The Lovecraft series continues
Raw Feed (2005): “Herbert West: Reanimator”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921-1922.
Lovecraft claim to not much like this story regarding it as (which it sort of was) serial hackwork written for a humor magazine Home Brew and that debuted in its first issue.
At the beginning of each of the six sections, Loveccraft has to take some time out to summarize the story thus far, but T. E. D. Klein is right. This story is fun and full of gory wit.
Lovecraft called it “mechanical and unimaginative” and “manifestly inartistic”. However, as Lovecraft biographer S. T. Joshi noted, he protested too much and probably enjoyed it since, by the end, the story has become a conscious parody.
This, like Lovecraft’s “From Beyond“, features a narrator who grows increasingly afraid of the obsessive hero — here the Aryan Herbert West. (Both the narrator and West are graduates of Miskatonic University’s Medical School making this the first reference to that esteemed university.) Lovecraft presents, accounting for the necessary quirks of its serial origins, a good horror story of how 20 years of botched experiments (including one in France with some war dead) come back to haunt Mr. West.
Lovecraft avoids the easy cliche of having West, in his quest for ever fresher corpses with ever more pristine brains, actually kill to get a corpse, but the narrator does, near the story’s end, get nervous about how West keeps looking at him. West does attempt the resurrection of an old intellectual foe — a professor at the medical school who scoffed at West’s notions of reviving the dead. The brains never really come through undamaged (well, except for that corpse revived in France), and the professor turns into a psychopathic killer.
More reviews of Lovecraft related material are on the Lovecraft page.