New Alan Moore Introduction to Folio Society Cthulhu Collection

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, published by The Folio Society

In October 2016, Alan Moore penned a new introduction to a high-end Lovecraft collection published by the Folio Society. The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories, edited by S. T. Joshi and illustrated by Dan Hillier, is available now. The collector’s edition costs a mere $125, with a 750-copy limited edition available for $575.

Below are a couple of excerpts from Moore’s 7-page introduction:

In my own case late childhood infatuation had, by my self-conscious middle teens, been tempered by increasing unease and abhorrence with regard to Lovecraft’s politics and many prejudices. Less defensibly, I had been cowed by the authoritative critical pronouncements of such disapproving commentators as both Wilsons – haughty Edmund and iconoclastic Colin – and in viewing Lovecraft through their unforgiving lens perceived him as merely a clumsy writer, burdening each clause with adjectives and archaisms, far too fond of indescribability, of final paragraphs delivered in a hyperventilating torrent of bug-eyed italics. Later, on the slopes of young adulthood and perhaps more confident in my opinions, I reread his storied and revised my view to one that once more favourable and more condescending. I saw Lovecraft now as a wild talent, one whose genius lay in transmitting his own sense of overwhelming cosmic terror to his audience despite his literary limitations. Not until embarking on a sixth decade that Lovecraft, for all his senescent affectations, would not reach did I revisit those steep lanes and jutting steeples, armed with vital insights gleaned from the continually expanding field of Lovecraft scholarship, only to find the fiercely individual and innovative prose stylist that I’d previously failed to see.

His general xenophobia was of course still present, along with his poorly reasoned and romantic veneration of the English aristocracy, but those could be viewed with greater understanding (albeir not greater sympathy) in the revealing context of his place and time and circumstances. Lovecraft’s supposed literary defects, on the other hand, turned out upon closer inspection either not to exist or to be misapprehended virtues. The most serious abuse of adjectives and repetition of last-paragraph italics are not in fact to be found in Lovecraft’s work but in that of his devotee and ‘posthumous collaborator’ August Derleth, who, while almost singlehandedly responsible for keeping his late mentor’s name alive, would with his clumsy ventriloquial interventions do much to delay his hero’s literary recognition, turning passing quirks into compulsive cliches. In Lovecraft’s own narratives the adjectives extended in pursuit of that which is beyond description ultimately stand exposed as an ingenious strategy disorienting and unsettling the reader by giving a list of entities that Great Cthulhu doesn’t much resemble, or declaring that the Colour out of Space is only a color ‘by analogy’. On examination, Lovecraft’s touted flaws seem instead to be careful tactical considerations.

The deployment of archaic vocabulary – Domdanie, nepenthe, eidolon and necrophagous, a sesquipedalian torrent – looks on second glance like an attempt to make the very medium that he expressed his stories through, the English language itself, into something creepy, unfamiliar and alienating.

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Providence #11 Annotations Posted

The penultimate issue of Providence came out yesterday, and it is a reference-packed tour de force taking the narrative from Black’s 1919 to the present day. Eagle-eyed readers can spot “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Horror at Red Hook,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Thing at the Doorstep”, Robert E. Howard, William Burroughs, Clark Ashton Smith and much, much more. There are also plenty of ties to Moore and Burrows’ The Courtyard and Neonomicon.

providence11dreamscapeedit
Detail from Providence 11 Dreamscape variant cover – art by Jacen Burrows

The Facts Providence team has first-run-through Providence #11 annotations up. Site authors and readers will continue to review, update and add details. Look them over and let us know if there are things we got wrong or missed.

Guest Post: Is Providence Moore’s Riposte To True Detective?

By Edward Saul

Providence #11 Portrait variant, art by Jacen Burrows
Providence #11 Portrait variant, art by Jacen Burrows

Excitement abounds for we enthusiasts of Alan Moore, HP Lovecraft and Weird Fiction, as the crashing denouement to Providence looms overhead. Considering that the exact release date for Providence #11, let alone #12, is aptly unknowable, now is the prime time for speculation. Such speculation should not, of course, be limited merely to theorizing on what happens next, but could also stretch to the overall motives and meanings behind the series, and how that might predict what happens next.

This can be logical and precise, based on the evidence presented; those of us eagle-eyed readers, for instance, had by the release issue #3 or #4 realized that Prof. Alvarezs comparison of Robert Black with that other Herald reporter who found Dr. Livingstone was subtly foreshadowing Blacks inevitable encounter with Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Equally, it is also possible that such theories become outlandish, echoing the excesses of 9/11 truthers in their drawing together of thick black lines between distant, disparate dots. Or, rarely, there might be a happy medium between the two.

I put it to you, fellow readers: Providence isnt just about Lovecraft, his fiction, its meanings and its impact. Its also a riposte to True Detective Season 1.

Stay with me here.

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SWIM Podcast: Moore on Lovecraft and a Hint About Providence 11

Alan Moore by Daniel P. Carter - via Instagram
Alan Moore by Daniel P. Carter – via Instagram

There is an excellent two-part interview with Alan Moore up at the Someone Who Isn’t Me podcast hosted by Daniel P. Carter. Alan Moore completists will be interested in listening to the entire interview: part 1 and part 2. Moore discusses consciousness, Jerusalem, magic, the Northhampton Arts Lab and much more. It includes quite a bit on H.P. Lovecraft, and even a reveal of some of what is in Providence #11.

In part 1 (minute 34:15) Moore describes the leap from pre-linguistic awareness into modern human consciousness, which he calls “the entire haunted palace” echoing the Edgar Allen Poe story The Haunted Palace which lends its title to Providence #10.

In part 2 (starting at minute 43:35) Moore speaks at length about Lovecraft, and offhandedly reveals something about Providence #11. Below is a partial transcript:

Carter: I’m going through Providence at the moment. It’s made me go back and read Lovecraft again, which I hadn’t done. I got into his work when I was really young – just in really silly ways as well. I’d found out about him through liking Metallica. They have a couple of songs: The Call of Cthulhu and The Thing That Should Not Be. Also through the role-playing game. Then started reading his work. I only read The Courtyard and Neonomicon fairly recently, after getting into Providence. It started making me look into other things like Kenneth Grant saying the idea that there was some kind of link between Lovecraft –

Moore: That Lovecraft is intuiting something –

Yeah. Which is essentially going back to something we said initially about how art is created. Where does art come from? Where does writing come from.

It’s a valid idea, I guess. It’s just that Lovecraft was such a fierce rationalist. Now I know Kenneth Grant gets around that by saying “ah – he didn’t know that he was channeling these things that are real.”

I think it’s more complex than that. The thing is Lovecraft came up with all these things purely out of his own imagination. They had enormous resonance because Lovecraft was almost an unbearably sensitive barometer of, what I suppose you might call American dread.

He was frightened about everything. He was awkward with women. He was frightened of immigrants – or despised them – if there’s any difference; but also, other than these average middle class fears of his time, Lovecraft was reading science magazines, and he understood the revolution that was going on in science: how Einstein had practically undone the whole of humanity’s conception of where it stood in the universe. And had re-written a lot of the basic rules of the universe.

I think Lovecraft was initially horrified by Einstein, but then came to absorb his theories and probably to understand them. It seems that he has understood and he’s taken them on board. So what Lovecraft’s fiction was reflecting was that we existed in a hostile random universe – well, not so much hostile but completely oblivious. A universe so vast that we were reduced to the tiniest, most insignificant speck – in a remote corner of this infinite blackness.  Continue reading

Lovecraft and Moore on Display at L.A. County Art Museum Guillermo Del Toro Show

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View of LACMA’s Guillermo Del Toro exhibition, including life size figure from Pan’s Labyrinth. Photos by Joe Linton

It is not directly related to Providence, but there is plenty of H.P. Lovecraft and even a bit of Alan Moore at the L.A. County Museum of Art’s Guillermo Del Toro At Home With Monsters exhibition on display now through November 27.

The show travels to the Minneapolis Institute of Art next year February 26 through May 21, 2017 and then to the Art Gallery of Ontario from September 30, 2017 through January 7, 2018.

Guillermo Del Toro is, of course, the director of numerous fantastic and horrific films. He is also big fan of both H.P. Lovecraft and of comics.

The exhibition displays visual art, sculpture, films, props, comics and other objects, primarily from Del Toro’s personal collection. This is topped off by some similarly-themed artwork from the museum’s collections.

I did not expect to see any Alan Moore, but, among a lot of original comics art, there are two framed From Hell pages, but Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.  Continue reading

Providence #10 Annotations Posted

Robert Black didn't see this coming. Detail from Providence #10 P17,p3 - art by Jacen Burrows
Robert Black didn’t see this coming. Detail from Providence #10 P17,p3 – art by Jacen Burrows

We’ve got basic annotations for Providence #10 posted here. Things are getting weird for our erstwhile herald. Black is his name and black is his destiny. There are lots of references to Lovecraft’s life, plus plenty of his stories including “The Haunter of the Dark” and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

Check out the excellent discussion in the comments section, too.

Providence #9 Annotations Posted

Panel from Providence #9, artwork by Jacen Burrows
Panel from Providence #9, artwork by Jacen Burrows

We’ve got the Providence #9 basic annotations done and posted here. We are still refining them a bit, but put on your high-tech prismatic spectacles and check them out. There is quite a bit from Lovecraft’s “From Beyond,” “The Haunter of the Dark,” and “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” but not so much in the way of  “The Shunned House.”  Please let us know if there is stuff we missed or got wrong.