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9610185Ok – way too early to say it – but I’m reading this right now, and it includes two bonus Lovecraft stories at the back of the book. While I’ve read everything by Houellebecq, I’ve never before tonight read a single thing by Lovecraft. So I skipped to the back and read "The Call of the Cthulhu"… (The other included story is "The Whisperer in the Darkness.")

Don’t be angry if you’re a huge Lovecraft fan, but I just don’t get it. Guy finds uncle’s documents, lots of people are acting strange, sailor finds exactly what we would expect him to find… Just not working for me. (I had the same reaction to The King in Yellow by Robert Chambers…) Anyway, I tried… I’m already wondering if it’s not one of those weird Gallic over-reactions to American lit – a la Paul Auster. Perhaps Lovecraft gains something in translation…

Written by adswithoutproducts

May 12, 2005 at 1:26 am

Posted in literature

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  1. I read the Cthulhu story and a few other things by Lovecraft recently myself, and my reaction is pretty much yours.For that matter, can I say that his style is probably the scariest thing about his writing?No adjective appears by itself, but must be accompanied by not one, not three, but exactly two others, one of which may be redundant: “heavy, ponderous, and dark.”Nothing is left to the reader’s imagination; anything grotesque is described in full, as are the reactions of any spectators to the horrible, inhuman, ghastly sight.Finally, the dull, dreary, lifeless rhythm of prose combines with the turgid description and exposition to drape the reader in such a black cloak of boredom as to almost suffocate him….
    Ahem.Sorry; got carried away there.Anyway, Lovecraft makes Hegel seems like the writer of fast moving thrillers.Hell, the Phenomenology of Spirit *IS* a fast moving thriller compared to anything by Lovecraft.

    et alia

    May 12, 2005 at 3:10 pm

  2. I was a big fan of Lovecraft when I was in high school, but then stopped reading him for some reason or other. I don’t think it was a conscious decision; perhaps I simply “outgrew” him. But I don’t remember either of those stories being among my favorites.
    “The Outsider” – the only one I’ve re-read recently, and I still like it – is pretty good on evoking feelings of extreme alienation. “The Lurking Fear” still stands out in my mind too.
    Overall, I can see why so many are so unmoved by his writing. How many times can you end a story with some shocking – but not really shocking – information written in italics?


    May 26, 2005 at 4:14 am

  3. I have imbibed a few stories by Lovecraft, not without a certain pleasure; his ornate style, obviously Poe-like (Ambrose Bierce another apt comparison), is, I believe, quite eloquent in sections, if, yes, a bit purply-pulp; but then some of us enjoy purply-pulp.
    Lovecraft is not yet a Poe–lacking the real gothic horror, poesy, and psychological depth–but his vision is I think authentic as EA Poe’s.


    May 26, 2005 at 10:47 pm

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