We take individual occurrences from the past and string them together into connected events, then project that line into the future. On a very deep level, narratives are how i know, or think i know, what to expect next. Theyre how i end up fearing what I fear. Milan Kundera extends this point. The Unbeararable lightness of being, discussing, anna karenina : Early in the novel, Anna meets Vronsky in curious circumstances: they are at the railway station when someone is run over by a train. At the end of the novel, Anna throws herself under a train. This symmetrical composition — the same motif appears at the beginning and the end — may seem quite novelistic to you, and i am willing to agree, but only on condition that you refrain from reading such notions as fictive, fabricated, and untrue to life. Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion.
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Consultation of the text reveals that, in spite of hpls assertions to the contrary, the story was significantly adulterated in its appearance in Astounding Stories, specifically in paragraphing. Other errors appear to be the result of Barlows inability to read hpls handwriting. See robert ice, the mischief out of Time, crypt. 4 (Eastertide 1982 27, 30; Darrell Schweitzer, lovecrafts favorite movie, ls nos. 19/20 (Fall 1989 2325, 27; Will Murray, buddai, crypt. 75 (Michaelmas 1990 2933; shi, the genesis of The Shadow out of Time, ls no, 33 (Fall 1995 2429; paul Montelone, the vanity of Existence in The Shadow out of Time,. 34 (Spring 1996 2735. Dysfunctional Families: books on Tape, posted by Abi sutherland at 03:02. Ive been thinking a lot about internal narratives lately. Theyre a tool that we humans often use make sense of the world.statements
In a highly unusual maneuver (hpl never circulated his drafts) he sent the manuscript to august Derleth barbing and then expressed irritation that Derleth apparently made no attempt to read the crabbed text. Then, while visiting rlow in Florida in the summer of 1935, hpl asked Derleth to send him the manuscript, as Barlow wished to read. In fact, barlow surreptitiously typed the story. When hpl sent the typescript for circulation among his correspondents, the first recipient, donald Wandrei, instead took the story. Orlin Tremaine of Astoundingafter he learned of Julius Schwartzs sale of At the mountains of Madnessto the magazine. Tremaine accepted it forthwith, apparently without reading. The manuscript of the story—formerly in the possession of Barlow, to whom hpl had given it— surfaced in 1994.
It is difficult to imagine what this sixteen-page version could have been like. The disquisition about the Great Race must have been radically compressed, and this is what clearly dissatisfied hpl about this version. He came to realize that literature this passage, far from being an irrelevant digression, was actually the heart of the story. What then occurred is a little unclear: Is the second draft the version we now have? In late december he speaks of a second version that fails to satisfy me ( SL5.86) and is uncertain whether to finish it as it is or to destroy it and start afresh. He may have done the latter, for long after finishing the story he declares that the final version was itself the 3d complete version of the same story ( SL5.346). Hpl was highly dissatisfied with the story and was disinclined to type.
Now then they get hold of a really competent man of learning, annex all his thoughts. Usually they only keep their victims tranced for a short time, but once in a while, when they need some special piece of continuous information, one of their number sacrifices himself for the race actually changes bodies with the first thoroughly satisfactory victim he finds. The victims brain then goes back to 100,000. C.—into the hypnotists body to live in Lomar for the rest of his life, while the hypnotist from dead aeons animates the modern clay of his victims. ( SL4.2526) This passage is"d at length to show both that hpl made significant alterations in the finished story—the mind of the Great Race rarely remains in a captive body for the rest of its life but only for a period of years, after. Hpl began writing of the story in late 1934. He announces in november: I developed that story mistily and allusivelyin 16 pages, but it was. Thin and unconvincing, with the climactic revelation wholly unjustified by the hash of visions preceding it ( SL5.71).
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Perhaps a significant literary influence can be found in hpls own works. The story could be thought of as an exhaustive expansion of the notion of possession by an extraterrestrial being as found in beyond the wall of Sleep (1919). Minor allusions to other older stories appear, since many were being published only for the first time at the time hpl was writing The Shadow out of Time. The storys amnesia motif makes for a provocative autobiographical connection. Peaslees amnesia dates from 1908 to 1913, the exact time when hpl himself, having had to withdraw from high school, descended into hermitry. The inability of the alien inhabiting peaslees body to control its facial muscles may correlate to the facial tics that hpl suffered at that time.
Hpl experienced considerable difficulty in writing the story. The core of the plot had been conceived as early as 1930, emerging from a discussion between hpl and Clark Ashton Smith regarding the plausibility of stories involving time travel. Hpl noted: The weakness of most tales with this theme is that they do not provide for the recording, in history, of those inexplicable events in the past which were caused by the backward time-voyagings of persons of the present future ( SL3.217). At that time he already envisioned the cataclysmic ending: One baffling thing that could be introduced is to have a modern man discover, among documents exhumed from some prehistoric buried city, a mouldering papyrus or parchment written in English, in his own handwriting. By march 1932 hpl had devised the basic idea of mind-exchange over time, as outlined in another letter to Smith: I have a sort of time idea of very simple nature floating around in the back of my head, but dont know when I shall. The notion is that of a race in primal Lomar perhaps even before the founding of Olathoe in the heyday of Hyperborean Commoriom—who gained a knowledge brown of all arts sciences by sending thoughtstreams ahead to drain the minds of men in future ages—angling in time.
Berkeley squareis based on a play of that title by john lderston (1929). It tells the story of Peter Standish, a man in the early twentieth century who is so fascinated with the eighteenth century—and in particular his own ancestor and namesake—that he somehow transports himself literally into the past and into the body of his ancestor. Hpl detected two problems with the execution of the idea: (1) Where was the mind or personality of the eighteenth-century peter Standish when the twentieth-century peter was occupying his body? (2) How could the eighteenth-century peters diary, written in part while the twentieth-century peter was occupying his body, not take cognizance of the fact ( SL4.36264)? In his story hpl seems to have striven to obviate these difficulties.
Other, smaller features in The Shadow out of Time may also have literary sources. Peaslees alienation from his family may echo walter de la mares novel The return(1910 in which again an eighteenth-century personality seems to fasten itself upon the body of a twentieth-century individual, causing his wife to cease all relations with him. Leonard Clines The dark Chamber(1927 in which a man attempts to recapture his entire past, is perhaps the source for the vast archives of the Great Race. Clines protagonist, richard Pride, keeps an immense warehouse full of documents about his own life, and toward the end of the novel the narrator frantically traverses this warehouse before finding Pride killed by his own dog. Two other influences can be noted if only to be dismissed. It has frequently been assumed that The Shadow out of Time is simply an extrapolation upon Wellss The time machine. Hpl read the novel in 1925, but there is little in it that has a direct bearing on his story. Olaf Stapledons Last and First Men(1930) has been suggested as an influence on the enormous stretches of time reflected in the story, but hpl did not read this work until August 1935, months after the tales completion (see hpl to august Derleth, august 7, 1935;.
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Second, there is Henri berauds obscure novel lazarus(1925 which hpl owned and thesis which he read in 1928 (hpl to august Derleth, february 1928;., shsw). The novel presents a man, jean mourin, who remains in a hospital for sixteen years (for the period 1906 22) while suffering a long amnesia. During this time he develops a personality (named Gervais by the hospital staff) very different from that of his usual self. Every now and then this alternate personality returns; once mourin thinks he sees Gervais when he looks in the mirror, and later he thinks Gervais is stalking him. Mourin even undertakes a study of split personalities, as peaslee does, in an attempt to come to grips with the situation. The third dominant influence is the film Berkeley square(1933 which enraptured hpl by its portrayal of a man whose mind somehow drifts back into the body of his ancestor in the eighteenth century. This source in particular may have been critical, for it seems to have supplied hpl with suggestions on how he might embody his long-held belief (expressed in Notes on Writing weird Fiction) that conflict with timeseems to me the most potent and fruitful theme. Hpl first saw Berkeley squarein november 1933. Initially he was much taken with the fidelity with which the eighteenth-century atmosphere was captured; but on seeing the film again, he began to detect some flaws in conception.
to discern whether his dreams are only dreams or some monstrous reality is to find the account he dreamed he had written for the archives of the Great Race. After a laborious descent he comes to the place and does indeed find his own record. Reflecting afterward, he writes: no eye had seen, no hand had touched that book since the advent of man to this planet. And yet, when I flashed my torch upon it in that frightful megalithic abyss, i saw that the queerly pigmented letters on the brittle, aeon-browned cellulose pages were not indeed any nameless hieroglyphs of earths youth. They were, instead, the letters of our familiar alphabet, spelling out the words of the English language in my own handwriting. The basic mind-exchange scenario of the tale derives from at least three sources. B.Drakes The Shadowy Thing(1928; first published in England in 1925 as The remedy which also influenced The Thing on the doorstep.
He dreams that his mind has been placed in the body of an entity shaped like a ten-foot-high rugose cone, while that entitys mind occupies his own body. These creatures are called the Great Race because they alone had conquered the secret of time: they have perfected a technique of mind-exchange with almost any other life-form throughout the universe and at any point in time—past, present, or future. The Great Race had established a colony on this planet in Australia 150,000,000 years ago. Their minds had previously occupied the bodies of another race but had left them because of some impending cataclysm; later they would migrate to other bodies after the cone-shaped beings were destroyed. They had compiled a voluminous plan library consisting of the accounts of all the other captive minds throughout the universe. Peaslee writes an account of his time for the Great Races archives. Peaslee believes that his dreams of the Great Race are merely the product of his esoteric study during his amnesia; but then an Australian explorer, having read some of peaslees articles on his dreams in a psychological journal, writes to him to let him know. Peaslee accompanies the explorer, robert ckenzie, on an expedition to the Great Sandy desert and is stunned to find that his dreams may have a real source.
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Novelette (25,600 words written november 10, 1934 to february 22, 1935. First published in Astounding Stories(June 1936 first collected in O;reprinted in DH;corrected and annotated text (based on recently discovered ams hippocampus Press, 2001. Nathaniel Wingate peaslee, a professor of political economy at Miskatonic University, experiences a sudden nervous breakdown on may 14, 1908, while teaching a class. Awaking in the hospital after a collapse, he appears to have suffered amnesia so severe that it has affected even his vocal and motor faculties. Gradually he relearns the use of his body and, indeed, develops tremendous mental capacity, seemingly far beyond that of a normal human being. His wife, sensing that something is gravely wrong, refuses to have anything to do with father's him and later obtains a divorce; only one of his three children, wingate, continues to associate with him. Peaslee spends the next five years conducting prodigious research at various libraries around the world and also undertakes expeditions to various mysterious realms. Finally, on September 27, 1913, he suddenly snaps back into his old life: when he awakes after a spell of unconsciousness, he believes he is still teaching the economics course in 1908. Peaslee is now plagued with dreams of increasing strangeness.