Many of you have recently expressed your appreciation for our hard work. That means a lot to me personally (Alexx), and I would do what I do without any other reward. That said…
I was last employed in 2013, and not likely to be employed again in the near-to-medium future (I am semi-disabled – too injured to work in my field, but too healthy to collect disability). I’m living off of ever-dwindling savings plus a small annuity left me by my late father.
I have a Patreon set up to help support my ongoing amateur scholarship (mostly annotating Alan Moore, recently – here and at websites for Cinema Purgatorio and Jerusalem). Of late, I’ve been collecting donations from it every other month. That might increase, but only if my productivity similarly increases. If some among you who are in better economic conditions could see fit to join, that would be most greatly appreciated. Alternatively, if you wanted to make a one-time gift, I have a Paypal account for donations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The recent cover releases of Providence issue 10, suggesting that it is going to deal with “The Haunter of the Dark” (as opposed to the more general expectation that that would be in issue 12), combined with the events of issue 8, and a recent reread of Promethea, have sparked a new idea in my head about where this is all going.
When Moore is at his best, his writing is full of multi-layered complexities and allusions. While the narrative surface is usuallyclear, careful examination of his word and image choices often reveals a fascinating rabbit-hole of subtly implied meanings. From time to time, we will put some of these choices under a microscope in their own posts. We start with a particularly rich phrase from Providence #5, P20, p1:
“… cunny is scarce in these accounts”
On the literal level. “Cunny” is a slang form of “cunt”, and quite an old one.
Going deeper, we see some relatively simple elaborations on the literal: By metonymy, cunny stands for “woman” or “women”. “Cunny” also evokes (though is not strictly related to) the word “cunning”; it is no accident that in medieval England “cunning woman” was also a term for “witch”.
Next, a meta-fictional level. In using the word “accounts”, Massey announces her awareness of herself as a character in a story cycle. Moreover, she is clearly aware that “cunny” is not often to be found in the stories. Reading “cunny” as “women”, Lovecraft indeed includes very few. Reading it more literally, “cunny” as “vagina”, Lovecraft completely omits it from his stories, except via the most indirect possible implications. Moore has, to a certain degree, followed Lovecraft in this, as the Stella Sapiente has a largely male membership.
There is (at least) a third level: the magical. Lovecraft briefly discusses the relationship between gender and magic in “The Thing on the Doorstep”. In Lovecraft’s story Asenath Waite (actually possessed by Ephraim) is enraged because “…she was not a man; since she believed a male brain had certain unique and far-reaching cosmic powers. Given a man’s brain, she declared, she could not only equal but surpass her father in mastery of unknown forces.”
Joshi is quick to note that this passage is not quite as openly misogynistic as it appears, and he quotes a 1934 letter to show that Lovecraft believed in a difference in kind of intelligence rather than degree (TD 441): “The feminine mind does not cover the same territory as the masculine, but is probably little if any inferior in total quality” (SL 5.64).
Alan Moore has also said a few things which bear on the relationship between gender and magic. Continue reading →