by Alison Armstrong
Links to some of my other Web sites
Journal on Dark Muse Topics by Alison
"On "Placental Consciousness"
The following is a quote from the author J. G. Ballard in his
book The Drowned World, which I find particularly relevant
to my interests in myth, psychology, "dark muses," and art
works originating from our inner void:
"The brief span of an individual life is misleading. Each one
of us is as old as the entire biological kingdom, and our
bloodstreams are tributaries of the great sea of its total
memory. The uterine odyssey of the growing foetus
recapitulates the entire evolutionary past, and its central
nervous system is a coded time scale, each nexus of
neurones and each spinal level marking a symbolic station, a
unit of neuronic time."
In this book Ballard describes a future in which global
warming has made almost all of the planet uninhabitable
except for the arctic and antarctic regions. Since the polar
ice caps have melted, much of the earth is a boiling lagoon,
filled with primeval life forms. Human consciousness, like
the plants and animals of the external world, seems to be
drifting towards a prenatal,placental state , a solipsism in
which the boundaries between dream and reality are
dissolving. This world is an autistic oasis, each invidual in
his/her own oceanic universe. Such is the world as depicted
in the works of Expressionistic artists--the painter Edvard
Munch, the poet Sylvia Plath, the films of David Lynch, as
well as the ancient shamanic maskmakers. These works
summon the urges, the wild, tangled, seductively ensnaring
roots of our earliest memories.
Dreams, memories, images from films, notes of music, dust
on a fireplace mantel, stained and fading photographs, the
endless, indifferent stars--all these shape and define me. As
a child, my favorite book was Thomasina; as an adolescent
my other favorite was Dracula. I love animals, vampires,
the supernatural, mythology, the arts, the surreal, the
mystical, the sublimely unexplained.
Excerpts from reviews of Revenance:
"Armstrong manages to pack into this little book an
impressive amount of social criticism along with her
exploration of the human psyche, working in references
ranging from the Disney classic movie "Thomasina" to "Sid
and Nancy," from St. Theresa to the tooth fairy. It's so
dense that it's like the much-referenced teaspoon of black
hole that by itself would weigh more than our solar system."
"This unique, deeply heartfelt novel satisfies both crucial
tests for good fiction: it is so readable and compelling from
the standpoint of pure interest that it is hard to put down,
AND so meaningful, genuine and deep that it qualifies as
serious literature. "
"Readers accustomed to the plentiful vampire novels and
films that have suffused our culture over roughly the past
fifteen years will find an entirely different -- and entirely
welcome -- work in Alison Armstrong's Revenance. . . .
Armstrong's writing style has many strengths, the standout
being her exquisitely poetic language. . . . This book is
highly recommended for readers interested in vampires,
fresh literary voices, or simply a satisfying read."
"Armstrong's prose is hauntingly poetic, far more literary
than most vampire fiction. She draws upon elements from
psychology, literature, and pop culture to create a tale that
sparkles with an entrancing glow of death, sensuality,
hunger, and desire, weaving a dream world through a real
world, dancing nimbly between life and death as her