The Weird – Homework

Short commons these last couple of days as I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t had the necessary space in my head to write criticism.

Today, a group of links for you, as markers for material I want to come back to, some time in December. Part of my underlying project in reading my way through The Weird is to revisit my own understanding of terms I have thrown around without giving them much thought over the last thirty-odd years, terms like ‘supernatural’, and ‘ghost’, and so on. I think, from some of the things I’ve already said, it’s perhaps becoming clear that in the past I’ve had an aversion to the term ‘weird fiction’, although I seem to be more comfortable with the way that Jeff and Ann use it in The Weird, perhaps because I’m practising some sort of ostensive understanding based on their selections, which so far chime with my established taste for “something fantastic that isn’t epic fantasy but for which ‘ghost story’ is not a great term either”. Catchy definition, don’t you think? I can see it being employed with vigour in English departments the length and breadth of the land, can’t you? No, I didn’t think so.

As already noted, the term “weird” is derived from the critical writing of H P Lovecraft, in particular, Supernatural Horror in Literature. I have read it, but a long time ago, and I need to revisit it fairly soon. I mention this because of a piece by Erich Zann on a blog called Hideous Thing (which seems to have died almost before it got started, more’s the pity) which queried the use of the term ‘Weird’, with reference to what Lovecraft may or may not have meant in using it: a useful corrective.

And finally, we have Scott Nicolay’s Dogme 2011 for Weird Fiction, a personal manifesto, which I hope to read against some of what I’ve already been looking at.

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2 thoughts on “The Weird – Homework

  1. GregSturman

    Thank you very much for this wonderful blog, I discovered it at the start of November as a link from the Weird Fiction Review (which I stumbled across while looking for info on the Cabinet of Curiosities anthology) and though I don't have the Weird anthology as yet, as I'm familiar with many of its early, public domain entries (or have familiarized myself with them since learning of the content-list courtesy of the Librivox site) it's been a pleasure to read your analysis of the tales thus far. hopefully i'll be in a position to read the later stories from the book before moving on to your thoughts and reflections which are sure to add an extra dimension to the experience. May I take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck with your endeavours both here and with the Weird Fiction Review.

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