Ужас на малки глътки, Любомир Николов

Дом на екипа, който превежда, популяризира и продуцира български художествени текстове в чужбина.

Ужас на малки глътки, Любомир Николов

Postby stanev » Sat May 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Направих един превод за упражнение.

Small shots of fear

The life and works of H. P. Lovecraft

Preface to collected short stories by him

It was in the years after Chernobyl, when the media silence was beginning to break, that we first heard strange, eerie tales about the full scale of that disaster. Abandoned towns, mutations in animals and people, abnormal weeds of incredible shapes and colors… it all sounded like weird fiction. And at the same time I felt like I’ve read something like this before, that I somehow know that indiscernible, numb fear that saturated the distant lands of the Ukraine and Belarus.

And then I remembered a novel, and a name: “The color out of space” by Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Of course, written in 1927, it didn’t feature radiation. But all else was in it, almost word for word. Lovecraft, this Dostoyevsky of weird fiction, had anticipated the collision of man’s helplessness with the monstrous forces of nature that bring something worse than death.

His personal life is a short story. Born 1890, he has lived in Providence, Rhode Island all his life till his death in 1937, leaving it only once. Fate has not been kind to him – illness, poverty, a failed marriage… Lovecraft sought to find salvation in an imaginary world, the unique world of mysterious space horror.

Lovecraft occupies a place in American literature between two celebrated masters of horror – Edgar A. Poe and Stephan King. But his literary work differs from theirs in that it is centered around one main idea which we meet time and again in every short story, novel and novelette of his: we are not alone in the universe. Beyond space and time there exist mysterious worlds inhabited by incredibly alien and monstrous entities. Contact with them spells madness and death, spawns off ominous and enigmatic cults, shatters our perception of reality and dream. From time out of mind people have been visited by these alien beings, and the memory thereof was preserved in ancient sagas and manuscripts.

The weird charm of these tales is hidden in their persuasiveness. Lovecraft has created his own mythology, the Cthulhu mythos. Cthulhu is an alien being from Outer space, creator of fearful religion that mixes cruelty and magic with incomprehencible otherworldly science. Everyone who seeks this forbidden knowledge loses his human image or his reason, as with the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred whom Lovecraft invented. One fact speaks volumes about the persuasiveness of this myth: there are, even today, readers who search for Alhazred’s book “Necronomicon” in libraries – a fictional book never written by a fictional character.

Certainly, we could find dozens of authors in modern literature that give you creepier chills than Lovecraft. But that is the vulgar, immediate fear of the vampire behind the corner, of the spree killer at the doorstep, or the infernal demon. Lovecraft is above that. His horror stories are actually not as much about fear as about the angst of the reasonable man who pursues forbidden knowledge no matter the cost of his arrogance. And it’s thus that Lovecraft’s stories get a hint of shadowy poetry to them – a poetry we know from Poe but elevated to a new, almost scientific level. And the action doesn’t take place in distant lands or in past times, but almost in our time – almost behind the corner. And nobody can restrain himself from taking a peak – even knowing it may cost him his reason.

French writer and explorer of ancient myths Jacques Bergier has perhaps put it best: “Reading Lovecraft takes strong nerves. It’s like a strong liquor best tasted in small shots. But it gives us the whimsical pleasures of that “totaly otherworldly” Einstein spoke about.”

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