Poisonous Nature

Above is ye newest illustration by Tom Brown for my forthcoming collection from Centipede Press. It combines two of my favourite things: eldritch Nature and old houses. I also adore ye feature, with its wicked claw-like tip inside a bottle of macabre ink. I love this illustration more than I can say. Lovecraft was unique, methinks, in his ability to convey the weirdness of sick and tainted Nature; and there have been many fine artists who have aided Lovecraft's fictive language with their own devilish depictions of scenes from H. P. Lovecraft's tales. Santiago Caruso's trees, pictur'd right, are especially delicious. Lovecraft's fiction reminds me that, no matter how humankind may want to think of itself as superior, we are naught but ephemeral nature, and to ye dust and mould we will return. 

Oh, my darlings, I am utterly enchanted with this new edition of Shakespeare from Oxford University Press. A team of textual scholars have worked on an entirely new study of the texts of the poetry and plays. There cannot be any real definitive text of many of the plays because we have them in such a variety of versions. I think there are at least two "main" versions of Lear and more than one of Hamlet. Many decades ago, when I first became an Oscar Wilde fanboy (this happened from watching the mini-series Lillie. in which actor Peter Egan portray'd Wilde), I discover'd--in ye library--a whole slew of books of biography and Wilde criticism. This new passion became a blaze of intoxicated study when I discover'd Shakespeare criticism. Thus I am delighted that PBS is celebrating ye 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death (how superbly morbid!) with Shakespeare specials. I am especially looking forward to to-night's program, Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, filmed at ye Bard's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avonand hosted by David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and featuring appearances by Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joseph Fiennes, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, and many others. Sometime in March we will have another new volume, the Authorship Companion, wherein the editors will discuss in intense detail matters of textual diversity and authority. So we Shakespeare nuts have much to look forward to and celebrate.


  1. Death dates have been historically easier to place than birthdays, given that, at birth, no - one seemed aware that the mewling infant at hand would, for example, write the Plays of Shakespeare, & hence, be worthy of special notice. This is, of course, yet another example of the supine ignorance of our ancestors.


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