Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

June 9, 2013
Filed under: Online Audio 

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Alethia Phrikodes by H.P. Lovecraft

Alethia Phrikodes is a long poem by H.P. Lovecraft. The title, by the way, is from Greek, and means “Frightful Truth.”

Following the title there is a short line, in Latin, reading:

“Omnia risus et omnis pulvis et omna nihil.”

Omni = all
risus = laughter
pulvis = dust
nihil = nothing

That could be translated to:

“Everything is a laugh and everything is nothing.” or maybe “All is a laugh and all is dust.” or “All laughter is all dust is all nothing.” or “All the laughter and all the dust and all the nothing.”

I found Alethia Phrikodes in the pages of the July 1952 issue of Weird Tales. But, subsequent research shows that it’s actually a segment extracted from an even longer, and much earlier, poem, entitled The Poe-et’s Nightmare (first published in The Vagrant, No. 8, July 1918).

Beyond being really cool Alethia Phrikodes is also, apparently, Lovecraft’s “first enunciation of cosmicism.”*

And so here’s Mr. Jim Moon’s beautiful narration of it |MP3| (12 minutes). To go with it check out this |PDF| which includes the text and the gorgeous art by Jon Arfstrom (from it’s publication in Weird Tales).

Posted by Jesse Willis

*Notes on a manuscript version are available HERE.

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