Tentacles Longer Than Night: Horror of Philosophy (Vol 3)
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Our contemporary horror stories are written in a world where there seems little faith, lost hope, and no salvation. All that remains is the fragmentary and occasionally lyrical testimony of the human being struggling to confront its lack of reason for being in the vast cosmos. This is the terrain of the horror genre.
Eugene Thacker explores this situation in Tentacles Longer Than Night. Extending the ideas presented in his book In The Dust of This Planet, Thacker considers the relationship between philosophy and the horror genre. But instead of taking fiction as the mere illustration of ideas, Thacker reads horror stories as if they themselves were works of philosophy, driven by a speculative urge to question human knowledge and the human-centric view of the world, ultimately leading to the limit of the human—thought undermining itself, in thought.
Tentacles Longer Than Night is the third volume of the "Horror of Philosophy" trilogy, together with the first volume, In The Dust of This Planet, and the second volume, Starry Speculative Corpse.
undermined by Peaslee’s own incredulity towards the reality that he cannot accept. Again, the horror of philosophy. In this sense stories like “The Black Cat” and “The Shadow Out of Time” sit squarely between those stories that do have rational explanations (for instance, mesmerism in “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” or the fourth dimension in “The Dreams in the Witch House”), and those that appear to verify the supernatural (for instance, resurrection in “Morella” and “The Outsider”). As
enchanting abyss at the core of thought itself. For writers like Lovecraft, the thought that comes to define horror is a concept with no content, an unknown in which it is thought itself that falters. For example, in Lovecraft’s 1936 story “The Shadow Out of Time,” the narrator, following a sudden collapse and comatose state, describes being beset by “vague and frightful speculations.” Strange dream images form in his mind, of “a ghastly, fungoid pallor,” and “great shapeless suggestions of
Sitting at a restaurant in Kyoto, the novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki writes: The rooms at the Waranjiya are about nine feet square, the size of a comfortable little tearoom, and the alcove pillars and ceilings glow with a faint smoky luster, dark even in the light of the lamp. But in the still dimmer light of the candlestand, as I gazed at the trays and bowls standing in the shadows cast by that flickering point of flame, I discovered in the gloss of this lacquerware a depth and richness like that
sense of being singled out from all other objects in creation. Once you begin to feel you are making a go of it on your own – that you are making moves and thinking thoughts which seem to have originated within you – it is not possible for you to believe you are anything but your own master.164 This is what intimately ties horror to philosophy – not that philosophy, which explains everything, would explain horror, making it both meaningful and actionable for us, but that philosophy – all
but that cuts across them both. 84. Bataille, Theory of Religion, pp. 50-51. 85. Ibid., p. 35. 86. Ibid., pp. 35-36. 87. Medieval hagiographies such as The Golden Legend contain accounts of cephalophores. For a contemporary account of the cephalophore in relation to horror film, see Nicola Mascandaro’s study “Decapitating Cinema,” in the collection And They Were Two In One and One In Two (London: Schism, 2014). 88. Margheriti, who often directed under the name Anthony Dawson, also