Arthur Machen

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Arthur Llewelyn Jones Machen (3 March 186315 December 1947) was a Welsh writer of supernatural, fantasy and horror fiction. He may be best known as the unwitting originator of the Angels of Mons legend.

Quotes[edit]

  • Language, he understood, was chiefly important for the beauty of its sounds, by its possession of words resonant, glorious to the ear, by its capacity, when- exquisitely arranged, of suggesting wonderful and indefinable impressions, perhaps more ravishing and farther removed from the domain of strict thought than the impressions excited by music itself.
  • It was better, he thought, to fail in attempting exquisite things than to succeed in the department of the utterly contemptible.
    • The Hill of Dreams (London: Martin Secker, [1907] 1923) p. 154
  • Here then is the pattern in my carpet, the sense of the eternal mysteries, the eternal beauty hidden beneath the crust of common and commonplace things; hidden and yet burning and glowing continually if you care to look with purged eyes.
    • The London Adventure (London: Martin Secker, 1924) p. 25
  • The psycho-analyst infers the monstrous and abnormal from a trifle; it is often safe to reverse the process. If a man dreams that he has committed a sin before which the sun hid his face, it is often safe to conjecture that, in sheer forgetfulness, he wore a red tie, or brown boots with evening dress.
    • "The Children of the Pool", in The Children of the Pool and Other Stories (New York: Arno Press, [1936] 1976) p. 83.

The Great God Pan (1894)[edit]

An expansion of work first published in The Whirlwind (1890) Full text online
  • You see the mountain, and hill following after hill, as wave on wave, you see the woods and orchard, the fields of ripe corn, and the meadows reaching to the reed-beds by the river. You see me standing here beside you, and hear my voice; but I tell you that all these things — yes, from that star that has just shone out in the sky to the solid ground beneath our feet — I say that all these are but dreams and shadows; the shadows that hide the real world from our eyes. There is a real world, but it is beyond this glamour and this vision, beyond these 'chases in Arras, dreams in a career,' beyond them all as beyond a veil. I do not know whether any human being has ever lifted that veil; but I do know, Clarke, that you and I shall see it lifted this very night from before another's eyes. You may think this all strange nonsense; it may be strange, but it is true, and the ancients knew what lifting the veil means. They called it seeing the god Pan.
    • Ch. I : The Experiment
  • I can fancy what you saw. Yes; it is horrible enough; but after all, it is an old story, an old mystery played in our day and in dim London streets instead of amidst the vineyards and the olive gardens. We know what happened to those who chanced to meet the Great God Pan, and those who are wise know that all symbols are symbols of something, not of nothing. It was, indeed, an exquisite symbol beneath which men long ago veiled their knowledge of the most awful, most secret forces which lie at the heart of all things; forces before which the souls of men must wither and die and blacken, as their bodies blacken under the electric current. Such forces cannot be named, cannot be spoken, cannot be imagined except under a veil and a symbol, a symbol to the most of us appearing a quaint, poetic fancy, to some a foolish, silly tale. But you and I, at all events, have known something of the terror that may dwell in the secret place of life, manifested under human flesh; that which is without form taking to itself a form. Oh, Austin, how can it be? How is it that the very sunlight does not turn to blackness before this thing, the hard earth melt and boil beneath such a burden?
    • Ch. VII : The Encounter in Soho

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