Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Eldricht Horror of Flat 138

Good article about H.P. Lovecraft over at Salon (by Laura Miller) for those of you who like him. I do like him, and not in the way Ms. Miller seems to like him.
There is a ferocious imaginative power driving these tales, and all the more so for being, to cop a favorite Lovecraftian word, unwholesome. In the Freud-crazed '50s and '60s it became fashionable to denounce Lovecraft's fiction as "neurotic," to which the only conceivable reply is: Duh. How could anyone think of presenting such an observation as an insight when neurosis lies palpitating on the surface of the work? These tales are veritable carnivals of anxiety, repression and rage; that's the source of their appeal. They aren't in any sense healthy, but then neither is the poetry of Baudelaire.
There's a bit of disdain in Miller's approach here, perhaps deserved. But I still find his work, particularly the stories about the Dreamlands, to be very imaginative and powerful (if, as others have noted, not all that scary).

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