Sorry for being a bit late on getting online, but prepare yourself for something that-can-not-be-named! The Unnamable!
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Lovecraft had a lot of fun with some of his stories, but I think he always approached the writing of weird fiction as a serious art form. Even in a tale as “minor” as “The Unnamable,” HPL packs in so much that is delicious and evocative and effective that he makes the story one that I can return to time and again. With this tale he explores traditional supernatural motifs in a way that makes them absolutely beguiling. He builds up the suspense — but then the ending is a bit of a letdown, when suggestion is replaced with an actual unutterable and physical horror. This remains one of my favourite of Grandpa’s tales, & your discussion of it has been absolutely delightful.
[...] reader)! And don’t forget about those wonderful Time Life Books! Next week: The Festival HPPodcraft.com – The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast Comments [...]
Thanks for having this wonderful podcast. It’s really entertaining and really nice if you don’t have anyone to talk to Lovecraft about.
Its a shame that the CM Eddy stories aren’t available online as with the rest of the Lovecraft cannon. apparently they were available but the grandson of the author had them removed. ….. seems pointless and to me, not to say a tad churlish??
Of CM Eddy Jr.collaborations with Lovecraft “The loved ones” was the one I enjoyed the most. The rest were like weird takes on more classical ghost and werewolf-like tales if I remember well.
I fount them in Lovecraft’s Complete Works (4 vols.).
Summary of the notes in “H.P. Lovecraft: Narrativa Completa, Vol.1″:
In a letter to Bernard Auston Dwyer in june 1927(Selected letters 1925-1929, page 139) Lovecraft told him this story was based (as you said) in a “real paragraph” from Magnalia Christy Americana (1702) by Cotton Mather, of which Lovecraft’s family owned a first print. The story could also have been inspired by the beginning of Machen’s “The three impostors”.
Lovecraft told his friend he used it to represent the extreme credulity of this character, capable of taking into account the most vague popular rumours.
That passage explained that in the South there was a beast that gave birth to a semi-human creature. People noticed this monster had a defect in one eye, very similar to the one a man had, who was well known for being very dissolute. When he was examined he confessed unutterable bestialities and was executed.
So the monster was his son, of course.
About the Carter here being Randolph Carter, though as you noted it is strange if he says he’s sceptic, in the 12th paragraph of” he Silver Key” it seems clear he is Randolph Carter. That paragraph also enforces the hypothesis that Arkham is Lovecraft’s version of “Salem”:
“Then he went back to Arkham, the terrible witch-haunted old town of his forefathers in New England, and had experiences in the dark, amidst the hoary willows and tottering gambrel roofs, which made him seal forever certain pages in the diary of a wild-minded ancestor. (…)”
About Arkham being Lovecraft’s Salem, it is clear as Lovecraft said in that same letter that there was indeed a giant willow in the centre of the cemetery, whose trunk had nearly engulfed an ancient slab in the middle of the Charter Street cemetery in Salem.
Oh, and there was a scene in The Unnamable II that was quite similar to The Randolph Carter Statement, going down in the cemetery while leaving someone alone on the surface with some communicator, etc. They say it’s better than the 1st one.
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