“The Shunned House”

Since I’m still writing up a new post, I’ll continue with the Lovecraft series.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Shunned House“, H. P. Lovecraft, 1924.277a820dd7a0f4d98d1dd010.L

This 1924 story is, in mood, sort of a rehearsal for Lovecraft’s more successful The Case of Charles Dexter Ward from 1927.

Set in Lovecraft’s beloved hometown of Providence, it effectively uses Lovecraft’s knowledge and love of the city.

It also evokes, as the later novel does, the name of the historical privateer Captain Abraham Whipple (the narrator is a member of the Whipple family).

It’s a bizarre mix of werewolf and vampire mythologies mixed with the sort of scientific paraphernalia (the evil is dispatched by Crookes tubes and carbolic acid) that not only harks back to gothics like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein but the scientific trappings of Lovecraft’s more famous tales like “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Whisperer in the Darkness”. The evil here is described as an immaterial being from another dimension which sucks life out of the inhabitants of the house like a vampire, but the Roulets are said to have lycanthropy in their past. Lovecraft mentions Exeter and vampires. I believe the town was the actual site of some bizarre stakings of corpses to put an end to a putative plague of vampires.

Lovecraft links, at the story’s beginning, the tale to his idol Edgar Allan Poe when he mentions that Poe passed by the site of real horrors when he spent time in Providence.

 

More Lovecraft related reviews on the Lovecraft page.

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

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