[Tour de Lovecraft] The Picture In the House
This, to make a very unfair comparison, is partially why I'm less than impressed with the adequate horror-pulp Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher. They're supposedly set in Chicago, but for all the Chicago-ness they exhibit, they might as well be set in Arkham, or Metropolis. Or Toronto, which is apparently where they're filming the TV show.
It's fun to peel the layers back on the titular picture, which is of a cannibal feast of "the Anziques." (Again, HPL avoids centering on race, noting instead that the "Anziques" are depicted "with Caucasian features.") Just now, I told you about the picture, as written by Lovecraft, as relayed by the narrator, as described by the Old Man, as illustrated by "the brothers De Bry," from text printed in a Latin edition, of a book originally written in Italian, by an author telling another traveler's story. That's eight levels between you and the cannibal feast. (And since HPL never actually saw a copy of Regnum Congo, but depended on descriptions and some reproductions in book by T.H. Huxley, that's either one or two more levels in there somewhere.) This is a raw version of the interleaved, almost archaeological narrative that HPL will come to master fully in "The Call of Cthulhu."
One more great phrase from the story, less well-known than the opener: "hungry fer victuals I couldn't raise nor buy..."
Of course in Chicago, that describes foie gras, too. Dammit.
NEXT: "The Outsider"