Hieroglyphics

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Grant Richards, 1902 - Criticism - 206 pages
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A very interesting work of literary theory from a writer very influential to H.P. Lovecraft. Machen distinguishes literature from "reading-matter" by the presence or absence of "ecstasy" in a work, that is, a quest or a desire for the unknown, something which draws the reader outside of normal life. He differentiates between artifice (the skill of written expression) and the true art of a work (the ecstasy that lies within). In the end, Machen's goal is to make "ecstasy" the objective criterion for evaluating a work as literature, in contrast to the many subjective criteria (such as enjoyment in reading, feelings generated by a work, or connection to the characters). Hieroglyphics is not without its flaws, but I would still highly encourage the reading of it, in order to be introduced to this fascinating theory. 

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1
II
42
III
68
IV
99
V
125
VI
150

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Page 160 - The valet having rode something more than a mile, espied the whole troop disposed in a long field, crossing the road obliquely, and headed by the bridegroom and his friend Hatchway, who, finding himself hindered by a hedge from proceeding farther in the same direction, fired a pistol, and stood over to the other side, making an obtuse angle with the line of his former course; and the rest of the squadron followed his example, keeping always in the rear of each other like a flight of wild geese.
Page 160 - Hark ye, brother, don't you see we make all possible speed? Go back, and tell those who sent you, that the wind has shifted since we weighed anchor, and that we are obliged to make very short trips in tacking, by reason of the narrowness of the channel, and that, as we lie within six points of the wind, they must make some allowance for variation and leeway.
Page 20 - At the first dawn of the morning we closed all the massive shutters of our old building; lighting a couple of tapers which, strongly perfumed, threw out only the ghastliest and feeblest of rays. By the aid of these we then busied our souls in dreams — reading, writing, or conversing, until warned by the clock of the advent of the true Darkness. Then we sallied forth into the streets, arm...
Page 111 - Et icy maintenons que non rire, ains boire est le propre de l'homme, je ne dy boire simplement et absolument, car aussi bien boivent les bestes : je dis boire vin bon et frais.
Page 20 - It was a freak of fancy in my friend (for what else shall I call it?) to be enamored of the night for her own sake; and into this bizarrerie, as into all his others, I quietly fell, giving myself up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon.
Page 11 - I mean. . .in every case there will be that withdrawal from the common life and the common consciousness which justifies my choice of "ecstasy" as the best symbol of my meaning.
Page 150 - Faery lands forlorn." Draw a map of the district in question, putting in principals towns and naming exports. 7. Show that "heaven lies about us in our infancy" must mean "wholesome maternal influences surround us in our childhood.
Page 111 - ... je dis boire vin bon et frais. Notez, amis, que de vin, divin on devient : et n'ya argument tant seur, ny art de divination moins fallace.
Page 57 - he says there's a snow-drift, and a wind that's piercing cold." Pickwick Papers (1836-37) You know this is the introduction to the Tale of Gabriel Grub, an admirable legend which Dickens "parsed' with an obtrusive moral. But I confess that the atmosphere (which to me seems all the wild weather and the wild legend of the north) suggested by those phrases "a thick white cloud," and "a wind that's piercing cold," is in my judgment wholly marvellous.
Page 196 - Gothic horror stories from the 18905 onward, defines literature as "the endeavour of every age to return to the first age, to an age, if you like, of savages."18 Robert Louis Stevenson, who echoes Lang's defenses of romances as against novels, discovered sources of "primitive" poetic energy in his own psyche, most notably through the nightmare that yielded Dr.

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