Review: “The White People”, Arthur Machen, 1904.
Written in 1899, this story is regarded as one of Machen’s best. After Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows”, it was H. P. Lovecraft’s favorite weird story. He liked it for its indefinite and dreamy plot, qualities it certainly has in its section titled “The Green Book”.
In 1899, Machen was a man in “dreadful misery and desolation and dereliction of the soul”. His first wife had died that year from breast cancer. They had been married 11 years. Then one morning, while walking with his friend, Machen was transformed. He realized the “great sorrows of life” were passing trifles.
A new productive period started that included the writing of this story.
The Green Book is the journal of a dead girl, written when she was at least thirteen or fourteen, maybe older. It talks of how she talked to white people she saw when she was in the crib.Continue reading