• Slime and Western Man: H. P. Lovecraft in the Time of Modernism

      Carlin, Gerry; Allen, Nicole; Simmons, David (2016-04-06)
      In 1931, Salvador Dali produced one of the most famous and influential paintings of the modern era. “The Persistence of Memory” depicts “melting” watches. The piece epitomizes Dali’s interest in the notions of “softness” and “hardness,” and in it, time is firmly located within the former category. The painting was part of The Museum of Modern Art’s 1936/7 program entitled: “Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism.” The exhibition secured Surrealism’s nationwide renown in the United States. However, “The Persistence of Memory” is more than a famous piece of avant-garde antirationalism; it is also a powerful emblem, the immense fame of which established an abiding public perception of a synonymous, perhaps almost exclusive, relationship between modernist art movements and the artistic/creative community’s response to the disintegration of former scientific certainties. However, the appeals of such glimpses into the unknown were also demonstrably taken up by (at least) one less overtly avant-garde writer. In fact, the collapse of the notion of a fixed cosmic chronology shapes H. P. Lovecraft’s formulation of what should constitute weird fiction.