Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Lovecraft Library of America review at OpinionJournal

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts:

A more reasoned review of the new Lovecraft edition from the Library of America...

H.P. Lovecraft's Afterlife
He was an atheist and a nihilist, and he's more influential than ever.

..."Lovecraft wrote in this dark and distinguished tradition, and much of his early work displays the influence of Poe and other predecessors. By the late 1920s, however, he was no longer a mere dwarf standing on the shoulders of giants but a genuine innovator whose lasting impact appears mainly in a set of stories known as the 'Cthulhu Mythos.' They begin with 'The Call of Cthulhu,' written in 1926 and one of Lovecraft's finest pieces. It's about a young sculptor's bizarre dreams, a hideous statuette he manufactures in his sleep, a dastardly voodoo cult, a shadowy book called the Necronomicon, and a menacing encounter in the Pacific Ocean with a monster that's perhaps best described as a gargantuan alien octopus with wings (and owning the unpronounceable name 'Cthulhu').

This may sound silly and, at a certain level, it surely is. Yet 'The Call of Cthulhu' is also strangely engrossing, and contains many elements that will be familiar to fans of 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown: The main character is an Ivy League professor determined to investigate ancient mysteries and their lingering effects on the present day. Readers who become accustomed to Lovecraft's writing style may find that it possesses a florid eloquence."...