The Outsider by H. P. Lovecraft is a short story by American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written between March and August 1921, it was first published in Weird Tales, April 1926. In this work, a mysterious individual who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search of human contact and light. "The Outsider" is one of Lovecraft's most commonly reprinted works and is also one of the most popular stories ever to be published in Weird Tales.
"The Outsider" is written in a first-person narrative style, and details the miserable and apparently lonely life of an individual, who appears to have never made contact with another person. The story begins, with the narrator explaining his origins. His memory of others is vague, and he cannot seem to recall any details of his personal history, including who he is or where he is originally from.
The narrator tells of his environment: a dark, decaying castle amid an "endless forest" of high trees that block out the light from the sun. He has never seen natural light, nor another human being, and he has never ventured from the prison-like home he now inhabits. The only knowledge the narrator has of the outside world is from his reading of the "antique books" that line the walls of his castle.
The narrator tells of his eventual determination to free himself, from what he views as an existence within a prison. He decides to climb the ruined staircase of the high castle tower which seems to be his only hope to see the sky. At the place where the stairs terminate into crumbled ruins, the narrator begins a long, slow climb up the tower wall, until he eventually finds a trapdoor in the ceiling, which he pushes up and climbs through.
Amazingly, he finds himself not at the great height he anticipated, but at ground level in another world. With the sight of the full moon before him, he proclaims, "There came to me the purest ecstasy I have ever known." Overcome with the emotion he feels in beholding what-until now-he had only read about, the narrator takes in his new surroundings. He realizes that he is in an old churchyard, and he wanders out into the countryside before eventually coming upon another castle.