Friday, January 2, 2009

Psychonaut Generation (1874-83)


Expatriates, strangers in a strange land, emigrés and internal exiles. Intrepid adventurers of the outer world like Howard Carter, Shackleton, and Jack London, plus honorary Psychonaut Jean Piccard, the extreme balloonist. Inner-trippers, investigators, theorists, promoters, and debunkers of psychological, psychic, esoteric, spiritual, "paranormal," and other unexplained phenomena: Jung, Houdini, Aleister Crowley, Edgar Cayce, Peter D. Ouspensky, Gurdjieff, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Charles Fort. Plus honorary Psychonauts Gerald Gardner (Founder of Modern Wicca) and William E. Riker (Holy City cult leader).

Scientists who grappled with invisible forces, the unseen and unseeable: Einstein (relativity), Marconi (radio), Maurice de Broglie, Max von Laue, Charles Glover Barkla (X-rays), Francis W. Aston (the mass spectograph), Hans Geiger, Victor Francis Hess, and Frederick Soddy (radiation, radioactivity), Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner (nuclear fission), plus honorary Psychonauts Hans Berger (electroencephalogram), William W. Coblentz (infrared spectroscopy), and Karl Schwarzschild (black holes).

One also thinks of avant-garde litterateurs like Kafka (and honorary Psychonaut Max Brod), James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Wallace Stevens, Apollinaire, and intrepid painters like Picasso and Braque, Modigliani, Marie Vassilieff, Klee, Malevich, Wyndham Lewis, and Umberto Boccioni. SF authors of the 1874-83 cohort were also explorers of the unknown, the fantastic, the dark and invisible, the newly elastic nature of time and space, a universe that got stranger the closer you studied it.


I've identified the following 19th- and 20th-century European and American generational cohorts, each of which gave us important Radium-Age SF authors: Prometheans (1844-53) | Plutonians (1854-63) | Anarcho-Symbolists (1864-73) | Psychonauts (1874-83) | New Kids (1884-93) | Hardboileds (1894-1903) | Partisans (1904-13). I've also reinvented more recent generational cohorts: New Gods (1914-23) | Postmoderns (1924-33) | Anti-Anti-Utopians (1934-43) | Baby Boomers (1944-53) | OGXers (Original Generation X) (1954-63) | PCers (1964-73) | Netters (1974-83) | Millennials (1984-93)


SF writers of this generation include:
* Edgar Rice Burroughs (SF includes Barsoom series, Pellucidar series, The Land That Time Forgot, The Moon Maid, some of the Tarzan books)
* E. R. Eddison (not everyone agrees that The Worm Ouroboros is SF)
* Sax Rohmer (Grey Face, She Who Sleeps, The Day the World Ended)
* Jack London (SF includes The Iron Heel, The Scarlet Plague)
* E.M. Forster ("The Machine Stops")
* Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Aelita, The Death Box)
* John Taine (pseudonym of Eric Temple Bell) (Green Fire, The Iron Star, The Purple Sapphire, Quayle's Invention)
* Reginald Glossop (The Orphan of Space)
* George Allan England (The Air Trust, Darkness and Dawn, The Flying Legion, Out of the Abyss, The People of the Abyss)
* William Hope Hodgson (The House on the Borderland, The Night Land)
* David Lindsay (Sphinx)
* Maurice Renard (The Hands of Orlac, New Bodies for Old)
* S. Fowler Wright (The Amphibians, Dawn, Deluge, The New Gods Lead, The World Below)
* Charles Fort (A Radical Corpuscle)
* Victor Rousseau (pseudonym of Victor Rousseau Emanuel) (The Messiah of the Cylinder, "Draft of Eternity")
* Joseph Bushnell Ames (The Bladed Barrier)
* Bertram Atkey (British writer, The Strange Case of Alan Moraine
* Edwin Balmer (Flying Death, co-authored When Worlds Collide and After Worlds Collide)
* Perley Poore Sheehan (The Copper Princess, The Ghost-Mill, co-author of Blood and Iron).
* Jean de La Hire (Nyctalope) -- TK
* David H. Keller -- TK
* Guillaume Apollinaire ("Remote Projection," "The Disappearance of Honore Subrac")
* John Buchan (The Gap in the Curtain — SF?, The Moon Endureth — SF?)

NOTE: G.K. Chesterton is an honorary Anarcho-Symbolist. But A. Merritt (The Face in the Abyss, The Metal Monster, The Moon Pool), J. D. Beresford (Goslings, The Hampdenshire Wonder), and Luis P. Senarens ("Frank Reade, Jr., and His Steam Wonder," et al) are honorary Psychonauts.

PS: Mata Hari, Zapata, Atatürk. Something very SF about those names, isn't there?


Meet the Psychonauts.

1874: Charles A. Beard (Historian, The Rise of American Civilization), Howard Carter (Archaeologist, Tutankhamun's Tomb), Winston Churchill (WWII Prime Minister of England), Clarence Day (Author, Life with Father), Charles Fort (Scientist, prophet of the Unexplained), Robert Frost (Poet, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening), Gustav Holst (Composer, The Planets), Herbert Hoover (31st US President, 1929-33), Harry Houdini (best-known magician and debunker), Charles Ives (Composer), James L. Kraft (inventor of processed cheese), Guglielmo Marconi (Scientist, inventor of the radio), W. Somerset Maugham (Novelist, Of Human Bondage), Lucy Maud Montgomery (Novelist, Anne of Green Gables), John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (Built Rockefeller Center), Arnold Schoenberg (Composer), Ernest Shackleton (Antarctic explorer), Honus Wagner, Thomas J. Watson (Founder of IBM), Chaim Weizmann (First President of Israel). Honorary Anarcho-Symbolists: G. K. Chesterton (Author, The Man Who Was Thursday), Amy Lowell (Poet, What's O'Clock), Gertrude Stein (avant-garde writer, saloniste).

1875: Albert I (King of Belgium, 1909-34), Maurice de Broglie (Physicist, X-ray spectroscopy), John Buchan (Author, The Thirty-Nine Steps), Edgar Rice Burroughs (Novelist, Tarzan), Walter P. Chrysler (Founder of Chrysler Corporation), Aleister Crowley (Wickedest man in the world), D. W. Griffith (Film Director, The Birth of a Nation), Masujiro Hashimoto (Founder of Nissan Motor Co.), Carl Jung (Psychiatrist, inventor of the collective unconscious), Thomas Mann (Novelist, Buddenbrooks), Maurice Ravel (Composer), Rainer Maria Rilke (Poet, Duino Elegies, Sonnets to Orpheus), Albert Schweitzer (Humanitarian and theologian), Edgar Wallace (highly prolific English novelist), Perley Poore Sheehan (American pulp writer, screenwriter).

1876: Sherwood Anderson (Author, The Triumph of the Egg), Constantin Brancusi (Sculptor), Mata Hari (Spy), Max Jacob (Poet), Jack London (Novelist), Pope Pius XII (signed treaty with Hitler).

1877: Francis W. Aston (Chemist, invented the mass spectograph), Charles Glover Barkla (Physicist, X-Ray scattering), Edgar Cayce (performed "paranormal" readings), Charles Coburn (Actor), Frederick G. Cottrell (Inventor, Electrostatic precipitator), Raoul Dufy (French Fauvist painter), Isadora Duncan (Mother of modern dance), G. I. Gurdjieff (Esoteric philosopher, The Fourth Way), Hermann Hesse (Author), Henry Norris Russell (Giant stars and dwarfs), Frederick Soddy (Investigated radioactivity, isotopes), Alice B. Toklas (Gertrude Stein's lover).

1878: Jean de La Hire (French SF author), Ernst F. W. Alexanderson (Inventor, developed radio and television at GE and RCA), Lionel Barrymore (Actor), Martin Buber (Philosopher), Harry Carey, Sr. (Actor), Louis Chevrolet, André Citroën, George M. Cohan (Composer, "Yankee Doodle Dandy"), Glenn Curtiss (American aviation pioneer), Alfred Döblin (Novelist, Berlin Alexanderplatz), Jack Johnson (first black heavyweight champion), Kazimir Malevich (Painter, Founder of Suprematist school), Don Marquis (archy and mehitabel), Lise Meitner (Physicist, discovered Nuclear Fission), Peter D. Ouspensky (Esoteric philosopher, Tertium Organum), Joseph Bushnell Ames (American novelist), Reza Shah Pahlavi (Shah of Iran, 1925-41), Carl Sandburg (Illinois poet, Lincoln biographer), Upton Sinclair (Novelist), Stalin (brutal dictator, Soviet Union), Joel Stebbins (Astronomer, photoelectric photometry), Pancho Villa (Revolutionary, invaded United States), John Watson (Psychologist, founder of Behaviorism).

1879: Ethel Barrymore (Actor), James Branch Cabell (Novelist, Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice), Albert Einstein (Physicist, Theory of relativity), E. M. Forster (Author), Sydney Greenstreet (Actor), Otto Hahn (Chemist, demonstrated fission), Joe Hill (Labor leader), Paul Klee (German-Swiss abstract painter), Max von Laue (Physicist, diffraction of X-rays on crystals), Vachel Lindsay (Poet), Mabel Dodge Luhan (Author), H. B. Reese (peanut butter cups), Will Rogers (cowboy, humorist), Margaret Sanger (birth control advocate), Edward Steichen (Photo-Secessionist), Wallace Stevens (Poet), Leon Trotsky (Bolshevik exile murdered by Stalin), Emiliano Zapata (Mexican patriot, revolutionary), Victor Rousseau Emanuel (British pulp author).

1880: Guillaume Apollinaire (Poet), Alexander Blok (Russian Silver Age poet), W. C. Fields (Comic), David H. Keller (SF writer), John Oliver La Gorce (Antarctica explorer, National Geographic editor), Albert Wallace Hull (Physicist, inventor of the magnetron tube), Helen Keller (deaf and blind activist), Douglas MacArthur, Joe May (Film Director), H. L. Mencken (Critic), Tom Mix (silent movie cowboy), Robert Musil (Novelist, Der Mann ohne Eigenschaften), Sean O'Casey (Playwright), Mack Sennett (Film/TV Producer), Oswald Spengler (Historian, The Decline of the West), Lytton Strachey (Author, Eminent Victorians), Carl Van Vechten (Novelist, Patron of the Harlem Renaissance), Leonard Woolf (British memoirist, husband of Virginia), Bertram Atkey (British writer, The Strange Case of Alan Moraine).

1881: Franklin Pierce Adams (Columnist), Kemal Atatürk (President of Turkey, 1923-38), Bela Bartok (Hungarian composer), Padraic Colum (Novelist), Clinton Davisson (Physicist, diffraction of electrons), Cecil B. DeMille (pioneering film director), Alexander Fleming (discovered penicillin), Pope John XXIII (Roman Catholic Pontiff, 1958-63), Pablo Picasso (abstract painter and sculptor, late anarcho-symbolist), A. R. Radcliffe-Brown (father of modern social anthropology), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Philosopher), P. G. Wodehouse (Author).

1882: Ion Antonescu (Pro-Nazi dictator of Romania), Harold D. Babcock (Astronomer, solar radiation), John Barrymore (Actor), Noah Beery, Sr. (Actor), Umberto Boccioni (Italian Futurist painter and sculptor), Max Born (pioneer of quantum mechanics), Georges Braque (Artist, co-Founded Cubism), Tod Browning (Film Director), Arthur Eddington (Astronomer, Eddington luminosity), E. R. Eddison (Novelist, The Worm Ouroboros), Felix Frankfurter (US Supreme Court Justice, 1939-62), Hans Geiger (Physicist, co-Inventor of the Geiger Counter), Eric Gill (Typographer), Robert Goddard (father of modern rocketry), Samuel Goldwyn (Film/TV Producer), Edward Hopper (Painter), James Joyce (Author), Rockwell Kent (Painter), Inayat Khan (founder of Universal Sufism), Fiorello LaGuardia (New York City Mayor, 1934-45), Wyndham Lewis (Painter, Vorticist movement), Bela Lugosi (Actor), Jacques Maritain (Philosopher), A. A. Milne (Author), George Jean Nathan (Author, Editor: American Mercury), Franklin D. Roosevelt (US President during WWII), Igor Stravinsky (Composer), Virginia Woolf (novelist).

1883: Karl Jaspers (Existential philosopher), Franz Kafka (Expressionist novelist), Anton Webern (Expressionist composer), Sax Rohmer (British/American author), Coco Chanel (Fashion Designer), Wild Bill Donovan (founded the OSS), Max Eastman (socialist writer, later embraced McCarthyism), Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (Actor), Faisal I (King of Iraq, 1921-33), Victor Fleming (Film Director), Khalil Gibran (Poet, The Prophet), Rube Goldberg (Cartoonist, designer of impossible contraptions), Jaroslav Hasek (Author, The Good Soldier Svejk), Victor Francis Hess (Physicist, proved cosmic origin of radiation), John Maynard Keynes (Economist), Frank King (Cartoonist, Gasoline Alley), Frank Mars (invented Milky Way and Snickers bars), Edgard Varèse (Composer, Poème électronique), Edwin Balmer (American author). Honorary New Kids: Lon Chaney (Actor), Walter Gropius (Architect, founder of the Bauhaus school), William Carlos Williams (Poet), Benito Mussolini (Fascist dictator of Italy).

HONORARY PSYCHONAUTS: J. D. Beresford, Hans Berger (Physicist, Electroencephalogram), William W. Coblentz (Astronomer, infrared spectroscopy), W. C. Handy (Father of the Blues), William E. Riker (Holy City cult leader), Karl Schwarzschild (Astronomer, black holes) (all born 1873). Also: A. Merritt (SF writer), Gerald Gardner (Founder of Modern Wicca), Emil Jannings (Actor, The Last Command), Max Brod (Novelist, Kafka's literary executor), Amedeo Modigliani (Cubist Italian sculptor and painter), Marie Vassilieff (Russian Cubist painter, atelier hostess) (all born 1884).

PSYCHONAUTS WHO ARE HONORARY NEW KIDS: Lon Chaney, Walter Gropius, William Carlos Williams, Benito Mussolini (all 1883).

PSYCHONAUTS WHO ARE HONORARY ANARCHO-SYMBOLISTS; G. K. Chesterton, Amy Lowell, Gertrude Stein (1874)

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