Originally Posted by Kevin8or
Hey, what about H. P. Lovecraft? He might be a good choice for the book club, for those of us who are horror neophytes (or even those who are aficionados but haven't read the classics).
I think H.P. Lovecraft is an excellent choice. One problem is that the best editions of Lovecraft are of the collected works and not individual books which we're likely to tackle in a month. The Mountains of Madness
might be a good choice if we actually have members who are interested in that sort of horror. Nominate it and I'll second it.
When it comes to individuals' taste, horror can be a telling divider between sensibilities.
People often associate good taste with a lack of carnage and morbidity. That's one reason that Thomas Lovell Beddoes, one of the most important poets of the romantic period, never achieved fame in his lifetime and is only now being rediscovered -- because he was overwhelmingly the poet of death and things funereal (he was certainly the only English romantic poet with a degree in medicine from Bavaria and philosophy from Zurich). Ezra Pound thought he was brilliant, but the kind of person who prefers coffee table books will often dismiss Beddoes because his subject matter is deemed to be in inherently bad taste. The same attitude in previous ages led people to dismiss writers like Wilde, Huysmans and Baudelaire. Purple is not just symbolic of excess. It is also a legitimate shade.
In fact, Beddoes had the kind of rarefied taste that has yet to be understood by many people who decorate their houses with Victoriana.
The annals of cinema are littered with wretchedly bad horror novels and films. That said, some of the greatest art ever created is also horrific.
Young soul, put off your flesh, and come
With me into the quiet tomb.
Our bed is lovely, dark, and sweet;
The earth will swing us, as she goes,
Beneath our coverlid of snows
And the warm leaden sheet.
Dear and dear is their poisoned note,
The little snakes of silver throat
In mossy skulls that nest and lie,
Ever singing, "Die, oh! die."