Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lovecraft Meets The Jersey Devil

I finally got my copy of Tales Out of Dunwich. [1] This is a classic. The inclusion of Stanley C. Sargent's The Black Brat of Dunwich is worth the price. The feature is Price's recovery of The Thing in the Woods.

This blog entry is about Robert M. Price's discussion in the preface about what influenced Lovecraft's Dunwich Horror. Each of Machen's stories sowed seeds into Dunwich: The Great God Pan; The Novel of the Black Seal; The White People; and The Terror.

However, it was Price - back in 1982 - that wondered if Lovecraft used the Jersey Devil legend. The prompt to Price by Joshi to look into the 1924 story by Harper Williams, The Thing in the Woods, uncovered a rare copy in a Mississippi library, and upon reading he found that Williams made use of the Jersey Devil.

Both of these scholars agree that Lovecraft clearly used this, mixed it with Machen and set the scene within the Wilbraham-Hamden-Munsen area of Massacusetts. Mix it all together and you get '`'`shudder`'`' Dunwich Horror.

Soom, I will do a review of Williams' story. It rightfully deserves its place as a Dunwich prequel in the "Dunwich Mythos Cycle".

1 Tales Out of Dunwich, ed. Robert M. Price, Hippocampus, 2005. Wow, what great cover art by Philip Fuller!

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