May 2, 2012

Herbert West- Reanimator I : From the Dark

"We followed the local death-notices like ghouls, for our specimens demanded particular qualities. What we wanted were corpses interred soon after death and without artificial preservation; preferably free from malforming disease, and certainly with all organs present."

In which the narrator begins the tale of his long association with Herbert West, pioneer in the science of reanimation of the dead. Why must they scream so?

"Herbert West-Reanimator" was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was serialized and published in six parts in the amateur publication Home Brew between February and July of 1922. Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi notes that "Herbert West–Reanimator" is "universally acknowledged as Lovecraft's poorest work." Though it was adapted for a very popular 1985 film staring Jeffrey Combs, arguably and ironically the best film adaptation of Lovecraft to date.

The narrator here differs from Lovecraft's typical narrators in that he is complicit in the horrors described to a greater degree than usual. Much of the comedy comes from his blase attitude when describing grisly deeds. Yet at the same time he becomes more horrified as West pushes his limits. His sensibilities are somewhere between that of West and the reader.

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