Sacramental Reality: On Arthur Machen's "A Fragment of Life"

Episode 150 · July 5th, 2023 · 1 hr 25 mins

About this Episode

"A Fragement of Life" opens with Mr. Darnell waking up from a dream and going down to breakfast, where it is described that "before he sat down to his fried bacon he kissed his wife seriously and dutifully." He then proceeds to take the tram to visit a friend, with whom he has a long and tedious conversation about plants, clothes, kids, and how best to spend ten pounds. The story continues on in this mundane manner for quite some time, which is probably not what we would expect from Arthur Machen, virtuoso of the weird. But, as Phil and JF discuss, this writing style intentionally draws attention to the absurdity of modern, materialist life, creating a striking contrast with the mysterious other world that Mr. and Mrs. Darnell eventually begin to pursue.

Support us on Patreon and gain access to Phil's podcast on Wagner's Ring Cycle.
Listen to Meredith Michael and Gabriel Lubell's podcast, Cosmophonia.
Download Pierre-Yves Martel's new album, Mer Bleue.
Visit the Weird Studies Bookshop
Find us on Discord
Get the T-shirt design from Cotton Bureau!

Arthur Machen, A Fragment of Life
Weird Studies, Episode 3 on “The White People and Episode 87 on “Heiroglyphics”
Karl Marx, Capital
James Machin, Weird Fiction in Britain
Thomas Ligotti, “The Order of Illusion” in Noctuary
Weird Studies, Episode 20 on the Trash Stratum
Artur Schnitzler, Traumnovelle
Weird Studies, Episode 59 on Walking
Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections