For decades Dawn Powell was always just on the verge of ceasing to be a cult and becoming a major religion. But despite the work of such dedicated cultists as Edmund Wilson and Matthew Josephson, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, Dawn Powell never became the popular writer that she ought to have been. In those days, with a bit of luck, a good writer eventually attracted voluntary readers and became popular. Today, of course, "popular" means bad writing that is widely read while good writing is that which is taught to involuntary readers. Powell failed on both counts. She needs no interpretation and in her lifetime she should have been as widely read as, say, Hemingway or the early Fitzgerald or the mid O'Hara or even the late, far too late, Katherine Anne Porter. But Powell was that unthinkable monster, a witty woman who felt no obligation to make a single, much less a final, down payment on Love or The Family; she saw life with a bright Petronian neutrality, and every host at life's feast was a potential Trimalchio to be sent up. - Gore Vidal
posted by Trurl
on Nov 12, 2011 -
In the summer of 1897, the Devil transported a minor Decadent poet named Enoch Soames one hundred years into the future to see what posterity would make of his work. The only witness to the affair was the parodist Max Beerbohm, whose account of Soames and his journey ensured that at 2:10 P.M. on June 7, 1997, some dozen pilgrims waited in the Round Reading Room of the British Museum to see the poet appear...
posted by Iridic
on Jul 22, 2008 -
The steam-powered drum machine - an astonishing extract from the journal of Charles Franklin, the founder of the London Museum of Techno. Written in 1894, Franklin describes a steam-powered drum machine and what may have been the world's first rave. "Driven by the thunderous rhythms of Hoovenaars tremendous "drum machine" the crowd - academics and dockers, architects and cobblers - were whipped into a frenzy, dancing and screaming like savages until sunrise, when the Machine finally ground to a halt with a suffering hiss."
posted by adrianhon
on May 20, 2003 -