Sunday, March 28, 2010

Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family by H.P Lovecraft

Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
by H.P. Lovecraft

Arthur Jermyn is a monster of sorts, but through no fault of his own. It is strictly an inherited trait, an ugliness brought on by the grotesque sins of his forefathers. The Jermyns were a normal but somewhat regal family until approximately 150 years ago when Arthur's great-great-great- grandfather, an intrepid explorer, returned from an African expedition with a reclusive wife and a less-than-attractive baby son.

Ever since then, each succesive generation has been slightly off in proportion, slightly grotesque in their features. Beyond this, they are also prone to madness, violent behavior, and to sucumb to unseemly fates.

Arthur, a grown man and poet and also the last branch of the Jermyn family tree, travels to Africa to look into the wild stories once told by his ancestor. What he finds is the cringe-worthy truth about his twisted little bloodline.

This tale is not told in first person, which is something of a rarity up to this point. It is also broken up into two chapters, having originally been published over the course of two separate issues (March and June 1921 issues of The Wolverine). Chapter one is mostly background information on the earlier generations of the Jermyn family, and comes off a bit dull until the twist ending of chapter two, when you realize what the point to it really was. I wonder how many readers lost interest during the original waiting period between the two halves. I probably would have.

This isn't so much a horror story as it is a disturbing one. Imagine a seedier version of a Tarzan story, told from the outside in. You won't have bad dreams after reading this one, but you probably will offer up a grimace everytime you think of it.

I know that love is blind...but sometimes it really shouldn't be.


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