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.
    kidnapping the commoners


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


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

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.


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