Carter, Randolph W.

   (b. 1873)
   HPL introduced the recurring character Randolph Carter in “The Statement of Randolph Carter,” in which Carter is modeled after HPL from an actual dream. In “The Unnamable,” Carter, who narrates the story, is briefly identified (by last name only) as a writer of weird fiction, like HPL. The DreamQuest of Unknown Kadathis a picaresque narrative of Carter’s adventures in his search for the sunset city of his dreams. In “The Silver Key” (written before Dream-Quest), Carter, a disillusioned man past middle age, is not so much a character as a fictional exponent of HPL’s philosophical outlook. As an elderly man, Carter finds he has “lost the key to the gate of dreams.” In a dream, his deceased grandfather (unnamed) tells him of an ancestral “silver key,” which Carter finds in the attic upon waking. Having found the key, Carter then disappears. In “Through the Gates of the Silver Key,” Carter is presumed dead, and others step in to settle his estate. The Swami Chandraputra tells of what happened to Carter following his disappearance. The Swami is revealed to be Carter himself, but residing in the body of Zkauba the Wizard from the planet Yaddith.
   The W. in Carter’s name appears only in the “stationery” that HPL and R.H. Barlow designed for HPL in June 1935. Although HPL clearly identified with Carter on many different levels, Carter is not as autobiographical a character as many others in HPL’s fiction; he is, instead, a construct representing various of HPL’s philosophical and aesthetic views.

An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. .

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