Thursday, November 29, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Malebolge

"All human minds, as they move about over the face of the earth, are in touch with a dark reservoir of our race’s psychic garbage. Just as all the thrilling and vibrating thoughts that have animated human organisms survive the deaths of those organisms, so all the heavy, cloddish, murderous, desolate thoughts, in which free will and faith and happiness perish like asphyxiated gnats, roll themselves in a foul torrent into a great invisible planetary Malebolge. This Malebolge is always present and near, a little way below the surface, for all our human minds; and it only needs certain occurrences, or certain arrangements of matter, to cause an odious and devastating effluvia from its surface-scum to invade the arteries of our consciousness."
-- today's quoted passage from 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys

My other favourite quotes from this book:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Crow's Tin

Today's quoted passage (about hawling?) from 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys: 

 "For the last month the tin had been pouring forth with such a steady flow that Philip's spirits had mounted up to a pitch of excitement that was like a kind of diurnal drunkenness. He dreamed of tin every night. The metal in all its stages began to obsess him. He collected specimens of it, of ever
y degree of weight, integrity, purity. He carried bits of it about with him in his pocket. All manner of quaint fancies -- not so much imaginative ones as purely childish ones -- connected with tin, kept entering and leaving his mind, and he began to feel as if a portion of his innermost being were the actual magnet that drew this long-neglected element out of abysses of prehistoric darkness into the light of day.
Philip got into the habit of walking every day up the steep overgrown hillside above Wookey and posting himself in the heart of a small grove of Scotch firs from which he could observe, without anyone detecting his presence, the lively transactions at the mouth of the big orifice in the earth, where the trees had been cut away and where the cranes and pulleys stood out in such startling relief against the ancient sepia-coloured clumps of hazel and sycamore, still growing around them upon the leafy slopes. Here he would devour the spectacle of all this activity he had set in motion, until he longed to share the physical exertions of every one of his labourers, diggers, machinists, truckmen, carters, stokers, miners, and haulers."

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The World-Snake

From 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys:

"The man rubbed his shins meditatively and leaning forward in his low arm-chair, pulled with both hands the shiny black material of one of his trousers close round his leg. This action seemed to give him some kind of spiritual comfort and he continued to enjoy the warmth, gazing into the fire with a curious film over his black eyes, the sort of film that might have covered the ophidian stare of the world-snake, at the bottom of the Northern Sea."

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Nancy Stickles and the Blue Mist

 A favourite passage from 'The Glastonbury Romance' (1933) by John Cowper Powys:

"This particular day was indeed as characteristic of autumn in Somerset as any day could be. A blue haze was over everything, so thick and intense, that it was as if the blueness in the sky had fallen upon the earth, leaving only a vague grey hollowness in the upper air. The blue haze invaded everything. It crept through gaps in hedges; it floated over old crumbling walls; it slipped into open stickhouses and haysheds. And though it was blue in colour, it smelled strongly of brown mud and of yellow apples. The blue mist, reeking of cider-juice and ditches, seems to possess a peculiar somnolent power. Travellers from the north, or from the east, coming into Glastonbury by train through Wareham, may be sitting erect and alert as they pass Stalbridge and Templecombe but they will find it difficult to keep their eyes on the landscape when the train has carried them beyond Evercreech and they come into the purlieus of Avalon.
Sleep seems to emanate from this district like a thin, penetrating anaesthetic, possessed of a definite healing power, and it is a sleep full of dreams; not of the gross, violent, repulsive dreams of the night, but of lovely, floating, evasive day-dreams, lighter, more voluptuous, nearer the heart's desire, than the raw, crude, violent visions of the bed.
Nancy Stickles felt a wave of delicious languor steal over her as she contemplated the Glover family enjoying themselves on the little lawn and as she watched the blue mists floating over the old walls and lying in hollows between the narrow alleys, and hovering in pigsty doors, and privy doors and fowl-run doors, and flowing like the vaporous essence of some great blue apple  of the orchards of space over everything she could see." 

More of my favourite passages from this book: HERE