Weird France and Belgium: A Best Of

Yet, I also began to have the sense, fostered in part by the cross-contamination of research, that around the world enclaves that never knew one another — writers who could not have read each other — still had communicated across decades and across vast distances, had stared up at the same shared unfamiliar constellations in the night sky, heard the […]

Surrealism and the Caribbean: The Crossroads of Civilizations

As Jacques-Stephen Alexis articulated in Paris, 1956 at the first International Conference of Black Writers and Artists, the Caribbean has always been a crossroads of civilizations, even before its multifarious encounters with Europe after Columbus. Published in the quarterly magazine Présence Africaine in the same year, Alexis’ piece “Du Réalisme Merveilleux des Haïtiens” covered a wide range […]

Theater as Plague: Radovan Ivšić and the Theater of the Weird

The plague takes slumbering images and latent disorder, and suddenly propels them into the most extreme movements. The theater, too, takes gestures and drives them to an extreme; like the plague, it reforges the chain between what is and what is not, between the virtuality of the possible and what has been materialized in nature…” […]

About André Bay’s “The Queen of Spades”

I confess I know little, and almost all of it circumstantial, about this atmospheric sketch of a gutter-dwelling worm. It was written by André Bay (1916−2013), for more than four decades a senior editor at Éditions Stock. Among the diverse writers he championed there were Jorge Amado, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Joyce Carol Oates, Thomas Wolfe, Anaïs Nin, and Virginia Woolf. His […]

The Queen of Spades

Night travelers step from the train. I’m freezing. Footsteps hammer the street, shaking white droplets loose. The gutters are streaming. Mice are nibbling on cobwebs. Cows moo in the mist. Everywhere, without speaking a word, they fear the Queen of Spades. She is a woman, a monster, some claim; others maintain she is a gigantic insect; the truth is […]

Down, Down, Down: Leonora Carrington’s “White Rabbits”: An appreciation of a Carrington story first published in the 1940s...

The story that is the focus of this essay appears in The Weird compendium and can also be found in the out-of-print collection The Seventh Horse. This essay contains some spoilers. — The Editors Usually, I don’t advocate transposing the writer’s biography onto the writer’s work, especially since I am not going to dwell on it here, but in the case of Carrington […]