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The Shadow Over Innsmouth by H. P. Lovecraft This book is available for free download in a number of formats - including epub, pdf, azw, mobi and more. The Shadow over Innsmouth. H.P. Lovecraft. This web edition published by [email protected] Last updated Wednesday, December 17, at To the. "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. Written November- December , the story was first published in April ;.
There was nothing for it. I was going to have to go to Innsmouth. His skin was rough and scabby and the sides of his neck were shrivelled and creased up.
He looked at me for longer than was necessary and finally shook his head. The first look of mild intelligence crossed his amphibian features.
He walked around the counter, picked up my valise, and started up the stairs. I weighed my options, but decided it was late and probably the best thing for me would be to rest and recuperate from the long hours spent on the train. I wedged a rickety chair under the door knob. The chair looked old enough that Captain John Smith may have put the grooves in the seat with his very own buttocks.
I expected at any moment to have some horrendous beast burst through the door intent on my eminent destruction. I tossed and turned. The musty smell of the room and the general stuffiness of the high humidity was driving me to distraction. Finally out of desperation, I decided to leave the uncertain safety of my room for a brisk walk around the town.
Few lights offered any help in determining a surefooted way. Luckily, the moon was full and illuminated a choice of paths. I decided that a walk down to the shoreline was probably my only hope of relaxation.
The smell of the salt air did clear my head. I peered out at the water and thought about the stories that Robert had told me.
My fear was that his mind was cracking and that the unfortunate circumstances of his uncle might be one he currently shared. I noticed that the waves were being disturbed, that something, possibly wreckage from some unfortunate vessel, was coming ashore.
They were alive with a teeming horde of shapes swimming inward toward the town; and even at my vast distance and in my single moment of perception I could tell that the bobbing heads and flailing arms were alien and aberrant in a way scarcely to be expressed or consciously formulated. I wanted to scream, but only an inhuman gurgle was able to traverse the constriction of my throat. My legs, fortunately, responded, and soon I was fleeing at a helter skelter pace up the pathway to the hotel.
There were several of them waiting for me outside the hotel, but I flailed my way through them, shuddering every time my fist or my boot came in contact with their foul, nauseating flesh. Works Of H. At the Mountains of Madness. Lewis Carroll. The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories. Lovecraft Illustrated.
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Arthur Conan Doyle. Waking Up Screaming. Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos. The Dream Cycle of H. Dreams of Terror and Death. The Complete H. Lovecraft Collection. Henry James.
Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. James Turner. The Watchers Out of Time. August Derleth. The New Annotated H.
Leslie S. The Road to Madness. The Randolph Carter Collection. Complete Works of H. Lovecraft "The Master of Horror Fiction". Supernatural Horror in Literature. Shadows of Death. Oscar Wilde. The Penny Dreadfuls.
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Weird Shadows Over Innsmouth. Stephen Jones.
The Dream Cycle. Rats in the Walls. Shadow over Innsmouth. The Whisperer in Darkness: Collected Stories Volume One.
Winged Death Illustrated Edition. Horror Stories. Welcome to Lovecraft: The Early Works. How to write a great review. The review must be at least 50 characters long. The title should be at least 4 characters long. Your display name should be at least 2 characters long. August Derleth coined the umbrella term Cthulhu Mythos for the fictional universe of Lovecraftian lore in which ancient alien deities, the Great Old Ones like Cthulhu and Azathoth and their human worshippers, upset the long-standing ethnic and cultural conventions of New England communities like Arkham, Dunwich, and Innsmouth.
Horrendous Hybridity 8 eroded the levees and allowed the sea to encroach onto the land, encumbering its crumbling houses and deserted streets with barren, salty marshes.
They have the ability and desire to reproduce with humans, whereafter the resulting children slowly transform into hybrid beings who slowly turn into immortal Deep Ones and finally return to the sea. In exchange for the interbreeding, they provide for supernaturally crafted gold jewelry and an abundance of fish.
Regarding their geographic place in the epistemology of Americanness, port towns like Innsmouth appear especially vulnerable to intrusions from the Orient. As a result, Innsmouth acts like a frontier or buffer zone between the United States and their system of clearly defined racial hierarchies—between the ruling WASPs, African Americans, Native Americans, and the various ethnic groups of immigrants—and a seemingly chaotic and racially ambiguous world that threatens to overthrow this finely tuned internal balance.
In contrast to the naive Columbian perspective of divine exploration, profitable trade, and exotic adventures,7 the Oriental image here changes into an unstable entity whose space can no longer be controlled effectively.
Thus, instead of existing as a purely imaginary location of limitless fantasies, the Orient appears as a source of degeneracy. Horrendous Hybridity 10 effectively becomes a domain of contagious otherness produced by the repercussions of colonialism and imperialism, through which the self-image of American whiteness as a harbinger of civilization comes apart.
This coming-apart then threatens to spill over the shores of the homeland via immigration of uprooted subaltern others as well as the return of war-damaged soldiers that might carry the infectious inhumanity of the Orient. These contagious beliefs have in fact set in motion a spiritual downward spiral of the town that precedes the physical transformation of its residents.
Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. About 1, men, women and children were reported killed. Horrendous Hybridity 11 to the transformation of its population.
Jacques Le Goff describes this seductive and taboo-breaking effect of the Indian Ocean region: The weirdness of [the Oriental] world produced an impression of liberation and freedom. The strict morality imposed by the Church was contrasted with the discomfiting attractiveness of a world of bizarre tastes, which practiced coprophagy and cannibalism; of bodily innocence, where man […] rediscovered nudism and sexual freedom; and where, once rid of restrictive monogamy and family barriers, he could give himself over to polygamy, incest, and eroticism.
As long as its existence was contained at the margins of Western civilization, all that what was monstrous about it served as a fantastic area of escapism where the white male American identity could find safe release for its repressed appetites for sexual excess and uncontrolled freedom. The Oriental other appeared monstrous because it functioned as a kind of alter ego of the own self, which foreshadowed how the world could be like if people solely acted upon their fantasies.
The stereotype of the cunning, static, and lewd Oriental thus worked both as a powerful warning of what would happen if the West lost its moral and civilized high ground, and as a confirmation of its righteousness. Horrendous Hybridity 12 with China, Japan, and other Asian nations—and the advent of American imperialism at the turn of the century, gradually diminished the geographic distance needed to uphold this fiction. Second, in the insight that what makes the monster so threatening is precisely that it subverts the convenient categories of exoticism, otherness, and escapism that were constructed to contain and isolate it from the safe spaces of Western civilization: What happens to the people of Innsmouth cannot be rationalized and normalized through pseudo-scientific methods like phrenology that try to derive objective racial categories from external features like interocular distances or cranial shapes.
On the contrary, towns like Innsmouth are cordoned off ethnic conservatories in which any normative aberration becomes a source of outrage and horror. Traditions, conventions, and local idiosyncrasies lose their familiarity and hegemonic status. Categorical commingling and epistemic in-betweenness complicate the world beyond simple dichotomies and cultural uniformity.
Innsmouth has become a racialized space of crisis. Cthulhu fhtagn! Any such rules—from mathematical principles, biological naming of species, geographic measurements to poetic meters—are encoded in written language. Following generations can decode and build upon these findings in order to verify, falsify, or improve them, thus further increasing the orbit of rationality. This sets in motion another essential gearwheel of Western identity: dynamic progressivism.
As a result, any rule-conform action that generates dynamic progress, either for the individual or society at large which can be tantamount, for instance through taxation , is acknowledged as an expression of rationality and hailed as meaningful.
By doing so, language becomes a powerful agent of social cohesion as it defines all native speakers Horrendous Hybridity 14 of a language as belonging to a semantic community who share the same signifiers to make sense of the world around them. Many of the most crucial traits of a supposedly Western or American character find their explanation in the workings of language as the fictional space through which meaning and identity are produced and validated.
Language shares an intimate relationship with the concept of rationality, the backbone of Western societies, culture, and science that projects an infallible perspective from which the world, including any irrational others, can be observed, measured, and categorized as civilized or uncivilized.
This understanding of rationality goes back to Max Weber, who distinguished between four idealized types: practical, theoretical, formal, and substantive rationality. As a remedy, the language of the colonizer becomes the lingua that can supposedly enable the colonized subaltern to think and act rationally, namely to submit themselves to the hegemony of rationality.
In his book Racial Subjects, David Goldberg states: [L]anguage assists in the domestication of the native or racialized people and culture, imposing the order of the Logos upon the presumed flux of a people supposedly lacking rationality and the Geist of world history […].
The Logos borne by European language is supposed to drag primitive society into the modern, the rational, the historical. If linguistic coherence constitutes the cornerstone around which rational and Horrendous Hybridity 15 meaningful existences are imagined and performed, the introduction of conflicting elements into this discursive framework might appear as threatening or even horrifying.
This kind of unchecked import of others who speak in unknown tongues has lead to the town being shunned by its neighboring communities Arkham and Ipswich. Instead, it has transformed into an indeterminate and uncanny uncharted sphere, whose Arkham neighbors hesitate to speak about Innsmouth or even mention its name for the same reason they do not speak about the devil himself: Because mentioning something that lies outside the discourse of rationality also means to elicit doubts about the stability of said discourse.
The anomaly of elements that are foreign to the soil has penetrated even the most basic fabric of society, namely its common understanding through a shared language. But the text also provides more subtle hints for this process of linguistic devolution, for example via the usage of metonymy in surnames like Marsh and Gilman. The semantic emptiness of the term itself signifies nothing about the individuals who exhibit this particular exterior, but merely hints at some mutual stigmata that distort their appearance and separate them from normal-looking folk.