2010-07-26

[VNS] Day 1 - The Science within Dagon

Vacation Necronomicon School - Assignment #1

Our initial assignment concerns ruminations on the scientific aspects of Lovecraft's fiction, specifically within the story Dagon. Here are mine...



In reading several authors of the era, I find that Lovecraft uses science to supplement those elements of classical education that his contemporaries relied upon to evoke the sense of Unknown. Another aspect of this habit that appears to be overlooked by modern readers is that he was always trying to incorporate the latest scientific findings of his age into the mix. Archaeology and Astronomy were headline news of the day, and so the unnamed protagonist of Dagon recalls the then-uncovered ruse of Piltdown Man as scientific fact to help try and measure the age of the surfaced temple to the fish-god.

Also, the most horrific characteristics of the creature he encounters are not the tremendous size and scales. It instead displays traits shared by people of faith; bowing its head, and chanting in "...certain measured sounds." Religion and spirituality scare the author, as much as the expanding frontiers of science in his age did. Lovecraft was rooted in the past, and those things he did not understand or did not fit into his preferred time-frame kept him on edge.

Science is just another part of reality that scares him; he uses it to effect in Dagon.