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View Diary: HP Lovecraft and the fear of the unknown (64 comments)

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  •  "many contradictory characteristics of his work (12+ / 0-)

    and himself"

    Whenever I encounter this in an artist, in anyone really, my first reaction is curiosity.

    Kipling is less psychically cramped than Lovecraft, but he also has a contradiction between unthinking racism and a large sympathy and awareness. Kipling was larger than Lovecraft (and luckier, and happier). But many large individuals contain smallnesses.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 12:57:41 PM PST

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    •  Indeed. (11+ / 0-)

      This diary made me think of the experience of reading the short story 'The Prepersons' by Philip K. Dick.  It was in a collection published while he was still alive and he had a short commentary for each one.

      He acknowledged that the story, a strident anti-abortion polemic, would displease many of his readers.  In fact he said that Joanna Russ, a noted feminist sf author had threatened to beat him up upon reading it.  However he said he could not do other than stand with the innocent and powerless.

      Upon actually reading the story I discovered it to be perhaps the most misogynistic work I have ever read.  Anyone familiar with Dick's work in 1950s and 1960s would recognize a familiar fear of controlling women throughout it.  This is taken to ludicrous and revolting extremes in the story mentioned above.  Apparently Dick was blind to the fact that his 'defense' of the helpless was portraying half of the world's population as selfish unfeeling monsters.

      This doesn't mean that there aren't things of value to be learned from reading his work (although I would not recommend that particular story).

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 01:45:31 PM PST

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      •  Dick wasn't misogynistic in those works (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, linkage, The Marti

        Having read most of his published works at one time or another, I was struck that of all of his women characters less than a half-dozen could be described as much more than a "bitch". It is probably his most glaring flaw as a writer.

        I can only wonder if he had amazingly bad luck with women in his life; I can think of no other sympathetic explanation for this.

      •  I thought of Dick as I wrote my previous comment (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        matching mole, Youffraita, The Marti

        because he was a man with many contradictions in him. Though the first that springs to mind is that he churned out shoddy product and also wrote profoundly original and well-crafted stuff (yes, the first was partly a response to financial pressure. And he learned and grew as he went.). The Man in the High Castle is the only one I've read where I felt his art was fully realized, though Do Androids Dream... is very fine, and Ubik is weird but wonderful.

        Also, he was unstable, and the drugs didn't help.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 03:11:16 PM PST

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