March 3rd, 2007


[Tour de Lovecraft] The Statement of Randolph Carter

This is just a shaggy-dog story, albeit a better one than "The Unnameable". Like "Dagon," it was based on one of Lovecraft's dreams, with him in the 'Randolph Carter' part and Samuel Loveman as 'Harley Warren.' Weirdly enough, Lovecraft and C.M. Eddy almost recapitulated this story in 1923, going in search of "Dark Swamp" near Chepachet, but they couldn't find it. Given the amount of Blair Witch-esque wandering around in the woods that HPL did with his friends and alone, it's odd that he seldom uses that outdoorsy method of introducing the horror.

The big question, of course, is what *English-speaking* monsters could possibly have unnerved a fellow like Harley Warren? (Any number of things could have overpowered and eaten him, of course.) My current favorite notion is that the horde/swarm (whatever it is) attacks along, and consumes, the language center of its victim on a psychic level -- becoming quite literally indescribable. (Kind of a cognitive-linguistic Gorgon or basilisk.) The act of perceiving, and attempting to make linguistic sense of, the creature(s) is thus a self-destroying act. (Again, like spearing a basilisk -- its poison runs along the tool you use to apprehend it, and kills you.) By eating/absorbing Warren, it/they ate/absorbed *his* language center and could thus speak English to Carter.

NEXT: "Arthur Jermyn"