This gave him mainly a detachment from dogmatism. He never lost that warm interest in either observation or speculation, fuels for the creative engine, but he kept each in its own province. As he writes in the last sentence of this book, 'It is not my duty to indue facts and theories with affinity. This tolerance, or, indeed, fascination with the mysterious, is the beating heart inside the cool composure of these stories.
The book is pretty dense, but not in the way you would expect since in Bierce's stories, every single word matter. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works. I rate the collection of Can Such Things Be? Please review your cart. The other writers Bierce reminded me of were James stylistically, Bierce can sometimes be very precise and Crane at least in some settings and diction.
Not the least of the mysteries here is that so many of them have to do with unexplained disappearances, a theme prophetic of the fate of the author himself, who disappeared sometime around , somewhere around Mexico. An epigraph to the first story, by 'Hali' real? In this pairing of the spiritual and the material or rather, the balanced consideration of the two after their dissolution lies a hint about the nature not just of this story 'The Death of Halpin Frayser' but of Bierce's approach in all these stories.
Bierce's ghosts are not the ethereal messengers of the Gothic tradition that colored so much of Victorian weird fiction as well.
They are gruesome and grotesque — and malevolent. And Bierce's style, in treating the enigmatic and bizarre with a brevity and vigor gained from journalistic discipline, shows a similar balance of the otherworldly and the matter-of-fact.
Elliptical and straightforward, detached and passionate, grotesque and sublime: that's Bierce. At the other end of the book, a final note, appearing after the three very short stories collected as 'Mysterious Disappearances,' advances, in connection with them, the theory of one Dr.
Hern of Leipsiz concerning non-Euclidean space and what we would now call black holes. It might also be pointed out that, contrary to what Bleiler says [ibid. The note, in fact, puts these stories squarely in the tradition of science fiction as well as supernatural fiction, the wall between these being more permeable to writers of this period than to those of ours.
Can Such Things Be? From Wikisource. Jump to navigation Jump to search. Can Such Things Be? () by Ambrose .. The Damned Thing. Ambrose Bierce never owned a horse, a carriage, or a car; he was a renter who never owned his own home. He was a man on the move, a man who traveled.
Anatomy of Wonder and Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction Clareson, Science Fiction in America ss Clute and Grant eds , The Encyclopedia of Fantasy , p. Survey of Science Fiction Literature I, pp.
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