Cthulhu Mythos stories written in non-English languages

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Cthulhu Mythos stories written in non-English languages

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Jun 11, 2008, 8:27 am

The great Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges was an admirer of H.P. Lovecraft, and his late short story collection The Book of Sand contains a Cthulhu Mythos story, "There Are More Things", which is dedicated to the memory of H. P. Lovecraft.

I don't think this is one of Borges' best stories, but it made me wonder: what other Cthulhu Mythos stories have been written in languages other than English?

Any suggestions?

Jun 16, 2008, 12:20 am

Well, apparently, the Japanese are really into Lovecraft. Three volumes of Japanese Lovecraftian stories have been translated and published stateside under the name of Lairs of the Hidden Gods.

Sadly, even though I think other Latin American authors have written fiction with Lovecraftian tones, I'm not familiar of anyone outside Borges consciously writing intenionally Lovecraftian stories. (Leopoldo Lugones' "Origins of the Flood" is pretty Lovecraftian, and I've often thought of Cortazar's "Axolotl" as sort of obliquely so.)

The Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño has an essay by the name of "Los Mitos de Cthulhu" in his collection El Gaucho Insufrible, but it has nothing to do with HPL.

Jun 16, 2008, 8:37 am

Thanks very much for this information, CarlosMcRey. Your review of El Gaucho Insufrible doesn't suggest a reason why Bolaño named the essay "Los Mitos de Cthulhu" - was the name chosen entirely in the spirit of surrealism, or can you see some connection between the essay and the Cthulhu Mythos?


Jun 16, 2008, 10:43 pm

"Los Mitos de Cthulhu" is Bolaño's rather sardonic take on the state of contemporary Hispanic literature, so there's definitely no direct connection between it and HPL. It might be in the spirit of surrealism, but I think it's intentionally trying to make a point.

Googling Lovecraft and Bolaño turns up, among other things, this abstract. (It's about halfway down the page.)

"As an example, I first elucidate how Mario Vargas Llosa's nouvelle Los Cachorros (1967) (The Cubs (1989)) was read at the moment of its publication, that is, as a social critique of Latin American society, with an underpinned assuredness of literary intelligentsia as the vanguard of social progress. Secondly, I show how the Horror genre -in Bolaño's case H.P Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu was particularly relevant- allows a new interpretation in which the literary intelligentsia has no place whatsoever in the history of Latin American societies. Thus, this change in practices of reading Vargas Llosa's story makes evident the epistemological spin that Bolaño was always so eager to show with respect to Latin American -and European- present and future."

Sadly, I haven't been able to find the paper itself anywhere.

Jun 17, 2008, 8:49 am

Thanks for posting this, Carlos. The other interesting thing about the abstract is that is says, in the paragraph before the one you quoted,

"... But if those (European) models originally pertained to the High-Brow culture and literature when the "Boom" was en vogue -and of which J.L. Borges was the paradigmatic reader and reviewer-, Bolaño reads those novels from a viewpoint closer to that of the mass-culture consumer, specifically the reader of horror stories."

This is ironic, given that Borges not only wrote a Cthulhu Mythos story, but was a keen proponent of Poe, Chesterton and detective fiction. Borges did not limit himself to the avowedly high-brow.


Nov 15, 2008, 1:44 pm

A little more Cthulhu Mythos related news from the Spanish-speaking world. On one of my web searches trying to investigate horror stories, especially of the Lovecraftian sort, in South America, I managed to turn up the name Rafael Llopis. He's a Spaniard who translated and published the works of Lovecraft in Spanish, as well as several anthologies of horror stories.

He also wrote his own collection of stories, called El novísimo Algazife o Libro de las Postrimerías, which translates very roughly as The New Algazife or the Book of the End Times, that the author describes (again, rough translation) as an "unclassifiable book which suggests a new understanding of the Egyptian and Cthulhu mythos, which approaches, along with vampires, extraterrestrials and enchanted moors, a dance macabre such as those of the previous millenium." http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_Llopis

Sadly, the book appears to be about as difficult to obtain as an authentic Necronomicon.

Editado: Nov 15, 2008, 1:57 pm

I do know German author Wolfgang Hohlbein wrote an entire series "Der Hexer" with strong Lovecraftian ties. Unfortunately my German is not such that I read it for pleasure, so I couldn't comment.

p.s.: Touchstone not working - that would be : http://www.librarything.com/author/hohlbeinwolfgang

Mar 9, 2009, 5:41 pm

There are now 4 volumes in the Japanese Cthulhu Mythos collection "Lair of the Hidden Gods". For my money, these are essential reading for readers with Lovecraftian tendencies. The translations are a bit awkward in places, but this does not detract greatly from the impact of these tales. The beauty of these tales is that the cultural heritage of Japan is wildly different to us Brits and our cousins across the pond, so Cthulhu and his pals are written about in significantly different ways. As an illustrative example, there's a great story about the impact of the enmity between Cthulhu and Hastur and it's effect upon world events; I shall say no more. Recommended.

Another real goodie that's just turned up is a collection of the short stories of one Hanns Heinz Ewers, a very strange man who wrote equally strange tales. See www.siderealpress.co.uk for details. Again, recommended.

Nov 8, 2011, 3:47 pm

Roland C. Wagner's Celui qui bave et qui glougloute (french, roughly "That which drools and gurgles") is a Mythos pastiche with Farwest and Steampunk elements too.