“Evil Clergyman, The“

   Letter excerpt (1,720 words); probably written in the fall of 1933. First published (as “The Wicked Clergyman”) in WT(April 1939); first collected in BWS;corrected text in D
   The unnamed narrator explains how he is ushered into an attic chamber by a “grave, intelligentlooking man” who tells about someone referred to only as “he,”who used to live in the place. The man sternly adjures the narrator not to stay after dark nor to touch the object on the table, which looks like a matchbox. Then the man leaves the narrator alone. Examining his surroundings, the narrator finds it filled with old books of magic and alchemy. At length, he props the matchbox-like object against a book and shines his flashlight—which emits a peculiar violet light—upon it. The narrator senses another person in the room—a man attired in the “clerical garb of the Anglican church” who appears subtly evil-looking. This person begins throwing the books into the fireplace. Then others in clerical outfits appear; they seem to be passing some judgment upon the evil-looking clergyman. After they depart, the clergyman takes up a coil of rope, mounts a chair, and with a strange look of triumphhangs himself. The narrator then lurches backward down the stairwell. Shortly thereafter a group of people come into the room, including the man who had first led the narrator into the place. He at once realizes that the narrator has fiddled with the box, for the narrator, in outward appearance, now bears the countenance of the clergyman.
   The “story” is an account of a dream described in a letter to Bernard Austin Dwyer. HPL remarks in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith (October 22, 1933) that “Some months ago I had a dream of an evil clergyman in a garret full of forbidden books” ( SL4.289–90), and it is likely that the dream was recounted to Dwyer at this time or slightly earlier. Some of the imagery and atmosphere are reminiscent of “The Festival,” although the dream takes place in England. Un like “The Thing on the Doorstep” and other tales, this dream-fragment does not involve mindtransference but transference of a very physical sort: because the protagonist unwisely handled the small box that he had specifically been told not to touch, he summoned the “evil clergyman” and somehow effected an exchange of external features with him, while yet retaining his mind and personality. It is difficult to say how HPL would have developed this conventional supernatural scenario.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Evil Clergyman — is an excerpt from a letter written by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft in 1933. After his death, it was published in the April 1939 issue of Weird Tales as a short story.The letter, to his friend Bernard Austin Dwyer, recounted a… …   Wikipedia

  • The Seal of Confession —     The Law of the Seal of Confession     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Law of the Seal of Confession     In the Decretum of the Gratian who compiled the edicts of previous councils and the principles of Church law which he published about 1151,… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Thirteen Problems — infobox Book | name = The Thirteen Problems title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket illustration of the first UK edition author = Agatha Christie cover artist = Not known country = United Kingdom language = English series = genre =… …   Wikipedia

  • The Jealous God — is a novel by John Braine which was first published in 1964. Set in the early 1960s among the Irish Catholic community in a small Yorkshire town, the book is about a 30 year old mummy s boy and his attempts at liberating himself from his… …   Wikipedia

  • The Carmelite Order —     The Carmelite Order     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Carmelite Order     One of the mendicant orders.     Origin     The date of the foundation of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been under discussion from the fourteenth century to …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Relapse — The Relapse, or, Virtue in Danger is a Restoration comedy from 1696 written by John Vanbrugh. The play is a sequel to Colley Cibber s Love s Last Shift, or, Virtue Rewarded . In Cibber s Love s Last Shift , a free living Restoration rake is… …   Wikipedia

  • The Mavis Bramston Show — Format Satire, comedy Starring Gordon Chater Carol Raye Barry Creyton Miriam Karlin Noeline Brown Ronnie Stevens Ron Frazer Bryan Davies June Salter Reg Livermore …   Wikipedia

  • The War of the Worlds — War of the Worlds redirects here. For the various other adaptations, see Adaptations of The War of the Worlds. For other uses, see The War of the Worlds (disambiguation). The War of the Worlds   …   Wikipedia

  • The Fountainhead — Fountainhead redirects here. For other uses, see Fountainhead (disambiguation). The Fountainhead   …   Wikipedia

  • The Female American — Infobox Book | name = The Female American; or, The Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield image caption = author = Anonymous (Unca Eliza Winkfield, pseud.) illustrator = cover artist = unknown country = United Kingdom language = English series =… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.