He is also responsible for numerous book introductions and essays on many weird fictioneers and runs his own small press thanks to which he's managed to re-issue some hard-to-find classics of fantastic literature.

In the English-language world he is mostly recognized for his entry on German fantastic literature in the Supernatural Literature of the World: An Encyclopedia (ed. S. T. Joshi and Stefan R. Dziemianowicz, 2005, Greenwood). All of these contributions have earned him an anthology of fiction and non-fiction by fellow researchers and writers entirely dedicated to the man.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Little Ministry of Fine Arts

‘Countries, deities,’ said my father from a deep well of depression. ‘Obstacles to pure conception.’
‘Yeah, but what was the third principle? You never said anything about that.’
But my father had faded out and was now gazing disconsolately at the floor. My mother, however, was smiling. No doubt she had heard all of my father’s talk many times over.
‘The third principle?’ she said, blowing a cloud of cigarette smoke in my direction. ‘Why, it’s families, sweetheart.’
-- Purity by Thomas Ligotti

Continued from:

My other translingual blog is up.  I tentatively called it The Little Ministry of Fine Arts, a term taken from The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz. With the hope of not sounding too pretentious or bombastic, I'd like to dedicate it to the Wielhorski family and the contributions of some of the family members to literature, music, painting and architecture.  I will also provide an account of their encounters with French, Russian and Ukrainian artists and the role they played in their lives and works. Obviously, creating a blog dedicated to one's family might sound a tad boring if the information provided thereon is a simple way of boasting of one's ancestry or merely repeating some well-known facts that are merely relevant to that particular family.
As a matter of fact, as stated in my previous post, very few of the details I am planning to document on The Little Ministry were known to me before starting the research in the Cyrillic alphabet those many years ago, so I consider it to be in some ways a "discoverer's blog" and yet another  incentive to embark upon a translingual journey, not unlike the one that I enjoy on Confusio Linguarum. The  genealogical research in Russian has proved to me that nobody should underestimate the amount of curiosities concerning one's relatives that can be hidden from one's knowledge due to the language barrier and one's inability to decipher another alphabet!
This obviously does not mean I will discontinue my posts here. I see Confusio Linguarum and The Little Ministry as separate symbiotic organisms living a life of their own and feeding off each other as much as on the common to both subjects of literature and language. On The Little Ministry I will be covering writers who will also be featured in the future on Confusio Linguarum: Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoyevsky,  Andreyev and Odoyevski all of whom have penned some fine classics of weird fiction and happened to be close to some members of my family. I usually avoid paying too much attention to biographical details of my favourite artists. The stories I will tell in the form of anecdotes on The Little Ministry cannot be told without any biographical and historical context. The historical facts with relation to the Wielhorski family will therefore be collected on The Little Ministry and those related to the works themselves and my subjective take on them will be posted here. Considering the language barrier (I still need to overcome), the amount of sources I will need to consult and the time contains, the process of documenting these discoveries will take years to complete, even if I plan to publish on my second blog just a few (I estimate up to 30) entries .

Several other reasons that tell me I should create this separate blog:
  • Sparing the readers of Confusio Linguarum some family details, which they do not necessarily find interesting or are not directly related to visionary fiction
  • Learning more Russian, as explained in my previous post
  • Sharing some hard-to-find information never assembled in English or Polish
  • Learning more about this really fascinating and sometimes eccentric (I cannot deny) family that has unjustly fallen into oblivion
  • Following my muse, which is now also dedicated to...

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Russian Weird Writers and Some Genealogical Curiosities

Major Polish anthologies of Russian weird fiction

Some of the Russian writers I would like to read later this year are listed on the following pages:

Under the first link you will find an online compendium of the men and women, writers and artists, who contributed to Weird Tales and other weird fiction magazines of the pulp era whilst the latter provides and a short, but comprehensive historical outline of how the weird and fantastic literature evolved over the last two centuries (starting from 1825 which by some is considered the beginning of Russian fantastical literature). I notice that the first link also provides a short text on one of my favourite Russian writers, Leonid Andreyev.

Playwright, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories Leonid Andreyev, though younger than Sologub, died before him in exile. Andreyev's early works--from 1901--were a sensational best sellers. Less than two decades later, he was living in poverty in Finland, having fled the Russian Revolution. Andreyev wrote about the supernatural and extraterrestrial in his stories and plays, which were, according to a contemporary, Barrett Harper Clark, "of a morbid and pessimistic turn." Andreyev's play He Who Gets Slapped (produced in the United States in 1922) made it to the silver screen in an MGM picture from 1924. Lon Chaney, Norma Shearer, John Gilbert, and an uncredited Béla Lugosi were in the cast. By the way, Andreyev was married to the Countess Anna Wielhorska, niece of the Ukrainian artist and writer Taras Shevchenko (1814-1861). Their son was Daniil Andreyev (1906-1959), poet, mystic, and one of the innumerable victims of the totalitarian state.

I remember reading a similar entry elsewhere 12 years ago and upon the discovery of the fact that Andreyev's wife came from the same family as I do, I was propelled make a research on our common ancestry. There is a small mistake propagated across the internet that I’ve fallen victim to in the past, which I would like to correct here: Andreyev’s second wife’s name was not Anna, but Alexandra Wielhorska. She is indeed a distant collateral relative of mine.
This discovery marked the first time I started employing the Russian version of my surname (Виельгорский) for genealogical research as I knew some of the branches of my family (which itself is of Ruthenian origin) were Russianised. The Wielhorski family is a small one (currenty counting mere eight males and eighteen females in the whole of Poland), so it is usually quite easy to find each member on the family genealogical tree. As a result of the entire genealogical investigation I have come across some very interesting facts that have involved some of my ancestors (both direct ones and those forming part of the lateral branches of the family) and some classic writers I’ve enjoyed reading, including those who’ve penned weird fiction.  None of these facts, due to the language barrier and some historical socio-political reasons, were previously known to me and my closest family members. Over the years, I’ve managed to collect numerous scans, books, manuscripts, old prints by ransacking libraries, second hand bookstores, internet websites and participating in online auctions. The result is a comprehensive collection of material in Polish, English, French and Russian that has always been motivating me in furthering my comprehensive skills in these languages.
Now that we are in 2018 and one of my resolutions is mastering Russian, it is perhaps the right time to delve deeper into the language, read all of the outstanding material I've collected in the Cyrillic alphabet and document the results of the research.
Even if ancestry does not matter in the grand scheme of things, when one starts to perceive patterns of some strange serendipity amidst the backdrop of our cosmic insignificance, one is filled with wonder and an inescapable urge to pursue further investigations… and the joy of the ensuing genealogical revelations is unmatched.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

New Year's Resolutions

It seems ages have passed since my last post on Confusio Linguarum, so many things have happened over the last two months and still no time for new posts. I thought that regardless of this, I will quickly share my New Year's resolutions:
  • I will learn more Russian and at least to push my reading skills to a B2-C1 level in six month's time (also one of the reasons for not posting anything in a while as I've already started learning). This will hopefully lead me to some more material for Confusio Linguarum in the future (not that I am lacking any, no need to worry). For the last 10 years I've been avoiding books that were written in Russian, as I always promised myself to read them in the original language. You can imagine the pain. This needs to be addressed in 2018.
  • I will catch up with my German reading and post here some of the outstanding discoveries over the next 6 months, before I move entirely to reading material in Russian (I hope that by that time my Russian is good enough to enjoy literature that I'd like to explore with no bigger obstacles). As much as 2017 was a year of German visionary literature, 2018-? will be that of Russian fantastique.
  • I will create at least one more translingual blog. Yes, it's in the pipeline!
  • I will have at least one small publication directly in one of the languages in which I still wasn't published. (OK, I admit, I am a bit cheating on this one - it's almost done.)
Here, I think that's enough resolutions for a year. 

I hope your perspectives for 2018 look as bright or even more so as they do for me.

All the best to everyone in 2018! С Новым годом!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Why Germans Can Say Things No One Else Can (2) - Notebook of the Night

I just came across the following short text by Thomas Ligotti printed with Ligotti's permission in an interview with Angerhuber and her partner Thomas Wagner. This interview was conducted by Uwe Voehl and was published in Arcana no. 1 (the German magazine of classic and modern speculative fiction). Ligotti is sharing his thoughts on Notebook of the Night: Exzerpte aus "Noctuary" - the German-language audio recording of eleven vignettes from Noctuary performed by both of the above mentioned authors (also in my Angerhuber bibliography).

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Why Germans Can Say Things No One Else Can

In relation to Ruinenlust and the German language.

This is what Mark Twain used to think about ...

This is what Sylvia Plath used to think about the language:

“What I didn't say was that each time I picked up a German dictionary or a German book, the very sight of those dense, black, barbed-wire letters made my mind shut like a clam.”

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The hidden guise of decay...

"Finally my way leads me to the vast and abandoned area of the former freight depot which has been thoroughly destroyed during the war. My longing for these crumbling ruins lets me feel my way through the torn-out railways, the wooden sleepers and multicoloured broken glass that garnishes the floor like a sheet of lost jewels. And the fading light of the day surrendering to night glitters upon these hidden jewels just as my quarter has surrendered to dilapidation. They can be encountered everywhere if one has the right vision for this sort of things: the jewels of decay, the real gems of the city, melancholy and ponderous as the viscous rain and the wailing of the wind in chimney stumps.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Estou cansado da inteligência

Four bags of books in Portuguese, which I hope to find time to read next year and discuss on CL. In the meantime, I am adding two more plaques from Tavira to my Álvaro de Campos article.

Contemporary Weird Fiction in Anglo-Saxon Countries and 21st-Century Horror

Back in 2013 I wrote a short introductory essay to the Polish weird fiction anthology “Po Drugiej Stronie” (published by Agharta), which serves as a tribute to S. Grabiński, H. P. Lovecraft and T. Ligotti. I was lucky to be in the fine company of Paweł Mateja, Michał Budak and Mateusz Kopacz who formed part of the jury evaluating submissions and who also provided their introductory essays (I cannot thank Mateusz enough for his encouragement to provide my own input). In my text entitled “Współczesne Weird Fiction w Krajach Anglosaskich” (“Contemporary Weird Fiction in Anglo-Saxon Countries”), I tried to provide a commentary on the condition of contemporary weird fiction with some focus on - what I consider to be - a recent revival of the weird fiction tradition accompanied by a phenomenal amount of small presses that have helped many new significant voices emerge in the field. I have also provided hints as to the names that particularly captured my attention during my massive explorations of the works in the genre throughout the previous decade - authors I am certain would appeal to Polish readers and whose books I myself would wish to find one day in my local bookstore in a Polish translation. I have now added some of these writers to my Translingual Divinations page.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Bibliographie der Utopie und Phantastik 1650 - 1950

With no time for documenting new discoveries, I am posting this photo as a placeholder and incentive for further explorations. This huge bibliographic compendium by Robert N. Bloch is a real treasure trove of visionary literature available in German. I hope to contribute more about this comprehensive volume and its author next month.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Translingual Divinations - stargazing for untranslated literary gems

"Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, 
so that they will not understand one another's speech."
-- Genesis 11:7 
The confusion of tongues is a real mess. With no language barriers each one of us would have access to so many more great books other than those currently available in one's native tongue. There is a myriad hidden literary gems suspended amidst the swirls of galaxies of untranslated sentences, but with the curse of confusio linguarum it is all just dark matter.

Translingual Divinations is a special space on my blog dedicated to the practice of stargazing in search of untranslated literary voices in the fields of visionary, horror and weird fiction in an attempt to foresee future translations of their respective works into several European languages. Unlike webpages announcing forthcoming publications, Translingual Divinations is part bibliomancy, part a result of my desire to accelerate the future of untranslated publications I'm particularly fond of, part an attempt at finding order in the chaos caused by the biblical confusion of tongues. I see this page as the very heart of this blog's translingual journeys, which consist of my explorations of foreign language publications.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Masquerades in Literary And Academic Circles According to "The Devil’s Dictionary"

Part of what I admire in Ligotti is his absolute humility, his refusal to pretend that having literary talent makes him a superior being. He’s had a difficult life and that’s made him intolerant of arrogance.

One way to deal with confusion linguarum is to rely on dictionaries. Out of the dozens of dictionaries that pile up on my shelves there is an exceptional one that through its biting critique provides a vehicle for moral instruction… and by doing so brings huge amounts of merriment and laughter. The work in question was compiled by one of the classic weird fiction writers, Ambrose Bierce. I am of course referring to The Devil’s Dictionary, of which I am a huge enthusiast. I have been stopping to browse it on and off for over a decade.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls - Table of Contents

I was recently asked about the table of contents of Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls by D. F. Lewis and myself and I realized that it is nowhere to be found online. Here it is:

-- D. F. Lewis --
Beyond the Balcony

Heavy Steps
Off the Bone
The End of the Pier
The Words That Said
Beyond the Balcony
Three Separate Tales of a Very Wet Ghost
The 3 Long Piggies of Trunk City
Rotted Freckles

-- Sławomir Wielhorski --
Vistas of Ruin and Decay:
A Ruinenlust Journey through Weird Fiction

Saturday, 8 July 2017

The bibliography is now online!

BIBLIOGRAPHY, n. The literary tribute that a little man pays to a big one.
 -- The Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

Here ends my series of posts with sections of "Eddie" M. Angerhuber online bibliography. Productive browsing to all of those who come across this small literary tribute of mine.

"Eddie" M. Angerhuber Bibliography: Interviews, translations (by others), works about and dedicated to "Eddie" M. Angerhuber

>>Bibliography: Non-fiction and miscellanea

Note: The last section, containing interviews with Angerhuber, articles about Angerhuber and reviews of her works as well as works that were dedicated to her. This section also provides information on translations of Angerhuber's works by others - a list  that will hopefully grow in the future!

(with Angerhuber)

"Eddie M. Angerhuber: Sommergewitter"
[Review and interview]
Solar-X, no. 91 (Edition Solar-X, September 1997)

"Interview mit Eddie M. Angerhuber"
[Conducted by Michael Siefener]
Daedalos, no. 10 (Verlag Hubert Katzmarz, March 2001)

Sunday, 2 July 2017

"Eddie" M. Angerhuber Bibliography: Non-fiction and miscellanea

>>Bibliography: Audio recordings

Note: This section of the bibliography provides information on non-fiction, poetry, illustrations, websites (designed by Angerhuber), special editions of magazines and unpublished works. Included is Angerhuber’s and Thomas Wagner’s unpublished collaboration Lamia Und Die Schatten, which was to be released from Abendstern-Verlag.[1]


"Auf Cthulhus Fährte"
Solar-X, no. 73 (Edition Solar-X, April 1996)

From Twin Peaks 2017 episode 8

Highly recommended to those who enjoy Elias Merhige, Peter Tscherkassky and Guy Maddin... and of course David Lynch himself!

"Eddie" M. Angerhuber Bibliography: Audio recordings

>>Bibliography: Translations

Note: This section is dedicated to audio publications featuring stories and translations read by “Eddie” M. Angerhuber. Eddie/Monika is an accomplished narrator who has worked on four audio productions. Three of them were published by Bärenklau Verlag whilst “Das Nachtbuch” – a collaboration with her partner Thomas Wagner – was self-published.

Nocturne Produkte. 3 phantastische Erzählungen von E. M. Angerhuber
[Berlin: Bärenklau Verlag, April/May 2001]
[Audio book recording of 74 minutes, contains three stories by Angerhuber read by the author and by Thomas Wagner, accompanied by electronic soundtrack by Wagner: "Der blaue Stern"; "Das Produkt der Nacht"; "Die Zweite Treppe".]

"Eddie" M. Angerhuber Bibliography: Translations

>>Bibliography: Short Stories

Note: The purpose of this section is to compile a list of Angerhuber’s translations, all of which were published under the author's real name Monika Angerhuber. Monika has translated into German several titles for the publisher Edition Metzengerstein, including three books from their series Edgar Allan Poes phantastische Bibliothek, among them: The White Hands by Mark Samuels, My Work is Not Yet Done by Thomas Ligotti and a collection of stories by Quentin S. Crisp (Dunkler Gestade – Aufgesang) that assembled texts from various sources.[1]
In 2002 Angerhuber won the first place in the German Phantastik-Preis for In einer fremden Stadt, in einem fremden Land featuring her translation of numerous stories by Thomas Ligotti. The same year, she was awarded the fourth place in the internet-based contest "Supreme TerrorScribe" for the story "The Skull" published online in her own translation.