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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Notes on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls"



Notes on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls"

Millenia of the oppressor's rituals.
    parasitical
    kidnapping the commoners

Devolution.

Ancestral memories: the narrator sees his family role (the Swineherd) in dreams once he moves into the renovated Exham Priory.

A cultish cabal at the heart of a benighted and powerful family.
    fed upon others as past of their continuous
    engagement over millenia on the site
    with the old rituals of the Magna Mater.

    a literal expression of social relations between high
    and low over many different types of
    economic system
        slave: Rome
        Medieval: Britain
        capitalist: United Kingdom

Archeology: Layers of ritual horror, one laid atop the other

The ARRAS in the round bedroom:
    How thin the arras of social reality between
    everyday apprehension of society
    and our historically [and genealogically] determined
    selves.

--

A tradition in Lovecraft's fiction:

Bad families
    Bad ancestors
        Bad patriarchs
            Bad progenitors

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
    Ward possessed by his ancestor Curwen.
   
"The Lurking Fear"
    A family degenerates into lightning-deranged subterranean
    cannibals over generations.

"The Unnameable"
    A thing kept in the attic beyond rational lifespan

"The Thing on the Doorstep"
    A wizard father inhabits the body of his married
    daughter?

A theme in Lovecraft: the past is a key to understanding the true horror
of our situation as peons in a galactic machine
of primal violence.

"The Rats in the Walls" is a great nay-saying.

In the world of the story, the FATHER, a rich Yankee magnate, ends up
in an asylum.  There is no place for his family's autarky today.

--

77 Ways of Looking at H. P. Lovecraft: Notes










I made these notes in May 2010, while making my way through the first volume of The Annotated Lovecraft.

--

moment of:
    production
    consumption

"irrationalism"

bourgeois
abnormal
irregular
outre
discouragement
severe
unknowable [Mach]
obstinate [style]
uninterested
remote
intensify
accumulate
abolish
disgust
exclude
un-tenderness
ecstasy
blemish


Of individual, class, society:
    tumultuous
    boredom
    ennui
    doldrums
    nearness
    chill

lively
inertia
idleness
anticipated
prepared
well-cooked
magnitude
RUIN
calamity
cunning
clever
un-mellow
periphery
peripheral [to "mainstream"]
immaculate
arrange
class
sort
order
collapse
nay-saying
contemplate
meditative
puzzle

The cherished beliefs
    degenerate
    decline

weaken
erode
unwholesome
exhausting
deficient
quirk
ambition
sensual
discouragement
pessimism
unconditional
despondent
despondency
dire
discontent
discontented
disavowal
vexed
vexing
discourage
dilapidation
frenzy
connoisseur
lucid
definitive
taxing