THE DEEP ONES: "The Haunter of the Dark" by H.P. Lovecraft
Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.
Aquest tema està marcat com "inactiu"—L'últim missatge és de fa més de 90 dies. Podeu revifar-lo enviant una resposta.
Discussion begins August 8.
First published in the December 1936 issue of Weird Tales
SELECTED PRINT VERSIONS
H.P. Lovecraft The Complete Fiction
The Dunwich Horror and Others
The Nyarlathotep Cycle
Boris Karloff's Favorite Horror Stories
H.P. Lovecraft: Tales
Of the Shining Trapezohedron he speaks often, calling it a window on all time and space, and tracing its history from the days it was fashioned on dark Yuggoth, before ever the Old Ones brought it to earth. It was treasured and placed in its curious box by the crinoid things of Antarctica, salvaged from their ruins by the serpent-men of Valusia, and peered at aeons later in Lemuria by the first human beings. It crossed strange lands and stranger seas, and sank with Atlantis before a Minoan fisher meshed it in his net and sold it to swarthy merchants from nighted Khem. The Pharaoh Nephren-Ka built around it a temple with a windowless crypt, and did that which caused his name to be stricken from all monuments and records. Then it slept in the ruins of that evil fane which the priests and the new Pharaoh destroyed, till the delver’s spade once more brought it forth to curse mankind.
When you consider that it ultimately ends up in the "deepest channel of Narragansett Bay", that's quite a history!
In the notes to the LoA volume, Peter Straub observes that "620 East Knapp Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin" was Robert Bloch's actual address in 1935.
The idea that the destruction of Atlantis described the eruption on Santorini/Thera was not really well-known until the excavations in 1967 by Spyridon Marinatos.
Not sure if this idea was current before then.
Balch, E.S. 1917. Atlantis or Minoan Crete. The Geographical Review 3: 388-92.
Frost, K.T. 1913. The Critias and Minoan Crete. The Journal of Hellenic Studies 33: 189-206.
Of course, strictly, Lovecraft doesn't mention how far from home that Minoan fisherman was in the first place.
I agree. I hadn't considered the M.R. James comparison, but it really works here.
light is dark and dark is light...But seriously, folks. I hadn't really picked up on the whole Khemetic flavor (ankhs in the church decor, history of the trapezohedron passing through ancient Egypt, Nyarlathotep's Egyptian angle) in my previous reads of this story, but I really caught it this time.
I am it and it is I
The Blake diary entries that close the story have of course become a well known cliche of this kind of tale (especially in the more amateurish "Mythos" attempts), but I think it was pretty much cutting-edge for HPL. I like how he uses it here - Blake's short, terse exclamations might as well be someone in similar dire straits desperately tweeting away in 2012.
I thought, "I am on this planet..." was the best bit.
Back to "Haunter", continuing to write until the very end goes back at least to the narrator of Poe's "MS. Found in a Bottle". But yes, "Haunter" is an example were it works better than it often does. It doesn't hurt it's a writer doing it.
I like the imagery evoked in this paragraph very much. A nicely done creep-me-out sequence, Howard!
I love how in "Shambler" Bloch gives the HPL doppelgänger a relatively quick and merciful death, but in "Haunter" HPL puts Blake through some serious and prolonged psychological and spiritual anguish. Guess Grandpa believed in escalation of hostilities. :D
I am incredibly fond of the phrase abandoned lair of cosmic evil. I think I will have it painted on a large placard and place it over the front door of my apartment.
The great storm broke just before midnight on August 8th.
PA, you planned that, didn't you? :D
I also enjoyed the list of stories by Blake, including the "The Feaster from the Stars". When we read "The Shambler from the Stars", I remember thinking that the title seemed so arbitrary - like Bloch just needed a pulpy title. The monster didn't shamble - it moved with preternatural speed. Here Lovecraft fixes the title and gets in a friendly little dig at the lurid nature of Bloch's tale.
I noticed a couple of new things this time.
First, Grandpa really indulges his architectural interest here -- matched, perhaps, only by The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. He lovingly describes the church and neighborhoods around Providence.
Second, this struck me, along with Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann", as a tale of otherworlds intruding into a contemporary setting. Lovecraft sets the tale in his present day in his hometown -- no going to to Antarctica, New Orleans, or Australia. Like "Zann", this is a story of mysterious other worlds being glimpsed in a modern urban setting.
And, as Joshi has noted, there is an element of psychic possession here like "Dexter Ward" and Lovecraft's "The Thing on the Doorstep".
The community in the rain huddled together whether onlookers approve or not is something familiar in my background, so the story itself made perfect sense, even with the more unusual elements included.