Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review: The Temple by H.P. Lovecraft

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

The Temple (1920) is narrated as a found manuscript written by Lieutenant Commander in the Imperial German Navy, Altberg and during WWI.
The manuscript describes the last days of Altberg and his U-boat before sinking at the bottom of the ocean.
After defeating a British freighter, Altberg and his crew find a dead body with a strange piece of carved ivory in his pocket. One of Altberg’s officers keeps the object, but soon after a series of unexplained accidents occurs.
Altberg survives after his crew, but he doesn’t manage to con the U-boat and lands at the bottom of the ocean.
Altberg discovers that he is surrounded by the remains of an ancient city: Atlantis?

Lovecraft spoils this story when he describes Altberg’s germanophile feeling.
‘But the story is significant in postulating an entire civilization antedating humanity and possibly responsible for many of the intellectual and aesthetic acievements of humanity.’ (from explanatory notes by S.T. Joshi, page 374)

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