Sunday, April 01, 2007

Nyarlathotep: Paragraph 2: Part 2

"The general tension was horrible."

Herer we have a classic horror scenario. {tension} {horrible}. This probably indicated that he awoke from his dream with a headache. He often did. Sleep paralysis works like this, sometimes. Many of HPL's dreams seem like sexually devoid sleep paralysis. However, he would purposely sanitize sexuality from his nightmares, wouldn't he?

Lovecraft used words precisely, so one suspects he did not mean "the atmosphere was of horror" but that {horrible} > Old French >Latin horribilis = to tremble.

{Tension} > Latin = a stretching out a past participle of tendere.

Anno Horriblis was a reference (among others) of a Lindheim witchtrial of 1664.

In any event, {general} is another means by which Lovecraft makes the pallor of the apocalypse diffuse. A modern writer might simply use "The tension was terrific" and go for the alliteration. More of a vulgar refrain, one might say "all hell broke out". Not HPL.

In the black counter culture that mixed blues, apocalypse, and jazz the movie Hellzapoppin of 1941 (a generation removed from Nyarlathotep) a "Lindy Hop" dance by the Harlem Congaroos. Lovecraft's New England pose did not keep him from reacting to the jazz age. He would have retched at Gershwin, but he often punned the phrases of the time.

For instance, he never missed an opportunity to say things like, "Yes there are no bonanzas today" when he missed out on a piece of revisionism. His New York pals were very Fitzgeraldian, and he parodied them mercilessly - usually behind their backs.

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