Eruditorum Press

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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later.Support Elizabeth on Patreon.

8 Comments

  1. Richard Evans
    April 1, 2016 @ 9:57 pm

    Hey Phil,
    Good stuff, as ever. A passing affinity struck me: Alan Moore and TS Eliot, with Watchmen and The Waste Land occupying a similar place in their respective progress.
    At the most basic level, both these texts represented enormously influential cultural events, illuminating the new horizons to which their respective art forms could aspire and inspiring many, many imitators. In modern poetry, the question was how to proceed after The Waste Land. In superhero comics, the question was how to proceed after Watchemen. But the more interesting thing is the similarity in the reactions of the two writers to their works, Eliot to The Waste Land and Moore to Watchmen.

    As you point out, Moore later describes Watchmen as the product of an entirely personal and subjective “bad mood” he was in at the time. There is the critique, implicit at first but becoming more insistent as the years go by, of a comics culture Moore sees as endlessly plaigarising his expression of this bad mood. There is the sense that in his dismissal of all further work in the superhero genre as wrong-headed and derivative, Moore sees himself as having ascended far above such simple and partial visions.
    Eliot, in later years, dismissed suggestions that The Waste Land (published in 1922) had represented the ‘voice of a generation’. It was merely, he said now in his devout middle age, “the relief of a personal and wholly insignificant grouse against life…just a piece of rhythmical grumbling.”
    The echo of Moore’s later public attitude to Watchmen is quite clear. Both works are dense and allusive, highly determined labyrinths, created by godlike invisible author who can’t resist giving you glimpses of their divine mechanics. Both are comfortless works, their ambiguous happy endings quickly falling apart to reveal the void.
    Both men moved beyond these works, which neverthless remained their most influentual productions. And this fact was not an entirely pleasing one to either writer. Both Eliot and Moore, each according to his own lights, created a religion which personal meaning for them, using symbols and rituals bent to purpose (Glycon, the Kabbalah and general esoterica for Moore, an idealised version of the ‘Anglo-Catholic’ church for Eliot).
    The hopeless chill of their most famous works – this was something they now sought to transcend, in both life and work.
    So in Eliot’s dismissal of his poem, after years of watching young poets struggle to deal with its cultural vortex to create their own work, we sense the same implicit critique as Moore’s, of plaigarism, inauthenticy, repetition, etc.

    Or am I talking crap?

    Reply

  2. Lovecraft in Brooklyn
    April 2, 2016 @ 2:09 am

    I lent Watchmen to a friend before 9/11. When she gave it back after 9/11, I felt a bit queasy.

    Reply

    • Daru
      May 15, 2016 @ 11:50 am

      I have a weird childhood Cold war memory from around ’86 ish, must have been early to mid teens.

      A sleepy Sunday south of Edinburgh and our whole estate was quiet. Out of nowhere a wailing sound of an air raid siren started crying whilst I was still in bed. It must have gone on for about a half hour. I remember lying in bed petrified, doing nothing, not knowing if was real or a dream but still wondering if the bombs were going to drop. I still don’t know if it was real, but at least the bombs did not fall – I know that much.

      Reply

      • Daru
        May 15, 2016 @ 11:51 am

        Rats! I meant for this to be not a reply but my own comment. Ah well.

        Reply

  3. Eric Gimlin
    April 2, 2016 @ 6:52 pm

    And with no Saturday Waffling, I’ll put my thoughts on the Last Tournament over here in the Last War post:

    V/ Phonogram: V, even if part of me really wants to see Gillen in the final four. I think I’ve figured out why I don’t like Phonogram as much as the other Gillen/ McKelvie books, though: everybody in Phonogram reacts to a minor album track at roughly the same level I react to a particularly amazing live performance. I just don’t respond to music on the level the book does, and it keeps me from fully appreciating it. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Phonogram, but I’m far more admiring the craft than reacting to the story itself. (Oddly, I think I do react to comics the way the characters in Phonogram react to music- I can get blown away by a never reprinted throwaway story in a 10 cent book I grabbed from a dollar bin to scan for the DCM.)

    Sandman/ All-Star Superman: All-Star Superman, but I would still be happy if Sandman wins. I think I’ve been avoiding voting for Sandman because it’s so important to me on a personal level, I know I can’t assess it rationally so I’m going for the competition. Not that All-Star Superman isn’t one of my all-time favorite books.

    Watchmen/ From Hell: From Hell, just because I still don’t want Watchmen to win. It’s not that Watchmen isn’t great, it’s that a lot of other books are better; in no small part because they had the example of Watchmen to build off of.

    American Gods/ The Doctor’s Wife: American Gods. Not that I don’t enjoy The Doctor’s Wife, but I’m convinced it’s only done as well as it has because it’s the only thing in the Non-Comics division that pretty much everybody has actually seen.

    And, just to take this the rest of the way: in the semi-finals, whatever wins in American Superheroes has my vote over whatever wins British Classics. Literary vs. Non-Comics, American Gods beats Literary; Literary beats The Doctor’s Wife.

    Which leaves finals: Unless the final battle is specifically Phonogram/ Watchmen (which I consider unlikely), whatever wins on the British/ American side wins overall.

    Reply

  4. Jeff Heikkinen
    April 3, 2016 @ 9:08 am

    I take it that if we’re looking for a symmetrical structure in this chapter, the paragraph starting “But the difference between “obsessive” and “crazy” is significant” and more specifically the sentence “But it simply does not hold up” represents the “hinge” in the middle of that structure. Or am I just talking a bunch of errant pants?

    Reply

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