The Black Mass: The Outsider by H P Lovecraft

Join us on Fri­day at a lit­tle after 12 noon or 4pm Pacif­ic time, 8pm or mid­night in the UK , for anoth­er episode in the land­mark radio dra­ma series The Black Mass, cre­at­ed by the late Erik Bauers­feld and his col­leagues at the Paci­fi­ca radio sta­tion KPFA in Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, over fifty years ago. In 30 chill­ing tales of mys­tery, imag­i­na­tion and the human mind, The Black Mass brings you some of literature’s most haunt­ing sto­ries, by mas­ters of the craft — many of whom are best-known in oth­er fields.

Note that the pro­gramme will not begin until the track play­ing at the top of the hour has fin­ished, so the actu­al start time of the episode will be a few min­utes after the hour.

Today: The Outsider by H P Lovecraft

The Out­sider” is a short sto­ry that Love­craft wrote between March and August 1921, it was first pub­lished in Weird Tales, April 1926. In this work, a mys­te­ri­ous indi­vid­ual who has been liv­ing alone in a cas­tle for as long as he can remem­ber decides to break free in search of human con­tact and light. “The Out­sider” is one of Love­craft’s most com­mon­ly reprint­ed works and is also one of the most pop­u­lar sto­ries ever to be pub­lished in Weird Tales.

“The Out­sider” com­bines hor­ror, fan­ta­sy, and goth­ic fic­tion to cre­ate a night­mar­ish sto­ry, con­tain­ing themes of lone­li­ness, the abhu­man, and the after­life. Its epi­graph is from John Keats’ 1819 poem “The Eve of St. Agnes”.

Wikipedia says of HPL:

Howard Phillips Love­craft (US:  August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an Amer­i­can writer of weird and hor­ror fic­tion, who is known for his cre­ation of what became known as the Cthul­hu Mythos.

Born in Prov­i­dence, Rhode Island, Love­craft spent most of his life in New Eng­land. He was born into afflu­ence, but his fam­i­ly’s wealth dis­si­pat­ed soon after the death of his grand­fa­ther. In 1913, he wrote a crit­i­cal let­ter to a pulp mag­a­zine that ulti­mate­ly led to his involve­ment in pulp fic­tion. Dur­ing the inter­war peri­od, he wrote and pub­lished sto­ries that focused on his inter­pre­ta­tion of human­i­ty’s place in the uni­verse. In his view, human­i­ty was an unim­por­tant part of an uncar­ing cos­mos that could be swept away at any moment. These sto­ries also includ­ed fan­tas­tic ele­ments that rep­re­sent­ed the per­ceived fragili­ty of anthropocentrism.

The Black Mass art­work was cre­at­ed by Ter­ry Lightfoot.