The twelfth entry in the Bury Me With… series focuses on the London-based mystical urban miserablist Mark Samuels.
“Being buried with a book can lead to later unrest. I think of Dante Gabriel Rossetti having interred, as a tribute, the sole copy of a handwritten volume of his love poems with the corpse of Elizabeth Siddal – only to have her coffin dug up years later when his poetical flood had almost ceased, so that he could retrieve it.
But to answer the question: I should like to be buried with a copy of the Folio Society’s The Quest for Corvo [by A. J. A. Symons]. Biography I often find as compelling than fiction, and the two forms are closely aligned. Attempting to encompass a person’s life (even the dullest) in a few hundred pages is a conceit of outrageous proportions, but a great entertainment. Baron Corvo – Catholic, Arch-Paranoid, author of the magnificent Hadrian VII – affords perfect subject-matter and until such time as we are fortunate enough to have a full-scale biography of Count Stenbock, The Quest for Corvo will be sufficient to keep me company beyond death.”
More information about A.J.A. Symons can be found at Wikipedia.
About Mark Samuels:
Mark Samuels was born in 1967 in Clapham, south London and grew up in Crystal Palace. His novels and story collections include The White Hands (2003), Black Altars (2003), The Face of Twilight (2006), and Glyphotech (2008). His work has also appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Dementia, Tales from Tartarus, Terror Tales and The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Thomas Ligotti called The White Hands “a treasure and a genuine contribution to the real history of weird fiction” and T.E.D. Klein called it “genuinely chilling.”
- Download a PDF of Mark’ short story Vrolyck, (from The White Hands), courtesy of Tartarus Press
- Read an interview with Mark at The Teeming Brain
Deep within Bury Me With’s… eleventh one-book posthumous library* lie insidious and whispering words from the doyen of cosmic hopelessness, Thomas Ligotti:
“The book I would like to be buried with is a book I have never read, and likely never shall read. Its title is Die Philosophie der Erlösung (The Philosophy of Redemption) by Philipp Mainländer (born Philip Batz). The Philosophy of Redemption was published in German in 1876 and has not yet been translated into English. Perhaps it will be so translated before I die; perhaps not. I own a selection of Philipp Mainländer’s works in German that I would like to pay someone to translate, but translators are expensive. I’ve thought about taking on the task myself, but I know enough about the German language not to attempt to become so intimate with it that I could translate the words of a nineteenth-century German philosopher. (See Mark Twain’s The Awful German Language).
While I have not read the massive Philosophy of Redemption, I know its main points from reading others’ writings on it to be absolutely certain that this is the book I want to be buried with. Most of these writings are cited in my book The Conspiracy against the Human Race, which contains a section on Mainländer and his philosophy. Basically, the German pessimist believed in the goodness of the prospect that the human race should become extinct. This good thing would happen, according to Mainländer’s metaphysics, because there exists within humanity a gradually mounting Will-to-die, the mirror image of Arthur Schopenhauer’s Will-to-live as elucidated in his World as Will and Representation (which fortunately has been translated into English three times). Here I quote from Conspiracy:
Mainländer was confident that the Will-to-die he believed would well up in humanity had been spiritually grafted into us by a God who, in the beginning, masterminded His own quietus. It seems that existence was a horror to God. Unfortunately, God was impervious to the depredations of time. This being so, His only means to get free of Himself was by a divine form of suicide.
God’s plan to suicide himself could not work, though, as long as He existed as a unified entity outside of space-time and matter. Seeking to nullify His oneness so that He could be delivered into nothingness, he shattered Himself—Big Bang-like—into the time-bound fragments of the universe, that is, all those objects and organisms that have been accumulating here and there for billions of years. In Mainländer’s philosophy, “God knew that he could change from a state of super-reality into non-being only through the development of a real world of multiformity.” Employing this strategy, He excluded Himself from being. “God is dead,” wrote Mainländer, “and His death was the life of the world.” Once the great individuation had been initiated, the momentum of its creator’s self-annihilation would continue until everything became exhausted by its own existence, which for human beings meant that the faster they learned that happiness was not as good as they thought it would be, the happier they would be to die out….
Rather than resist our end, as Mainländer concludes, we will come to see that “the knowledge that life is worthless is the flower of all human wisdom.” Elsewhere the philosopher states, “Life is hell, and the sweet still night of absolute death is the annihilation of hell.”
More beautiful and soothing words I’ve never heard in my life than the above two quotes from Mainländer’s book — the book that I would like to be buried with.”
More information about Philip Mainländer can be found at Wikipedia.
* Thomas Ligotti’s words.
Thomas Ligotti is often cited as the most curious and remarkable figure in horror literature since H. P. Lovecraft. His work is noted by critics for its display of an exceptionally grotesque imagination and accomplished prose style. In his stories, Ligotti has followed a literary tradition that began with Edgar Allan Poe, portraying characters that are outside of anything that might be called normal life, depicting strange locales far off the beaten track, and rendering a grim vision of human existence as a perpetual nightmare. His works include:
Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1986, rev. & exp. 1989), Grimscribe: His Lives and Works (1991), Noctuary (1994), The Agonizing Resurrection of Victor Frankenstein and Other Gothic Tales (1994), The Nightmare Factory (1996), In a Foreign Town, in a Foreign Land (1997, accompanying CD by Current 93), I Have a Special Plan for This World (2000, accompanying CD by Current 93), This Degenerate Little Town (2001, accompanying CD by Current 93), My Work Is Not Yet Done: Three Tales of Corporate Horror (2002), Crampton: A Screenplay (2003, with Brandon Trenz), Sideshow, and Other Stories (2003), Death Poems (2004), The Shadow at the Bottom of the World (2005), Teatro Grottesco (2006, reprinted in 2008), The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (published in April, 2010 by Hippocampus Press).
Over at Bookdagger there’s still time to win a copy of John Connolly’s latest novel The Whisperers, and its soundtrack CD.
And over on Horror Reanimated you’ve got until the end of the month to win a copy of the awesome Apartment 16 by Adam Nevill.
And if you REALLY want that John Connolly book, there’s also a chance to win it at Bookgeeks.
It’s the tenth instalment of Bury Me With… and the book dark cosmic speculist Laird Barron wants to be buried with is…
“T.E.D. Klein’s Dark Gods, a quartet of novellas that hit the stands in 1985 as a follow-up to his famous novel The Ceremonies. Klein, a respected former editor of The Twilight Zone Magazine, gave us a tour de force with his novella collection and demonstrated his standing as a master craftsman possessed of a sophisticated and cerebral style matched by perhaps a handful of modern fantasists.
The contents of Dark Gods include Children of the Kingdom, in which the author is enthralled by the tales of an old priest regarding lost tribes, subterranean kingdoms, and an ancient evil that occasionally rises to plague the surface world; the events of Petey transpire during a housewarming party in a remote Connecticut mansion as guests slowly uncover a macabre puzzle left behind by the former, utterly mad occupant; Black Man with a Horn may well be the crown jewel of the set — certainly a classic homage to Lovecraft’s Mythos in which an elderly author shares a plane ride with a missionary who’s convinced agents of a diabolical tribe are stalking him; Nadelman’s God is the tale of a man whose melodramatic college-era poetry has been co-opted by a lunatic who believes it possesses the power to summon a monstrous supernatural entity. Hilarity ensues.
Charlie Parker’s back in his ninth outing, and his own situation is in some sort of order for once. His personal life appears to have reached a plateau of consistency; the ghosts and memories of his past are still there, but muted with time after the devastating revelatory events of The Lovers. Importantly, he’s also got his Private Investigator license back, and it doesn’t take long for him to become embroiled in a case and a cast of characters who, in their own indirect ways, help guide him towards the destiny that awaits him in a book (hopefully) way down the line.
The Whisperers commences with a brilliantly written and cleverly deceptive chapter set in Baghdad’s Iraq Museum in 2003, wherein looters remove some ancient treasures under the cover of a gun battle between US forces and the Fedayeen. Among the items taken is a box, and in that box is another box, and within that box something ancient waits…