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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Polypodes

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Sepia (no date) by Gao Jianfu.

Quelquefois, dans une nuit d’orage, pendant que des légions de poulpes ailés, ressemblant de loin à des corbeaux, planent au-dessus des nuages, en se dirigeant d’une rame raide vers les cités des humains, avec la mission de les avertir de changer de conduite, le caillou, à l’œil sombre, voit deux êtres passer à la lueur de l’éclair, l’un derrière l’autre; et, essuyant une furtive larme de compassion, qui coule de sa paupière glacée, il s’écrie: «Certes, il le mérite; et ce n’est que justice.» Après avoir dit cela, il se replace dans son attitude farouche, et continue de regarder, avec un tremblement nerveux, la chasse à l’homme, et les grandes lèvres du vagin d’ombre, d’où découlent, sans cesse, comme un fleuve, d’immenses spermatozoïdes ténébreux qui prennent leur essor dans l’éther lugubre, en cachant, avec le vaste déploiement de leurs ailes de chauve-souris, la nature entière, et les légions solitaires de poulpes, devenues mornes à l’aspect de ces fulgurations sourdes et inexprimables.

Les Chants de Maldoror (1869) by the Comte de Lautréamont.

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Sometimes on a stormy night while legions of winged squids (at a distance resembling crows) float above the clouds and scud stiffly towards the cities of the humans, their mission to warn men to change their ways—the gloomy-eyed pebble perceives amid flashes of lightning two beings pass by, one behind the other, and, wiping away a furtive tear of compassion that trickles from its frozen eye, cries: “Certainly he deserves it; it’s only justice.” Having spoken thus it reverts to its timid pose and trembling nervously, continues to watch the manhunt and the vast lips of the vagina of darkness whence flow incessantly, like a river, immense shadowy spermatozoa that take flight into the dismal aether, the vast spread of their bat’s wings obscuring the whole of nature and the lonely legions of squids—grown downcast viewing these ineffable and muffled fulgurations.

Translation by Alexis Lykiard, 1970.

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The Mask of Cthulhu, 1976 paperback reprint. Cover art by Bruce Pennington.

Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evidently pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. Behind the figure was a vague suggestion of a Cyclopean architectural background.

The Call of Cthulhu (1928) by HP Lovecraft.

Previously on {feuilleton }
Ulysses versus Maldoror
Maldoror
Vampyroteuthis Infernalis by Vilém Flusser
Books of blood
Magritte’s Maldoror
Frans De Geetere’s illustrated Maldoror
Maldoror illustrated

 


 

Posted in {books}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {surrealism}.

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2 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by herr doktor bimler

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    Did someone say “Winged squid”?
    http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1153/708941726_e2bcded088_o.jpg
    (OK, it’s a different cephalopod). From here.

  2. #2 posted by John

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    The dirigible polypode is evidently a lateral development.

 


 

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