Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Terrible Old Man

Lovecraft Sketch MWF: The Terrible Old Man

“The Terrible Old Man” is so totally a Dunsany pastiche: although it’s set in the real world (or Kingsport at least), it’s exactly in the style of Lord Dunsany’s “bad fates that befall thieves” stories, including “The Probable Adventure of the Three Literary Men,” “The Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweler,” and “The Bird of the Difficult Eye.” Gary Myers would go on to write several more stories in this style. I sometimes wonder what inspired Dunsany to start the formula, and whether he himself was pastiching some earlier, fairy-tale plot.

Also, there’s a new page of The Deadliest P.R. Guy in the World over at King of RPGs!


Discussion (4)¬

  1. Ken Kobori says:

    Tales of rotters who come to suitably dire fates never go out of fashion. Lovecraft’s restrained (for HPL) use of irony here also put me in mind of Ambrose Bierce.

    The more I read of these early tales, the more I find myself enjoying the universe Lovecraft slowly reveals in them, the archaic quaintness contrasting with the terror and hints of cosmic vastness if you look too closely. His Dreamland will probably never be as popular as the Cthulhu Mythos: that’s understandable, but also a shame. Your depictions of HPL’s “earlier travels” have made me re-evaluate them…Thank you!

  2. Have you read Dunsany? His work is inconsistent, but his middle-period stories in “The Book of Wonder” and “A Dreamer’s Tales” are so great!! And the story “The Hashish Man” is clearly a huge influence on “Celephais”. I can’t believe Joshi called it “lame” (maybe because of the ending, spoilers spoilers).

  3. Ken Kobori says:

    I’ve read some of Dunsany’s Tales of Jorkens, but not much else by him (though I have The Complete Pegana waiting to be read). Right now I’m into volume 3 of The Collected Stories of William Hope Hodgson. Great stuff!

  4. Jason says:

    Hodgson is great! Dunsany is great too, but I definitely prefer his earlier work to his later Jorkens stories. (Though “The Gods of Pegana” is perhaps not as good as his middle work.) I haven’t read his later novels, though.

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