Both Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft were known for their tales of horror, shocking discoveries and mysterious characters. Lovecraft was known to have mimicked Poe’s style in his popular horror stories of the early 20th century. Poe, one of the most famous writers of short stories and poems in the 19th century, amazed readers with his rich descriptions and chilling plots. Neither disappoint in two of their stories: Poe’s “Tale of the Ragged Mountains” and Lovecraft’s “The Outsider.” Although these are not the most famous of each authors’ works, scholars often debate over the meaning and themes of each story. One common theme in both the stories is the shocking discovery made by the characters. In “The Outsider,” the narrator discovers his true identity by glancing into a mirror as he explores his new world. “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” tells both of Bedloe’s discovery of the similarity of Oldeb’s past to his own, as well as the narrator’s discovery of who Bedloe might actually be, himself. The common thread between the two lies in those discoveries, and also in the entrance of each to a new, foreign world; however their personal reactions to their respective discoveries are very different.
In his “Outsider,” H.P. Lovecraft tells the story of a man who lives in a dark, musty world, void of any light. His entire knowledge comes from the thousands of books that line the dark wet castle he inhabits. Since he has never seen another person, he can only imagine the human language or what he himself looks like. After scaling a tall tower, he stumbles into a world above his, on a night with a clear moon. His joy i...
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...ered the writer and his style. Their similarities are common in many of their stories. The themes of these two works are no exception, and share many mutual points, despite the plot differences.
Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. “The Outsider.” H.P. Lovecraft Library. 1921. 6 Nov. 2002 < http://www.gizmology.net/lovecraft/works/outsider.htm>.
Mosig, Dirk W. “The Four Faces of The Outsider.” Discovering H.P. Lovecraft. Ed. Darrell Schweitzer. Mercer Island, Washington: Starmont House, 1987.
Philippon, Daniel J. “Poe in the Ragged Mountains: environmental history and Romantic aesthetics.” Southern Literary Journal 30.2 (1998): 1-16.
Poe, Edgar Allan. “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains.” 1844. Rev. 29 Jun. 1999. http://www.literature.org/authors/poe-edgar-allan/atale.html (15 Nov. 2002).
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