Howard Phillips Lovecraft - Nyarlathotep (70.0 Kb)
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Nyarlathotep, also known as the Crawling Chaos, is a malign deity in the Cthulhu Mythos fictional universe created by H. P. Lovecraft. First appearing in Lovecraft's 1920 prose poem of the same name, he was later mentioned in other works by Lovecraft and by other writers and in the tabletop roleplaying games making use of the Cthulhu Mythos. Later writers describe him as one of the Outer Gods.In his first appearance in "Nyarlathotep", he is described as a "tall, swarthy man" who resembles an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In t... More >>>
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Nyarlathotep, also known as the Crawling Chaos, is a malign deity in the Cthulhu Mythos fictional universe created by H. P. Lovecraft. First appearing in Lovecraft's 1920 prose poem of the same name, he was later mentioned in other works by Lovecraft and by other writers and in the tabletop roleplaying games making use of the Cthulhu Mythos. Later writers describe him as one of the Outer Gods.
In his first appearance in "Nyarlathotep", he is described as a "tall, swarthy man" who resembles an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. In this story he wanders the earth, seemingly gathering legions of followers, the narrator of the story among them, through his demonstrations of strange and seemingly magical instruments. These followers lose awareness of the world around them, and through the narrator's increasingly unreliable accounts the reader gets an impression of the world's collapse. The story ends with the narrator as part of an army of servants for Nyarlathotep.
Nyarlathotep subsequently appears as a major character in "The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath" (1926/27), in which he again manifests in the form of an Egyptian Pharaoh when he confronts protagonist Randolph Carter.
The twenty-first sonnet of Lovecraft's poem-cycle "Fungi from Yuggoth" (1929/30) is essentially a retelling of the original prose poem.
In "The Dreams in the Witch House" (1933), Nyarlathotep appears to Walter Gilman and witch Keziah Mason (who has made a pact with the entity) in the form of "the 'Black Man' of the witch-cult," a black-skinned avatar of the Devil described by witch hunters.
Nyarlathotep is also mentioned in "The Rats in the Walls" as a faceless god in the caverns of earth's center.
Finally, in "The Haunter of the Dark" (1936), the nocturnal tentacled, bat-winged monster dwelling in the steeple of the Starry Wisdom sect's church is identified as another form, or manifestation of, Nyarlathotep.
Though Nyarlathotep appears as a character in only four stories and two sonnets (which is more than any other of Lovecraft's gods), his name is mentioned frequently in other works. In "The Whisperer in Darkness" Nyarlathotep's name is spoken frequently by the Mi-Go in a reverential or ritual sense, indicating that they worship or honor the entity, and in "The Shadow Out of Time" (1936), the "hideous secret of Nyarlathotep" is revealed to the protagonist during his period spent in pre-cambrian earth by Khephnes, another prisoner of the Great Race.
Despite similarities in theme and name, Nyarlathotep does not feature at all in Lovecraft's story "The Crawling Chaos", (1920/21) an apocalyptic narrative written in collaboration with Winifred V. Jackson (aka Elizabeth Berkeley).
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, known then simply as weird fiction.
HP Lovecraft was one of the early exponents of horror fantasy, best known for the series of works known collectively as the Cthulhu Mythos. He peppered his books with references to an occult work called The Necronomicon, and, as his fame grew, he was besieged by readers asking where they could find a copy of it. But the truth was that Lovecraft had invented the book and its title. He wrote in a letter of 1937: 'The name Necronomicon (necros, corpse; nomos, law; eikon, image = An Image of the Law of the Dead) occurred to me in the course of a dream, although the etymology is perfectly sound.' So the title came before everything else, and substituted, perfectly reasonably, for the work itself.
This is a game that many writers have played, and the history of literature is full of references to books that don't, in fact, exist. Margaret Atwood, AS Byatt, Dorothy L Sayers, Frank Herbert, Martin Amis, Arthur Conan Doyle and many, many others have all joined in. Some of my favourite fictional titles are from Kurt Vonnegut, who, as Kilgore Trout, writes non-existent works such as The Barring-Gaffner of Bagnialto, or This Year's Masterpiece, which are usually accompanied by helpful plot summaries. Perhaps the most notorious fictional-book-inventors have been writers such as Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges; naturally enough, since their writing often draws attention to literature as itself an artefact.
With the Necronomicon there was a difference, however. Other writers began to treat it as if it really did exist, quoting from the nonexistent work and even composing large sections of it; several Necronomicons were in fact later published, by hoaxers including L. Sprague De Camp and Colin Wilson.
Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of human-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism. Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality.
Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, who together with Edgar Allan Poe has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.