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The Events at Poroth Farm (1972)

T.E.D. Klein 6 opinionesEscritor


Apariciones
VolumenEditorialAño
The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack 2 opinionesWildside PressAbr 2012


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trapalanda
05-08-2016 16:02

2946 mensajes
¡Spoiler!

Jajaja. Por si acaso no hagas gestos extraños en el jardín.. Quizá también podría ser Los Sauces de Blackwood, ahora no me acuerdo si el protagonista lo lee también. Como lo hace junto a un árbol, o subido a él, ahora no recuerdo bien. Creo que subido, ¿no?

La verdad es que no es tan terrorífico, como bien dices, pero es más de ambiente desasosegante y de mal rollo. Al final a mí si me acongoja el ¿destino? del protagonista.

litopedion
05-08-2016 17:17

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No, no, no me entiendas mal, lo pasé horrible leyéndolo, si es que encima soy muy aprensivo. Y me parece que está muy bien escrito. Me parece un señor relato, de los buenos de verdad. Me ha encantado y lo guardaré con cariño y temor en mi corazón. Y, en serio, pocas veces he tenido una pesadilla con un relato de terror, y estaba de los nervios mientras lo leía.

¡Spoiler!

No, Los sauces sí que lo he leído y, aunque hay algo en el cuento que parece familiar, no tiene nada que ver, y no hay en ese relato nada de donde pueda haber sacado lo de los gestos. El de El pueblo blanco es el que lee justo antes, y dice que lo impresiona. En el relato de Machen sí que hay gestos extraños y palabras secretas, paganas, y menciones a sabbats y brujería, y quizá pensar sobre eso le haga tratar de imitar los gestos, quizá en plan cómico. No sé. Bueno, está claro que él no lo sabe tampoco con claridad. Los dos párrafos donde pasa son estos:

"Just before dinner, in need of a break, read a story by Arthur Machen. Welsh writer, turn of the century, though think the story’s set somewhere in England: old house in the hills, dark woods with secret paths and hidden streams. God, what an experience! I was a little confused by the framing device and all its high-flown talk of “cosmic evil,” but the sections from the young girl’s notebook were… staggering. That air of paganism, the malevolent little faces peeping from the shadows, and those rites she can’t dare talk about… It’s called “The White People,” and it must be the most persuasive horror tale ever written.

Afterward, strolling toward the house, I was moved to climb the old tree in the side yard-the Poroths had already gone in to get dinner ready-and stood upright on a great heavy branch near the middle, making strange gestures and faces that no one could see. Can’t see exactly what it was I did, or why. It was getting dark-fireflies below me and a mist rising off the field. I must have looked like a madman’s shadow as I made signs to the woods and the moon."

No sé. Ahora mismo dudo que el protagonista haya sido el causante de todo, pero, como te digo, tengo que volver a leérmelo.

Gracias a Dios, no tengo ni jardín ni gatos.

trapalanda
05-08-2016 17:54

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Pero hombre, lo de no tener gato nunca te lo perdonaré..

¡Spoiler!

Ya me has picado la curiosidad y esta noche leeré el de Machen. Y con un poco de suerte me morderá el gato jugando y ya te contaré como va la cosa..

litopedion
06-08-2016 03:04 (editado 06-08-2016 09:19)

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¡Spoiler!

Pues creo que definitivamente tiene que ver con El pueblo blanco de Machen.

Lo pienso porque, buscando más datos sobre el autor, he visto que tiene un libro posterior, llamado Ceremonies (fue traducido aquí como Ceremonias macabras) que es una especie de "estiramiento" del relato hasta la longitud de un libro. La base es el relato de la granja de Poroth, parece. Aparecen hasta los mismos personajes por el libro. Y hay un momento en que uno de los ellos lee El pueblo blanco a la luz de la luna (porque alguien escrito a lápiz lo aconseja en el libro), y entra en una especie de trance, y sale de la granja, se sube al techo de un granero y...

"Alzando las manos con un gesto de súplica Freirs sintió vagamente que estaba haciéndole gestos y muecas a la luna, invitaciones de tal obscenidad que nadie habría podido contemplarlas, invitaciones que nadie había visto antes ni vería después. Quizá alguna antigua fuerza estuviera controlándole pero no pensaba explicarle lo que hacía ni la razón de sus actos. El pasado y el futuro no existían, sólo sus movimientos eran reales. El suelo parecía muy lejano pero no tenía miedo de caer y desde esta altura el paisaje, la granja distante con sus diminutas ventanas negras como ojos, el cobertizo y el huerto parecían casi resplandecer bajo la luna, con los árboles rodeándoles como un negro océano.

(...)

Freirs intentó tocar el rostro de la luna llena y alzó sus labios hacia ella y oyó que alguien le hablaba en susurros pronunciando palabras que nunca había oído antes y cuyo significado ignoraba, palabras que olvidó al instante. Bajo él las luciérnagas parecían estrellas fugaces y la niebla plateada flotaba sobre la hierba. Sintió el olor de las rosas y su boca se llenó de sabor. Escuchando el cántico empezó a mover los brazos, gesticulando y trazando las figuras con sus dedos, como la sombra de un loco señalando a la luna y a los negros bosques que se extendían bajo él."

Vamos, que me da la impresión de que Klein considera la obra de Machen (quizá sólo El pueblo blanco) de la misma forma que en los Mitos se consideran otros libros siniestros.

Lo anterior tómalo con cuidado: no me he leído el libro de Ceremonias macabras, simplemente he buscado aquí y allá a ver lo que encontraba, con lo que acontecimientos anteriores o posteriores pueden cambiar la interpretación de lo que acabo de copiar. Aún así, me ha convencido aún más de que el culpable de todo es Machen. Bueno, Machen y los gatos, claro.

trapalanda
06-08-2016 12:05

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Muy buena labor, Litopedion. Parece que podemos añadir un tomo arcano nuevo al Canon Lovecraftiano. Ya lo leí ayer, y está muy bien.

Entropía Bibliotecario
06-08-2016 20:24

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Machen es un maestro del "no contar", da indicios pero nunca entra en detalle, por eso resulta tan inquietante.

En cambio, lo poco que me he leído de Klein (no este relato) no me ha convencido .

Saludos,

Entro

litopedion
08-08-2016 09:53

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Yo le daría una oportunidad al relato. No sé el resto de su obra, pero este me ha parecido muy bueno.

De hecho, como me gustó tanto, comencé a leerme el de "Ceremonias macabras" y lo dejé pocas páginas después, porque tampoco me convencía.

Leerse The events at Poroth farm no es una gran inversión de tiempo si luego resulta que, como con el resto de lo que has leído, no era de tu gusto. Aunque yo creo que te gustará.

Edito: lo de no haberme leído casi nada de Machen lo considero una mancha en mi currículum cultural que espero solucionar pronto...

trapalanda
14-01-2019 00:49 (editado 14-01-2019 01:02)

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Continuando con lo que comentábamos por aquí hace más de dos años , traigo a colación a Joshi hablando de éste relato . Espero que se pueda recoger ésto como derecho a cita entre eruditos casposos...

Si no, sufriremos la ira del arúspice oficial de Howie.

Como dijo S.T. Joshi, aka "El Enterao" :

¡Spoiler!

" It is now time to return to “The Events at Poroth Farm.” The premise of the novelette is the arrival of Jeremy at Poroth Farm for the summer so that he can bone up on a class on supernatural fiction that he will be teaching in the fall semester. Jeremy spends much of his time reading the classics of weird fiction (more here than in the novel), and indeed he admits that he is “bookish” (EP 27). It is possible, therefore, to interpret the tale (as I have done in an earlier article15) as centering around the disjunction between words and things, literature and reality: Jeremy is so wrapped up in books and, more generally, accustomed to reacting to “real” events in a self-consciously literary way, that he is doubly shattered when actual horror breaks loose upon him. For Jeremy, horrors ought to be confined to the printed page, and he is woefully inadequate in dealing with them when they occur to him in reality.

Jeremy both plays upon and flouts literary convention—or, at any rate, the conventions of the standard horror novel or film. In clearing his rented room (a converted chicken coop) of the many bugs, especially spiders, that infest it, he likens himself to the victim of a trite horror film who suffers the revenge of the spiders (EP 7). And yet, he remarks at the outset, “Rural townspeople are not so reticent as the writers would have us believe” (EP 4), indicating a sophisticated awareness of how misleading certain literary stereotypes can be. Later, when he hears something strange outside his room, he declares: “I had no intention of going out there with my flashlight in search of the intruder—that’s for guys in stories. I’m much too chicken” (EP 20). But he can still long for the “happy ending” (EP 19) that he notes with satisfaction in Wilhelm Meinhold’s The Amber Witch: why can’t life turn out that way? I have already noted how Jeremy sees himself as an “optimist” even after all the horrible events of the tale, and with the prospect of worse to come. He presents himself to us, then, as a strange combination of naiveté and sophistication: naive about life, but sophisticated about literature.

Is this his failing? Is it that he cannot comprehend how real life can turn into a horror tale? Certain passages toward the end suggest this. Jeremy has written a diary throughout his stay at Poroth Farm, and he is now presenting it to us, although in an artfully edited form. (This itself, as he well knows, is an old literary convention, and it creates exactly the sort of narrative within narrative that he ridicules in Charles Robert Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer TAG SIN CERRAR: [EP 10], although his interior narrative is much more integrated into the overall tale than Maturin’s.) But toward the end, when the real horror finally emerges and he flees the farm, he notes tellingly: “Here my journal ends. Until today, almost a week later, I have not cared to set down any of the events that followed” (EP 35). In other words, he finds that his literary reactions are simply inadequate to encompass what he has actually experienced. In a sense Jeremy’s diary has been a shield against the horrors that increasingly impinge upon him: by setting them down on paper he has partially exorcised them. But the concluding horror is so overwhelming that this method of rationalization is denied him; the written word is insufficient to negate it. Later he remarks: “Lord, this heat is sweltering. My shirt is sticking to my skin, and droplets of sweat are rolling down my face dripping onto this page, making the ink run. My hand is tired from writing…” (EP 40). The symbolism here is very telling: the ink runs because what Jeremy has experienced is literally “ineffable”—it cannot be told. He is tired of writing because the vicarious emotions inspired by literature are pathetically inadequate in the face of real horror. By referring so constantly to literature and writing, and by implying how secondary and inadequate they are, Klein augments the sense of the reality of what Jeremy has experienced.

This interpretation—the inadequacy of language to express reality—can, I believe, be derived quite plausibly from “The Events at Poroth Farm.” But I now wish to present an entirely different interpretation, one that may link the story more closely to such tales as “Nadelman’s God” and “Ladder” with their notions of the power of words to create a reality out of whole cloth. Is it conceivable that all the works of horror literature Jeremy reads while at Poroth Farm in some way affect or even shape the events that occur there? Whereas in “Nadelman’s God” the mere act of writing seems to have engendered a horrific god, does the act of reading actually cause the events at Poroth Farm?

Such a formulation may perhaps be too strong, but it is possible to see in Jeremy’s readings a sort of symbolic echo—or, in some cases, anticipation—of the increasingly disturbing manifestations that take place around him. His readings generally progress in a chronological sequence, from the Gothic novels of the late eighteenth century to selected works of the middle twentieth century. His reaction to the Gothic novels—The Mysteries of Udolpho, Melmoth the Wanderer, The Castle of Otranto, The Monk—are what one might expect of a sophisticated twentieth-century reader: they are too long, the events they depict are implausible, they are structurally flawed. Taken together, these comments may well be a metafictional hint of what Klein himself does not want to do: his tale will be compact; it will be grimly realistic by capturing the minutiae not only of setting and mood but also of character; and the incorporation of the diary will result not in structural confusion but in a smooth-flowing narrative. A further comment by Jeremy on Udolpho may have some bearing on the psychology of the tale. In remarking on its length, He tries to compensate by putting himself into the frame of mind of an eighteenth-century reader with “plenty of time on his hands.” The result: “It works, too—I do have plenty of time out here, and already I can feel myself beginning to unwind. What New York does to people…” (EP 8). This proves to be a short-lived attempt by Jeremy to adjust his city mentality to the pace of country life. It is interesting that when he later tries to read Walden as a break from his diet of literary horror, he finds himself unable to do so—on account of his watery eyes, he claims (EP 20), but also, perhaps, because he is increasingly coming to believe that the country is not the haven of repose he initially fancied.

Two interruptions in the chronological sequence of Jeremy’s Gothic readings are of great importance. He first reads Machen’s “The White People.” A clearer tip of the hat to the literary influence that governs this tale would be harder to find, the influence primarily being in the device of the diary and in the notion of dark secrets concealed in the untamed wilderness. (As we have noted, The Ceremonies owes much more to the Machen story than does “The Events at Poroth Farm.”) Shortly thereafter he reads Algernon Blackwood’s “Ancient Sorceries,” which he describes as a “witch/cat story” (EP 11). The significance of this detail is also obvious, as the cat Bwada plays a central role in the unfolding of the horrific scenario.

Jeremy then reads Dracula, which, like “Ancient Sorceries,” at least suggests the theme of psychic possession, the dominant motif in “The Events at Poroth Farm.” Later comes LeFanu, and Jeremy’s comment is of interest: “Read some LeFanu. ‘Green Tea,’ about the phantom monkey with eyes that glow, and ‘The Familiar,’ about the little staring man who drives the hero mad. Not the smartest choices right now, the way I feel, because for all the time that fat grey cat purrs over the Poroths, it just stares at me” (EP 18). These stories do not simply disturb Jeremy’s equilibrium, both tales, in addition, are a sort of commentary on what has happened (we are dealing here not with a phantom monkey but, virtually, a phantom cat—one that is possessed by the baleful entity of the tale) or what will happen (one of the entity’s failings, as Sarr notes toward the end, is that “Sometimes we forget to blink” TAG SIN CERRAR: [EP 38], so that it just stares and stares).

It is at this point that Jeremy reads Shirley Jackson, with her bleak and misanthropic world view. Is he simply too naive to acknowledge the truth of what Jackson writes, or is it that her tales of unhappy husbands and wives point chillingly to the impending dissolution of the Poroths’ marriage in horror and death? Worse, Jeremy then reads Ruthven Todd’s Lost Traveller, which he describes as “Merely the narrative of a dream turned to nightmare, and illogical as hell” (EP 27). But has not Jeremy’s dream of a summer full of pleasantly shuddersome reading in the tranquil countryside turned into a nightmare? And the events he has experienced over the last several days are certainly illogical as hell—at least to him, who cannot see the overall pattern of possession as the entity leaps from one being to another, perhaps ad infinitum.

It is, perhaps, not possible to juxtapose all Jeremy’s readings with the events at Poroth Farm, but a representative number of them seem to be clear reflections or foreshadowings of what is going on around him. Words are again intimately interconnected with things. I do not think that the two interpretations I have put forth for this tale are mutually exclusive; they could well work in tandem. Indeed, I wish to draw attention to one passage in particular which could be said to harmonize with both interpretations. As the horror is reaching a climax, Jeremy remarks plaintively: “What if some horror stories aren’t really fiction? If Machen sometimes told the truth? If there are White People, malevolent little faces peering out of the moonlight? Whispers in the grass? Poisonous things in the woods? Perfect hate and evil in the world?” (EP 31). On one level, this passage could be taken as another instance of Jeremy’s naiveté about life, but, conversely, it could be a summation of what has actually transpired in the tale. In other words, Jeremy is right. It should be noted that the final sentence has been altered in the latest version of the story: the word “perfect” has been added (just as the word “unsuspected” was added when this passage appeared in The Ceremonies TAG SIN CERRAR: [C 439]). This addition may be of significance: whereas the query as to whether there is “hate and evil in the world” might lead one to dismiss Jeremy as hopelessly naive (of course there is hate and evil in the world), the revised sentence points to a supernatural or transcendent hatred and evil that no amount of sophistication could anticipate. Just as, I believe, Klein wishes us to think that the battered Scotsman of “Ladder” is correct in his theology, so here we are to take Jeremy absolutely at his word: he is uttering nothing but the harrowing truth."

Entropía Bibliotecario
14-01-2019 09:07

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¿Estás leyendo alguna antología de Klein o es coincidencia?

Saludos,

Entro

trapalanda
14-01-2019 10:02

2946 mensajes
↕ 55 minutos ↕

Estoy leyendo "Dark Gods", una antología de Klein, sí. Y tengo por aquí a mano ensayos de Joshi sobre autores de horror y tal.

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The Events at Poroth Farm
Inglés, 1972
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