The Temple

Discussion in 'Culture' started by Animal Mother, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    So in Lovecraft's story "The Temple"... was that sunken ancient city in which the submarine ended up resting the city of R'yleh perhaps? Was the temple that the seamen feared to explore in his last days THE TEMPLE in which resided Cthulhu? The submarine was on a course for the south... but perhaps it was the wrong time of year not being April, but August... just wondering what other readers would suspect.

    Trying to piece together some of the stories. I've taken on a new obsession lately.

    And is Dagon a sub-god to Cthulhu? Is there any reference tying the two together in any of the mythos?

    I so wish a great director with a good cast (NOT including Jeffrey Combs) and a hefty budget for production could turn out a great Cthulhu film, and remain faithful to Lovecraft's vision at the same time. Seems they rewrite The Shadow Over Innsmouth and call it something else every time while taking liberty to twist the story and change the details when the story was perfect in the first place. Why not just call it "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" if that's the inspiration... Maybe I'm just spoiled by Hollywood. If you're going to call it "Dagon" why not just make a film around the short story of the same title? It'd be like LOST or Castaway or the Blue Lagoon... but with a weird monolith, a brief sighting of some strange giant fish-dude, and a long journey back to the ocean that doesn't seem quite as unwelcoming as it did before seeing the fish-dude at the monolith.

    I love the concept of enlightenment paralleling insanity. Why didn't I read this stuff sooner?
     
  2. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Lovecraft had no pantheonic system for his elder horrors, they seemed to exist without any ruled order. Kind of there, and yet not there (dead and dreaming)...
    Then, along came Derleth, and he instituted a whole good cop, bad cop view of the old ones, elder ones, etc. His "gods" were battling over the ownership of earth and humans, which actually makes for good reading, but goes against most of what HPL was trying to point out: the meaninglessness of the universe.

    I agree about the movies, though the racism and over-done verbose language might be tough to translate.
     
  3. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    what racism?
     
  4. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Well.. think typical white man from post Civil War era through the Great Depression era. A touch of superiority complex. People of other ethnic groups and cultures are often referred to with a hint of repulsiveness, although I've yet to come across any blatant slurs. Maybe it's the editing.
     
  5. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    If you are referring to the ape-like comment in "Herbert West-Reanimator" keep in mind that that character was an illegal bare-fisted boxer that died in the ring. As in would have had a LOT of facial damage and would have looked non-human no matter what his ethnic background was.

    As for the hint of repulsiveness and fear of degeneration, in Lovecraft stories that is not expressed just towards other ethnic groups. It is also applied to white Appalachians, white New England country folk and high born families of England and Ireland.

    What I've found interesting is that when he does talk people of a different ethnic background being malevolent or suspicious he goes out of his way to not name a group of people or specific place of origin. It's more that he wants to give that creepy "where are these people from and what are they up to" feeling. Maybe you have to spend some time in New England, and specifically Providence, to really get that.

    I don't think that just because someone lived in the past we should assume that they were a racist. And he was far from typical in many aspects. For example his wife was a very modern woman and he was writing forms of fiction that he was pretty much inventing.

    Sorry, but the whole "Lovecraft was a racist/nazi sympathizer thing" really sets me off. I've been in English classes where teachers will use that as an excuse not to discuss his work and then turn around and show a Disney film.

    erin
     
  6. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Didn't say he was a Nazi sympathizer, and I'm not making an assumption based on the times in which he lived, that was just the best way I could explain it. If you read the summaries and exerts from other authors you will see a lot of references to his character. Racism being a considerable part of his character. It's not pretty, and everyone has some sort of personality flaw, and it doesn't make me appreciate his work any less as a very talented writer. Good God, each sentence is oozing with detail and he brings life and color (er... colour :wink:) to everything no matter how benign or trivial it is to the story.

    How about the details of the people in "The Picture In The House"... he made it seem the character was appalled by the people in the picture being colored like "Negroids" but having a white mans facial structure. A sense of repulsiveness indeed.

    Racism doesn't have to be blatant. Certain remarks could easily be overlooked in the fashion of his writing in comparison to today's authors styles. There is a prejudice hinted at when he writes of foreigners and people of different backgrounds. "Mongrels!"

    I think it could be avoidable in a film adaptation of his work. Or at least regarded in a fashion that isn't insensitive.

    This new Cthulhu film looks to be a gay controversy film, and just happens to include some Lovecraft themes, once again, more so "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" than anything else. I assume that since the director isn't well known and they had a small budget just making a Lovecraft inspired film wasn't enough, so they had to throw something controversial into the mix to start a buzz and expand their target audience in hopes of breaking even.

    Who wants to write a decent screenplay with me and submit it to Peter Jackson?
     
  7. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    I didn't mean that you were saying the nazi sympathizer thing. Just that it's something I run into a lot when on the subject of Lovecraft and that's why I got ranty.

    With your example of "The Picture In The House", is an attitude that the author gives a character necessarily the attitude of the author? Or is it something he is exploring? But I just reread that paragraph about the pictures in the book. The character is feeling uneasy about being in the house:
    "I had often heard of this work, with its curious illustrations by the brothers De Bry, hence for a moment forgot my uneasiness in my desire to turn the pages before me. The engravings were indeed interesting, drawn wholly from imagination and careless descriptions, and represented negroes with white skins and Caucasian feature; nor would I soon have closed the book had not an exceedingly trivial circumstance upset my tired nerves and revived my sensation of disquiet. What annoyed me was merely the persistent way in which the volume tended to fall open of itself at Plate XII, which represented in gruesome detail a butcher's shop of the cannibal Anziques. I experienced some shame at my susceptibility to so slight a thing, but the drawing nevertheless disturbed me, in connection with some adjacent passages descriptive of Anzique gastronomy"​
    So what upsets the character is not the pictures that could imply racial mixing, but the way the book keeps falling open to the "how to butcher a human" section.

    In fifth paragraph previous to the one quoted above is a line that is a good example of what I was talking about:
    "Divorced from the enlightenment of civilization, the strength of these Puritans turned into singular channels; and their isolation, morbid self-repression, and struggle for life with relentless Nature, there came to them dark furtive traits from the prehistoric depths of their cold Northern heritage."
    The potential for de-evolution and degredation is in all humanity in the world of Lovecraft.

    I would like to read the writings of the other authors you mentioned. Where did you see them? Are they accounts of personal interactions with HP or are they interpretations of his writings?

    Also, very little of the fiction that I read is less that 60 years old, so I am used to subtlety :wink:

    erin

    P.S. do you really want Liv Tyler shoehorned into a Lovecraft story?!?
     
  8. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    No more so than I would want Tori Spelling the same. Oh drat.
     
  9. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    What books do you have? It's in the prefaces of "Waking Up Screaming", "Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror And The Macabre", and "The Road to Madness". Introducions by Robert Bloch and Barbara Hambly. It's an interpretation of said authors I suppose, but I see it as well.

    I don't want to make anymore a subject out of this though.

    What about my questions!? :old::read:
     
  10. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Personally, I am bothered by the malevolent portrayal of the space fungi in "The Whisperer in Darkness." Some of my best friends are space fungi, and they're fun guys.

    Considering that Lovecraft died in 1937, I think that the "Nazi sympathizer" label should be taken in that context. It's easy to forget that people in the U.S. wasn't really aware of the scope of Nazi atrocities at that point. Even the known antisemitism didn't reach the peak of Krystalnacht until 1938, so any period that Lovecraft could have been sympathetic to the Nazis, the real horrors were perhaps foreshadowed, but hadn't occurred. The outbreak of war wasn't until 1939.

    I certainly agree that Lovecraft painted a lot of characters in a poor light, but I haven't noticed much that was out of step with other literature of the times, and as esquid says his derision seems to be pretty broadly applied to people he considers uneducated or disturbing or unnatural, and he doesn't particularly seem to go after specific real races so much as his fabricated ones (fish-men, moon-merchants, half-children of yogg-sothoth, etc.) He seems to treat a lot of people as provincial and superstitious, in comparison to the academics that he holds in high regard (even if they are elder things, conical time travelers, and so forth) and he certainly doesn't often portray those academics as ever being of African or other "swarthy foreigner" origin... but, aliens aside, most of his sympathetic characters are white, male, urban New England intellectuals, and he seems to hold some mixture of disdain and just utter lack of comprehension of anyone who doesn't fit that model. I have the impression that he didn't write female characters more because he didn't think he understood them enough to write about them than because he was misogynistic (although I guess he did have issues with his mother, my recollection is that all accounts show him having a good relationship with his wife.)

    If one takes "The Outsider" as some sort of psychological insight or personal allegory, I think there's some reason to believe that he had some doubts as to his own qualifications to be in the respected circles from which he draws most of his sympathetic characters, too.
     
  11. sorseress

    sorseress Colossal Squid Supporter

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  12. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    "negroids" might be considered as racist. :) Especially when the discussion was about how lowly those non-white people are, in The Shadow out of Innsmouth. "slouching, unitelligent", etc...

    Taken in perspective, I do understand the writing of the time, but to say that it wasn't racist is farcical.
     
  13. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I'm not sure if that's addressed at me, but didn't mean to say that he wasn't racist in the way he criticizes "negroids" but rather that he didn't particularly appear to look down on them any more than a number of other real and imaginary groups of people... pretty much anyone other than high-class New England academicians. I certainly get uncomfortable with the racism in some of his stories, but I find that in most American literature from the 1930s-- where it seems particularly bad, probably because the people who got knocked down in the depression were somehow bolstered by the "I may be bad off, but at least I'm not as bad as the (ethnics)" or "This isn't my fault, it's all those damn (ethnics) that have screwed up the country" scapegoating attitudes. And yeah, I know most of Lovecraft's stuff was from a bit earlier, but I think the attitude was really at its worst in the 1930s.
     
  14. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    NO, no!!!!!
    I am not slinging anything at anyone.

    But, Lovecraft was a writer of his time, and the despising of "non white" races was common, and supported, and it is reflected in his writing.

    They may have changed the original manuscripts a bit. I do believe the cat in "Rats in the Walls" was named "niggerman" in the first publication.

    To say that he was not a racist just doesn't make sense, almost everybody was, and as a struggling author, I am sure he wanted to sell the most books and stories. We do the same thing today, of course, with rap stars writing songs about killing cops, etc.
     
  15. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    In accordance with my horoscope for the day (which I DO NOT believe in): "Do you want to be happy or to you want to be right? Let something go in order to move on." I will be backing out of the argument that I started and will instead be cleaning house. I apologize for having posted at all.

    erin
     
  16. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I didn't even realize this was an argument...
     
  17. esquid

    esquid Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    It probably isn't and I'm just misinterpreting things because I'm feeling really crappy today.
     
  18. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    oh, yeah, and re: the original questions, I haven't read "The Temple" in so long, I have no idea; and probably wouldn't even if I re-read... Dagon was worshiped by an esoteric order in Innsmouth, IIRC. I seem to remember the D&D "Cthulhu mythos" section (before they were forced to remove it) claiming that Dagon was sort of a king of the deep ones / fish-men, all of whom were servants of Cthulhu. That may have been more based on the later Dereleth stuff, though.

    Similarly, the Call of Cthulhu (the game, not the story) book I have (which is, like, 20 years old) describes "Father Dagon and Mother Hydra" as "These are simply deep ones that have grown enormously in size and age. Father Dagon and Mother Hyrda are each over 20 feet tall." It also refers to the story "Dagon" as a reference.

    Just to make sure you know, all HPL stories are available online at http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/
     
  19. Animal Mother

    Animal Mother Architeuthis Supporter

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    Cool, so Lovecraft himself never made any direct connection between Dagon and Cthulhu but I guess I'm not an idiot for pondering on the idea.

    As for The Temple... I need to re-read it but I'm pretty sure the German man wrote comments about how the architecture was odd and like nothing he knew of in this world (like the seamen found in CoC) and the submarine had drifted South for weeks before coming to rest there...(like the ships in CoC) I see a continuation and expansion of some stories possible here.... who's gonna write it??? :)

    Someone needs to Reanimate Lovecraft!
     
  20. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Erich Orser and I do weekly!
     

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