The 2022 AGM is now scheduled for Saturday 22nd October; the venue is to be The Three Salmons Hotel, 3 Porthycarne Street, Usk, NP15 1RY, tel 01291 672133. Expect the meeting in the afternoon, to be followed by the book auction, as announced in last Autumn's newsletter, all to be concluded with a dinner in the evening. Exact times of events to be announced.
Thank you for your patience.
When Arthur Machen died, in 1947, he was buried with his wife Purefoy, who had predeceased him, in the Old Amersham Cemetery. As well as names and dates, the headstone bore both artwork and the legend: Omnia Exeunt in Mysterium - "all things pass into strangeness". A fitting motto, but the inscription has suffered more than seventy years of weather and lichen. In 2019 the Friends of Arthur Machen contracted for the stone to be cleaned and reincised by Creative Memorials. Cleaning has now been completed: reincision may have to wait until Covid19 has passed by.
The Friends of Arthur Machen met in York at The Grange Hotel, over the weekend of 7th March, 2020. We were fortunate that our AGM weekend was held before any covid-19 restrictions were in place, which meant that more than thirty members attended from the UK, France and Norway. The committee were re-elected at the AGM, and we announced the winners of the Machen essay competition: John Harris, Ibrahim Ineke and Iain Smith. We were delighted to learn that Jon Preece has plans for the next AGM to be in Caerleon and already has venues in mind for the AGM and the annual dinner.
After a break for refreshments we embarked upon the book auction. As ever, we must thank members who brought along a wide range of books for us to sell, from fascinating paperback reprints to rare first editions. Especial thanks to Catherine Farmer and the Machen family who very generously donated a number of books, many of which were Arthur Machen's own copies of books by his old friend A.E. Waite. At the annual dinner in the evening we toasted Arthur Machen (of course), and his daughter, Janet, and absent friends. The highlight of the evening was the after-dinner talk by Tim Jarvis. As always, the company was excellent, and new and existing members are recommended to consider joining us in Caerleon next spring.
We are delighted to announce that Catherine Farmer, Arthur Machen's grand-daughter, has agreed to become FoAM's patron. Like her mother, Janet, Catherine has long supported the Friends of Arthur Machen, and we are very pleased to formalise the relationship.
The Secret Ceremonies: Critical Essays on Arthur Machen
Edited by FoAM members Mark Valentine and Timothy J.Jarvis, this is a new publication by Hippocampus Press. The book contains 20 essays on Machen's work, some with the authority of the past but many of them new and written for this publication. Also contains a selection of Machen's own reflections on his literary career. For more information click here!
Faunus: The Decorative Imagination of Arthur Machen
Edited by James Machin, this is a new publication by Strange Attractor, an anthology of the best of Faunus, drawing not only on the rarer and more obscure pieces by Machen himself, but on the rich veins of more recent reflection and scholarship to be found in our journal. For more information click here!
Machen wasn't only a practitioner of writing fiction. In the Edwardian era his literary journalism led him to formulate his own ideas in the field we now designate as literary theory. Machen's narratological theories lead him towards ecstasy as the essential quality of great writing. He founds his arguments deep in perceptive practical reading of classic literature, privileging stories of quest and adventure over the realism triumphant in his youth, feting Homer rather than Jane Austen. His theories have a lasting coherence and also shed a fascinating light on Machen's own achievement in fiction. To find out more, visit this page!