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From: "Chris" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Doomed men's manuscripts
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 23:08:23 +0000

This kind of thing was a staple with Lovecraftian fiction. The device might 
go way further back than that, but it seems to me that just about every 
Cthulhu story I've seen consists of a short lead-in by the skeptical editor 
who finds (or is given) the manuscript, then the manuscript itself often 
(but not always) ending abruptly, with suitable editor's notes at the end to 
wrap things up with some comment about how he doesn't believe the story, or 
the body was never found, etc.

It doesn't seem unreasonable that Wolfe might have been deliberately going 
for a bit of a Lovecraft atmosphere.


"Indeed it is hard to grasp why it hasn't already given birth... to its 
hero, that demon who will stage without scruple that horrifying play that 
reduces the whole age to laughter and to unconsciousness of the fact that it 
is laughing at itself." -- Soren Kierkegaard

>I've always thought that this was a great ending, even if the idea of the
>hero scratching away at his journal while the Monster climbs the stairs and
>enters the room is patently ludicrous. (If only he had had a dictaphone!)
>But you don't have any doubt that the hero is going to meet An Awful Fate.
>There are similarities with the ending of "The Tree is my Hat", but Wolfe, 
>far more sophisticated artist, says much less, and ends his narrative well
>before his hero actually encounters the fatal thunderstorm.
>Incidentally, Hodgson provides a frame story to explain exactly how he and
>his friend discovered the doomed man's manuscript, which he then "edited"
>for publication. Wolfe does a little of this TBotNS, but provides no such
>account for "The Tree is my Hat".

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