Saturday, June 24, 2017

A New English Translation of "The Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains" by Alexandre Dumas



In 1848 Alexandre Dumas published "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains" (also called "The Pale Lady") in his French short story collection One Thousand and One Ghosts. It is a fantastic book that contains some of the best supernatural tales Dumas ever penned. If you have at least a reading knowledge of the French language, it is well worth the effort of flagging it down on Gutenberg.org or some other site.

Of course if your French needs a bit of a refresher from high school, it becomes a more difficult task. This is especially true of Dumas's signature horror tale: "The Vampire of Carpathian Mountains". When BlooDeath: The Best Vampire Stories 1800-1849 was compiled, I included a 1848 translation of the Dumas vampire story from the London New Monthly Magazine. It was the rag, after all, that printed John Polidori's "The Vampyre" in 1819, which is also contained in my collection and is considered the first vampire short story to originate in the English language. So I figured the New Monthly Magazine knew a thing or two about vampire stories and would give the English translation the attention it rightly deserved.

Only after I published the classic vampire anthology did I realize I was wrong. It was brought to my attention that the original French version by Dumas included a poem that was nowhere to be found in English translation by theNew Monthly Magazine. Not only that, but the ending seemed rushed. I turned paler than a person under the throes of vampirism. I had done what is a no-no for one of my collections--I had published an abridged version of a classic short story and fallen victim the horrible magazine practice of trying to save space on the printed page.

With the aid of a translator in Montreal and a little help from online translators, I went to work. A month later I had in front of me an English translation of The Vampire of the Carpathian Mountains in a form that is much closer to what Dumas originally intended. I immediately updated the ebook versions of the collection and they are live now with the non-abridged story. I hope you enjoy it and forgive my faux pas.

#VampireCarpathianMountains #DumasVampireStory

Sunday, June 4, 2017

How to Write a T. S. Eliot Poem

T. S. Eliot
(1888-1965)

The routine and regimented ways in which to write a T. S. Eliot poem in 10 easy steps are as follows, ahem:

1. Come upon a cute turn of phrase,
2. Pen a rambunctious title loosely related to said turn of phrase,
3. Thumb the pages of Dante and pluck out an epigraph (preferably in the original Italian),
4. Insert said epigraph beneath said title,
5. Write slapdash quatrains,
6. Insert said turn of phrase at a random place in said quatrains,
7. Run the occasional line of said quatrains onto the next line,
8. Allude to a Bible verse (preferably the Old Testament),
9. Add italics to random words, and
10. Tell short tales within the poem that have no connection to the others.

Eliot is said to have ushered in the modernist movement in poetry. That is to say he largely did away with rhyming and sentimentality employed by the Victorians. He painted a dying world in the relatively few poems he gave us. "The Waste Land" is considered his best--perhaps because it is his longest. "The Hollow Men," however, shines brightest with its Shakespearean and Heart of Darkness references. A number of songs have been written about Eliot's poems and the famous play Cats was based on his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Afternoons and Coffeespoons" Crash Test Dummies God Shuffled His Feet 1993
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Creep" Radiohead Pablo Honey 1993
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" “Peaches” The Presidents of the United States of America Presidents of the United States of America 1995
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" “The Message” Grand Master Flash The Message 1982
"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" "Thick as a Brick" Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick 1972
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats Cats Musical Andrew Lloyd Webber
"The Wasteland" "The First Day of Spring" Noah and the Whale
"The Wasteland" “Wasteland” Dan Bern Dan Bern 1993

Meh is how I would sum up the body of poetry Eliot left us. It certainly pails in scope and impact to the poems of Edgar Allan Poe. One has to wonder if he would be known at all without the litter of jellicle cat poems he penned, had more than nine lives on the West End and Broadway.

#tseliot #reviewoftseliot

 



Saturday, May 27, 2017

My Kindle Short Story is Free This Weekend - Azra'eil & Fudgie



Through Monday snag my free kindle short story "Azra'eil & Fudgie on Kindle.

In "Azra'eil & Fudgie" a group of marines stationed in Afghanistan meet a cute little girl who is not all that she seems. This only adds to the tension for Private Fudgerié ("Fudgie") who is on his first mission to diffuse IED roadside bombs that the team calls "skulls". Can Fudgie overcome the demons of his past and those of the present to triumph in the ever shifting sandscape of Afghanistan?

The short horror story is touching and even *gasp* has a little humor in it. In other words, "Azra'eil & Fudgie" is typical of the stuff I like to write. Enjoy.


#FreeKindleShort #BargerShortStory

Saturday, May 13, 2017

When Prince Co-wrote a Song with Morris Day Trying to Emulate the Sound of The Cure




Many fail to realize that Prince once tried to emulate The Cure. The sounds of their music was far apart, yet in 1984 Prince co-wrote "Ice Cream Castles" with Morris Day of The Time on the album of the same name. Morris Day recently told Rolling Stone that one of the favorite songs he collaborated with Prince on was "Ice Cream Castles."
[T]here were groups like the Fixx, the Cure [sic] doing those haunting, melodic songs and we wanted to do one of our own.
Robert Smith admired Prince, too. About a year ago I reported on my Cure blog that Robert Smith listed "Starfish and Coffee" as his favorite Prince song from the 1980s. When touring last summer in Minneapolis, Robert Smith again paid homage to the literary song. On his guitar was written a lyric from "Starfish and Coffee": "it was 7:45 we were all in line" Check out the photos at Glide Magazine.


Prince never wrote a Gothic song and The Cure never wrote an overtly sexy song. To at least some extent, however, Prince and The Cure liked each other's music and that's pretty cool.

#Prince #TheCure #TheTime

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Review of The Sorrows of Young Werther


Johann Goethe
(1749-1832)



Review of the Sorrows of Young Werther
by

Background
The literary impact of Johann Goethe's 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther cannot be underestimated. It was the second Gothic novel, a decade after the first: Horace Walpole's The Castle of Ortranto. The Old English Barron followed in 1778 and The Mysteries of Udolpho in 1794. in 1796 The Monk was published and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in 1818 where the unloved monster finds a worn copy of The Sorrows of Young Werther and likens himself to the protagonist. The Sorrows of Young Werther was impactful in ushering in the romantic age of literature--though Goethe nearly killed it off before it began. The novel was the foundation on which the German Sturm und Dang (storm and urge) literary style was launched, sporting reckless characters tossed about the seas of love.  

Comments
Poor, poor young Werther and his sorrows inflicted by a love interest who has a modicum of interest in him. Charlotte wants to be more friends than lovers. (Guys: Have you experienced that one before?) She is, after all, betrothed, and then married, to a plucky, self-absorbed man named Albert who can hardly be bothered with the young man named Werther who keeps hanging around the house.

In sharp contrast to his personality, Werther dresses like a bright canary (that alights on Charlotte's shoulder in the novel) in his blue suit jacket and yellow vest. He was Oscar Wilde a 100 years prior. His foppish outfit launched a fashion style during the late eighteenth century and the first rash of ancillary marketing ever experienced by a novel.













Think Eau de Werther cologne and China teapots on which portraits of the fictional Werther were hand painted as shown here, which the photo is copyright the Victoria and Albert Museum, and made in 1789. This is two years after the revised edition of The Sorrows of Young Werther was printed. The literary fever of the novel was still burning 15 years after its original publication. In Germany, where it was originally published, some 20 editions were already in print. Plays, operas, and satirical works soon followed. And copycat suicides that got the book banned in some German villages. The term "furor Wertherinus" was coined to reflect the suicidal passions of young men and woman scorned.






Parallels to Life
Most of the novel is written in epistolary form. Craftily, Goethe only lets the reader see the letters of Werther, not those of Wilhelm to whom he is writing. The Sorrows of Young Werther oozes in parallels to Goethe's own life. The novel is set in the fictional village of Walheim where "the reader need not take the trouble too look for the place...." But finding the real village was easy to do since, at the age of 19, Goethe met Charlotte Buff at a small dance in the German village of Whitsuntide in Wetzlar. (Stop it with the W names, Goethe!). He fell in love with her that evening but, just like in the novel, Charlotte was engaged to another.

The Forbidden Act
Two years prior to its publication, his friend Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem, committed suicide after falling in love with a married woman and "[in] that moment the plan of Werther was found...."
Consider this magazine excerpt from the early nineteenth century (Eight Historical Dissertations on Suicide, pg 117, 1859):
Let us, by way of specifying only a very few well-authenticated prominent instances, think of Captain Arenswald who shot himself Sept. 19, 1781, and had been fond of reading this Novel during the latter part of his life; 1) of Miss von Lassberg, one of Goethe's friends at the court of Weimar, who was found Jan. 17, 1778 drowned in the lime, with a copy of Werther's Leiden in her pocket; 2) of Gunderode who stabbed herself at Winkel on the Rhine from an unhappy attachment to an already married Heidelberg Professor, the learned and amiable Creuzer, and who used to read Werther together with her friend, the well-known Bettina von Arnim, and speak much about suicide. 3) — Aye, Mme. de Stael was not far wrong, when she asserted that it had "caused more suicides than the most beautiful woman," 4) nor does Goethe himself (in his Autobiography) deny that this aesthetical masterpiece of his proved a daemoniac charm which wrought deadly ruin unto many. Therefore, we cannot but pronounce it, in a moral point of view, a great error; for no book can be veritably of good which proves a sort of impulse and guide for the many unto self-destruction; — and what we may justly complain of is this: that Goethe, as far as we can learn, never regretted this its influence, never penned aught to counteract it, never, if I may here employ serious language, like a man and a christian repented of it!
IIL Ugo Fosoolo's le ultime lettere di Jacopo Orjtis (1802).

It was Goethe himself who stated: "Suicide is an event of human nature which, whatever may be said and done with respect to it, demands the sympathy of every man, and in every epoch must be discussed anew." My Life: Poetry and Truth

Rating & Recommendation
I recommend The Sorrows of Young Werner because of its high impact on literature. It was wholly cathartic for Goethe and left him feeling like he had made “a general confession, again happy and free and justified for a new life.”

I end this review with sage words of advice for our poor foppish Werther. Man-up, young Werther! Man-up. If the woman fails to reciprocate your love, forget her and move on as quickly as possible and you are sure to find your true love at another time.


#ReviewSorrowsofYoungWerther #WertherLiteraryImpact

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Top 10 Horror Short Stories from 1850-1899 Revealed by Andrew Barger

by
Andrew Barger

Over the past few months I have been counting down the best horror short stories from 1850-1899 under the guise that I would reveal the Top 10 Horror Short Stories in my new anthology. Well, the time has come and a hearty BOO! to all.
The best horror short stories from the last half of the nineteenth century are combined for the first time by Andrew Barger (that would be me), award-winning author and editor of 6a66le: Best Horror Short Stories 1800-1849. They are also annotated.

I have meticulously researched the finest Victorian horror short stories and combined them into one undeniable collection. I have added my familiar scholarly touch by annotating the stories, providing story background information, author photos and a list of horror stories considered.

Historic Horror. The best horror short stories from the last half of the 19th century include nightmare tales by Bram Stoker, Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Le Fanu, W. C. Morrow, H. G. Wells, Arthur Machen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and other early founders of the horror tale.
  • A Terror Tour Guide (2016) by Andrew Barger (A leading voice in the gothic literature space, I set the stage for this anthology of nightmares.)
  • The Pioneers of Pike’s Peak (1897) by Basil Tozer (Hoards of giant spiders on a Colorado mountain. What could go wrong?)
  • Lot No. 249 (1892) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Perhaps the premier mummy horror story ever recorded from the master that is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is measured out to its climatic ending.)
  • The Yellow Wallpaper (1892) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (Explore the depths of insanity.)
  • Green Tea (1871) by Joseph Le Fanu (One of the most haunting horror stories by the Irish master.)
  • What Was It? (1859) by Fitz James O’Brien (Sometimes the worst horror is one you can't see.)
  • Pollock and the Porroh Man (1897) by H. G. Wells (Wells takes us deep into the jungle and its wrought supernatural horror.)
  • The Spider of Guyana (1857) by Erckmann-Chatrian (The first giant spider horror story is one of its best.)
  • The Squaw (1893) by Bram Stoker (The author of Dracula never disappoints.)
  • The Great God Pan (1894) by Arthur Machen (Mythic horror that gained much praise from H. P. Lovecraft.)
  • His Unconquerable Enemy (1889) by W. C. Morrow (A fiendish tale of torture sees Morrow at his best.)
  • Horror Short Stories Considered (I conclude the horror anthology by listing every horror short story he read to pick the very best.)
Read the premier horror anthology for the last half of the nineteenth century tonight! 
“But it now struck me for the first time that there must be one great and ruling embodiment of fear, a King of Terrors to which all others must succumb.”

1859 “What Was It?”
Fitz James O’Brien

#BestHorrorShortStories #NewHorrorAnthology

Friday, March 17, 2017

Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey Feud -- A Chronology




                                            Morrissey                                   Robert Smith                                           

The spat/feud/disagreement (whatever you want to call it) between Robert Smith of The Cure and Morrissey, formerly of The Smiths, has been percolating since 1984 when Morrissey first mouthed off to the press. Here is what my research found on the web. Enjoy.
                     
1984
UK music magazine The Face: "If I put you in a room with Robert Smith, Mark E. Smith and a loaded Smith and Wesson, who would bite the bullet first?"
Morrissey: "I'd line them up so that one bullet penetrated both simultaneously (chuckle). Mark E. Smith despises me and has said hateful things about me, all untrue. Robert Smith is a whingebag. It's rather curious that he began wearing beads at the emergence of The Smiths and (eyes narrowing) has been photographed with flowers. I expect he's quite supportive of what we do, but I've never liked The Cure... not even 'The Caterpillar'."

1989
UK music magazine NME, September 16, 1989 issues, Morrissey stated that The Cure gave "a new dimension to the word 'crap.'"

When told about the comment, Robert Smith said, "At least we've only added a new dimension in crap, not built a career out of it."

In the same article Morrissey added, "McDonald's bombed and Robert Smith popped (both actions require a similar voltage of explosives)."

1993
US music magazine SPIN, titled "Happily Ever After" for the November issues of 1993, Robert Smith stated: "I have never liked Morrissey and I still don't. I think it's hilarious actually, what things I've heard about him, what he's really like, and his public persona is so different. He's such an actor. There's one particular photo of Morrissey in his swimming trunks sitting by the pool in Los Angeles. I bet that one hasn't been approved!"

1997
US music magazine Rolling Stone, Robert opined: "I’d much rather have our fans than his — our fans are generally quiet, well-spoken and friendly and not pretentious in the slightest. Hopefully, that reflects the nature of the Cure. Despite what the mainstream media would have you believe, we’re a very natural group. The people who have been in the group over the years have been there because they have been friendly with each other. There has been no sense of purpose other than making music together. I think if Morrissey’s fans reflect what Morrissey is like as an individual or the way he projects himself as an individual then ... uh ... I’ll stop there."

2004
In the US Hollywood magazine Entertainment Weekly, Smith said about Morrissey: "He was constantly saying horrible things about [The Cure]. In the end, I kind of snapped and started retaliating. And it turned into some kind of petty feud. I've never liked anything he's done musically, but I don't have any kind of strong feelings of animosity towards him as a person because I've never met him."

Through the Years - Miscellaneous Statements
"The press tries to portray me as a gloom-and-doom-singer. But take a look at Morrissey. That man is a professional complainer!”"

"There's nothing that links Morrissey and The Cure in my mind," Smith commented. "As the years go by, it's very easy to think we were from the same generation, but we're not. The Cure recorded our first album in 1978 - we were on our third or fourth album by the time the Smiths started."

"[Morrissey] has been away for a number of years and has come back I think to capitalize on this resurgence of interest in a particular period of time," Smith says. "That has nothing to do with the Cure. We've been playing constantly every year for 25 years. We're a living and breathing band."

"Morrissey’s so depressing, if he doesn’t kill himself soon, I probably will."

"If Morrissey says not to eat meat, then I’m going to eat meat; that’s how much I hate Morrissey."

"fat clown with makeup weeping over a guitar."


#MorrisseyvsRobertSmith #RobertSmithMorrisseyFeud

By Andrew Barger - Author of the Rock trilogy of novels: The Divine Dantes.