“Two Black Bottles“

“Two Black Bottles“
   Short story (4,870 words); written in collaboration with Wilfred Blanch Talman, June–October 1926. First published in WT(August 1927); first collected in HM(1970 ed.); corrected text in HM The first-person narrator, a man named Hoffman, comes to examine the estate of his uncle, Dominie Johannes Vanderhoof, who has just died. Vanderhoof was the pastor of the small town of Daalbergen in the Ramapo Mountains (located in northern New Jersey and extending into New York State), and strange tales were told of him. He had fallen under the influence of an aged sexton, Abel Foster, and had taken to delivering fiery and daemoniac sermons to an everdwindling congregation. Hoffman, investigating the matter, finds Foster in the church, drunk and frightened. Foster tells a strange tale of the first pastor of the church, Dominie Guilliam Slott, who in the early eighteenth century had amassed a collection of esoteric volumes and appeared to practice some form of demonology. Foster reads these books himself and follows in Slott’s footsteps—to the point that, when Vanderhoof dies, he takes his soul from his body and puts it in a little black bottle. But Vanderhoof, now caught between heaven and hell, rests uneasily in his grave, and there are indications that he is trying to emerge from it. Hoffman, scarcely knowing what to make of this wild story, now sees the cross on Vanderhoof’s grave tilting perceptibly. Then seeing two black bottles on the table near Foster, he reaches for one of them, and in a scuffle with Foster one of them breaks. Foster shrieks: “I’m done fer! That one in there was mine! Dominie Slott took it out two hundred years ago!” Foster’s body crumbles rapidly into dust.
   Judging from HPL’s letters to Talman, it seems clear that HPL has not only written some of the tale— especially the parts in dialect—but also made significant suggestions regarding its structure. Talman had evidently sent HPL both a draft and a synopsis—or, perhaps, a draft of only the beginning and a synopsis of the rest. HPL recommended a simplification of the structure so that all the events are seen through the eyes of Hoffman. In terms of the diction, HPL writes: “As for what I’ve done to the MS.—I am sure you’ll find nothing to interfere with your sense of creation. My changes are in virtually every case merely verbal, and all in the interest of finish and fluency of style” ( SL2.61). In his 1973 memoir Talman reveals some irritation at HPL’s revisions: “He did some minor gratuitous editing, particularly of dialog… After re-reading it in print, I wish Lovecraft hadn’t changed the dialog, for his use of dialect was stilted” ( The Normal Lovecraft[Gerry de la Ree, 1973], p. 8). This may have led Talman to downplay HPL’s role in the work, for there are many passages beyond the dialect parts that clearly reveal his hand.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab — Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, also known as BPAL, is an online company selling perfume oils. BPAL is owned by Elizabeth Moriarty Barrial and Brian Constantine, and is based in Los Angeles, California, United States. EthicsBlack Phoenix Alchemy Lab… …   Wikipedia

  • Black Friday (Maldives) — Black Friday (Dhivehi: ކަޅު ހުކުރު), August 13, 2004, was the crackdown by the Maldivian National Security Service (NSS) mdash; later Maldivian National Defence Force mdash; on a peaceful protest [ [http://news.amnesty.org/index/ENGASA290042004… …   Wikipedia

  • Black Comedy — is a one act play by British dramatist Peter Shaffer, first performed in 1965. The play is, suitably enough, a black comedy in which the effect loss of light would have on a group of people who all hold things from each other is explored; as such …   Wikipedia

  • Two and a Half Deaths — Infobox Television episode Title = Two and a Half Deaths Series = Caption = Season = 8 Episode = 16 Airdate = Start date|2008|05|08 Production = Writer = Chuck Lorre Lee Aronsohn Director = Alec Smight Photographer = Guests = Katey Sagal Diedrich …   Wikipedia

  • New Black Panther Party — Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz Founded 1989, Dallas, Texas, by Aaron Michaels …   Wikipedia

  • The Black Museum — was a 1951 radio crime drama program produced by Harry Alan Towers for the BBC and based on real life cases from the files of Scotland Yard s Black Museum. Ira Marion was the scriptwriter, and music for the series was composed and conducted by… …   Wikipedia

  • Bravo Two Zero — Infobox Military Conflict conflict= First Gulf War,1991 partof=the Gulf War caption= date= 22 January 1991 place= Baghdad,Iraq result= British victory combatant1=Britain combatant2=Iraq commander1=Andy McNab commander2=Saddam Hussein strength1=8… …   Wikipedia

  • Marlon Black — Personal information Full name Marlon Ian Black Born 7 June 1975 (1975 06 07) (age 36) California, Trinidad and Tobago Batting style Right handed Bowling style Right arm fast medium …   Wikipedia

  • The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions — Infobox Book name = The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket illustration by Gahan Wilson for The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions author = H. P. Lovecraft illustrator = cover… …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep No More (anthology) — Infobox Book name = Sleep No More title orig = translator = image caption = Dust jacket from the first edition author = edited by August Derleth illustrator = Lee Brown Coye cover artist = country = United States language = English series = genre …   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.