“The Shadow over Innsmouth” (1936)


H. P. Lovecraft (writer).


I couldn’t ask for a finer treatment of the motif of interbreeding with fish people, which remains a silly idea. The sea here represents women as in “The Horror at Martin’s Beach” (1923). In the last twist, Lovecraft sublimates his recurring motif of a white man discovering a non-white ancestor—“Facts concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family” (1921)—or spouse—“Medusa’s Coil” (1930)—and cleans out the literal racism. I wonder whether the excellent result, akin to the ending of “The Temple” (1920), illustrates the feeling he was going for in the overtly racist works.

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