My tentative, perhaps futile, definition of CATHRIAN:

“One who espouses actively the tenets he or she infers from the great but knotty Ligottian tract upon nihilism or pessimism – further threaded with thoughts about Horror literature – in a book entitled: ‘The Conspiracy Against the Human Race’ (The CATHR)”
…to be distinguished from Catharism, Cathar, Catharsis, Catholic, Christianity…
Relevant to the ‘ligatures’ of Ligotti.
above image by Tony Lovell


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10 responses to “Cathrianity

  1. I’ve just re-read THE FROLIC for, I think, the first time in 20+ years. For me it is a very effective Horror Story and I can imagine it being most effective for those who have children, but I can’t be sure, of course.

    Most horror stories are written to hit a reader where the reader is most vulnerable. Many readers, I feel, revel in vulnerability*, revellling in a contrived real sense, or fiction-induced prestidigitation, of personal vulnerability. Ligotti has built his reputation on such skilful vulnerability-aesthetics, even perhaps with CATHR. That’s why I love his work so much.

    I have re-read this story in my Robinson edition of SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER published in 1989, where there is an authorial dedication at the front: “To my mother and to the memory of my father”.


    Horror fiction, at its best, enters our individual territories and becomes part and parcel of a revolving realm with Death at its core: and, in this realm, all the flotsam and jetsam of life (and the richest life is one generated by the imagination as well as by the day-to-day interaction of our minds and bodies) spin round, some colliding only to ricochet off, others sticking together, some being swallowed whole or bit by bit…. Eventually, the various items are sucked into the core where they are minced up or refined into streams of sense (or apparent sense or, even, nonsense) which are then released from that realm into other revolving realms which create new collisions, fusions and spin-offs. This is using Death as a positive tool, as it surely is. Without Death, we’d be nothing.

    Furthermore, horror fiction shares a bed with surrealism and humour as well as with the more usual ingredients of grim acts, monstrous creatures and ghostly visitations. Literature, indeed, uses all kinds of devices, tropes, figures of speech, call them what you will, to make the welding of reality and unreality as seamless as possible. But why make something seamless, when there are no seams in the first place? It only takes a few lateral thoughts or, as I have proposed here, spinning ones. Horror fiction can accomplish this feat with some degree of logic, because the realms actually created by it are indeed real – and perhaps that is because there is nothing more horrific than being real in reality as we know it.

  2. Cathrified upon the Cross of Life?

    Your take on this?

    As for my own completism on the subject, so far:-

    My pre-CATHR ‘For Easter’ 2006 blog with a quote from ‘Nemonymous Night’ (previously linked in the ‘What The Doctors Say’ thread):-

    ‘On the Hoof’ (2007) (with input by TL):

    My review of CATHR (2010):

    I intend to re-review CATHR again in 2013.

  3. If Life is Life’s own Crucifixion,
    From Death what possible Affliction?


    If Life is Life’s own Cathrifixion,
    From Death there can be no Affliction.

    Which do you prefer? Or any improvement would be welcome.


    Cathrifiction, not Cathrifixion?

  4. From ‘The Optimism Delusion’ thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kramdar
    Stating that non-existence is better than existence because there is more suffering in a human life than happiness is simplistic and illogical, because suffering and happiness are feelings, and therefore outside the remit of proper logical discourse.

    Great post overall.
    That bit is eminently logical.

    But logic is only one power source. Others to take into account: brainstorming randomness reaching its own truth, the unknown power of Art, Spirituality and other sources not yet discovered or defined.

    A quote from my review of CATHR in 2010:

    “And a chink of light: the author cites many ingredients of a depressed human in his views on the world, one being that he sees that “The image of a cloud-crossed moon is not in itself a purveyor of anything mysterious or mystical;” – but what, I ask, if that cloud-crossed moon is truly mystical (even when the view of it by the depressed human is initially that it is unmystical), will the human being then gradually feel the lifting of his depression once the moon’s intrinsic mysticism starts to sink into him involuntarily?”


    We need the Optimum Delusion, instead of the Optimism Delusion, if such a delusion were possible.

    Perhaps that’s what we’ve already got?

  5. All my thoughts on Ligotti’s various works are linked from here:

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