Monday, 29 May 2017

Brian Stableford's translations for Snuggly Books

I just noticed that Snuggly Books has an impressive list of translations of Decadent literature from French and Italian. Some of the names that appear in the catalogue are dear to Confusio Linguarum. So far the following have been released in a translation by Brian M. Stableford:

The Soul-Drinker: And Other Decadent Fantasies by  Jean Lorrain
Nightmares of an Ether-Drinker by Jean Lorrain, Brian M. Stableford
The Tarantulas' Parlor: And Other Unkind Tales by Léon Bloy
The Unknown Collaborator and Other Legendary Tales by Victor Joly

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Blurb for the Book

Here is the official blurb for the recently published book by D. F. Lewis and myself:

"Life is an abandoned Amusement, a pleasure of ruins. Few are the solitary souls with a penchant for the sublime who spend their existence being irresistibly attracted to crumbling buildings and abandoned places. This book is an ode to this particular attraction – the feeling of Ruinenlust. Part fiction collection, part ensemble of essays, the volume presents a collaboration of two minds preoccupied with the themes of ruination. The eight fictions by D. F. Lewis, collected here for the first time, feature characters thrust into depopulated, often devastated landscapes as we follow their encounters with an enigma. The fictional pieces are accompanied by a literary equivalent of the Kaiserpanorama experience wherein the reader is presented with ten short essays by Sławomir Wielhorski centering on some of the most attractive vistas of ruins and decay in weird fiction from the early Gothics to the modern masterpieces of the genre."

Hardcover, Limited to 118 numbered copies, 102 pages
Published March 2017 by Mount Abraxas/Ex Occidente Press
Amazon Page || Goodreads Page

Thursday, 6 April 2017

The Belgian School of the Strange - A Few Notes About Polish Translations

Some material for Polish readers this time. The following is an important note about Polish translations of works forming part of the Belgian School of the Strange (for an introduction to the topic, please see my thread at Thomas Ligotti Online). The following quotes come from an article by Ryszard Siwek - the Polish connoisseur of école belge de l’étrange - entitled "O obecności nieobecnego albo o nieobecności obecnego, czyli o literaturze belgijskich frankofonów w Polsce – próba bilansu" (published in PRACE KOMISJI NEOFILOLOGICZNEJ PAU TOM IX):
"Kolejny autor, Franz Hellens, należy do ważnych postaci w literaturze Belgów. Znany jest przede wszystkim jako czołowy przedstawiciel belgijskiej szkoły niezwykłości (école belge de l’étrange). W jej ramach mieści się realizm fantastyczny. Hellens był jego inicjatorem, teoretykiem i praktykiem. Ale ten nurt w jego pisarstwie zilustrowany został jedynie krótkim utworem w antologii opowiadań belgijskich Znad Skaldy i Mozy z 1983 r. Wcześniej jednak czytelnikowi polskiemu zaproponowano dwa inne oblicza pisarza. Jedno zupełnie marginalne, jako pisarza katolickiego. Poezje Hellensa znalazły się w zbiorze Smak winnic twoich: wybór liryki religijnej Zachodu z 1956 r., a trzy lata później ukazała się jego powieść Nędzarka w tłumaczeniu Danieli Kolendo. Drugie, nieprawdziwe, oblicze dotyczy Hellensa jako poety doby symbolizmu, a to za sprawą antologii Symboliści francuscy."

Friday, 24 March 2017

Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls - At The Printers

Below are some pictures of the previously announced upcoming book from Mount Abraxas by D. F. Lewis and myself. Quite an honour to be published in such a fine company by a publisher who values gorgeous book design.

Please note that these pictures are NOT showing the final product.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls by D. F. Lewis and Sławomir Wielhorski

I am very proud to announce the following forthcoming publication from Mount Abraxas by D. F. Lewis and myself:

Cloistered by Ravelled Bones & Ruined Walls

This volume will include eight fictions by D. F. Lewis published in a section entitled Beyond the Balcony followed by my series of articles on the pleasure of ruins and weird literature under the collective title Vistas of Ruin and Decay: A Ruinenlust Journey Through Weird Fiction. The ensemble of Ruinenlust articles will appear in this volume in a revised and expanded form with proper footnotes and a bibliography.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

A Visit to the Matenadaran

The Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (the Matenadaran), built in 1957 and designed by Mark Grigoryan

Below you will find a small collection of photos from my visit to the Matenadaran - The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts located in Yerevan, Armenia. Matenadaran, which serves both as research institute and a museum is among the richest depositories of medieval manuscripts and books in Armenia. The word "matenadaran" in ancient Armenian means ‘‘manuscript store’’ or ‘‘library’.

The collection of manuscripts on display is in Armenian and various other languages. Armenian is an independent branch of the Indo-European languages. It is known for its distinctive phonological developments within that family.

Some of these colourful manuscripts made a huge impresion upon me. I am sharing these photos on Confusio Linguarum where they belong (apologies for their BlackBerry quality).

You can read more about this facinating place here:

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Ruinenlust: Coda

Here ends my series of compilations devoted to weird fiction in relation to the theme of Ruinenlust, starting from the early Gothic to the modern masters of the genre. I hope you enjoyed it.

A few additional links:

Ruinenlust literary works posted in reaction to this series of articles:
Brownfields by TLO member Druidic
The Ruined Grave by TLO member Raul Urraca

Other places where this topic is being discussed:
Thomas Ligotti Online thread dedicated to this series
Pessimus (PL) thread dedicated to this series

Many thanks to everyone who decided to share their own insights on this captivating subject!

Monday, 23 January 2017

January Update

A small change of plans.

The bad news is I will need to suspend my activity on CL for two months, which means that whatever topics I announced in the past will need to wait until I am back to blogging.

The good news is I will be posting all of the remaining compilations in the Ruinenlust series this week, starting from today.

That's it!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Ruinenlust: An Introduction #1

Now published in:

Un Cadeau de Noël for Confusio Linguarum

This year's Christmas presents are spot on Confusio Linguarum gifts!

I also have something special for Confusio Linguarum. As mentioned in my previous post, next up on CL is the theme of Ruinenlust -  the feeling of being irresistibly drawn to crumbling buildings and abandoned places. My worries about the lack of materials for the blog are no longer valid, as I have decided to divide the next article into nine parts, which I will be posting on a weekly basis from now on. In the article (being more of a compilation of quotes, photography, videos related to the subject in question) I'll make a small introduction to Ruinenlust and trace its influence on some works of weird fiction, starting from the early Gothics up to modern masterpieces of the genre.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

December Update

I am still working on the "Eddie" M. Angerhuber bibliography, which already runs for over thirty pages. This bibliography will be comparable in length to the Thomas Ligotti bibliography we have prepared together with Mateusz Kopacz for the Polish edition of Teatro Grottesco, however due to the sheer obscurity of source material, it will take me at least two months before I manage to finish my work.

Based on the amount of posts until now, I estimate that in order to save time to prepare some quality material I will need to shift gears and make Confusio Linguarum "operational" every third week. I think the triweekly mode will serve as a good compromise between my passions and professional aspirations, both of which can be time-consuming.

Before I am ready with the bibliography I will post a comprehensive discussion of a particular sensation infrequently evoked by some works of literature and yet quite recognizable in numerous stories and novels of weird fiction: a feeling of being drawn to crumbling buildings and abandoned places. There is a little known German compound word for this feeling you most probably never heard of. More about it in my next post.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Álvaro de Campos' Tavira

"A few more notes on this subject… I see before me, in the colorless but real space of dreams, the faces and gestures of Caeiro, Ricardo Reis and Álvaro de Campos. I gave them their ages and fashioned their lives. (…) Álvaro de Campos was born in Tavira, on October 15, 1890… Campos, as you know, is a naval engineer (he studied in Glasgow) but is currently living in Lisbon and not working. (…) Álvaro de Campos is tall (5 ft. 9 in., an inch taller than me), slim and a bit prone to stoop. All are clean-shaven; (…) Álvaro de Campos, after a normal high school education, was sent to Scotland to study engineering, first mechanical and then naval. During some holidays he made a voyage to the Orient, which gave rise to his poem “Opiary.” An uncle who was a priest from the Beira region taught him Latin. 
How to I write in the names of these three? (…) Campos, when I feel a sudden impulse to write and don’t know what."

--From a letter by Fernando Pessoa writing to Adolfo Casais Monteiro, 13 January 1935 (in The Book of Disquiet, Penguin Classics, 2002, p. 474.)

(photos with text best viewed in full-screen - left-click the picture and press F11)

After over 80 years since this letter was written, Tavira, a town located on the south coast of Portugal, in the region of Algarve, is still haunted by the imagination of Álvaro de Campos - one of the heteronyms used by Fernando Pessoa, reported by Pessoa to have been born in the town in 1890.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Language and Cognition

Linguistic relativity, also known as the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis or Whorfianism, is a concept-paradigm in linguistics and cognitive science that holds that the structure of a language affects its speakers' cognition or world view.

It will take time before another director tops the use of linguistic relativity concepts of Denis Villeneuve’s new film Arrival. Weird fiction, visionary literature and horror cinema also have their examples where language, (mis-)communication and cognition play an important role. There is also a recurring theme of language contagion. To all of these, I will be devoting a series of entries on Confusio Linguarum in the future.

EDIT: I hereby expand the scope of this blog to visionary cinema.

Some articles of reference on the film:

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Georg Trakl - the harbinger of a hushed apocalypse

A collection of poems and prose poems by Georg Trakl in Polish, translated by Krzysztof Lipiński

There is no better time than autumn to lose oneself in the poems of the great Austrian poet Georg Trakl whose works are curiously evocative and haunting. Trakl excelled in depicting scenes of serene imagery full of contrasting colours. His blank verse, rich in adjectives, has this enchanting power of suggesting a world beyond our own. It works like a dark, ineffable charm whispered into the reader's ear. Through descriptions that at first seem ambiguous and defying logic and through his magically suggestive lyricism he has managed to grasp the fleeting impressions of a secret quietude just moments before the impending doom.

What follows is my visual tribute to Trakl and the autumnal imagery from his poems followed by a photographic journey to the garrison hospital in Cracow where Trakl committed suicide by cocaine overdose. On the wall surrounding the hospital one can find a commemorative plaque with a quote from his poem “Song of a Captured Blackbird” dedicated to Ludwig von Ficker, who was the last person to visit him before his death:

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

House of Leaves and The Vanishing Life and Films of Emmanuel Escobada


“My father was a filmmaker. In the 50s, live television. Later avant-garde. Eventually he got into documentaries. (...) My father will be remembered for a lot of things but by some, TZD--as some of my friends called him--will be forever known for his passionate consideration of the art of cinema." 

"My intention had been to present this piece of writing as a gift to mY father."
Mark Z.Danielewski interviewed by Kasey Carpenter

One of my favourite pieces of fiction from Nemonymous magazine, edited by D. F. Lewis, whom I had the pleasure to interview for Confusio Linguarum last month, is "The Vanishing Life and Films of Emmanuel Escobada", which appeared in the second issue. This phenomenal story centers on a forgotten Brazilian film-maker who mysteriously disappeared while making a film entitled "Nos Olvidamos?" and whose works started falling into complete oblivion, as if they never existed in the first place. The piece is written in the form of a non-fiction article and treats Escobada as a real person. Earlier this week its author confirmed that he would like to remain anonymous forever.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

October Update

I still continue with my rediscovery of the works by "Eddie" M. Angerhuber. I have just managed to obtain another collection of hers: In Asmodis Haus Romantische Spukgeschichten. This book was published in 1997 by Goblin Press in a limited number of 100 copies. After 20 years it has become almost completely unobtainable and the fact that none of its contents (7 stories and an afterword by Angerhuber) were ever (and may never be) reprinted, makes it a valuable collector's item. I am very glad that I was able to secure a copy. I continue reading her stories in German and, once I am ready, I will provide some material about her works on CL. This will include an article about Angerhuber and the reception of her artistic output both in Germany and the English-speaking world and will be followed by an extensive bibliography of her works. Both should be ready for publication on CL in the first quarter of 2017.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The Vexed Texture of Text - a conversation with the "poet fictioneer" D. F. Lewis

D. F. Lewis is a master storyteller, a unique voice in visionary literature with a distinctive and idiosyncratic prose style. His stories, rich in neologisms, sometimes seem to be written in another language, a language that imbues his writings with qualities that can only please readers with an acquired taste. Author of over 1,500 published stories, he is the winner of the British Fantasy Society Karl Edward Wagner Award. Apart from being a writer, he is also known as the editor of the magazine Nemonymous and as the creator of Gestalt Real-Time Reviews (published online as Des Lewis).
I first came across Lewis' works through Thomas Ligotti Online discussion board, one of the venues where he publishes his flash fiction pieces known as "thingies". From among many of his memorable coinages for words and expressions I am particularly fond of the term "ominous imagination", which I think is very close to "visionary literature" discussed on this blog.
Des has agreed to answer several questions, which I am honoured to publish on Confusio Linguarum. In a short conversation we have covered a number of subjects, some of which are in the scope of this blog's focus.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Hiding in a Mountain

"On the entry for the 8th of March, on his Tumblr feed, Momus reproduces his article about comebacks. He argues there against comebacks – that one should simply never go away. It’s an interesting read, but, for myself, I think ‘going away’, or “hiding in a mountain”, as Momus calls it, is essential. Partly, this is probably, anyway, something that is different between making music or films, and writing books. Books are generally written in solitude and read in solitude – a message in a bottle from one solitude to another.
I also think, however, there is a general value in the whole “hiding in a mountain” thing, and a value that is even perhaps more important now than it has been for some time.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Matter of Taste

Thomas Ligotti on Robert Aickman

"I'll have to leave it to admirers of Robert Aickman, which I am not one, to comment on the essays treating his work. C.P.M.'s piece seemed to display the greater critical deftness; but the subject, whom Russell Kirk called "the greatest living writer of ghost stories" when he lived, is not one I warm up to, living or dead. Too many unrewarding hours spent pondering his ineffectual subtleties, too many frustrating revelations when I finally discovered the thematic key to a tale, only to find a crude closet of cliches behind the door. It's probably my innate vulgarity which prevents me from appreciating Aickman's "obscurity" but it is not for lack of effort that I cannot.”
--Nyctalops no. 19, 1991

Tibet: Robert Aickman?
Ligotti: A writer that many people assume that I like because his "strange stories" are so obscure. They are indeed.
--"Interview with Thomas Ligotti." in AKLO: A Volume of the Fantastic, Tartarus Press, 1998**