Eight works by H.P Lovecraft.

H.P Lovecraft, master of horror.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, one of the 20th century’s leading horror writers, wrote around his personal mythology, developing the subject of cosmic horror. These works feature unfathomable creatures from our universe, yet very much present in earthly events. To discover the author’s rich catalog of stories, here are six works to appreciate his distinctive narrative.

The Call of Cthulhu (1928) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

Lovecraft’s memorable work presents the mysterious acts of a mystical sect around forces beyond comprehension. This book provides an introduction to Lovecraft’s horror mechanism, offering the emblematic rhythm of the author’s works and the themes developed around the fear of the inconceivable. The fact that the story is rooted in the retranscription of research carried out at different periods makes the threat that intrudes into our part of reality and into the everyday life of man all the more real. This narrative process is often used by the author to anchor his story in reality.

The House of the Witch (1933) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

In the face of a title that at first glance seems rather banal, the master of horror succeeds in stretching the reader through cryptic situations where the unknown, steeped in mystery, worries. The Witch’s House, like other works by the author, returns to the dangers of greed and the thirst for knowledge. Like many of Lovecraft’s protagonists, the character is ultimately punished by his curiosity. The description of the servant Brown Jenkins and the dark call of the Sabbath is a fine image of horror. On the other hand, Nyarlathotep’s appearances lack a little panache in this short story. Cosmic entities are usually brought to life in a more grandiose way by Lovecraft. The work was heavily criticized at the time of its release for its bland narration, but it’s always interesting to make up one’s own mind.

In the Abyss of Time (1936) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

A more fantastical short story revolving around an enriching journey to learn more about the mythology of the author’s works. Regular readers of Lovecraft’s short stories will appreciate the story all the more, as it includes allusions to several creatures from Lovecraftian folklore. This work deals with the author’s own subject of inter-species transfiguration. It introduces us to the Great Race of Yith, a knowledge-hungry people in unconditional pursuit of knowledge. To this end, these creatures take possession of the bodies of other species to assimilate their discoveries. Their knowledge makes them one of the most advanced species in Lovecraft’s universe. However, a dark threat from the depths seems to be tormenting them.

The Hallucinated Mountains (1936) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

A classic work in a sub-genre of adventure novels featuring the icy explorations of new territories so prevalent in the 20th century. The Hallucinated Mountains is a perfect illustration of the century’s shift between the hopes and fears of the Arctic territories. Lovecraft makes it a place charged with mystery and danger, while retaining a slower-paced first part for contemplation of an unusual landscape. Lovecraft’s passion for sinuous architecture is strongly emphasized in a long section of the story. Threat is largely sidelined in this short story, to make way for exploration. Nevertheless, the protagonists’ encounter with the menace in the final chapters remains emblematic.

The Thing on the Threshold (1937) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

A Lovecraft short story that doesn’t necessarily rank among the best in his catalog, but which succeeds masterfully in creating tension and horror. In this work, Lovecraft succeeds in keeping the spectator on the edge of his seat, anchoring morbid images in his mind until the arrival of the expected horrific event. The theme of the threshold or landing is judiciously used to arouse the viewer’s fear of such a familiar place, which he or she is often asked to visit. The character of Asenath and the vagueness surrounding his nature create anguish and morbid curiosity right up to the denouement, which leaves room for several interpretations. The theme of transfiguration, also highlighted here, adds to the suspicion of the characters presented by the author. We can’t imagine who is hiding in the depths of memory.

The Charles Dexter Ward Affair (1941) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

A rather more forgettable work by Lovecraft, with the main plot revolving around the main character’s antagonism with his revived sorcerer ancestor. In this work, Lovecraft introduces for the first time the entity Yog-Sothoth, the deified creature of sorcerers and witches. The theme of possession and replacement is once again presented by Lovecraft, even if the subject is a little less pronounced than in some of his other works.

The Color Fallen from the Sky (1954) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

More difficult to access, The Color Fallen from the Sky is a challenging work in which Lovecraft attempts to highlight a threat that is difficult to pin down. The story has a few weaknesses, notably the lack of originality in the setting. This aspect is quickly forgotten when the story turns to the consequences of the light at the bottom of the well. The life form represented by this light enriches the author’s bestiary of horror with a creature that is difficult to discern, thanks to the decision not to anthropomorphize its form and behavior. This makes it a memorable work, but perhaps a little more difficult to access at first.

The Pickman Model (1927) – H.P Lovecraft (Senscritique, Amazon).

In this story, H.P. Lovecraft highlights the character of the artist and the fine line between the imaginary and the real in artistic production. Faced with the painter’s immeasurable imagination, worshippers of Pickman’s gloomy works question his ability to imagine so many scenes of horror. Little do they know that the artist is merely depicting hidden realities.

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Maxime Macé

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