a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
In this story, Walter Gilman, a mathematics graduate student at Miskatonic
in Arkham, Mass, rents a room in the famed haunted "Witch House" of Keziah
a witch who legend says escaped being burned at the stake by opening a gate into
fourth dimension. Walter starts to have strange dreams and happenings as he
to connect his mathematical studies with the magic of Keziah Mason. He dies a
death in the end...
first read this story when I was 13 and have read it several times since. Now 27 years later I still think its a great story and one of HPL's best. The math/geometry is an excellent idea but not central to the story.
As in many of Lovecraft's stories, here again the basic idea is already given on the first pages and discarded as rumor and superstition, only to be verified in the end. Apart from this, the story is reasonably well written and can still give a little chill.
The mathematics is a jumble of buzzwords from Special and General Relativity, but do not show comprehension on the author's side: Lovecraft seems to be confused about the difference between the physical content of the theories of relativity and their mathematical formulation in differential geometry. He repeatedly refers to ``other dimensions'' which can be accessed somehow by elaborate calculations and at one point the protagonist is said to be ``near the boundary between the known universe and the fourth dimension'' with his calculations, thus showing a lack of understanding of both geometry and relativity.
Note that this was apparently filmed for a TV series called `Masters of Horror'' in 2005. See here for more info about that.
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(Maintained by Alex Kasman,
College of Charleston)