Notes on the weird – Thomas Ligotti

“By definition the weird story is based on an enigma that can never be dispelled.…” Semantics aside, the important thing to me in a so-called weird tale is an impenetrable mystery that generates the actions and manifestations in a narrative. A good example is Lovecraft’s favorite weird story “The Willows” by Algernon Blackwood.” There’s nothing in the willows themselves that is responsible for the phenomena that menace the two men who stop on an island while boating down the Danube. The willows are only a symbol of some invisible, unknowable force that means no good to those who are unfortunate enough to be caught by bad weather in this atmospheric locale. This force is patently supernatural — or, given Blackwood’s view of nature, preternatural.

Thomas Ligotti


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