By H. P. Lovecraft

Creation through China Miéville

Long stated as a grasp of nightmarish visions, H. P. Lovecraft validated the genuineness and dignity of his personal pioneering fiction in 1931 together with his vital paintings of supernatural horror, on the Mountains of insanity. The intentionally advised and more and more chilling recollection of an Antarctic expedition’s uncanny discoveries–and their stumble upon with untold risk within the ruins of a misplaced civilization–is a milestone of macabre literature.

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Extra info for At the Mountains of Madness: The Definitive Edition (Modern Library Classics)

Sample text

In doing so, he actually seems to undercut the originality of his own creations. Given that it is precisely the implacable unfamiliarity of these monsters that is one of the most potent sources of their uncanny affect, this seems to be a perverse move. There are, however, reasons for the maneuver. As his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” makes plain, Lovecraft is acutely conscious of the horror tradition, particularly the Gothic. A key technique of Gothic, with its revenants, skeletons, ghosts, antique places, and mythical monsters, is the notion of haunting.

Yet at the beginning of the twentieth century, belief in the rational suffered a massive blow on the charnel fields of the First World War. Here were the rational, modern, capitalist powers, expressing their supposedly rational interests with an eruption of mechanized human butchery unprecedented in history. ” The war smashed apart the complacencies of “rationality” and uncovered the irrationality at the heart of the modern world with a savagery that eclipsed any fantasist’s nightmares. How, then, could the genre known as fantasy present anything that could compare with such horror?

The world has always been implacably bleak; the horror lies in our acknowledging that fact. It is the sheer truth of this universe, concretized in the existence of its monstrous inhabitants, which explains why Lovecraft’s protagonists are so unheroic: there is no muscular intervention that can save the day. All we can do—as the narrator and Danforth do in the Antarctic mountains—is turn and run. ” In narrative terms, the story is astonishingly straightforward, and such “revelations” as it contains are telegraphed fairly clearly.

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