Sunday, February 12, 2006

Deconstructing From Beyond: Part 1

Blogs, by their nature, are to be hors d'oeuvres and not feasts. There is so much to savor in Lovecraft's writing of this passage, we will take it ... in ...slow ... sensual ... ^ bites ^!

I first show how Lovecraft, the poet, actually uses a very stylistic method to his prose. There is a great deal of parallelism, and though he was bitterly against modernistic poetry, he does write a mean prose-poem. However, as we progress into sentences in this paragraph, we will find that Lovecraft's prose lays it on thick, very thick. He is prone to lists and he piles it on with ...and ... and ... and!

I looked about the immense attic room
with the sloping south wall,
dimly lit by rays
which the every day eye cannot see.

We start:

"I looked about the immense attic room
with the sloping south wall ..."

The first sentence phrase could easily have been Poe until he got to "the sloping wall". That is all Lovecraft. All HPL embracing non-Euclidean space. Lovecraft is eternally obsessed with this phenomenon and explores it unceasingly. It is the essential part of his cosmicism.

In Dreams of the Witch House(1932), a concluding pericope states, “When the slanting wall of Gilman's room was torn out, the once sealed triangular space ... {held a terrible horror}.”

Earlier, in Dagon (1917), Lovecraft writes, “the slopes of the valley were not quite so perpendicular as I had imagined.”

And that Dagonish statement became this, in Call of Cthulhu (1926 ), “..he dwells only on broad impressions of vast angles ... the geometry of this dream-place was abnormal, non-Euclidean...”.

Next we look at:

"... dimly lit by rays
which the every day eye cannot see."

Of course, Lovecraft has in mind the electromagnetic spectrum which he also alludes to in Colour Out of Space. Ultra-violet radiation, x-rays, microwave radiation and other invisible frequencies are all manifestations of the frequencies of light our rods and cones cannot pick up. Of course, our skin feels the IR and we sunburn under UV, and our bones are x-rayed, we can hear radio (once it amplifies and energizes a speaker), so all these frequencies interact with us. The rays Lovecraft's protagonist discovers opens us to ... the ... Beyond. '`'`shudder`'`'

Still, all that said and done - Hello, Ambrose Bierce!

Ambrose Bierce puts it this way in Damned Thing, “... with colours. At each end of the solar spectrum the chemist can detect the presence of what are known as 'actinic' rays. They represent colours--integral colours in the composition of light--which we are unable to discern. The human eye is an imperfect instrument; its range is but a few octaves of the real ‘chromatic scale.' I am not mad; there are colours that we cannot see.” {my emphasis}

That is a lot to absorb, so let's stop there. If you have any comments along the way, please! post!

Next: Sentence Two!

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