“The Unnamable”

The Lovecraft series continues though I actually am starting to work on drafts of new material.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Unnamable”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1923.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

This is an odd story.

I wonder if it was written for or with a real person in mind or as a response to a criticism of his writing that Lovecraft may have heard (and is still heard today): his alleged tendency (not as pronounced as some would say) to fall back on having his horrors undescribable.

The narrator, a pulp horror writer, is taken to task by his thoroughly mundane, schoolteacher friend who has a typical New Englander’s “self-satisfied deafness to the delicate overtones of life”. The schoolteacher says we can only know the world through our five senses, and, therefore, there is no such thing as an unnameable, indescribable horror.

The narrator then relates the details of a particular house and grave and, eventually, the two men who have a near fatal encounter with “an unseen entity of titanic size but undetermined nature”.

The narrator gets the satisfaction of hearing the schoolteacher, at story’s end, say Carter, it was the unnamable.”

I suspect Lovecraft scholars might argue whether the narrator is Randolph Carter (who is, after all, described as a writer in Lovecraft’s “The Silver Key“) or if this is another case of Lovecraft simply being fond of a particular New England family name — here Carter.


More Lovecraft related reviews are indexed on the Lovecraft page.

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


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