Sunday, March 21, 2010

Nyarlathotep by H.P. Lovecraft

by H.P. Lovecraft

This story (originally published in the November 1920 issue of The United Amateur) could have benefited from being slightly longer, but it's not bad for what it is. The whole of humanity begins feeling a great and inexplicable tension, which leads into political issues setting us on the verge of war.

And then comes a man by name of Nyarlathotep from out of Egypt, claiming to be an entity at least 27 centuries old. The natives of his country instinctively bow to him out of some innate sense of reverence, and Nyarlathotep travels across the world, city by city, demonstrating his vast array of supernatural abilities.

In the end, the world is united. Not in peace, but rather by fear.

This story has obvious allusions to Christianity's coming of the Anti-Christ...which seems a bit strange to me, seeing as how Lovecraft was anything but a believer. Perhaps this is the Cthulu Mythos version, one that Lovecraft's artistic side could fit in alongside his spiritual side.

Nyarlathotep appears as a character in three other Lovecraft tales and two poems, not to mention numerous mentions and references throughout his other works, which I believe makes him even more prevalent than Cthulu himself.

Even though this promising tale goes by too fast, feeling less like a whole and more like an introduction...well, maybe that's exactly what it is meant to be.


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