Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lovecraft and his circle

There is deep pleasure in reading Lovecraft and the Lovecraft-derived stories by people like Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Belknap Long, and August Derleth.

I have been thinking all day about these two sentences from Derleth's story "The Dweller in Darkness", which strike me as particularly fine:

Who was the Blind Faceless One but Nyarlathotep? Certainly not Shub-Niggurath, the Black Goat of a Thousand Young.

Certainly not!


Generic said...

You've been thinking about it all day? Please share!

Tulkinghorn said...

What, for example, does the phrase "Goat of a Thousand Young" mean?

And what could possibly be the problem in figuring out who the Blind Faceless One is?

And why was there even an issue of mis-identification with Shub-Niggurath? Does Shub-Nigurath look like the Blind Faceless One? Does he have a face? Is he blind?

Tulkinghorn said...

I am reminded of a famous passage in Swanns Way where the narrator's friend Bloch expresses the following opinion about a couple of lines of Racine:

"I am bound to admit, nevertheless," he added graciously, "that ... even the man Racine, did, once in his life, compose a line which is not only fairly rhythmical, but has also what is in my eyes the supreme
merit of meaning absolutely nothing. One is

_La blanche Oloossone et la blanche Camire_,

and the other

_La fille de Minos et de Pasiphaƫ_."

Christian Lindke said...

As Lovecraft wrote in a poem to his friend Frank Belknap Long when he sent him a copy of Swann's Way as a gift.

"Ingenuous Age once more essays to find / A proper Gift for Youth's sophistick Mind, / Well tho' he know how bootless 'tis to send / Aught that his own old Head can comprehend."

"Of Wit and Beauty keeps discreetly chary, / And forfeits Sense to be contemporary."