Reading Nyarlathotep by H.P. Lovecraft, I would like to ask if my understanding is correct:

And shadowed on a screen, I saw hooded forms amidst ruins, and yellow evil faces peering from behind fallen monuments.

As this "fronting" (I do not know how exactly this is called) is not really a concept I am well acquainted with, I am not sure: does it mean "And on the screen, I saw hooded forms (..) shadowed on the screen? If so, what exactly is the meaning of "shadowed" here? Thanks a lot

1 Answer 1


The story was written in 1920, so we know that "screen" doesn't refer to a TV screen. Instead it is something more like a movie screen: a curtain onto which light and shadows are being projected. Indeed, Lovecraft probably could have written "And projected on a screen..." with the similar meaning. But then he would have lost the chance to use a more sinister word "shadow"

A movie projector, or course, works by shining light through a film to create shadows that appear to move. Its not clear if this is literally a movie projector or something more like a shadow puppet show, or something more sinister. But the narrator initially believes it to be a performance of some kind.

  • Thanks, I made a mistake in the title - it is the word "shadowed" where I was not sure as for its association. So "shadowed" mean something like "projected on the screen using light and shadows", expressed in my naive English?
    – John V
    Feb 9, 2021 at 8:07
  • You can edit your question. Yes, "shadowed" means "projected with shadows", in a somewhat sinister and mysterious style of writing.
    – James K
    Feb 9, 2021 at 8:09

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