Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Tree

Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Tree

H.P. Lovecraft’s The Tree is not one of my favorites among his stories. It’s so short it goes by in a breeze, so it seems unfair to pick on it, though. The main problem with it, to me, is that — like many readers it seems — I simply couldn’t figure out the incredibly dry irony of the whole piece, in which it seems that the sculptor is (SPOILER) but actually really he’s (SPOILER). For years I didn’t have a clue what the story was about. And yet when I finally did figure it out, thanks to S.T. Joshi I think, the story simply changed from head-scratching and inscrutable to simple & obvious. Maybe the final word of the story should not have been not “Oiao” but “PSYCH!!!”

I do like Ancient Greece, though, so that’s in its favor. The whole Greco-Roman era is fascinating to me — it’s a shame Lovecraft never expanded his very promising and creepy Ancient Roman horror dream, “The Very Old Folk,” into a full story. (Though Frank Belknap Long did his own Derlethian ‘posthumous collaboration’ with it and used the dream as a small part of his novel The Horror from the Hills.) I also appreciate the minor detail that Lovecraft is a materialist to the last and, even in this very straightforward revenge-from-beyond-the-grave story, the tree which grows from the sculptor’s grave grows from the *head* of the sarcophagus. Only from the brain, the seat of intelligence, can such seeds grow…

Over at the King of RPGs site, I’ve just started a new long storyline, so it’s a good time to jump onboard! And if you’d like me to illustrate an even more obscure story than “The Tree,” commission a sketch and I’ll do it! I may draw the line at “The Street,” though.

Discussion (2)¬

  1. Night-Gaunt says:

    Yes a peculiar little story.

  2. Lulugh says:

    I really never tghouht there was anything you could do to eradicate him. You’d need a lantern, and maybe some extra lamp oil and matches to try to set him afire. What would you need to call up a rival to do it for you?