Friday, February 20, 2015

Still Reading ye Variorum Arc

I have just started reading AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS in my advance reading copy of volume 3, & I am quite enthrall'd with ye story, more than ever.  When I first read it, as a very young Mythos fanatic, the text was so difficult for me, so above my frail intellect.  Now ATMOM thrills me absolutely.  I am reading the story slowly, and aloud.  I want to put to ye test S. T.'s statement:  "I believe it is now sufficiently well established that Lovecraft was in fact one of the great prose stylists of the English language..."  My literary passion is for what I suppose wou'd be regarded as great writing, literary classics; & so it is to the works of Wilde, Kafka, Woolf, Henry James, Poe, Melville, Keats, Proust, &c &c that I compare the prose of H. P. Lovecraft.  Reading him aloud helps to give his language an additional life that I cannot sense when reading silently.  I'm told that the best way to investigate an author's style is to type her fiction yourself, and I may yet attempt to do so with some of Lovecraft's shorter tales.

Unlike S. T., I am not a professional when it comes to understand language or the mechanics of good writing.  However, from my intense study of Lovecraft's texts, and my comparison of them to classic Literature, I find myself in complete agreement with S. T. when he writes:

"I am now beginning to think that those who criticise Lovecraft as a 'bad' prose writer have simply placed a dunce-cap on their heads--in the most literal sense of the word, they do not know what they are talking about.  What these people do (I am being generous to them in attributing to them an actual course of reasoning) is to define 'good' prose by a very narrow and artificial standard (usually based on transient contemporary usage), with an utter failure to comprehend the incredibly wide variations in prose expression as found in thousands of writers over the past 2500 years of literary history in the West.   They also entirely ignore...the extend to which Lovecraft chose his prose style deliberately to create the precise aesthetic effects he was seeking."

The more I read Lovecraft, the more I admire the excellence, originality, and brilliance of his work.  He is indeed an American Literary Classic.

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