May 14, 2012

History of the Necronomicon

"Alhazred dwelt in Damascus, where the Necronomicon (Al Azif) was written, and of his final death or disappearance (738 A.D.) many terrible and conflicting things are told. He is said by Ebn Khallikan (12th cent. biographer) to have been seized by an invisible monster in broad daylight and devoured horribly before a large number of fright-frozen witnesses."

In which we learn the terrible history of the dreaded Al Azif.

Lovecraft wrote this pseudo-history of his famous non-existent book in 1927 and it was first published by The Rebel Press in 1938. Lovecraft claimed that the name "Necronomicon" had come to him in a dream and interpreted the Greek to translate into English as "an image of the law of the dead". Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi argues that a more accurate translation would be "book considering (or classifying) the dead." It has also been interpreted as "the book of dead names". Sam Rami's The Evil Dead features the book, here translated as simply "the book of the dead".

It has been put forth that Lovecraft borrowed the idea for referencing a terrible, fictional text from R.W. Chambers' The King In Yellow, though Lovecraft is not thought to have read this until 1927. The first reference to the Necronomicon occurs in Lovecraft's short story The Hound written in 1922. Lovecraft does reference The King in Yellow in this pseudo-history, identifying the Necronomicon as an inspiration for Chambers.

A 1993 film starring Jeffrey Combs is titled "Necronomicon" as is a very graphic graphic novel written by Alan Moore. H.R. Giger's Necronomicon is something to behold. Necronomici are everywhere!

I took some liberties with the text here actually (gasp!) adding a few lines. I was thinking of something along the lines of the sex education sketch from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. I also included a nifty piece of background music courtesy of Kevin McLeod.

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