I've just finished reading Lovecraft's fragment "Azathoth" (in Italian translation) and I am astonished by the beauty of the story. Nevertheless I am a little bit confused about the end of it.

In my case I read the tale in Italian and then when I wanted to read it in English a doubt came to mind. The original text says:

Noiseless infinity eddied around the dreamer and wafted him away without touching the body that leaned stiffly from the lonely window

Which gives me the idea that the guy felt asleep while watching the stars. Instead the Italian version is much more dramatic since it says:

Il corpo che penzolava irrigidito dalla solitaria finestra

Which makes me think that the guy actually committed suicide by hanging himself out from the window. Some ideas?

1 Answer 1


The English text says that the protagonist lives in

a room whose one window opened […] on to a dim court […]. From that casement one might see only walls and windows, except sometimes when one leaned so far out and peered at the small stars that passed. [… He] used night after night to lean out and peer aloft

In other words, because his only window looked out onto a small enclosed courtyard, he had to lean out and look up if he wanted to see the stars. The word “leaned” in this paragraph has the same meaning as in “the body that leaned stiffly from the lonely window” in the next paragraph, and there is no implication of hanging or suicide.

For some reason the Italian translator has chosen to translate “leaned” as “penzolava” (dangling, hanging), whereas “pendente” (leaning) would better convey the meaning of the English text. Perhaps the translator wanted to make the story more dramatic, or perhaps it was a mistake. How did the translator handle the other occurrences of “leaned” and “lean”?

  • Very nice answer! I must admit that I'm a little bit disappointed since the idea of the guy committing suicide to escape the banality of the modern world seemed very fascinating to me. I'll check it out and let you know!
    – Chaos
    May 25, 2019 at 19:47

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