Saturday, September 20, 2014

Hong Kong Elementary School Admissions Test

How long did it take you to solve it? I'll tell you how I did in the comment section to avoid spoiling it for you.

Supernatural Horror in Literature by H. P. Lovecraft

Supernatural Horror in Literature (1927) by H. P. Lovecraft is a fantastic review, both for its breadth of coverage and the creepy way in which it is written. Here's the first paragraph:
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. These facts few psychologists will dispute, and their admitted truth must establish for all time the genuineness and dignity of the weirdly horrible tale as a literary form. Against it are discharged all the shafts of a materialistic sophistication which clings to frequently felt emotions and external events, and of a naively insipid idealism which deprecates the aesthetic motive and calls for a didactic literature to uplift the reader toward a suitable degree of smirking optimism. But in spite of all this opposition the weird tale has survived, developed, and attained remarkable heights of perfection; founded as it is on a profound and elementary principle whose appeal, if not always universal, must necessarily be poignant and permanent to minds of the requisite sensitiveness.
I've already acquired several of the classics he mentioned and will read them whenever I next feel the need to be weirded out. His only work of fiction that I recall reading was The Dunwhich Horror which was so creepy that I was never able to bring myself to read anything else by the author, despite my appreciation for the quality of his writing.

Lovecraft in 1934

Richard III

I just finished rereading Alison Weir's great book "The Wars of the Roses". Coincidentally, the article Perimortem trauma in King Richard III: a skeletal analysis recently appeared in the journal The Lancet. In 2012 a skeleton identified as Richard III's was discovered in Leicester, England and exhumed.  I also recommend a chilling 1995 film version of Shakespeare's play starring Ian McKellen set in an imaginary fascist 1930's Britain.

Digital photograph; arrow shows the penetrating injury to the maxilla
Richard III in Better Days

Movie Poster