wtorek, 28 listopada 2017


Nowadays Howard Phillips Lovecraft is a very popular horror author, although despite his popularity, little is known about him. Usually the only thing that comes to our minds when we hear his name is: Cthulhu. Well, it's a shame that such a brilliant author is now being so underrestimated by the masses, but, in the other hand, what can we expect from the masses? I guess not many people try to really understand him. I know that we can't fully meet and understand any other individual, but it's always worth a try.

Lovecraft had a really interesting life, especially childhood, which supposedly made him what he became.

Born on August 20, 1890, Providence, Rhode Island. When he was only 3, his father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft, became acutely psychotic during his business meeting in Chicago (allegedly he was screaming and claiming that "Negros are raping his wife"). Soon he came back to Providence and was placed in an asylum where he died in 1898. Through all his life, Lovecraft maintained that his father died because of paralysys brought on by nervous exhaustion. Today researchers speculate that the death of Winfield Scott was caused due to paralysys brought on by syphilis. They also question if Lovecraft had ever known about the real health condition of his father. Probably his family simply hid it from him.

Lovecraft at the age of 9

From the left: Sarah Susan Lovecraft, Howard Philips Lovecraft, Winfield Scott Lovecraft

Lovecraft's father's ancestors came to America in 1827 and settled in Canada, then in Rochester, New York.
Lovecraft's mother, Sarah Susan Lovecraft, has a richer history of origin. Lovecraft himself claimed that he was derived from George Phillips, who came to America in 1630. Lovecraft inherited his intelect from his mother's family - they were the ones who really had brains, but nevertheless, there weren't so many geniuses in Sarah's family. Lovecraft lamented it.

What's pretty interesting, althought he didn't really know him, Lovecraft inherited from his father the love for everything what's English - culture, speak, writing, authority.
He considered the English culture the best and the highest in the world. He despised all other cultures and civilizations. 

After the hospitalization of his father, little Lovecraft was being raised by his mother, his grandfather and his 2 aunts. They all lived in Providence.

From his earliest childhood Lovecraft showed that he is a genius. He could recite poetry at 3 and write his own poems at 6. His grandfather encouraged his reading by providing him with such classics as: "One Thousand and One Nights", "Iliad" and "Odyssey". He also told his grandson his own gothic horror tales.

Whipple Van Buren Phillips, Locecraft's grandfather

Lovecraft was often ill as a child and he rarely appeared at school until 8 years old. A year later he was withdrawn from his school. During this period he was a keen reader studying science, Latin and the history of Rome. 

He also suffered from sleep paralysis. It is a condition wherein one stays aware while sleeping, being simultaneously unable to move nor talk, experiencing hallucinations including hearing some voices, whispers, hissing or screaming. One may also see things that are not there, such as a supernatural creature suffocating or terrifying the individual, accompanied by a feeling of pressure on one's chest and difficulty breathing. The feeling of fear and panic is also unavoidable. 

It is believed that the "night gaunts" seen by Lovecraft during his sleep paralysis episodes were an inspiration for some of his works.

The death of his grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Philips in 1904, really affected his life. The mismanagement of Van Buren's money left Lovecraft's family in a poor financial situation. They had to move to a smaller house in the same street. 

He could not pass his exams during to a nervous breakdown. He probably wanted to study astronomy or chemistry, but he never received his high school diploma - unfortunately he could not deal with mathematics.


The adult Lovecraft was truly an image of highest distress - pale, spooky, with dark eyes. Hardly ever did he go out before nightfall. He was very reclusive, living and communicating only with his mother. In 1919 she was placed in the same asylum as her husband, which was casused due to her depression and hysteria. She had been writing many letters to her son and they had been corresponding until 1921 when she died because of the complications after the gallbladder surgery. 

A few days after his mother's death, Lovecraft attended a convention of amateur journalists in Boston, where he met Sonia Greene. They married in 1924 and relocated to Brooklyn. Greene told that Lovecraft was quite passive and she had to take the initiative in their relationship.

Some time later Greene lost her shop and got ill. Lovecraft was unemployed. Then his wife found a job that forced her to frequent trips. Lovecraft moved out to a single room apartment in Red Hook. He could not stand the fact that he's living with unemployed imigrants. Also his hatred toward foreigners increased. The poor conditions of his life in Red Hook were described by him in "The Horror at Red Hook".

In 1926 he came back to Providence. Living so long in separation, both Lovecraft and Greene agreeded to an amicable divorce.  


1. RACISM - Lovecraft was a radical racist. It is considered that his declarations of the superiority of the Aryan race (master race) over the other races were quite primitive for Lovecraft's intellect. It's a shame that such a brilliant mind was possessed by such a low ideology as racism. He declared hostility toward the black, the Jews, Indians, Greeks, Italians and Slavs. He inicially wanted to resolve this question with deportations, and if this would not help - with poisonous gas. Then his prejudices decreased, as in his novels the Poles and Italians are positive heroes (although they see everything throught the prism of their religion). 

Probably because of his racism, he is the least known fantasy writer from twentieth centure. 

Fortunately, all of this were only words, not acts. Lovecraft may have said horrible things, but his true nature was not hostile nor radical. He married a Jew, had friend of another religions and sexuality, and more. He was definitely of a gentle nature. 

2. SEXUALITY - In Lovecraft's case, there's no certainty. Lovecraft genereally disliked sex. Researchers speculate that:

- he was asexual, he didn't take pleasure in sex at all. Asexuality affects about 1% of the world population.
- he was raised up in Victorian spirit. Although he was an ateist, he appreciated puritan ideals and he thought that sex is something impure.
- he had a decreased libido due to neurosis and depressive states. He often wanted to commit suicide and also wrote many times about the aimlessness of human existence. It could be also because of his mother, who would dress him like a girl when he was little (see the family picture), and when her son was adult, she was continually telling him that he is ugly, what could really affect his psyche.

3. ABSTINENCE - Lovecraft used to wander through New York with his colleagues, but he never used to drink alcohol or smoke.

4. ATHEISM -  Lovecraft had been displaying enmity towards Christianity from his very childhood. Claimed himself that he hated religion at 5. He described himself as an agnostic or atheist. Christianity called he "Syrian chains" and the first martyrs called a "slavish mob". 

5. DIARY OF A DYING MAN - When Lovecraft was 46, the intestine cancer started to kill him. He knew he was going to die, therefore he decided to keep a diary where he would describe the process of his slow death. He didn't finish his last work, because the suffering was too overwhelming. Died on 15th March, 1937, Providence.
6. MAIN MOTIVES IN LOVECRAFT'S FICTION - Lovecraft does not have very vast range of contents, as he writes mainly about fear, what is probably due to his constant nightmares. The motives:

--- Insignificance and temporariness of human race - Lovecraft believed that humans are not the only masters of the Earth, that there was some race more powerful a long time ago. In most of his works he describes how his characters learn about this, and also that those old masters, the Great Old Ones, are not dead and want to come back, which is permanently connected by the doom of the world. His characters usually get mad, trying to stop them from returning to cosmos. 

Lovecraft was writing during the age of modernism, so his works are overloaded with this catastrophe theory and decadence.


--- Alienation, loneliness - Lovecraft was truly a loner himself, therefore in his every work there is at least one character who is a loner, a weird person lacking social skills. It is rather a man, like Lovecraft (well, Lovecraft rarely had been writing about women). It is amazing how our lifestyle affects our mind.

--- Intelectualism - being a genius, Lovecraft felt some kind of kinship with highly intelligent people. We can observe particular sciences that usualy absorb his fictional characters. This is mainly chemistry, astronomy, history, languages, mathematics. Lovecraft himself was keen on those sciences. He had been learning Arabic for example. 

When you read through Lovecraft's most famous works, you'll see that in every one of them there is a hero who is an university doctor, professor, a scientist or at least an intelectualist. This indicates that Lovecraft was fascinated by high intelligence and, being an intelectualist himself, he probably had chosen this type of character, because it is the only one he thoroughly understood and identified with.



„Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.”

It is a story of a lonely, mysterious being living in an abandoned castle. He does not know who he is nor how does he look like.

„I know not where I was born, save that the castle was infinitely old and infinitely horrible, full of dark passages and having high ceilings where the eye could find only cobwebs and shadows. The stones in the crumbling corridors seemed always hideously damp, and there was an accursed smell everywhere, as of the piled-up corpses of dead generations. It was never light, so that I used sometimes to light candles and gaze steadily at them for relief, nor was there any sun outdoors, since the terrible trees grew high above the topmost accessible tower. There was one black tower which reached above the trees into the unknown outer sky […]”

„My aspect was a matter equally unthought of, for there were no mirrors in the castle, and I merely regarded myself by instinct as akin to the youthful figures I saw drawn and painted in the books.”
​He wonders everyday about what he is and how is the world outside the castle aurrounded by old forests. One day he finds a way out and he enters the world he didn't know before. Nevertheless, he experiences a profound disappointment when he encounters a party in another castle.
„I now stepped through the low window into the brilliantly lighted room, […]. The nightmare was quick to come, for as I entered, there occurred immediately one of the most terrifying demonstrations I had ever conceived. Scarcely had I crossed the sill when there descended upon the whole company a sudden and unheralded fear of hideous intensity, distorting every face and evoking the most horrible screams from nearly every throat. […] Many covered their eyes with their hands, and plunged blindly and awkwardly in their race to escape, overturning furniture and stumbling against the walls before they managed to reach one of the many doors.”
Finally he learns who he is.
„For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men. This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.”

The story ends quite luckily for Lovecraft's standards, because the miserable outsider finds friends.

„But in the cosmos there is balm as well as bitterness, […] Now I ride with the mocking and friendly ghouls on the night-wind, and play by day amongst the catacombs of Nephren-Ka in the sealed and unknown valley of Hadoth by the Nile. I know that light is not for me, save that of the moon over the rock tombs of Neb, […] yet in my new wildness and freedom I almost welcome the bitterness of alienage.”

 "THE BEAST IN THE CAVE" - This is the first fully mature work of Lovecraft, which he wrote when he was 14 or 15. It treats about a man who gets lost while an excursion through caves. He spents a long time alone in the darkness, while the tour guide is looking for him. He starts hearing some steps, considering them not human, so he throws a stone blindly. Some time later the tour guide finds him. They both watch the strange being, wondering how lucky the man was, throwing the stone properly.


​An insane young man flees from an aylum. His doctor, Marinus Bicknell Willett, describes at the beggining of the novel Ward's illness, his extraordinary physical condition and tries to explain to us the origin of Ward's madness.

Charles Dexter Ward, when a child, is keen on the history of Providence, his hometown. He is completely absorbed by long, rewarding walks down the streets of the town (by the way, Lovecraft made some fantastic descriptions of Providence here. We can see, how much he loved it.). When a teenager, he realizes also the past of his family. He is the descendant of Joseph Curwen, a person whom the people tried to erase from history. Ward tries to learn what was so special about Joseph Curwen.

„Joseph Curwen, as revealed by the rambling legends embodied in what Ward heard and unearthed, was a very astonishing, enigmatic, and obscurely horrible individual.”

​Ward made some impressing studies on his ancestor, searching for the slightest pieces of information in every source 
Joseph Curwen spent most of his time with his strange books he brought from Europe, and chemicals he imported. He later fled to Providence where he lived until his burial in 1771.  Curwen began a merchant monopoly around Providence. By 1760 he dominated in the importation of saltpeter, black pepper, cinnamon, brassware, indigo, cotton, woolens, salt, rigging, iron, paper, and other English goods. For a time he also imported slaves for his own use, and later it was suspected that he began importing Egyptian mummies, and perhaps other dead bodies. Many of the shopkeepers in Providence relied completely on his sales.

His  odd habits disturbed the townspeople. Curwen frequently was seen in graveyards with an unusual frequency, at all times of days and seasons. He also bought heavily in strange chemicals and alchemical equipment which he used for his experiments. 
What is more, he appeared not to grow old, what really creepied the townspeople.
In 1746 Mr. John Merritt moved to Providence. Having heard of Curwen's extensive scientific library Mr. Merrit visited his house on Olney Street. Curwen's library contained many alchemical, philosophical and mathematical texts beside the normal Greek and Latin classics. Mr. Merritt was enthusiastic enough about the works that Curwen invited him to his Pawtuxet farm, somewhere were no other man had visited.
There Mr. Merrit was slightly horrified to find a collection of obscure occult texts. One book titled "Qannoon-e-Islam" actually was a copy of the dread "Necronomicon"(which will be analyzed later). The book that most disturbed Mr. Merritt was a copy of Borellus open to the middle with the passage:
"The essential Saltes of Animals may be so prepared and preserved, that an ingenious Man may have the whole Ark of Noah in his own Studie, and raise the fine Shape of an Animal out of its Ashes at his Pleasure; and by the lyke Method from the essential Saltes of humane Dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal Necromancy, call up the Shape of any dead Ancestour from the Dust whereinto his Bodie has been incinerated."
It so disturbed Mr. Merritt that he left the house as soon as he could. For ever after he could write the passage by heart.
Some people became convinced that a huge network of underground tunnels extended under the Curwen's farm. Cries, chants, and odd smells emanated from many points underground. 
During this period Curwen had begun to act more and more oddly, almost triumphant about some discovery. He spent more and more time at the farm. 

The corpse of this creature was once found near Curwen's farm.

After a huge naked body was found in January, following a cacophony of dog barks and cries not too far from Curwen's Pawtuxet farm, the group of men decided a raid was necessary. The group attacked the farm and entered the farm and the underground caverns. Curwen was killed.

The Fenner family who lived in the closest farm observed several  great flashes of light, strange inhuman, or very human cries.

​Ward, with the owners' permission, explored the house on Olney Street. Under the layer of color and concrete, he found the portrait of Curwen, which he later picked with some professional help. He hanged Curwen's portrait in his room. Ward's family, servants and doctor Willett sometimes noticed that Curwen's portrait is somehow following their steps. Moreover, he was almost the same as his descendant, except some minor details. This creepy similarity and Curwen's glance scared them off.

​The atmosphere in Ward's house soon began to worsen. Young Ward change his interests. He was not a keen historician anymore. He bagan an ocultist and a chemist. Ward spent all days alone in his room, observed by his ancestor. He created his own ocultist library and a laboratory, where he conducted experiments and spoke loud some strange formulas, just like Curwen had been doing. 

Some time later Ward goes to Europe. When he comes back, he is somehow changed. Dr Marinus Willett, being Charles' father's best friend, tries to learn about the increasing madness of Charles.

czwartek, 5 października 2017

“THE MAN WHO LAUGS” – the tale of a Goddess, a Human, an Animal, and a rich joker by VICTOR HUGO

Dea dying
     „If  only one could get out of a grief as one gets out of a city!”

Sometimes I feel abandoned, frightened, all in pain. Then I think there is no hope for me. Something lays down upon my chest, it crushes my heart. In such moment only pain embraces me, while the whole world fades, then I know I am wandering in the deepest of griefs.

Gwynplaine showing his face to the crowd
During reading this painful, sorrowful book I felt like that all the time. Loneliness, a physical and emotional pain. Can you imagine such a perfect book that it gives you all kinds of pain? Yes, here it is. Not only pain, no… a cosmic spirit of the passing centuries. People do not change as centuries past. I realized it.

I can honestly say I feel like that novel is a part of my soul. In such moments I even start believing in God. Powerful. I don’t believe that there exists a better book than this one. But what’s it about?

Gwynplaine and Dea sleeping
Gwynplaine in unbearable pain

“The wolf had thought the man what he knew – to do without a roof, without bread and fire, to prefer hunger in the woods to slavery in a palace.”

We have a little boy travelling with Comprachicos, which in Spanish means “children trade”. They  abduct or buy children in order to deform them and then sell them. The boy, Gwynplaine, has a wide smile cut through his face. The child merchants abandon Gwynplaine in a port town. He walks through ice, snow and dark streets. He encounters a frozen young woman with a yet alive child on her chest, which he saves. He tries hard to get under any roof, but the town is not hospitable for him. The only hope for him is a little carriage with a wolf guarding it.

Gwynplaine in the House of Lords
There lives an old, lonely misanthrope  - Ursus – in Latin it means “a bear”. He considers himself an Animal. The wolf beside the carriage is Homo – “a human”. Ursus takes the children and brings them up. The little girl that Gwynplaine had saved called her Dea – “ a goddess”, as in the novel she represents the superior forces of the world.

Hardquanonne's torture chamber

„The paradise of the rich is made out of the hell of the poor.”
We find here the question of poverty and injustice. Exhausting monologues of a romantic writer. It is the main topic of the book – our little bizarre family is really poor – when Gwynplaine and Dea first meet him, Ursus gives them his only food, a bowl of potatoes and a little milk. Gwynplaine is actually a peer of England, which means he is one of the richest men in the world. Circumstances have thrown him in this extraordinary condition of being mutilated and work as a joker. He does not know yet about his maternal wealth, the inheritance after his father.

Despite being poor jokers, they live in happiness and peace. Everything changes, when they come to London, when Gwynplaine is going to face his fate.

czwartek, 26 stycznia 2017

"Nikt się nie dowie, jeśli nikt nie powie"

Here are some of our comments on the spectacle we – class 3 a gymnasium- ourselves created and performed to you. We enjoyed it so much that just to remind you of it we would like to share with you our nice memories like a film presenting the music track of our performance and not only, some photos from the spectacle and naturally our posters  and the cast big photo and the programme… If you still remember it was for Peter , the boy suffering from leukemia, who you can once again  support .

Less than a month ago, our class performanced  a play for Peter.
I had a pleasure to play one of the students. so it was a lot of fun at the same time. Attempts were heavy and sometimes caused us many problems, but we hadn’t forgotten about the aim.
Rarely I played in the performances, so it was something new for me.
I would love to do it again! 
Oliwia Szwarc 3ag

I covered the trip guardian role and I'm really glad because of it. At the beginning my character was ordinary but with time it was getting more interesting thanks to changes which spontaneously came out on rehearsals. Finally, though a few short lines, boring but a little funny transformed the guide lady into a  kind of mystery.The entire spectacle had an amazing atmosphere and I absolutely  enjoyed it. And not only I -   I suppose.
I'm totally proud of our work. :D 
Karolina Sobczyńska 3 ag

I have played Kostryn’s role during our spectacle „Nikt się nie dowie, jeśli nikt nie powie”, but I think that  taking photos for  posters  and making costumes will be engraved  in my memory for a long time. It was an amazing experience which allowed me to see creating of the theatre perfomance from the backstage, M and I could make some important things by myself. 
Adrian Janicki 3ag

A tu link do fragmentu spektaklu, który warto zobaczyć :D :

A tu trochę zdjęć :) 

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