Horror Story Review: "Nyarlathotep" by H. P Lovecraft
eThis is a short prose poem, almost like a recitation of a dream. A new god, too horrible to describe, has arisen in Egypt. He looks like one of the old Pharaohs. The narrator refers to him as “crawling chaos.” Wherever he goes, dark whispers of old prophecies—not to mention destruction—follow in his wake. Yet men (and probably women, but Lovecraft doesn’t say so) are drawn the old god.
The narrator, along with his friends, go to see the god. They enter into his presence experience him and leave, each group seemingly sent in a different direction.
Lovecraft creates an atmosphere of unrelenting dread. None of the actors seem to be capable of will or of understanding the consequences of their actions. It is a nightmare not of one person, or even a group of people, but apparently of the entire civilization. One hears screams, understands the madness of those uttering the screams, but the characters in the story are not only without power to prevent the suffering of their fellows or to render aid, they’re unsure they want to or know how to.
The character of Nyarlahotep is on that would be used again by Lovecraft and others later on.
Don’t read this if you’ve had a bad day!
Title: “Nyarlathotep” written in 1920, first published in United Amateur Nov. 1920
Author: H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
Last Lovecraft review: “The Temple”
© 2015 Denise Longrie
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