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Old 01-26-2022, 12:34 PM   #1
GrannyGrump
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Blackwood, Algernon: The Centaur. v1. 27 Jan 2022

A challenging, slow-paced contemporary fantasy story with mythological themes, which is ultimately about mystical experience.

The story centers on Terence O’Malley, a journalist of mystical temperament who is studying the peoples of the Caucasus. O’Malley, at odds with the pace and materialism of the modern world, desires a return to nature, which he interprets as a sense of kinship with the universe.

When O’Malley encounters an unusually robust, handsome, and virile man and his equally attractive young son while on a cruise, he becomes strangely enraptured, and is thrilled to learn that the two will be sharing his cabin for the duration of the voyage. The strangers, as it happens, are not men in the sense that O’Malley and his friend Dr. Stahl are men, but are earth spirits, pure emanations of nature, and, as such, two of the last beings of their kind in existence.

The Centaur was, according to Mike Ashley’s biography Starlight Man, one of Blackwood’s favourites among his own novels, and “closest to his own personal outlook”.

(Ebook includes the first edition end-papers.)

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One of the foremost British writers of supernatural tales in the twentieth century, Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951) wrote stories in which the slow accumulation of telling details produced a foreboding atmosphere of almost unendurable tension. Though he wrote a number of horror stories, his most typical work seeks less to frighten than to induce a sense of awe. The literary critic S. T. Joshi stated, “His work is more consistently meritorious than any weird writer’s except Dunsany’s.”

Blackwood’s literary renown began in 1908 with the publication of a highly successful collection of stories, John Silence — Physician Extraordinary, featuring a “psychic doctor.” His two best known stories are probably “The Willows” and “The Wendigo”.

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The Centaur, by Algernon Blackwood (1869–1951), was first published in 1911. Endpaper design by W. Graham Robertson (1866–1948). This ebook is in the public domain where copyright is “Life+70” or less, and in the USA.
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