“The Strange High House in the Mist”

And, while I work on writing up some new reviews, we return to the Lovecraft series.

Raw Feed (2005): “The Strange High House in the Mist”, H. P. Lovecraft, 1926.Dagon and Other Macabre Tales

This story has a peculiar tone and feel to it, rather unlike any other Lovecraft I can think of.

To be sure, it makes references to Lovecraft’s Dunsanian tales, the Elder Ones of the Cthulhu stories as well as a mention of Kingsport. The titular Terrible Old Man of the same story even shows up.

But the story is an odd mixture of dreamy longing to escape reality that is found in the Dunsanian tales mixed with unease and horror. You come away not knowing what you’re to think about the college professor, feeling burdened by his humdrum family and life, who climbs a hill above Kingsport to visit a terribly ancient and strange house whose only door opens on the second story and above a cliff over the sea.

The man meets the gods there, gets hints of something terrible that is not allowed to visit the house, and returns and becomes a solid citizen — dull, unimaginative, utterly uninterested in the house that once fascinated him so much. It is as if, in his visits with the gods of other worlds in that strange house, he left the vital, imaginative spark of his life there.

Some of the young men want to visit the house, but their elders and the Terrible Old Man feel that their interest will hasten the gods permanently returning to earth — including some, like the one with flapping wings who was not admitted to the house — that we don’t want.

The shortest way to summarize this story is that Lovecraft, in his High House, presents a poet in an approach-avoidance situation.


More Lovecraft related reviews are indexed on the Lovecraft page.

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

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