“The Music of Erich Zann”

Raw Feed (2005, 2014): “The Music of Erich Zann“, H. P. Lovecraft, 1921.Dunwich Horror and Others

Another early story that shows Lovecraft operating in a less characteristic way than he was to become famous for.

This is another European story in that its locale is vaguely European. The only specific geographical reference is to Rue d’Auseil street yet the language of the narrator is unstated as is his purpose for being in the city.

The story is less explicit than Lovecraft’s most famous stories; it is almost entirely a mood piece.

The Rue d’Auseil, supernaturally disappearing and abutting alternate dimensions, is an extreme example of the lost Pickman apartment in Lovecraft’s “Pickman’s Model“.)

And yet, there is something of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror here in that Erich Zann, whose motives are never made clear, seems to look out his window at cosmic dimensions and play his strange, original music as much to keep monsters at bay as call denizens of the cosmos to him.

On again reading the story in 2014, I noticed some extra things.

Rue d’Auseil seems, at least for the narrator and Zann, to be a place of psychic sickness. The narrator describes himself as unwell in his metaphysical studies.

It’s still unclear whether Zann is calling or repelling the denizens of the other dimension.

This is the Lovecraft story where the menace is closest to a normal city – in a city in the open at a height and just over a wall. That wall and height also bring to mind Lovecraft’s “Strange High House in the Mist”.


More reviews of Lovecraft are indexed on the Lovecraft page.

More reviews of fantastic fiction are indexed by title and author/editor.

11 thoughts on ““The Music of Erich Zann”

  1. The Past Due Book Review May 16, 2017 / 6:38 pm

    This was one of my favorite Lovecraft stories because it depends so much upon the mood he creates. Great post!

    • marzaat May 16, 2017 / 9:43 pm

      Glad you liked it.

      There have been at least a few sequels of sorts to “The Music of Erich Zann”: James Wade’s “The Silence of Erika Zann” (from 1976 and featuring a psychedelic rock band in San Francisco), Jack Bonansinga’s “Black Celebration” (1996 and a direct sequel), and Charles Yu’s “The Concierto of Senor Lorenzo” (a direct sequel with an attempt to recreate Zann’s music in Manila).

  2. Pingback: “He” | MarzAat

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.