Monday 30 April 2007

the case of charles dexter ward

Imagination is more powerful than written words. It seems that H.P. Lovecraft did know about this quite well. The story is truly exciting and takes you on a thrilling journey filled with subtle horror and fear - most of the time without being bloody-minded. The fragile psyche of mankind confronted with terror is the basis of Lovecraft's thoughts. One of his best works. Recommended.

The titular character, Charles Dexter Ward, is a young man from a prominent family who (in the story's introduction) is said to have disappeared after a prolonged period of insanity accompanied by minor but unheard-of physiological changes. The bulk of the story concerns the investigation conducted by the Wards' family doctor, Marinus Bicknell Willett, in an attempt to discover the reason for Ward's psychological and physiological changes. When Willett learns that Ward had spent the past several months attempting to discover the grave of his ill-reputed ancestor, Joseph Curwen, Willett slowly begins to unravel the truth behind the legends surrounding Curwen, a shipping entrepreneur rumored to have been an alchemist, but in reality a megalomanical necromancer and mass-murderer. (wikipedia)

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author of fantasy, horror and science fiction.
He is notable for blending elements of science fiction and horror; and for popularizing "cosmic horror": the notion that some concepts, entities or experiences are barely comprehensible to human minds, and those who delve into such risk their sanity. Lovecraft has become a cult figure in the horror genre and is noted as creator of the "Cthulhu Mythos," a series of loosely interconnected fictions featuring a "pantheon" of nonhuman creatures, as well as the famed Necronomicon, a grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works typically had a tone of "cosmic pessimism," regarding mankind as insignificant and powerless in the universe.
Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, and his works, particularly early in his career, have been criticized as occasionally ponderous, and for their uneven quality. Nevertheless, Lovecraft’s reputation has grown tremendously over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most important horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting an influence that is widespread, though often indirect.

h.p. lovecraft archive:
publisher: suhrkamp (german), ballantine (english)

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