The Spawn of Dennis Wheatley

The place to post anything DW-related
Post Reply
User avatar
gloomysundae
Level4
Level4
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri 30 Dec, 2005 20:58:46
Location: Whitechapel, various cemeteries
Contact:

The Spawn of Dennis Wheatley

Post by gloomysundae » Sat 4 Feb, 2006 10:00:49

The 'Peter Saxon' Guardians paperbacks of the sixties and seventies - The Curse of Rathlaw, Dark Ways to Death, The Haunting of Alan Mais, Through the Dark Curtain,The Vampires of Finistere,The Killing Bone - obviously owe their inspiation to Wheatley's de Richleau black magic novels, and I was wondering if any other authors are heavily indebted to his work?

Garry Holmes
Level5
Level5
Posts: 155
Joined: Sat 23 Jul, 2005 12:17:18

Post by Garry Holmes » Sat 4 Feb, 2006 11:23:13

I suspect that quite a lot of authors have been influenced one way or another by Wheatley. Certainly, the modern day style of horror fiction owes more to him than it does to, say, Lovecraft. Nowadays supernatural events occur to everyday, sceptical people instead of eccentric scholars hiding away from the world. Imagine the shock to a reader in the 30's finding characters who had appeared in a straightforward thriller suddenly facing the powers of darkness! Far before Stephen King, DW has his characters moving through a recognisable, brand-named world.
Another influence of DW was on the creation of the 60's/70's TV character 'Jason King'. Viewers who have been catching up with his adventures in 'Department S' on the satellite channel ITV4 might be interested to know about his origins. The creator of the show, Dennis Spooner, said more than once in interviews that he was aware of DW's exploits during the war, and was intrigued by the idea of a thriller writer who was given the opportunity to use his imagination to solve real life conundrums. Did DW ever knew of the connection? I wonder what he would have thought, and whether he would have approved of King's brand of Champagne!

User avatar
gloomysundae
Level4
Level4
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri 30 Dec, 2005 20:58:46
Location: Whitechapel, various cemeteries
Contact:

Post by gloomysundae » Sat 4 Feb, 2006 14:39:39

I don't know about the Champagne, but it's possible that DW might not have been overly impressed by Jase's take on *ahem* 'sartorial elegance.'

I take your point about Stephen King, Garry, although I think in his case he was more influenced by earlier authors who'd picked up on Wheatley and the influence filtered through. King, who is commendably forthcoming in paying his literary (and cinematic) dues, makes no reference to Wheatley whatsoever in Danse Macabre as far as I can see.

Alan
Level5
Level5
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu 23 Jun, 2005 07:50:18
Location: Australia

Post by Alan » Thu 6 Apr, 2006 09:10:42

Hope I'm not going to upset anyone, but I can't really see a DW influence in Stephen King or any other mainstream writer today - IMO to say a work is influenced by DW it has to be more than just a novel about the occult.

I would say major DW "stylistic tricks" are:

Writing of a particularly lucid kind, short on description/flow and long on information - ie more Asimov than Lovecraft,

A "political" agenda - not only DW's often lamented right-wing politics, but a very real statement that the fight between the "black" and "white" is mirrored on earth, with both sides using human agencies to settle the fate of the cosmos

The heroes being aristocrats or gentlemen/ladies, usually without the neccessity to go to work (or fighting evil IS their work, ie Gregory Sallust, CB) -

"titbits" of occult information/philosophy used as a break between actions scenes - often with genuine "advice" about occult matters

frequently a love-interest or URST between at least two of the major characters

a style not pitched at any particular age-group or level of education - ie most DW novels can be understood by a reasonably intelligent 10 year old, yet have hidden layers for more mature readers

The two writers that most remind me of DW - though neither of them share ALL of these attributes - are Katherine Kurtz and Dion Fortune. Significantly one is a highly learned intellectual steeped in Masonic lore, the other (under her real name of Violet Firth) was a genuine mystic.

Lark
Level2
Level2
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun 7 May, 2006 22:00:00

Post by Lark » Sun 7 May, 2006 22:23:05

I think that Americans like Stephen King would be more indebted to HP Lovecraft than Dennis Wheatley,

Post Reply

Return to “General Topics”