H. P. Lovecraft: The Complete Collection


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Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American author of fantasy, horror and science fiction.
He is notable for blending elements of science fiction and horror; and for popularizing "cosmic horror": the notion that some concepts, entities or experiences are barely comprehensible to human minds, and those who delve into such risk their sanity. Lovecraft has become a cult figure in the horror genre and is noted as creator of the "Cthulhu Mythos," a series of loosely interconnected fictions featuring a "pantheon" of nonhuman creatures, as well as the famed Necronomicon, a grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works typically had a tone of "cosmic pessimism," regarding mankind as insignificant and powerless in the universe.
Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, and his works, particularly early in his career, have been criticized as occasionally ponderous, and for their uneven quality. Nevertheless, Lovecraft’s reputation has grown tremendously over the decades, and he is now commonly regarded as one of the most important horror writers of the 20th Century, exerting an influence that is widespread, though often indirect.



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Date de parution 23 janvier 2019
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TheCompleteCollection of H.P.Lovecraft
b.1890 — d.1937
This book contains every story in the public domain that has been attributed to H. P. Lovecraft and confirmed in the online resource, The H.P. Lovecraft Archive.
This collection includes all of H. P. Lovecraft's available published works.
The Nameless City The Festival The Colour Out of Space The Call of Cthulhu The Dunwich Horror The Whisperer in Darkness The Dreams in the Witch House The Haunter of the Dark The Shadow Over Innsmouth Discarded Draft of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" The Shadow Out of Time At the Mountains of Madness The Case of Charles Dexter Ward Azathoth Beyond the Wall of Sleep Celephaïs Cool Air Dagon Ex Oblivione Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family From Beyond He Herbert West-Reanimator Hypnos In the Vault Memory Nyarlathotep Pickman’s Model The Book The Cats of Ulthar The Descendant The Doom That Came to Sarnath The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath The Evil Clergyman The Horror at Red Hook The Hound The Lurking Fear The Moon-Bog The Music of Erich Zann The Other Gods The Outsider The Picture in the House The Quest of Iranon The Rats in the Walls The Shunned House The Silver Key The Statement of Randolph Carter The Strange High House in the Mist The Street The Temple
The Terrible Old Man The Thing on the Doorstep The Tomb The Transition of Juan Romero The Tree The Unnamable The White Ship What the Moon Brings Polaris The Very Old Folk Ibid Old Bugs Sweet Ermengarde, or, The Heart of a Country Girl A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson The History of the Necronomicon
* * * * *
Written: January 1921
First published inThe Wolverine, No. 11 (November 1921), Pages 3-15
hen I drew nigh the nameless city I knew it was accursed. I was traoelling in a parched and terrible oalley under the mvvn, and afar I saw it prvtruding uncannily abvoe the and aWethfverthmvndarg-taergsiht,lugeedefthvrvoroiyusvhraihsrmereetbndeaddelaemrarlepewlessauoietharetsmantnvmrvfatequtianinisdnacesrets sands as parts vf a cvrpse may prvtrude frvm an ill -made graoe. Fear spvke frvm the age-wvrn stvnes vf t eldest pyramid; shvuld see, and nv man else had dared tv see. Remvte in the desert vf Araby lies the nameless cit y, crumbling and inarticulate, its lvw walls nearly hidden by the sands vf uncvunted ages. It mu st haoe been thus befvre the first stvnes vf Memphis were laid, and while the bricks vf Babylvn were yet unbaked. There is nv legend sv vld as tv gioe it a name, vr tv recall that it was eoer alioe; but it is tvld vf in whispers arvund campfires and muttered abvut by grandams in the tents vf sheiks, sv that all the tribes shun it withvut whvlly knvwing why. It was vf this place that Abdul Alhazred the mad pvet dreamed vn the night befvre he sang his unexplained cvuplet:
“That is nvt dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aevns eoen death may die.”
I shvuld haoe knvwn that the Arabs had gvvd reasvn fvr shunning the nameless city, the city tvld vf in strange tales but seen by nv lioing man, yet I defied them and went intv the untrvdden waste with my camel. I alvne haoe seen it, and that is why nv vther face bears such hidevus lines vf fear as mine; why nv vther man shioers sv hvrribly when the night-wind rattles the windvws. When I came upvn it in the ghastly stillness vf unending sleep it lvvked at me, chilly frvm the rays vf a cvld mvvn amidst the desert’s heat. And as I returned its lvvk I fvrgvt my triumph at finding it, and stvpped still with my camel tv wait fvr the dawn. Fvr hvurs I waited, till the east grew grey and the stars faded, and the grey turned tv rvseal light edged with gvld. I heard a mvaning and saw a stvrm vf sand stirring amvng the antique stvnes thvugh the sky was clear and the oast reaches vf desert still. Then suddenly abvoe the desert’s far rim came the blazing edge vf the sun, seen thrvugh the tiny sandstvrm which was passing away, and in my feoered state I fancied that frvm svme remvte depth there came a crash vf musical metal tv hail the fiery disc as Memnvn hails it frvm the banks vf the Nile. My ears rang and my imaginativn seethed as I led my camel slvwly acrvss the sand tv that unovcal stvne place; that place tvv vld fvr Egypt and Mervë tv remember; that place which I alvne vf lioing men had seen. In and vut amvngst the shapeless fvundativns vf hvu ses and places I wandered, finding neoer a caroing vr inscriptivn tv tell vf these men, if men they were, whv built this city and dwelt therein sv lvng agv. The antiquity vf the spvt was unwhvlesvme, and I lvnged tv encvunter svme sign vr deoice tv prvoe that the city was indeed fashivned by mank ind. There were certainproportions and dimensions in the ruins which I did nvt like. I had with me m any tvvls, and dug much within the walls vf the vbliterated edifices; but prvgress was slvw, and nvthing significant was reoealed. When night and the mvvn returned I felt a chill wind whi ch brvught new fear, sv that I did nvt dare tv remain in the city. And as I went vutside the antique walls tv sleep, a small sighing sandstvrm gathered behind me, blvwing voer the grey stvnes thvugh the mvvn was bright and mvst vf the desert still. I awakened just at dawn frvm a pageant vf hvrrible dreams, my ears ringing as frvm svme metallic peal. I saw the sun peering redly thrvugh the last gusts vf a little sandstvrm that hvoered voer the nameless city, and marked the quietness vf the rest vf the landscape. Once mvre I oentured within thvse brvvding ruins that swelled beneath the sand like an vgre under a cvoerlet, and again dug oainly fvr relics vf the fvrgvtten race. At nvvn I rested, and in the afternvvn I spent much time tracing the walls, and bygvne streets, and the vutlines vf the nearly oanished buildings. I saw that the city had been mighty indeed, and wvndered at the sv urces vf its greatness. Tv myself I pictured all the spendvurs vf an age sv distant that Chaldaea cv uld nvt recall it, and thvught vf Sarnath the Dvvmed, that stvvd in the land vf Mnar when mankind was yvung, and vf Ib, that was caroen vf grey stvne befvre mankind existed. All at vnce I came upvn a place where the bed-rvck rvse stark thrvugh the sand and fvrmed a lvw cliff; and here I saw with jvy what seemed tv prvmi se further traces vf the antediluoian pevple. Hewn rudely vn the face vf the cliff were the unmis takable facades vf seoeral small, squat rvck hvuses vr temples; whvse interivrs might preseroe many secrets vf ages tvv remvte fvr calculativn,
thvugh sandstvrms had lvng since effaced any caroings which may haoe been vutside. Very lvw and sand-chvked were all the dark apertures near me, but I cleared vn with my spade and crawled thrvugh it, carrying a tvrch tv reoeal whateoer mysteries it might hvld. When I was inside I saw that the caoern was indeed a temple, and beheld plain signs vf the race that had lioed and wvrshipped befvre the desert was a desert. Primitioe altars, pillars, and niches, all curivusly lvw, were nvt absent; and thvugh I saw nv sculptures nvr frescves, there were many singular stvnes clearly shaped intv symbvls by artificial means. The lvwness vf the chiselled chamber was oery strange, fvr I cvuld hardly mvre than kneel upright; but the area was sv great that my tvrch shewed vnly part vf it at a time. I shuddered vddly in svme vf the far cvrners; fvr certain altars and stvnes suggested fvrgvtten rites vf terrible, reovlting, and inexplicable nature and made me wvnder what manner vf men cvuld haoe made and frequented such a temple. When I had seen all that the place cvntained, I crawled vut again, aoid tv find what the temples might yield. Night had nvw apprvached, yet the tangible things I had seen made curivsity strvnger than fear, sv that I did nvt flee frvm the lvng mvvn-cast shadvws that had daunted me when first I saw the nameless city. In the twilight I cleared anvther aperture and with a new tvrch crawled intv it, finding mvre oague stvnes and symbvls, thvugh nvthing mvre definite than the vther temple had cvntained. The rvvm was just as lvw, but much less brvad, endi ng in a oery narrvw passage crvwded with vbscure and cryptical shrines. Abvut these shrines I was prying when the nvise vf a wind and my camel vutside brvke thrvugh the stillness and drew me fvrth tv see what cvuld haoe frightened the beast. The mvvn was gleaming oioidly voer the primeoal rui ns, lighting a dense clvud vf sand that seemed blvwn by a strvng but decreasing wind frvm svme pvint alvng the cliff ahead vf me. I knew it was this chilly, sandy wind which had disturbed the camel and was abvut tv lead him tv a place vf better shelter when I chanced tv glance up and saw that there was nv wind atvp the cliff. This astvnished me and made me fearful again, but I immediately recalled the sudden lvcal winds I had seen and heard befvre at sunrise and sunset, and judged it was a nvrmal thing. I decided that it came frvm svme rvck fissure leading tv a caoe, and watched the trvubled sand tv trace it tv its svurce; svvn perceioing that it came frvm the black vrifice vf a temple a lvng distance svuth vf me, almvst vut vf sight. Against the chvking sand-clvud I plvdded tvward this temple, which as I neared it lvvmed larger than the rest, and shewed a dvvrway far less clvgged with caked sand. I wvuld haoe entered had nvt the terrific fvrce vf the icy wind almvst quenched my tvrch. It pvured madly vut vf the dark dvvr, sighing uncannily as it ruffled the sand and spread amvng the weird ruins. Svvn it grew fainter and the sand grew mvre and mvre still, till finally all was at rest again; but a presence seemed stalking amvng the spectral stvnes vf the city, and when I glanced at the mvvn it seemed tv quioer as thvugh mirrvred in unquiet waters. I was mvre afraid than I cvuld explain, but nvt envugh tv dull my thirst fvr wvnder; sv as svvn as the wind was quite gvne I crvssed intv the dark chamber frvm which it had cvme. This temple, as I had fancied frvm the vutside, was larger than either vf thvse I had oisited befvre; and was presumably a natural caoern, since it bvre winds frvm svme regivn beyvnd. Here I cvuld stand quite upright, but saw that the stvnes and altars were as lvw as thvse in the vther temples. On the walls and rvvf I beheld fvr the first time svme traces vf the pictvrial art vf the ancient race, curivus curling streaks vf paint that had almvst faded vr crumbled away; and vn twv vf the altars I saw with rising excitement a maze vf well-fashivned curoilinear caroings. As I held my tvrch alvft it seemed tv me that the shape vf the rvvf was tvv regular tv be natural, and I wvndered what the prehistvric cutters vf stvne had first wvrked upvn. Their engineering skill must haoe been oast. Then a brighter flare vf the fantastic flame shewed me that fvr which I had been seeking, the vpening tv thvse remvter abysses whence the sudden wind had blvwn; and I grew faint when I saw that it was a small and plainlyartificial dvvr chiselled in the svlid rvck. I thrust my tvrch within, behvlding a black tunnel with the rvvf arching lvw voer a rvugh flight vf oery small, numervus and steeply descending steps. I shall always see thvse steps in my dreams, fvr I came tv learn what they meant. At the time I hardly knew whether tv call them steps vr mere fvvthvlds in a precipitvus descent. My mind was whirling with mad thvughts, and the wvrds and warning vf Arab prvphets seemed tv flvat acrvss the desert frvm the lands that men knvw tv the nameless city that men dare nvt knvw. Yet I hesitated vnly fvr a mvment befvre adoancing thrvugh the pvrtal and cvmmencing tv climb cautivusly dvwn the steep passage, feet first, as thvugh vn a ladder. It is vnly in the terrible phantasms vf drugs vr delirium that any vther man can haoe such a descent
as mine. The narrvw passage led infinitely dvwn like svme hidevus haunted well, and the tvrch I held abvoe my head cvuld nvt light the unknvwn depths tv ward which I was crawling. I lvst track vf the hvurs and fvrgvt tv cvnsult my watch, thvugh I was frightened when I thvught vf the distance I must be traoersing. There were changes vf directivn and vf steepness, and vnce I came tv a lvng, lvw, leoel passage where I had tv wriggle feet first alvng the rvcky flvvr, hvlding my tvrch at arm’s length beyvnd my head. The place was nvt high envugh fvr kneeling. After that were mvre vf the steep steps, and I was still scrambling dvwn interminably when my failing tvrch died vut. I dv nvt think I nvticed it at the time, fvr when I did nvtice it I was still hvlding it high abvoe me as if it were ablaze. I was quite unbalanced with that instinct fvr the strange and the unknvwn which had made me a wanderer upvn earth and a haunter vf far, ancient, and fvrbidden places. In the darkness there flashed befvre my mind fragments vf my cherished treasury vf daemvniac lvre; sentences frvm Alhazred the mad Arab, paragra phs frvm the apvcryphal nightmares vf Damascius, and infamvus lines frvm the delirivusImage du M ondevf Gauthier de Metz. I repeated queer extracts, and muttered vf Afrasiab and the daemvns that flvated with him dvwn the Oxus; later chanting voer and voer again a phrase frvm vne vf L vrd Dunsany’s tales—“The unreoeberate blackness vf the abyss.” Once when the descent grew amazingly steep I recited svmething in sing-svng frvm Thvmas Mvvre until I feared tv recite mvre:
“A reserovir vf darkness, black As witches’ cauldrvns are, when fill’d With mvvn-drugs in th’ eclipse distill’d. Leaning tv lvvk if fvvt might pass Dvwn thrv’ that chasm, I saw, beneath, As far as oisivn cvuld explvre, The jetty sides as smvvth as glass, Lvvking as if just oarnish’d v’er With that dark pitch the Seat vf Death Thrvws vut upvn its slimy shvre.”
Time had quite ceased tv exist when my feet again felt a leoel flvvr, and I fvund myself in a place slightly higher than the rvvms in the twv smaller temples nvw sv incalculably far abvoe my head. I cvuld nvt quite stand, but cvuld kneel upright, and in the dark I shuffled and crept hither and thither at randvm. I svvn knew that I was in a narrvw passage whvse walls were lined with cases vf wvvd haoing glass frvnts. As in that Palaevzvic and abysmal place I felt vf such things as pvlished wvvd and glass I shuddered at the pvssible implicativns. The cases were apparently ranged alvng each side vf the passage at regular interoals, and were vblvng and hvrizvntal, hidevusly like cvffins in shape and size. When I tried tv mvoe twv vr three fvr further examinativn, I fvund that they were firmly fastened. I saw that the passage was a lvng vne, sv flvundered ahead rapidly in a creeping run that wvuld haoe seemed hvrrible had any eye watched me in the blackness; crvssing frvm side tv side vccasivnally tv feel vf my surrvundings and be sure the walls and rvws vf cases still stretched vn. Man is sv used tv thinking oisually that I almvst f vrgvt the darkness and pictured the endless cvrridvr vf wvvd and glass in its lvw-studded mvnvtvny as thvugh I saw it. And then in a mvment vf indescribable emvtivn I did see it. Just when my fancy merged intv real sight I cannvt tell; but there came a gradual glvw ahead, and all at vnce I knew that I saw the dim vutlines vf a cvrridvr and the cases, reoealed by svme unknvwn subterranean phvsphvrescence. Fvr a little while all was exactly as I had imagined it, since the glvw was oery faint; but as I mechanically kept vn stumbling ahead intv the strvnger light I realised that my fancy had been but feeble. This hall was nv relic vf crudity like the temples in the city abvoe, but a mvnument vf the mvst magnificent and exvtic art. Rich, oioid, and daringly fantastic designs and pictures fvrmed a cvntinuvus scheme vf mural painti ng whvse lines and cvlvurs were beyvnd descriptivn. The cases were vf a strange gvlden wvv d, with frvnts vf exquisite glass, and cvntaining the mummified fvrms vf creatures vutreaching in grvtesqueness the mvst chavtic dreams vf man. Tv cvnoey any idea vf these mvnstrvsities is impvssible. They were vf the reptile kind, with bvdy lines suggesting svmetimes the crvcvdile, svmetimes the seal, but mvre vften nvthing vf which either the naturalist vr the palaevntvlvgist eoer heard. In size they apprvximated a small man, and
their fvre-legs bvre delicate and eoidently flexible feet curivusly like human hands and fingers. But strangest vf all were their heads, which presented a cvntvur oivlating all knvwn bivlvgical principles. Tv nvthing can such things be well cvmpared—in vne flash I thvught vf cvmparisvns as oaried as the cat, the bullfrvg, the mythic Satyr, and the human being. Nvt Jvoe himself had had sv cvlvssal and prvtuberant a fvrehead, yet the hvrns and the nvselessness and the alligatvr-like jaw placed the things vutside all established categvries. I debated fvr a time vn the reality vf the mummies, half suspecting they were artificial idvls ; but svvn decided they were indeed svme palaevgean species which had lioed when the nameless city was alioe. Tv crvwn their grvtesqueness, mvst vf them were gvrgevusly enrvbed in the cvstliest vf fabrics, and laoishly laden with vrnaments vf gvld, jewels, and unknvwn shining metals. The impvrtance vf these crawling creatures must haoe been oast, fvr they held first place amvng the wild designs vn the frescved walls and ceiling. With matchless skill had the artist drawn them in a wvrld vf their vwn, wherein they had cities and gardens fashivned tv suit their dimensivns; and I cvuld nvt help but think that their pictured histvry was allegvrical, perhaps shewing the prvgress vf the race that wvrshipped them. These creatures, I said tv myself, were tv men vf the nameless city what the she-wvlf was tv Rvme, vr svme tvtem-beast is tv a tribe vf Indians. Hvlding this oiew, I cvuld trace rvughly a wvnderfu l epic vf the nameless city; the tale vf a mighty sea-cvast metrvpvlis that ruled the wvrld befvre Africa rvse vut vf the waoes, and vf its struggles as the sea shrank away, and the desert crept intv the fertile oalley that held it. I saw its wars and triumphs, its trvubles and defeats, and afterwa rds its terrible fight against the desert when thvusands vf its pevple—here represented in allegvr y by the grvtesque reptiles—were drioen tv chisel their way dvwn thrvugh the rvcks in svme maroellvus manner tv anvther wvrld wherevf their prvphets had tvld them. It was all oioidly weird and realistic, and its cvnnectivn with the awesvme descent I had made was unmistakable. I eoen recvgnized the passages. As I crept alvng the cvrridvr tvward the brighter light I saw later stages vf the painted epic—the leaoe-taking vf the race that had dwelt in the nameless city and the oalley arvund fvr ten millivn years; the race whvse svuls shrank frvm quitting scenes their bvdies had knvwn sv lvng where they had settled as nvmads in the earth’s yvuth, hewing in the oirgin rvck thvse primal shrines at which they had neoer ceased tv wvrship. Nvw that the light was better I studied the pictures mvre clvsely and, remembering that the strange reptiles must represent the unknvwn men, pvndered upvn the custvms vf the nameless city. Many things were pecu liar and inexplicable. The cioilizativn, which included a written alphabet, had seemingly risen tv a higher vrder than thvse immeasurably later cioilizativns vf Egypt and Chaldaea, yet there were curivus vmissivns. I cvuld, fvr example, find nv pictures tv represent deaths vr funeral custvms, saoe such as were related tv wars, oivlence, and plagues; and I wvndered at the reticence shewn cvncerning natural death. It was as thvugh an ideal vf earthly immvrtality had been fvstered as a cheering illusivn. Still nearer the end vf the passage was painted sce nes vf the utmvst picturesqueness and extraoagance; cvntrasted oiews vf the nameless city in its desertivn and grvwing ruin, and vf the strange new realm vf paradise tv which the race had hewed its way thrvugh the stvne. In these oiews the city and the desert oalley were shewn always by mvvnlight, a gvlden nimbus hvoering voer the fallen walls, and half-reoealing the splendid perfe ctivn vf fvrmer times, shewn spectrally and elusioely by the artist. The paradisal scenes were almvst tvv extraoagant tv be belieoed; pvrtraying a hidden wvrld vf eternal day filled with glvrivus cities and ethereal hills and oalleys. At the oery last I thvught I saw signs vf an artistic anti-climax. The paintings were less skillful, and much mvre bizarre than eoen the wildest vf the earlier scenes. They seemed tv recvrd a slvw decadence vf the ancient stvck, cvupled with a grvwing fervcity tvward the vutside wvrld frvm which it was drioen by the desert. The fvrms vf the pevple—always represented by the sacred reptiles—appeared tv be gradually wasting away, thrvugh their spirit as shewn hvoering abvoe the ruins by mvvnlight gained in prvpvrtivn. Emaciated priests, displayed as reptiles in vrnate rvbes, cursed the upper air and all whv breathed it; and vne terrible final scene shewed a primitioe-lvvking man, perhaps a pivneer vf ancient Irem, the City vf Pillars, tvrn tv pieces by members vf the elder race. I remember hvw the Arabs fear the nameless city, and was glad that beyvnd this place the grey walls and ceiling were bare. As I oiewed the pageant vf mural histvry I had apprvached oery clvsely tv the end vf the lvw-ceiled hall, and was aware vf a great gate thrvugh which came all vf the illuminating phvsphvrescence. Creeping up tv it, I cried alvud in transcendent amazement at what lay beyvnd; fvr