“The Terrible Old Man”

The Lovecraft series continues.

Raw Feed (2005, 2017): “The Terrible Old Man“, H. P. Lovecraft, 1920.Dunwich Horror and Others

This 1920 story is a further demolition of my theory that between 1923 and 1925 Lovecraft abandoned vaguely European, Gothic settings and started to set stories in New England.

This story is set in Lovecraft’s fictional Massachusetts town of Kingsport.

The story itself is pretty undistinguished.

In a plot told with a cutely sardonic, ironic tone, we get a biter-bitten story about three criminals who find out that the Terrible Old Man is not an easy mark for a home invasion but a sorcerer who wracks terrible vengeance on them.

On re-reading this a few months ago, the thing that struck me time was the Dunsanian pacing with lots of conjunctions as well as the ethnic names of the criminals with the (Czech? Polish?) Czanek being “more than ordinarily tender-hearted” than his Italian cohorts Ricci and Silva. The ethnic tensions of the “new and heterogeneous alien stock” moving into Old New England are highlighted.

The unstated implication is also that the old pirate crew, somehow stored in bottles, is what killed them (the marks of many boot heels).


More reviews of Lovecraft are indexed on the Lovecraft page.

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.


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