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The Great God Pan Whatever the hell was going on with the society when this was published This, a sensation Underwhelming Thank God I live now not then I would have died bored out of my mind Too whimsical for me Reads like a cross of Hawthorne with Poe with just a tad of Lovecraft who might have been a diligent follower of Machen, at a later date and several notes from Merezhkovsky of all autors added into the mix Though in the case of Merezhkovsky it is not clear who influenced who even if this was n Whatever the hell was going on with the society when this was published This, a sensation Underwhelming Thank God I live now not then I would have died bored out of my mind Too whimsical for me Reads like a cross of Hawthorne with Poe with just a tad of Lovecraft who might have been a diligent follower of Machen, at a later date and several notes from Merezhkovsky of all autors added into the mix Though in the case of Merezhkovsky it is not clear who influenced who even if this was not a case of ideas congeniality , since they sort of worked and published simultaneously Lovecraft might have been himself influenced by Machen not the other way around The story centers around a hypomaniacal sociopathic butcher of a transcendent surgeon who spews lots of bullshit and proceeds to act on it Some Pan added to the mix, some dreadful mysteries, some incarnates, some whatnot Did nothing to me, read tediously Why did I even bother to read it Q No, I think not, even if the worst happened As you know, I rescued Mary fromthe gutter, and from almost certain starvation, when she was a child I think her life ismine, to use as I see fit c Q But have you no misgivings, Raymond Is it absolutely safe Safe Of course it is In itself the operation is a perfectly simple one any surgeoncould do it And there is no danger at any other stage None absolutely no physical danger whatsoever, I give you my word We are standing on the brink of a strange world, Raymond, if what you say is true I suppose the knife is absolutely necessary c This is patently what should be the prompt to getting the hell out of the plan, whatever it involves operations, investments, whatever Hear the crock talking And not the feeble is the knife necessary Q That is a strange saying of his In every grain of wheat there lies hidden the soul of a star c Q Strangely that wonderful hot day of the fifties rose up again in Clarke s imagination the sense of dazzling all pervading sunlight seemed to blot out the shadows and the lights of the laboratory, and he felt again the heated air beating in gusts about his face, saw the shimmer rising from the turf, and heard the myriad murmur of the summer c Q He could only think of the lonely walk he had taken fifteen years ago it was his last look at the fields and woods he had known since he was a child, and now it all stood out in brilliant light, as a picture, before him Above all there came to his nostrils the scent of summer, the smell of flowers mingled, and the odour of the woods, of cool shaded places, deep in the green depths, drawn forth by the sun s heat and the scent of the good earth, lying as it were with arms stretched forth, and smiling lips, overpowered all His fancies made him wander, as he had wandered long ago, from the fields into the wood, tracking a little path between the shining undergrowth of beech trees and the trickle of water dropping from the limestone rock sounded as a clear melody in the dream c The Great God Pan is a succinct gem of horror and mystery a kind of spiritual variation on classic tales of lycanthropy though its effectiveness depends on one s sensitivity to, and belief in, the potential horrors of the very real though unseen forces beneath material manifestation.A scientist, a self proclaimed practitioner of transcendental medicine, cuts into a young woman s brain to heighten her spiritual awareness but instead Pan, the wild nature spirit, or rather the tremendous invisib The Great God Pan is a succinct gem of horror and mystery a kind of spiritual variation on classic tales of lycanthropy though its effectiveness depends on one s sensitivity to, and belief in, the potential horrors of the very real though unseen forces beneath material manifestation.A scientist, a self proclaimed practitioner of transcendental medicine, cuts into a young woman s brain to heighten her spiritual awareness but instead Pan, the wild nature spirit, or rather the tremendous invisible life force that seethes beneath nature s visible cloak, enters and impregnates her The spawn of this diabolical union, a society woman with a lovely though strangely unsettling face, wreaks havoc in late 19th century London very atmospherically portrayed in all its twisty mystery as a series of well heeled men mysteriously commit suicide It s short, 50 60 pages, and it is presented in a patchwork fashion, as overlapping chapters that connect only peripherally to each other, that for me intensified the mystery and made the tale feel like a much longer work in concentrate It could be called a minimalist masterpiece of Gothic horror.At the time of publication this book caused quite a scandal because of its suggestion that men were killing themselves because of some dark sex magic that transferred Pan in the form of an STD, I suppose from the carrier to them, though all this occurs off stage as it were It s hard now to see what the fuss was all about, and so it s much easier now to simply focus on the potency of the tale As an author of some of classic Weird Tales, Arthur Machen has the added advantage of believing much of what he writes about He was a keen explorer of dark mystical realms and was right there in the thick of London s Magickal scene he along with Yeats and Aleister Crowley were members of The Order of the Golden Dawn Machen knew of powerful realities hidden from our rational intellects by the thinnest of physical veils, and that the parting of this veil was possible through various means drugs, meditation, magick, a blow to the head, etc He was also a wonderfully evocative writer with an intense love for that very physical world that potentially contained many horrors As good as advertised, called by Stephen King to be perhaps the greatest horror story in English Not sure about that, but I can see how influential this may have been Really weird and has allusions to myth First published in 1890, this is after Poe but before Lovecraft, creating something of a bridge between masters of the horror genre.This has all the elements of a great story and created a benchmark for what makes a horror story As good as advertised, called by Stephen King to be perhaps the greatest horror story in English Not sure about that, but I can see how influential this may have been Really weird and has allusions to myth First published in 1890, this is after Poe but before Lovecraft, creating something of a bridge between masters of the horror genre.This has all the elements of a great story and created a benchmark for what makes a horror story My favored definition of wisdom has always been a recognition of one s limits , and as such, wisdom is vital for writers When an author knows their capabilities and their flaws, they are in prime position to write a story which takes advantage of their strengths and mitigates their weaknesses.Yet what is preferable for an artist to stay within the bounds of their skill, or to work to always to exceed them The first sort will be able to create precise and deliberate works of mastery, while th My favored definition of wisdom has always been a recognition of one s limits , and as such, wisdom is vital for writers When an author knows their capabilities and their flaws, they are in prime position to write a story which takes advantage of their strengths and mitigates their weaknesses.Yet what is preferable for an artist to stay within the bounds of their skill, or to work to always to exceed them The first sort will be able to create precise and deliberate works of mastery, while the latter can produce wild and intense works of vision All authors experiment and take risks while writing should such experiments be left in, even when are not entirely successful There are works, like Moby Dick, which are masterpieces precisely because they are full of numerous, unusual experiments, not all of which were effective Many critics are hesitant to praise works which are grand, yet incomplete, stitching together many wild ideas and disparate techniques to create a vision which is powerful and inspirational, despite being conflicted.In fantastical genres, it is perhaps an evencentral question, since they are so dependent on the strength of idiomatic vision Perhaps the clearest illustration of the importance of that creative force is the vast influence of pulp authors Their style was defined by unbridled exploration and a thirst for new ideas They went headlong into the fray without pretension, for authors who erred on the side of caution tended to be left behind What they lacked in style, character, and plot they tried to overcome with an abundance of ideas.In horror, the line between restraint and unfettered creativity is usually defined by what the author chooses to describe, and what is left to the reader s imagination As many a skilled writer has demonstrated, the reader is often better at scaring themselves if the setup is strong enough The strongest example may be when the author begins to describe some terror, then breaks off with but it was too horrific for words to describe, too awful to comprehend, too shocking for the mere mortal mind to revisit.Though many authors particularly of the Victorian use this technique, I tend to associate it with Lovecraft It has been a running joke in my writing circle that Lovecraft s monsters are not actually that terrifying, it s just that his protagonists are so nervous and sensitive as to be totally unnerved even by the least imp.Machen uses this technique throughout the story, leaving much of the action implied so that we must piece together the reality from the occasional detail His constant drawing back from actual descriptions helps to remind the reader that, for the purposes of a story, what the Thing looks like, or what it is capable of are not fundamental to the story itself The story is about people, about their reactions and the progression of events, and if the structure is strong, there is no need to explicate the monster.Machen s writing is competent and precise he does not give in to the purple prose and long internal monologues which typify Lovecraft, nor does he trudge along, workmanlike, in the manner of Stoker The gradual unfolding of the story and its mysteries is artful, and the uneasy tone consistent.Yet there are problematic aspects The characters are not vivid or well differentiated, which makes them difficult to connect with, and the story harder to follow We are often casting about between different individuals and their experiences, and since they all speak in a similar voice and have similar backgrounds, it can be a task to keep them apart.And while the gradual unfolding of the action is enjoyable, the structure is somewhat imprecise, going back and forth and sometimes repeating itself Though Stoker was rough and guileless and Lovecraft often overwrought, at least they both focused on the central motivations and desires of their characters throughout.Despite these flaws, it isn t difficult to see why horror authors from Lovecraft to King have cited this story as an influence, and have worked to recreate its haunting, slow burning build For Reasons, a guy named Raymond wants to experiment on putting a person into some sort of altered state Mary was, like, super poor, and he took her in and fed her, so this is fair, he says She agrees because of Stockholm syndrome like loyalty to this creep Bad idea genes abound here, and then Mary and Raymond are basically out of the narrative.Again with a really destitute person in the street, Herbert, an old school chum of Villiers No, you re not supposed to know who Villiers is Does h For Reasons, a guy named Raymond wants to experiment on putting a person into some sort of altered state Mary was, like, super poor, and he took her in and fed her, so this is fair, he says She agrees because of Stockholm syndrome like loyalty to this creep Bad idea genes abound here, and then Mary and Raymond are basically out of the narrative.Again with a really destitute person in the street, Herbert, an old school chum of Villiers No, you re not supposed to know who Villiers is Does he try to help his unfortunate friend No, he just listens to his sad but vague story about his unfortunate marriage and how it ruined his life, then says bye and goes off and tells other people, because he appears to be a nosy gossip, and judgy, too Machen is by no means a great prose stylist, and this book is written in a confused manner Many lurid events are hinted at then broken off with a leaving the reader to surmise what took place It would be fine if the conclusions were obvious, but they aren t even when I thought I got what had happened and I found myself several time turning back trying to figure out if a person had died, or what.Interesting that Machen named the insignificant artist character Meyrink as the tone of the book is quite reminiscent of Eggeler s illustrations for Meyrink, the writer.I m not sure what mythological or anthropological material this is based on, if any It doesn t jive with the admittedly minimal material I ve read on Pan.I have a reprint of the 1926 Ayer Company publication that includes Inmost Light and Red Hand as well I was relieved to reach page 90 and find out I was done with this story Read for Class I m glad I had to re read this for the final, because it s definitely not a 2 star read like my previous rating. The Great God Pan is a novella written by Arthur Machen A version of the story was published in the magazine Whirlwind in , and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication together with another story, The Inmost Light inOn publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content, although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror Machen s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism The title was taken from the poem A Musical Instrument published inby Elizabeth Barrett Browning, in which the first line of every stanza ends the great god Pan ➷ [Reading] ➹ Gender in Psychoanalytic Space By Muriel Dimen ➬ – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk and Machen revised and extended it for its book publication together with another story ❴KINDLE❵ ❆ Insight and Interpretation Author Roy Schafer – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk The Inmost Light inOn publication it was widely denounced by the press as degenerate and horrific because of its decadent style and sexual content ❮Reading❯ ➳ Good People in an Evil Time ➬ Author Svetlana Broz – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk although it has since garnered a reputation as a classic of horror Machen s story was only one of many at the time to focus on Pan as a useful symbol for the power of nature and paganism The title was taken from the poem A Musical Instrument published inby Elizabeth Barrett Browning [EPUB] ✵ On a Day Like This By Peter Stamm – Ralphslaurensoutlet.co.uk in which the first line of every stanza ends the great god Pan ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.Written in 1894, Arthur Machen s The Great God Pan is a short novel which was highly influential to H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King King, in fact, said The Great God Pan is one of the best horror stories ever written Maybe the best in the English language Mine isn t anywhere near that good The Great God Pan used to be hard to find, but is now available free on the Kindle and at other public domain e book outlets and is easily read in one dark and ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.Written in 1894, Arthur Machen s The Great God Pan is a short novel which was highly influential to H.P Lovecraft and Stephen King King, in fact, said The Great God Pan is one of the best horror stories ever written Maybe the best in the English language Mine isn t anywhere near that good The Great God Pan used to be hard to find, but is now available free on the Kindle and at other public domain e book outlets and is easily read in one dark and rainy evening.The first few pages of The Great God Pan describe Mr Clarke s visit to his friend Dr Raymond After many years of study, Dr Raymond has theorized that the spirit world is all around us, but that humans are unable to perceive it because of the particular set up of our sensory systems Thus, he hypothesizes that a small lesion in the cortex of the brain a slight adjustment of our normal functioning will lift the veil so that we can perceive the supernatural The Greeks called this seeing the Great God Pan Dr Raymond invites Mr Clarke into his laboratory where he is ready to perform this operation on Mary, a beautiful teenage girl who he saved from the streets years before and who, in his thinking, owes him her life The operation appears to be unsuccessful or at least Mary turns out to be incapable of describing her perceptions, because she has become an idiot The rest of the story is Mr Clarke s collection of accounts of unexplained suicides and strange deaths apparently from shock and terror in London society and his gradual suspicion that there is some connection between these deaths and Dr Raymond s failed experiment The horrible things he hears about happen in private many appear to be sexual in nature , so he can t report the specifics for any of them Eerie tension and a creeping horror arise as the reader fills in the unknown with fears from his or her own imagination.It s disappointing that the writing style of The Great God Pan isn t as exquisite as the terror is, but it s pleasant enough and completely readable over 100 years later The Great God Pan is a must read for any fan of horror fiction not the bloody gruesome type of horror, but the brain bending, soul scaring type This was a strange little story, sold as paganism, with a touch of sexuality It had a supernatural feel, that left me holding my breath in anticipation Unfortunately, due to the confusing nature of the book, it also left me holding my head in confusionthan once I was initially intrigued by the story, but midway through it morphed into a Sherlock style detective case, before getting back to the mystical elements that made it unique Overall it was a good idea, but poorly executed. The Great God Pan is one of Arthur Machen s earliest works, and also his most popular Upon release it was widely denounced as decadent and depraved, although it has since influenced countless writers of horror and weird fiction, from H.P Lovecraft to Stephen King.Machen was a bohemian fellow, deeply opposed to science and modernity he held a belief that the real world is just a veil behind which another world is hidden, infinitelystrange, mysterious and magical The Great God Pan is set The Great God Pan is one of Arthur Machen s earliest works, and also his most popular Upon release it was widely denounced as decadent and depraved, although it has since influenced countless writers of horror and weird fiction, from H.P Lovecraft to Stephen King.Machen was a bohemian fellow, deeply opposed to science and modernity he held a belief that the real world is just a veil behind which another world is hidden, infinitelystrange, mysterious and magical The Great God Pan is set in Wales, Machen s home country, and begins with a Mr Clarke visiting a Dr Raymond Dr Raymond is a surgeon who believes that humans are surrounded by a supernatural, mysterious world, but aren t able to truly perceive it For Dr Raymond, the human mind can be surgically altered, opened , to lift the barrier separating that world from ours which he calls seeing the Great God Pan He even has a test subject ready a beautiful girl named Mary Raymond intends to sever part of Mary s brain tissue to lift the veil , which supposedly separates her from the spiritual world justifying his experiment by the fact that he has rescued her from poverty on the streets and certain death, her life is his to use as he sees fit Raymond performs the operation, and Mary is apparently horrified by something only she can see but she s also rendered unable to narrate her experiences, as the operation left her completely retarded.Years later, Mr Clarke is living in London and has completely distanced himself from anything supernatural as a result of Dr Raymond s experiment but the old passion for the unseen would not let him go entirely, and he dedicated himself to complete a book which he calls Memoirs to prove the Existence of the Devil a collection of accounts of the life of a girl named Helen V., a girl from a small Welsh village near the English border Over the years Helen was to said to have encountered strange things in the woods, and ultimately left the village still shrouded in mystery the story then shifts to an omniscient narrator recounting a series of suicides of rich men from London, all of which seem to be connected in a strange way Ultimately, it concludes with Raymond and Clarke connecting once again, this time through letters, where they exchange their opinions and suspicions about these horrors and their nature.This is undoubtedly an important work of weird horror fiction, as it s influence can be seen all over the genre One notable influence which immediately comes to mind is Peter Straub s classic Ghost Story, which can even be read as almost an extended tribute to it The Great God Pan is a strange story it s jumbled plot and experiments with narration Mr Clarke collects testimonies of people who retell a story of another person , and its characters are neither well developed nor distinctive from one another The end is confusing and the terror itself doesn t make much sense it s never given any possible reasoning behind it, and seems to happen just because it can It s not a novella easily explained and its interpretations are many, but in this lies precisely the fun of it Still, it s an important work Machen showed how restraint can beeffective than exposure, and let readers scare themselves with their own vision of the horror instead of drowning them with gore and schlock as many contemporary authors do So it s best to treat The Great God Pan an an important foundation on which later authors such as Lovecraft, King and Straub have expanded and built their own works


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About the Author: Arthur Machen

Arthur Machen was a leading Welsh author of the 1890s He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction His long story The Great God Pan made him famous and controversial in his lifetime, but The Hill of Dreams is generally considered his masterpiece He also is well known for his leading role in creating the legend of the Angels of Mons.At the age of eleven, Machen boarded at Hereford Cathedral School, where he received an excellent classical education Family poverty ruled out attendance at university, and Machen was sent to London, where he sat exams to attend medical school but failed to get in Machen, however, showed literary promise, publishing in 1881 a long poem Eleusinia on the subject of the Eleusinian Mysteries Returning to London, he lived in relative poverty, attempting to work as a journalist, as a publisher s clerk, and as a children s tutor while writing in the evening and going on long rambling walks across London.In 1884 he published his second work, the pastiche The Anatomy of Tobacco, and secured work with the publisher and bookseller George Redway as a cataloguer and magazine editor This led to further work as a translator from French, translating the Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre, Le Moyen de Parvenir Fantastic Talesof B roalde de Verville, and the Memoirs of Casanova Machen s translations in a spirited English style became standard ones for many years.Around 1890 Machen began to publish in literary magazines, writing stories influenced by the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, some of which used gothic or fantastic themes This led to his first major success, The Great God Pan It was published in 1894 by John Lane in the noted Keynotes Series, which was part of the growing aesthetic movement of the time Machen s story was widely denounced for its sexual and horrific content and subsequently sold well, going into a second edition.Machen next produced The Three Impostors, a novel composed of a number of interwoven tales, in 1895 The novel and the stories within it were eventually to be regarded as among Machen s best works However, following the scandal surrounding Oscar Wilde later that year, Machen s association with works of decadent horror made it difficult for him to find a publisher for new works Thus, though he would write some of his greatest works over the next few years, some were published much later These included The Hill of Dreams, Hieroglyphics, A Fragment of Life, the story The White People, and the stories which make up Ornaments in Jade.