Mary Butts, Ashe of Rings

Mary Butts, Ashe of Rings



‘Bourgeois culture is dying of a myth.’

Christopher Caudwell, Studies in a Dying Culture



‘(One wonders why, when something is nameless, it is always so much nastier?)’

Joan Aiken, ‘Foreword’, in The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson



‘[T]he doors clacked and trembled, splintering and reforming until they resembled the hungry beaks of octopi. Around us, the windows bloomed and contracted: a hundred polyps feeding on invisible food. Street lamps waved in the wind like the dismembered feelers and mouth parts of marine insects. The roofs of the tenements buckled and slid against each other, till they resembled fins, spines, scales: the brittle insignia of warlike creatures of the sea. Lichenous, wind-weathered mouldings decorating the walls of the tenements slipped and fell, became green carapaces, the shells of horse-shoe crabs.’

Simon Ings, City of the Iron Fish



‘They were standing by the Catholic church opposite the school, a new brick building with large rectangular windows, modern in a half-hearted sort of way. It seemed to be looking askance at the big Victorian buildings around it; it seemed so fragile beside their sheer bulk of black sandstone that Dick wouldn’t have been at all surprised to find it one morning reduced to a heap of rubble, with the big stone houses still in the same places. But among the pulverized brick and glass there’d be a few traces of stone dust and on the sides of the big Victorian buildings a few traces of brick dust like blood. And when you looked more closely you’d see the outlines of the buildings on the pavements, just a narrow grey line, and you’d know that they hadn’t returned to exactly the same places as before.’

John Braine, The Vodi



‘She sees the city growing, she sees it growing urged on by its own lively expectations, she sees tall chimneys sprouting like thorns in a field of miracles, clusters of chimneys that hide the sky with their smoke … She sees the towers grow sharp and streets tear themselves up – open wounds, turgid veins through which flows the dark blood of the city. She sees high buildings put their heads in the clouds … The city, the city! If it would only grow all at once, if it would stop swelling like ripe fruit, if its new houses would only catch up with Barbara’s old one … Let the houses just arrive into the garden and devour it in stone, ground up by the great cement jaws of the city until nothing is left but a few, stunted rosebushes.’

Dulce-Maria Loynaz, Jardin (trans. Claudia Lightfoot)



‘[A] singularly dismal picture, long, dim vistas ending in a bank, buildings appallingly high and threateningly top-heavy. The ghost of a city is at the bottom of the ghost of an ocean. I do not perceive any sounds, nor any living beings. I am the only fish that swims this dismal sea.’

Ambrose Bierce



Weak infinity

'Like a bird or a shaft, or any other swift thing, she was gone from the room'

Charlotte Brontë, Villette


‘The possibilities for alternative endings to any detective story are infinite.’

Cameron McCabe, The Face on the Cutting-Room Floor



rejectamentalist manifesto


China Miéville’s waste books

. . .


‘A principal rule for writers, and especially those who want to describe their own sensations, is not to believe that their doing so indicates they possess a special disposition of nature in this respect. Others can perhaps do it just as well as you can. Only they do not make a business of it, because it seems to them silly to publicize such things.’


                Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

. . .


London’s Overthrow.

. . .


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