Sunday, March 22, 2009

What The Platypus Learned: The Platypus Reads Part XXX

This past Thursday, I gave my lecture on the development of Gothic literature. It had been almost a year in the making. Aside from the fact that there is ever so much more research I could have done, here are a few of the things I learned along the way.

1. Edgar Allan Poe was the first American writer to attempt to earn a living solely from his writings.

2. Charles Williams, Bram Stoker, Edith Nesbit, Aleister Crowley, and Arthur E. Waite all belonged to the same occult society: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

3. Crowley's famous "do what thou wilt" is proceeded by the injunction to "do no harm."

4. H. P. Lovecraft isn't so much scary as he is disturbing.

5. Poe helped pioneer the genre of detective fiction.

6. Williams may in fact be invoking the sephiroth in his repeated statements: in the Omnipotence, under the Mercy, the City, under the Protection, etc.

I don't have any more lectures lined up as of yet, but this was certainly the most researched one I've given to date. As we swing around toward a new school year, we'll see what's ahead. Until then, the Platypus is taking a break from anything creepy for at least a week. Next up on the list are Eusebius and "Eifelheim."

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Platypus Remembers

At this time last year I was in the grip of a horrid stomach problem resulting from an injury. Four doctors and a year later and the situation is much more manageable, but I still live in daily discomfort. I can't remember anymore what it's like not to have a hyper-sensitive stomach that's perpetually full of gas. It's a constant reminder that fits in with the Lenten season. In the words of a church friend we remember: "that the one who's the lord of our joy is also the lord of our pain."