chapter  4
27 Pages

The ‘Thing’ Keeps Coming Back: Modern and Postmodern Nondescripts

As will be discussed in relation to the stories, ‘The Unnamable’, and ‘The Colour out of Space’, the imaginaries of Lovecraft’s writing envisage a cosmic horror that is not a commonplace experience of the horrifi c. Due to its limitless and cosmic nature, it is much closer to the experience of sublime terror. In arousing a sense of cosmic horror, Lovecraft initiates strategies that

implicate the unknown and the unknowable, generating a sense of mystery that is at once uncanny and sublime. Hull argues that the author did not rely on obvious devices such as comets and monsters smashing into the earth in the evocation of this sense of cosmic fear. Instead of off ering us aliens and monsters in the vein of those represented in popular invasion narratives of the period (such as H. G. Well’s The War of the Worlds), Lovecraft’s cosmic horror was ‘achieved through devices that would, he hoped, feel completely foreign and unknown to the reader’ (Hull 2006: 10). Lovecraft’s conception of a ‘Thing’ from another world was not another uncanny dark double. Instead it embodied the very idea of the alien as an absolute Other: a monstrous ‘Thing’ that is impossible to name and represent.