Monday, March 30, 2009

Mythos Monday - At the Wuthering Heights of Madness


Great, I'm in for it now...because of H.P. Lovecraft, I have to read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. How in the name of Yog Sothoth did this happen?

I vaguely remember the circumstances. It was yesterday, but it seems like a strange aeon ago. We were driving back from Fall River to Boston after visiting my ailing grandfather, and NPR's story on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies came on. I think I snarkily remarked about that being the only way pieces like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights could possibly be made interesting to me, because it's just a bunch of ye olde British people saying (insert blustering, throaty British sounds here).

My better half was quick to defend both books, stating I would probably like them, and mentioning that we have a copy of Wuthering Heights at home that I should read. I snickered, and tried to make like I was only joking, but I had already mentioned that I hadn't been reading enough fiction lately, so I was running out of escape routes.

"I'll tell you what," she says as I claw for a way out of this. Shit. I'm cornered now. She's gonna' challenge my manhood or something, "if you read Wuthering Heights, I'll read Lovecraft."

I smiled, because I'd been trying to get her to read Lovecraft, and also because I knew I was locked in, "Just tell me what I should read." I couldn't resist. It's a deal.

So I decided she'll read the stories of the Cthulhu Mythos. Much, much much easier said than done. There's about 4,000,000,000,000 different ideas of what stories and what authors make it up, so I had to narrow it. I decided to make her reading syllabus approximately as many pages as the Penguin Classics' version of Wuthering Heights (story text only), about 330 pages give or take. I would also limit her reading to stories written by Lovecraft.

Here is what she is reading:

At the Mountains of Madness
The Call of Cthulhu
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Dunwich Horror
The Colour Out of Space
Dagon
The Dreams in the Witch House
The Shadow Out of Time
The Whisperer in the Darkness
The Unnamable

Not completely complete...there are quite a few more, depending on how you slice it. I could have added The Nameless City simply to show where ideas for later stories like At the Mountains of Madness came from and it is, I believe, the first of his stories to mention Abdul Alhazred and the "That is not dead which can eternal lie..." line, but it shows up elsewhere. I could have easily added The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and/or The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath but it would have been almost another 200 pages, and would have necessarily meant cutting out many of the stories listed above. So the best I can hope for is that she reads the above and gets more interested. Not likely, but you never know. She resisted Patrick O'Brian for more than a year, and then got hooked. I know, I know, different genres, but one can hope.

When we got back I made one last attempt to find an easy way out of my part of the deal. They did it for Austen, maybe someone did it for Brontë. Could there be an At the Wuthering Heights of Madness? Maybe The Call of Catherine? Wuthering Heights and Fungi from Yuggoth?

No luck. Oh well, I guess I'd better grin and bear it. Stiff upper lip, you know. Wot-wot?!?!

5 comments:

B.O.B.(bob) said...

but can you do Cthulu in semaphore?

Randal Graves said...

Gasp! No Haunter of the Dark? Brontë is good stuff, your wife knows of what she speaks.

Julie said...

Yeah - Bronte and Austen aren't similar at all, but if you like Lovecraft, I think the odds are better that you'd prefer the dark and moody Wuthering Heights to anything by Jane Austen.

Chef Cthulhu said...

B.O.B - The tentacles on my cephalopod head can do multiple mythos stories at once.

Randal - It was tough picking what stayed and went, but I will strongly recommend it. Yeah, she is purdy smart.

Julie - I actually started today and found the style quite appealing.

Dr. Momentum said...

I actually enjoyed the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. It's a good story; I can't speak for how the book itself is written. But I think it's a good story.