I wanted to piggyback onto my blog from a few days ago to mention an alternative take on similar material. Lee Foust has a couple of brilliant essays on the h2so4 site.
The Horrific Experience of Countercultural Initiation
The Horrific Experience of Coming Face to Face with the Other 2
I find the distinction between female and male gothic modes rather interesting. Which I think gets back to what I find interesting with Lovecraft. It's common knowledge that Lovecraft projected a certain degree of his racism onto his monsters, often using similar terminology to describe both. Yet, I think Lovecraft also projected a certain amount of his own self image onto those monsters.
I'll mention one early story "Facts in the Case of Arthur Jermyn," which can be read as a neurotic phobia of miscegination. Yet, when HPL describes how the first Jermyn seemed to prefer being put in a madhouse to being around to see his son grow up, I find myself wondering about Lovecraft's own father who ended up in a madhouse and wasn't there to see his son grow up. Jermyn's son, as it becomes clear, is clearly monstrous, only half-human.
So, with respect to female and male gothics, where does Lovecraft fall? Except for a few pieces, his monsters aren't just entities to be beaten so order can be restored. I would argue several of his better regarded stories ("The Shadow Over Innsmouth", "At The Mountains of Madness", "The Outsider") present rather human monsters. But does Lovecraft really fall into the female gothic, where the monstrous ultimately comes to be accepted as good and beautiful? So, does Lovecraft present us with a male or a female gothic, or is it actually something weirder, some form of hermaphroditic gothic?
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago