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The Human Chair (1925) - Edogawa Rampo

Related: 1925 - Edogawa Rampo - human furniture - horror fiction - metamorphoses - ero guro nansensu - 1900s literature - Japanese literature


While his most famous tale in English, “The Human Chair,” is not an outright horror tale, it has an interesting plot twist. It shows demented logic of an unbalanced mind. The basic premise, that the protagonist hid himself inside an armchair to touch the object of his obsession, is rather implausible but entertaining. In his introduction to the 1966 anthology Beyond The Curtain of Dark, Peter Haining briefly referred to the story as “new,” even though it was written in the 1920’s and had been translated into English in 1955. Strangely enough, Harlan Ellison picked it as his favorite horror story in the anthology, My Favorite Horror Story, edited by Mike Baker and Martin Greenberg (DAW Books: 2000). --http://www.angelfire.com/sk3/asianhorror/e.html [May 2005]

In “The Human Chair,” a man who never reveals his name has sent a manuscript to a successful writer. The program books calls him “J.,” and her “Eliese.” As she begins to read, he emerges from the shadows as a visible and audible presence, hovering over her in her solitude, telling her his story. Explaining that he is an extremely ugly, highly skilled furniture craftsman, he describes how he decided to hide his features within a massive chair by inhabiting it. While inside, he discovered new forms of deception and of experiencing people’s bodies without their knowledge. He developed an obsession for one woman enfolded by him and his construction, and the reader herself become so immersed within his verbal framework, that she nearly replicates that other woman. --http://thefrontweekly.com/articles/505 [Oct 2006]

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