Selma Lagerlöf (1858-1940)
Before the lecture I had promised Mattias Fyhr a tour of the AFU facilities as he was especially interested in studying our collections on ghosts and older Swedish books on paranormal experiences. From Norrköping Central Station we went directly to the archive where we spent most of the time in our two library facilities. Mattias was delighted to discover several volumes of interest for his current research and as a fan of supernatural horror he was of course fascinated by the grey alien in one of our shelves. We could have spent many hours comparing notes and ideas on various aspects of horror fiction and paranormal phenomena but there was only time for a quick AFU tour.
Mattias Fyhr in the AFU library. Notice the Lovecraft titles to the right
Mattias gave a brilliant and erudite lecture on the history of Gothic fiction from antiquity to the present day. On my question regarding the best horror author ever he was somewhat evasive but H.P. Lovecraft came very high up on the list. Mattias is the author of Död men drömmande. H.P. Lovecraft och den magiska modernismen (Dead but dreaming. H.P. Lovecraft and Magic Modernism). This is a study of the themes in Lovecraft´s fiction and his ideas on religion, spiritualism and science.
Dialogue before the lecture
Mattias Fyhr lecturing
There were several real fans of gothic fiction in the audience so the concluding question-and-answer session resulted in an interesting and well-informed discussion. One woman in the audience also had a real ghost story to relate, where there were several witnesses involved. This made us all feel that the borderline between fiction and reality is indistinct as is actually the case with our subjects. Lovecraft would have loved that. Generally this was an exciting and delightful evening full of magic and mystery.