Spyders in the context of its tradition

Zompist today gives an intelligent newb’s impression of first encountering H.P. Lovecraft (specifically, the classic At the Mountains of Madness). I think he may also have inadvertently summed up some people’s reaction to The Spyders of Burslem (which is imagined as written by an old man in 1919). Especially if they’re not aware of the tradition that Spyders arises from, and are instead expecting a speed-read supermarket novel…

“What stands out about both stories is the narrative technique, which I find so antiquated that it’s hard to deal with. Bluntly, the narration hides the good stuff as long as possible. It approaches the theme from way off, teases us with ambiguous details, goes out of its way to suggest that there may be rationalistic explanations or it may all be mad hallucinations. This was kind of standard for the period, of course, but Lovecraft takes it to an extreme. I let him go on and on, but I think it’s not to modern tastes.”


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