Friday, November 2, 2012
Review: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Please note: This novella is part of The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft, a copy of which omnibus can be picked up at the CthulhuChick website by anyone who wishes to have one.
Synopsis (slightly altered for correctness): Set in Providence, Rhode Island, the story concerns the fate of Charles Dexter Ward, a young man from a well-to-do family who has been installed in a mental asylum. The family doctor searches for the reason behind Ward's madness, learning in the process that he spent several years looking for the grave of his malignant ancestor Joseph Curwen -- a necromancer and mass murderer rumored to have resurrected the dead to torture secrets from them.
My Thoughts: I have slightly changed the synopsis, as the one found here was incorrect; the doctor was not searching for the missing Ward, he was searching for the reasons behind Ward's madness. Like most of Lovecraft's stories, this one deals with themes of forbidden knowledge, the dangerous lengths to which people will go to achieve such knowledge, and the disastrous results of discovering what you were not meant to know. Brooding and atmospheric, Lovecraft is certainly not for everyone, but I found his use of elegant language and almost-forgotten words to be a wonderful anodyne to the modern world.
View all my reviews