The Veiled Face: Hyperbole and Reticence in Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Fantastic Genre and Horror Literature

  • Stefano Lazzarin University Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne (France)
Keywords: Fantastic genre, horror literature, hyperbole, reticence, H. P. Lovecraft.


This paper analyses some of the stories of H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), considering them as part of a certain line of nineteenth- and twentieth-century fantastic genre and horror literature. This literary tradition plays with – and reflects on – the rhetorical devices of hyperbole and reticence. In the texts examined by the author, what cannot be represented is chased throughout the story and is finally revealed, but only to leave room for an irresolvable ambiguity. It is as if the hyperbole, by pushing language beyond its extreme limit, would suddenly turn into reticence. The last horror, unnameable and unthinkable, is nothing more than an empty signifier.


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Author Biography

Stefano Lazzarin, University Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne (France)

Stefano Lazzarin has been Associate Professor (Maître de Conférences) in Italian Language, Literature and Culture at the University Jean Monnet in Saint-Étienne (France) since 2001. His research interests are in all forms of supernatural literature: the fantastic genre, horror literature, science fiction, magic realism. He is the author of four books: Il modo fantastico [The Fantastic Literary Mode], Rome-Bari: Laterza, 2000; L’ombre et la forme. Du fantastique italien au XXe siècle [The Shadow and the Form. On the Fantastic in Twentieth-Century Italian Literature], Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2004; Fantasmi antichi e moderni. Tecnologia e perturbante in Buzzati e nella letteratura fantastica otto-novecentesca [Old and New Ghosts. Technology and the Uncanny in Buzzati and Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature of the Fantastic], Pisa-Rome: Fabrizio Serra Editore, 2008; Il Buzzati ‘secondo’. Saggio sui fattori di letterarietà nell’opera buzzatiana [The ‘Second’ Buzzati. Study on the Literary Factors in Buzzati’s Work], Rome: Vecchiarelli, 2008. He is also the editor of La critique littéraire du XXe siècle en France et en Italie [Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism in France and Italy], Caen: Presses Universitaires de Caen, 2007.



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How to Cite
Lazzarin, S. (2014). The Veiled Face: Hyperbole and Reticence in Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Fantastic Genre and Horror Literature. Between, 4(7).
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