DELEUZIAN LOVECRAFT: undoing the face, esoterising the lexicon

I am dissatisfied with the analyses of those writers who create a demarcation in Lovecraft between the pure horror works and the dream cycle.

The same noetic estrangement underlies both, and the privileging of the horror over the dream excludes Lovecraft’s unitary vision of weirdness. This unitary perspective on horror and the dream can be explained in terms of Deleuze’s concept of the “weird”, which is

“the approach of a coherence that is no more our own, Man’s, than it is God’s or the World’s”.

For Deleuze, Lovecraft is an affirmative writer with an ontology of cosmic becoming, the opposite of a pessimistic misanthrope. Deleuze, like Lovecraft, seeks to think outside anthropological predicates. Neither philanthropy nor misanthropy but ex-anthropy.

One such “anthropological predicate” is the Face. Lovecraft as a child was tormented by uncontrollable facial tics, spasms and grimaces. He was also tormented by nightmares of “night-gaunts”, horrible creatures with no face. Lovecraft as a child used to lie awake at night, resisting sleep, to avoid these nightmares. But he did not spend his whole life doing so.

Lovecraft did not go mad like his father and his mother. He became a writer. He wrote down his dreams and recounted them in his letters and he created many of his stories from their inspiration. This is not pessimism but affirmation. Dreams are not a symptom. It is rather the lack of dreams or neglect of dreams that is a symptom of illness.

Another “anthropological predicate” is signifying language. It is undermined from within by means of Lovecraft’s writing techniques, for example by “esoteric words” that denote non-ordinary things. “Cthulhu”, the transcription of a word that cannot be pronounced by the human phonic apparatus, is one of Lovecraft’s equivalents of Lewis Carroll’s “Snark”. It is a weird intrusion into our anthropic language.



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2 Responses to DELEUZIAN LOVECRAFT: undoing the face, esoterising the lexicon

  1. Daniel Casey says:

    Reblogged this on Misanthropester.


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