Weird Tales from the 20th Century
October 12, 2019 2:10 AM   Subscribe

Elvia Wilk, "Toward a Theory of the New Weird" (LitHub, 5 Aug. 2019), building on late 20th C. stories like Margaret Atwood's "Death by Landscape" (1990; PDF) and Kathe Koja's "The Neglected Garden" (1991): "Weirdness is a confrontation with the nonhuman. Weird knowledge does not deny the capacity of the human mind and body to produce knowledge, but it does not reduce the world to human subject experience either. Unlike science fiction—in which there is a rational explanation for everything—and fantasy—where magic explains it all—weirdness hovers between poles of explainability."

At a related event held on March 28, 2019, Wilk also gave an introductory talk recorded on video (18 mins.), which was followed by Alison Sperling's talk, "An Unruly Weird. Re-Thinking the Old Weird through Queer and Feminist Embodiment" (28 mins). Sperling's recent dissertation Weird Modernisms (2017; PDF) makes a case for including early 20th C. authors like Zora Neale Hurston, Djuna Barnes, and Carson McCullers in a genealogy of the weird in literature, not specifically because of these stories available online but for similar material encounters (strange/inexplicable, possibly supernatural, evoking the ineffable, etc.) in related sources: A few more conventional examples, limited to 20th C. stories available online, offer further opportunities to consider these perspectives on both Old and New Weirds: Previously: Weird Tales from the 18th Century; (Translated) Weird Tales from the 19th Century.
posted by Wobbuffet (6 comments total) 111 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. I thought I'd enjoyed the post when I read the linked article from the front page; imagine my surprise when the more inside was such a great list of weird!

Thank you very much Wobbuffet.
posted by Fraxas at 2:42 AM on October 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

Wow! I just finished Death by Landscape. I love this post!! Thank you so much!!!
posted by KleenexMakesaVeryGoodHat at 3:59 AM on October 12, 2019

Fantastic post, I am getting stuck into that dissertation! Seeing Sofia Samatar write about my favourite Octavia Butler story is also brilliant!
posted by ocular shenanigans at 5:52 AM on October 12, 2019

I'd been hoping to read Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover", but hadn't realised it was available on-line: so thank you, Wobbuffet, just for that, and many more thanks besides for everything else, which is bonus upon bonus - I will be revisiting this post for some time to come.
posted by misteraitch at 1:48 PM on October 12, 2019

What else can you say: thank you for this fantastic post. A few stories I know and love and so many more I don't and am looking forward to reading.

(And now I noticed your two previous amazing weird fiction posts. Does this mean there will be a weird tales from the 21st century post soon? Has there been enough weird fiction...? No pressure but maybe a tiny bit of hopeful expectation)
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 7:49 AM on October 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

This was a lot of fun to put together, but I have no plans for the 21st C. One of my key sources sort of dries up then (stats of "most anthologized," according to ISFDb), and for half the timeframe too much is unavailable online, while for the other half too much is available online. I suspect it'd come out substantially composed around things already posted to Metafilter, but I'm glad to list a few of those here off the top of my head--it's mostly in line with the theme of this post anyhow: Oh, and it'd be hard to choose among stories by Yoon Ha Lee.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:15 AM on October 13, 2019 [7 favorites]

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