The Outsider by H.P. Lovecraft (1926)
Tuesday’s Gothic Short Story, February 14, 2023 Valentine’s Day
In this story, we are in the subterranean world of Lovecraft, written in a 19th-century style that is so very Poe-esque. Alone in a decaying castle, ‘chambers with maddening rows of antique books … twilight groves of grotesque and vine-encumbered trees, full of dark passages and high ceilings where the eye could find only cobwebs and shadows …’ our lonely Outsider chooses to venture out into the real world.
There is no measure of time here and no light in this castle. He is forced to light candles and stare at them for relief. Finally he feels compelled to climb out of the castle and into the endless forest beyond. What do you think he finds beneath a golden arch?
Lovely, dark, and deep, this is an exceptional story to read for Valentine’s Day because it is so sensuous and bohemian. The psychological here is brilliant. Ghostly and baroque desires drive the Outsider into a beguiling romance with his darkness. Bittersweet and delicious as dark chocolate.
Lovecraft is a master at leaving the reader with heavy subtext. And although I don’t read him regularly, The Outsider is likely to become a favorite because it is so bewitching.
Read the short story here at HPLovecraft.com
Listen to the audio here:
Watch the modern film adaptation here (10 minutes). Hmmm, not what I expected:
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1880-1937), an American writer of weird, science, fantasy, and horror fiction was known to rarely go out in daylight, became best friends with Houdini, and suffered night terrors. He corresponded with fellow writers Robert Bloch (author of Psycho), Henry Kuttner (The Dark World), Robert E Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and the poet Samuel Loveman. It is estimated that he wrote 100,000 letters.
“Mystery attracts mystery.”
“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
“I couldn’t live a week without a private library – indeed, I’d part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I’d let go of the 1,500 or so books I possess.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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