Read The Thomas Ligotti Reader by Darrell Schweitzer S.T. Joshi Online


Ever since the first edition of Thomas Ligotti's 'Songs of a Dead Dreamer' appeared in 1985, it was clear that here was an author of extraordinary brilliance and originality. In following years there has been a great deal of interest in the author and his works, although, until now, articles about him have mostly been scattered in obscure journals. Now, at last, here is aEver since the first edition of Thomas Ligotti's 'Songs of a Dead Dreamer' appeared in 1985, it was clear that here was an author of extraordinary brilliance and originality. In following years there has been a great deal of interest in the author and his works, although, until now, articles about him have mostly been scattered in obscure journals. Now, at last, here is a book about him, a symposium of explorations and examinations of the Ligottian universe by such leading critics as S.T. Joshi, Stefan Dzimianowicz, Robert M. Price. With a complete, up-to-date bibliography of Ligotti's work, two interviews with him, and even a fascinating essay by Ligotti himself....

Title : The Thomas Ligotti Reader
Author :
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ISBN : 9781592241293
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Thomas Ligotti Reader Reviews

  • BillKerwin
    2019-06-14 02:27

    If you are new to the land of Thomas Ligotti, and could use a little guidance through the bleak terrain of his fictional universe, this could be a good place to start.Now I'm not a big fan of literary criticism. In spite of practicing it casually and wantonly, in almost every other review, I refuse to read much of it. If I don't understand a book and yet still find I like it, I will read it again—at least the puzzling passages—slowly, and see what happens. Often I find this is sufficient, without ever resorting to criticism.So I'm probably not the best audience for this book, especially since I think Ligotti, although a writer of considerable depth, is compelling and accessible without the adjunct of commentary. His attitude and mood will certainly alienate some readers, but they should abandon Ligotti in favor of some writer more positive and life-affirming. Stephen King, perhaps.One consolation: there is not much academic criticism here. The book is not quite two hundred pages in length, and almost half of it is taken up with other things: two interviews with Ligotti, Ligotti's own reflections on Lovecraft's “The Music of Eric Zann,” (great stuff, particularly the second interview), commentaries on Ligotti's post-industrial rock collaborations, an exhaustive bibliography, and a useful index.Of the roughly hundred pages of criticism here, half—the work of two authors—is worth reading. S.T. Joshi provides the concluding essay, and—as usual—his commentary is insightful, as he concentrates on the profound radicalism of Ligotti's escape from the real, highlighting his continual (sometimes disconcertingly casual) slips into metafiction, and his simultaneously compelling and alienating first person narrative voice. Even better than Joshi, however, are the three essays by Matt Cardin—academic, writer of weird tales, musician, former piano salesman and erstwhile video director for Glenn Campell—who talks like an academic when he has to, but understands Ligotti like an artist. His essay on “The Shadow at the Bottom of the World” is particularly fine, and I don't even mind his use of terms that are customarily lit-crit jargon--”liminality,” “collective identity”—for Cardin explains precisely what he means by them and then uses them to explore, with intelligence and insight, the dark heart of Ligotti's vision.

  • Jason Radak
    2019-05-26 05:40

    Great analyses of a writer possessed of a philosophy that makes Lovecrafts's vision seem scattershot. I especially enjoyed ST Joshi's essay. A theater troupe should try adapting Ligotti's stories, I think they would be a natural for the stage.

  • Ian Casey
    2019-05-26 22:25

    In principle I’m glad The Thomas Ligotti Reader exists, but in practice it’s like a pitched battle between the forces of content so good it demands to be read and content so awful it puts one off reading. Hence I’ll have to go through it item by item to give my complete impression.As a general comment though, this is chock full of glaring typos to such a bizarre extent that it’s as if it wasn’t proofread even once by the authors, editors or publishers. At one point names were spelled differently between sentences. Not even ‘Liogotti’ was safe. Seriously, guys?For another general comment, this was published in 2003 and as of my reading in 2016 it covers everything other than Death Poems, The Conspiracy against the Human Race and The Spectral Link. Given that most of the stories from ‘Teatro Grottesco’ were published by 2003 in one form or other, there’s plenty of discussion of them here.The two interviews are worthwhile in themselves, though as they’re also featured in ‘Born to Fear’, they’re not a selling point for me. The bibliography at the end is good as such things go.Of course Robert M. Price and S.T. Joshi are represented and of course their essays are typical of everything else I’ve seen them write. Matt Cardin’s overview of Ligotti’s career is solid, as is his essay deconstructing ‘Nethescurial’, but his longer essay on ‘The Shadow at the Bottom of the World’ is exceptional. In it he applies the psychological, sociological and anthropological concept of ‘liminality’ in a way which expanded my thinking not only on this story but on the nature of horror fiction more generally. Such is the benefit of combining ideas from different disciplines. Cardin went on to edit ‘Born to Fear’ and I’m now a little more excited that I have his signature on my shelf.The best writing here is by Ligotti himself. His essay about the nature of darkness in supernatural horror by way of analysing Lovecraft’s ‘The Music of Erich Zann’ provides a depth and clarity of insight which would be beyond most mere mortals. For me, for Ligotti and for HPL himself this is the best of his short fiction so I am reassured to see we’re of the same mind. As Ligotti explains more effectively than I could hope to, the same ‘vagueness’ of the supernatural which is a source of much negative criticism is in fact central to what makes it a triumph of the weird form.The essay by Stefan Dziemianowicz goes some way to elucidating the persistent theme of unreality and uncertainty about reality in Ligotti’s work.William Burns’ article about Ligotti’s direct and indirect links to certain English musical groups is not at all written in an academic tone, but rather sounds like a guy who wanted to gush enthusiastically about his favourite band Current 93 and its associated projects, while also auditioning for Pitchfork magazine via such flowery statements as ‘Words and music merge perfectly on this work, as Tibet, Stapleton, and Christoph Heeman’s cacophonous melange of manipulated sounds become an actual character adding to the lurid taint of Ligotti’s setting’.I hesitate to call Burns’ contribution an ‘essay’ as it is all assertion and no analysis. Sure enough, his biography in the Contributors section is as cringe-worthy as I expected. It begins:William Burns, in one persona, may well be a mild-mannered graduate student in Connecticut. Then again, the following may be true……and you get the idea. Thankfully, the contribution by David Tibet of Current 93 himself is much more to the point. He offers a unique perspective as a fellow artist with whom Ligotti has had a meeting of minds, despite some of their differences of medium and of philosophy. It helps that Tibet can write well enough to express this with just a tinge of poetry about his prose.I’m at a loss as to what Ben P. Indick was trying to accomplish with his piece. After a couple of pages of poorly connected statements about Ligotti’s career, he then launches into a lengthy plot summary of ‘In a Foreign Town, In a Foreign Land’ followed by a few sentences of vague and generalised thoughts that hardly amount to literary criticism in any meaningful way.Nor is the editor Darrell Schweitzer’s essay on Ligotti’s five ‘corporate horror’ stories much better. It does offer some attempt at analysis at least but for the most part it simply states the plots of these stories. What possible purpose did he think that would serve?And for all this, the meat of the content in the book is still quite brief. A revised and expanded edition could do wonders provided it had strong copy-editing and some worthy criticism of Ligotti’s later output. Perhaps some of the weird authors who have gained prominence since 2003 such as Barron, Strantzas, VanderMeer or Mieville could lend some weight to it.For now though, this is a deeply flawed work with a few gems worth reading for the Ligotti connoisseur.

  • Texasshole
    2019-06-01 22:37

    Worth reading for the essay by and interviews with Ligotti, and the piece written by David Tibet, but reading literary critics can be pretty painful. Some of these pieces barely rise above the collegiate level. Also, worth mentioning that the copy editing in this thing was pretty bad.