Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More Pictures from Poe's Museum: Courtesy of Tom Lera

Thanks, Tom!

From Joshi "A Dreamer and a Visionary" page 108.

"Poe, of course, is the dominant influence on Lovecraft's early tales, and looms large over the bulk of Lovecraft's fiction up to at least 1923. And yet, even "the Tomb" and "The Outsider" (1921), Lovecraft's most obviously Poe-esque tales, are far from being mere pastiches; but it is evident that Lovecraft found in Poe a model both in style and in overall short story construction.

The most obvious stylistic feature common to both Poe and Lovecraft is the use of adjectives. In Lovecraft's case this has been derisively termed "adjectivitis", as if there is some canonical number of adjectives per square inch that is permissible and the slightest excess is cause for frenzied condemnation."

Lovecraft always referred to his horror fiction as his "Poe stories", and wrote them in conscious imitation of Poe. The Poe story that most closely resembles Lovecraft's works in technique is "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar". Elements in common include the "popular" murmurings at the beginnings; the mysterious allusions to as yet unnamed horrors; the reference to "the facts as I understand them"; the dry, precise "scientific" tone throughout; the somewhat laborious descriptions, as if in a scientific document; explicit self referential mentioning of when the story crosses the line into unknown scientific frontiers; the revelation two thirds through the story of a hair raising situation of the scientific unknown; and the slow, deliberate, conscious build up to a final image of total horror, constructed like a climax in music. It is a great read. The storyline is about a mesmerist who puts a man in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death.

Photos (c) 2007, Tom Lera & Text Essay by Tom Lera.

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