Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Music of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft

The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories:
by H. P. Lovecraft
Penguin Classics (2001), Paperback, 464 pages

The Music of Erich Zann was written December 1921.
An university student rents an apartment in an almost empty building. Another tenant of the building is an old German man named Erich Zann.
Erich is mute and plays melodies ‘never heard before.’ Erich tells to the student that he has discovered sounds of an otherworldly nature. But Erich’s main reason to play these melodies is to keep back from his window unknown creatures looking ‘illimitable blackness.’

‘Then I remembered my old wish to gaze from this window … It was very dark, but the city’s lights always burned, and I expected to see them there amidst the rain and wind. Yet when I looked from the highest of all gable windows, looked while the candles sputtered and the insane viol howled with the night-wind, I saw no city spread below, and no friendly lights, gleaming from remembered streets, but only the blackness of space illimitable; unimagined space alive with motion and music, and having no semblance to anything on earth.’ (page 51)

Lovecraft can hear from the space without end the planet’s motion: a music indescribable with words.

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