Tuesday, September 2, 2008

H.P. Lovecraft

So while we were at the beach, we played a game that my future brother in law had, called "Arkham Horror", a cooperative board/role playing game based on the horror stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft wrote short stories in the early twentieth century about otherwordly horrors and monsters that the protagonists would have to defeat (although they often failed). Central to Lovecraft's stories was the theme of the horror that would overcome humans if they really comprehended how alien and dangerous the universe is. Anyway, I'm really excited to read some of his short stories. Sounds like a very pessimistic, futuristic, existential Edgar Allen Poe. There was one neat quote on his Wikipedia page that I thought I'd share:

"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age."

Heady stuff... and a not altogether unreasonable assessment of where science untempered by ethics may bring us some day. I'm excited to read more, but thought this was all very interesting and worth posting.
In other horror news, I saw "Sweeny Todd" (with Johnny Depp, that creepy lady from Fight Club, and Sacha Cohen, aka Borat) the other day. It's the story of the "demon barber of Fleet Street", a man who was robbed of his wife and daughter and takes revenge on unsuspecting customers. Very bloody. Very whimsical. Very Tim Burton.
I don't know, the whole aesthetic of these scary stories and ghost stories is very appealing to me right now. It's because of the advent of Autumn or something , I don't know.

1 comment:

Evan said...

I've never heard of this guy. I'll have to read him too. The mix of existentialism with a sort of "scientism", if you could call it that, seems like a neat take on a more general 20th century pessimism. I wonder if there is any school of thought in philosophy of science that interacts with his literary work?

Of course it sounds great to me, as I would want to resist some of the modern progress narratives of science. It's not exactly a humanist perspective either, though!