Copyright 2010 by Gary L. Pullman
Many of H. P. Lovecraft’s short stories, like those of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales, begin with a thesis-like assertion, the truth of which is then demonstrated, as it were, by the narrative that this philosophical premise introduces:
Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal (“The Tomb”).I have dealt with this topic already, at some length, in a rather different (and some might say odd) manner in “Alien Androids: Another Plot-generating Method,” but I wanted, here, to provide a few examples of a celebrated writer of horror’s use of this technique.
I have frequently wondered if the majority of mankind ever pause to reflect upon the occasionally titanic significance of dreams, and of the obscure world to which they belong (“Beyond the Wall of Sleep”).
Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the craven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around monoliths on uninhabited islands [but]. . . the true epicure of the terrible to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness and ignorance combine to form the perfection
of the hideous (“The Picture in the House”)
From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent (“The Shunned House”).
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far ("The Call of