Weekend links 560


The Fallen Angels Entering Pandemonium, from ‘Paradise Lost’, Book 1 (c.1841) by John Martin.

• “Hergé’s heirs sue artist over his Tintin/Edward Hopper mashups.” The complaint is that the paintings of Xavier Marabout besmirch Tintin’s character by making him seem…human? Silly. I’d sooner complain that Hergé’s ligne claire drawing style is an awkward match for Hopper’s realism. And besides which, isn’t Tintin gay? There’s a lot of wish-fulfilling slash art showing Tintin and Captain Haddock in a closer relationship than Hergé ever would have wanted. This Canadian magazine cover by Normand Bastien dates from 1987.

• “Everyone wanted to make products that looked fast and angry and maybe wanted to lay eggs in your brain.” Alexis Berger tells S. Elizabeth how she avoided years stuck in a design office by becoming a jeweller instead.

• New music: Chiaroscuro by Alessandro Cortini, and Frequencies For Leaving Earth Vol. 4 (One-Hour Loop) by Kevin Richard Martin & Pedro Maia.

The Willows is less a flight of fancy and more an attempt to articulate the ways in which what we dubiously still call “nature” is at once an object of human systems of knowledge and yet also something that undermines those same systems. Thus if The Willows is indeed a classic of “supernatural horror” (as HP Lovecraft would famously note), we might also be justified in calling it “natural horror” as well. In Blackwood’s wonderfully slow, patiently constructed scenes of atmospheric suspense, there is the sense of an impersonal sublime, a lyricism of the unhuman that shores up the limitations of anthropocentric thinking, as well as evoking the attendant smallness of human beings against the backdrop of this deep time perspective.

Eugene Thacker on how Algernon Blackwood turned nature into sublime horror

• Women of Letters: John Boardley talks to Lynne Yun, Deb Pang Davis, Coleen Baik and Duong Nguyen about their typographic designs.

• At Google Arts & Culture: Music, Makers & Machines: A brief history of electronic music.

• At The Public Domain Review: The Universe as Pictured in Milton’s Paradise Lost (1915).

• Beyond the Perseverance drone: Chloe Lula on the sounds of space.

• At Wormwoodiana: Colour magazine (1914–1932).

Wyrd Daze Lvl.4 FOUR STAR is here.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Hell.

O Willow Waly (1961) by Isla Cameron And The Raymonde Singers | Cool Iron (1972) by The Willows | The Willows (2005) by Belbury Poly

3 thoughts on “Weekend links 560”

  1. Nice Thacker article on The Willows. A true masterpiece. It’s good to see it still regularly anthologized. We should note the paradox of a vision of a nature without humanity only made manifest by the vision of a human being. We can imagine a world without us. Can nature do the same? I suspect it is we who must do nature’s imagining.

    The Willows seems impervious to filming. Has it ever been tried? One can imagine a hack recording slow-motion scenes of wind blowing through trees to the accompaniment of a theremin.

    And I wonder, are there any large undeveloped tracts left along the Danube where a solitary voyager could still have such an experience?

  2. Blackwood’s story would be difficult to adapt without destroying everything that people praise it for. Not impossible, but the literalising nature of film is very good at filling in the mental lacunae where the uncanny resides. And so many directors of horror films are simply ham-fisted idiots… There’s something named The Willows at IMDB marked as “in development”, and it seems to be based on Blackwood, unlike other works with the same title. Doesn’t mean it’s going to end up on the screen, things often get announced there then vanish later on.

  3. Looks like a bullet was dodged regarding Alex Poryas’ version of “Paradise Lost”; if they were going to do that to it they may as well gone the whole hog and given Peter Jackson a call. It would have been interesting to see what Powell & Pressburger might have made of it during their imperial phase with maybe James Mason as Satan. I could also imagine a Peter Greenaway version in the style of “Prospero’s Books”.

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