Arthur Machen book covers


The House of Souls (1923). 

Well, a handful anyway. The late RT Gault put a page of Machen cover scans on his book site which also included the excellent Absolute Elsewhere catalogue of “Fantastic, Visionary, and Esoteric Literature in the 1960s and 1970s”. The cover for The House of Souls is a very odd piece by Sidney Sime and going by some of Sime’s Dunsany illustrations I think this was how he thought souls actually looked. The Three Imposters (below) was part of John Lane’s Keynotes series which also included Machen’s The Great God Pan among the titles, all of which sported covers designed by Aubrey Beardsley.


The Three Imposters (1895). 

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6 thoughts on “Arthur Machen book covers”

  1. Another guy Clarke should have illustrated, I would also like to see some anime adapted from his work, though it wouldn’t at all surprise me if there already was. Something about mushrooms and vines and other harmless everyday, naturally occuring things taking on such a sinister vestige is, especially when wrought by someone who actually knows what they’re doing, priceless.

  2. There’s surprisingly few adaptations of Machen in any medium, I suspect because much of his best work is too subtle. My favourite story of his, The White People, was something I had a go at illustrating myself but gave up on when I realised I was going to end up spoiling it. And much of it simply won’t yield to illustration, its effect comes from the gap between the things the girl character describes and the pictures those descriptions raise in our minds. Maybe the Brothers Quay could do something suitably elusive, as they did with Bruno Schultz and Robert Walser.

  3. John Jude Palencar perhaps, since, especially and not surprisingly, his illustrations for Lovecraft are more like the Quays than any other visual artist I can think of besides maybe John Santerineross or Hans Bellmer. I don’t even really like Bellmer too much though to be honest.

  4. . . . Palencar’s ‘weird’ illustrations are some of the most subtle I’ve seen and work well with internal dialogue and stories within stories and other difficult-to-illustrate matters. In fact maybe I would like his more than Clarke’s (though I still like the latter more).

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