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**

Thursday, 8 September 2016

The frozen sea within us

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we're reading doesn't wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.*
- Franz Kafka writing to Oskar Pollak, 27 January 1905

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Learning a language to savour great works of literature

My experience of reading books has always gone hand in hand with learning languages. I have gone through the pain of withholding from reading certain titles for years only with the purpose of reading them, once ready, in their original versions. This painful but rewarding time-killer is something I've done with works in English, Spanish, French and German and as insane as it may sound I have high ambitions of expanding this further to other five languages. Apart from sharing my experience from reading, I would also like to use Confusio Linguarum to document this translingual journey.

Exhumed archive of stories by Angerhuber - printed back in 2005
I set out to learn German over ten years ago so that to read works of Gustav Meyrink, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, Philipp Mainländer and Eddie M. Angerhuber among others. Over this time I have read countless other books in German just to improve my reading skills and to be finally able to savour the works that are high on my list. 

It is high time that I delve into "Eddie" M. Angerhuber's oeuvres - Angerhuber is a writer who  seems to have been on my list almost forever.