I can't even make my mind up about Ligotti in terms of how to rate his stories (though I've only read a handful); he's a 21st century Aickman to me (possibly a genius, possibly just taking the piss, probably both), and most of the time I am just not in the mood for that - but when I am in the mood, it can really work.
Having said all that, I dont think there's anything particularly "intellectual" about his stuff - difficult, maybe, but surely that's not the same thing?
I put it in a third category, one which I call "pretentious garbage."
I got into trouble yesterday regarding James Herbert and the context I put his OBE. I did not decry his work, but merely said if he is the only Horror writer to gain such an Establishment award, then it is 'travesty'. I have apologised about this but one interpretation of what I said was, I feel, that many Horror writers deserve such an accolade, not only JH. That is the travesty.
I think your comment about Ligotti's work is similarly open to question. To formally put anyone's work into a category of 'pretentious garbage' is far worse I suggest, and at least deserves some evidence to support your thesis.
I can understand why a reader might place Ligotti, or Aickman, for that matter in a category labelled "pretentious garbage", although I could not disagree more thoroughly as I think both are magnificent.
To be fair to jojo, he does say that "*<he> would place* Ligotti* in the category of etc. which isn't quite the same as saying *Ligotti is* etc as it makes it clear that it is his personal opinion. And although I would happily read Jojo elaborate on why he dislikes Liggoti, if an author's prose, or themes strike the reader as overly mannered or artifical then that in itself can be barrier enough.*
One which, as I've just said above I couldn't agree less with.
There are a number of authors that are obviously quite dear to the hearts of certain posters here that frankly I find all but unreadable. But that would be just my opinion and of no more intrinsic merit, or otherwise, than anyone else's opinion.
*who BTW find Henry James unbearably mannered, pretentious, self-absorbed and therefore over-rated. So there !
Ligotti's "pretentious garbage", as you put it, Jojo, will be remembered long after you're forgotten.
The way I like to imagine it, students hundreds of years from now will be asking their teachers, "But who was this 'Ligotti' that he was going on about?" And the teachers will say, "That, alas! is lost to history. Today we read Jojo Lapin X's literary criticism for the sheer beauty of its language."
Ramsey, I can't work out if you are saying that you agree with Jojo re Ligotti or implying that someone else has made a similar charge against you in the past and you're happy to be alongside Ligotti.
I'm not trying to be funny, I genuinely don't get what you mean. And I'd be intersted to know what you thought iof Ligotti's work. - Chris
Apologies! No, it's simply (if he'll forgive my making the clarification) that Mr Lapin thinks both Tom and I write garbage. Me? I'll stand by everything I've said about Tom's work, beginning with my introduction to Songs of a Dead Dreamer. I believe my comment on the cover of The Shadow on the Bottom of the World sums it up - I think he may be a genius. He's certainly as fine as any writer now working in the field whose work I've read, and a worthy heir to its great tradition.
Post by Craig Herbertson on Nov 3, 2010 13:02:46 GMT
I'm not sure if I've read anything by Ligotti but as the vault always manages to suck me in I had a look at few interviews. Almost at random I drew out this quote.
'Because the supernatural is the metaphysical counterpart of insanity—the best possible vehicle for conveying the uncanny nightmare of a conscious mind marooned for a brief while in this haunted house of a world and being slowly driven mad by the ghastliness of it all.'
Anyone who can say that in a sentence gets my vote. Clever bloke, so now I suppose I have to start looking out for his work. Anything particularly recommended as the 'easy guide to Ligotti' ?
I'll let others make recommendations, Craig, but oh, do I envy you that first taste of Ligotti's work! I both love and fear the world of his stories. They're fascinating and horrible but definitely not a place I want to stay for long.
No need to apologise Ramsey, I had simply misread your earlier message. I couldn't imagine that Ligotti would not appeal to you and I had forgotten that you had written anintroduction to one of his books.
Of the books in print (and in pb) both Teatro Grottesco & the shadow at the Bottom of the World are very good selections.
My Work is Not yet Done is also available in pb and is worth reading, but for my money it is the weakest of Ligotti's books by some distance. I don't think Ligotti's approach worked as well at novel length (the title story of this collection is a novel).
Ligotti is one of those authors where it is all aboput the atmosphere and the bleak vision, many of the stories are virtually plotless (although some of my favourites are plot driven e.g. the early tale "Last Feast").