"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

"The only joy in the world is to begin...." Cesare Pavese

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

"From Beyond" by H. P. Lovecraft (1920)

    "What do we know," he had said, "of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with a wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break down the barriers. I am not joking. Within twenty-four hours that machine near the table will generate waves acting on unrecognised sense-organs that exist in us as atrophied or rudimentary vestiges. Those waves will open up to us many vistas unknown to man, and several unknown to anything we consider organic life. We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation."

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"From Beyond" by H. P. Lovecraft (1920)

Echoes of "The Horla" (1887) reverberate. (Like Maupassant's narrator, Lovecraft's deranged Prometheus Tillinghast inadvertently sacrifices his servants). 

Tillinghast is bent upon perfecting a mechanism to force the doors of perception. Maupassant's complacent antihero, on the contrary, seeks only to resume a semblance of normality.

"From Beyond '' anticipates later, stronger works by Lovecraft. As a meditation on scientific hubris and bourgeois megalomania, it has the brevity of caricature and a Poe-like tonal hysteria. 

It can be read here


11 January 2022

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