“ A blessed haze lies upon all this region, wherein is held a little more of the sunlight than other places hold, and a little more of the summer’s humming music of birds and bees; so that men walk through it as through a faery place, and feel greater joy and wonder than they ever afterward remember.”
-The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, H.P. Lovecraft
If one of the aims of Providence is to introduce a profound sentiment and emotional depth to an essentially rather cold and callous Mythos then this issue exemplifies this. One step further away now from the psychic and sexual assault found in the series’ sixth issue. We, and Black, find ourselves in the enchanting company of not one, but three of the Mythos’ key figures. Firstly we find ourselves in the company of Randolph Carter, by virtue of his analogue Randall Carver. Secondly we are audience to Lord Dunsany alongside our third figure H.P Lovecraft himself.
Providence really is proving to be an absolute treat to read. A delight reinforced by my recent discovery of Promethea. I’m sure if I took the time to I could find and analyse many links between these works. Perhaps one day I will. For now I am happy for the way in which Promethea has revivified and reeducated me, on so many levels, be they either magical or mundane. Indeed Promethea’s dalliances in the Immateria bolster Carver’s recounting of his conscious and unconscious forays into realms beyond the everyday. Both Promethea and Providence concern protagonists who are central to some kind of prophecy involving the potentially destructive transformation of mundane reality. That said the difference is Black is as yet wholly unaware and unburdened by his role as Sophie is immersed in hers.
One of the major themes of Promethea and something that is touched upon in this issue of Providence is the notion that we carry and have always carried within us our greatest refuge, our weapon against and tool for changing the everyday world. Our imagination. This may not be an explicit theme of this issue but the collection of iconic figures from the Mythos, who themselves have an affectation for daydream, celebrates this idea. Much in the same way the sixth issue resonated with a joy particular to all bibliophiles. We also have Black’s ongoing insistence that everything that has thus far occurred to him is purely imaginary. Black is using his imagination in the three ways mentioned above, but ultimately this is in an deceptive and inhibitory manner. Black does not actively seek to launch himself or push us all into a greater sense of perception. He is as always it seems, running away.
Let’s not however sully this issue by going over our already well established knowledge of our protagonist’s faults. Instead let us focus on the sumptuous delights this issue has on offer. There is a celebration of (amateur) journalism and publication that resonates quite deeply and profoundly with me. Since taking that gamble nearly three years ago and emailing Sequart’s editorial team I’ve been travelling on quite a profound journey. One that is as much a dream come true as Black’s is the descent of nightmare into reality. Like Black I’ve met and hopefully befriended many people, some of whom seem to inhabit quite lofty realms from my perspective of our niche little subculture(s). Figures who often carry themselves with the same self deprecating humility over titanic accomplishment as shown by our three Mythos figureheads.
Though we are witness to Lovecraft rather early in his career, we are hopefully well aware of what he will come to achieve and his enduring legacy within our world. Let alone the legacy he has in Moore’s hyper-real version of our own. Dunsany along with Poe and Machen is one of the forefathers of Yog Sothothery. His influence felt almost immediately and continuously in Lovecraft’s work after the brief if fateful encounter depicted in this issue. Lovecraft himself almost comes to lament the styles through which he comes to find his own voice.
“There are my Poe pieces and my Dunsany pieces
but, alas, where are my Lovecraft pieces?”
Lovecraft’s brief dalliances in attempting to ape the styles of others are a continuously debated aspect of Mythos academia and fandom. As much as the way in which many modern writers believe that to write their own Yog Sothothery they must ape Lovecraft. I for one love the tales that bear the influence of Dunsany. A very halcyon influence that ultimately can be found not only in Lovecraft’s vast and terrible pantheons but also in the otherworldly visions found in such semi-mundane works as Dreams In The Witch House and many of the tales of a certain Randolph Carter. Carter’s accomplishments shared with his analogue Carver are of course mythic in themselves, and he is the most consistent recurring character in Lovecraft’s work.
The embellishments Moore makes to flesh out Carver as an analogue of Lovecraft’s creation, who in himself can be thought of as an analogue of Lovecraft, further cement him as a plausibly real person. I’ve never really thought about the Mythos in this way before, but in time to come will people look on the surviving tales of nameless rites and incomprehensible horror thinking that is how we lived? Much in the same way we look at the legacies of Greek, Hindu and Norse cultures? Indeed to myself and some of the more magically or even politically minded of the acquaintances I have made through my writing, everyday does seem like a battle against titanic forces with a more liberated world as the prize, and madness, murder and oppression as the pitfall.
Within the scope of Providence’s own grand narrative this issue is actually quite a pertinent one. An event occurs that on first reading seems quite commonplace. However when we return we might very well perceive its foreshadowing and significance. At first the meeting between Blake and Lovecraft seems like an amusing little piece of tribute on Moore’s part. On closer inspection however we realise that this is actually the fulfilment of prophecy. The importance of which is perfectly exemplified by Burrows’ artwork which hearkens back to prior events in Providence and future events in The Courtyard and Neonomicon.
If after reading this issue we are left believing that this poignant sentiment of filial conviviality is something that will continue in the next issue then I am afraid we are very much mistaken. The ninth issue though continuing to follow the friendship between Black and Lovecraft firmly places us back into a world of illicit duplicity, horror, otherworldly incursion and madness …