H. P. Lovecraft

H. P. Lovecraft

Overview
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937)--often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

, fantasy and science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction
Weird fiction
Weird fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction written in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can be said to encompass the ghost story and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in that it predates the niche marketing of genre fiction...

.

Lovecraft's guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror"
Cosmicism
Cosmicism is the literary philosophy developed and used by the American writer H. P. Lovecraft in his weird fiction. Lovecraft was a writer of philosophically intense horror stories that involve occult phenomena like astral possession and alien miscegenation, and the themes of his fiction over time...

, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind.
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Quotations

I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer; and shall cast myself from this garret window into the squalid street below.

"s:Dagon|Dagon" - Written Jul 1917; First published in The Vagrant, No. 11 (November 1919)

The end is near. I hear a noise at the door, as of some immense slippery body lumbering against it. It shall not find me. God, that hand! The window! The window!

"Dagon" - Written Jul 1917; First published in The Vagrant, No. 11 (November 1919)

Sometimes I believe that this less material life is our truer life, and that our vain presence on the terraqueous globe is itself the secondary or merely virtual phenomenon.

"Beyond the Wall of Sleep" in Pine Cones, Vol. 1, No. 6 (October 1919)
Encyclopedia
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937)--often credited as H.P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

, fantasy and science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction
Weird fiction
Weird fiction is a subgenre of speculative fiction written in the late 19th and early 20th century. It can be said to encompass the ghost story and other tales of the macabre. Weird fiction is distinguished from horror and fantasy in that it predates the niche marketing of genre fiction...

.

Lovecraft's guiding aesthetic and philosophical principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror"
Cosmicism
Cosmicism is the literary philosophy developed and used by the American writer H. P. Lovecraft in his weird fiction. Lovecraft was a writer of philosophically intense horror stories that involve occult phenomena like astral possession and alien miscegenation, and the themes of his fiction over time...

, the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally inimical to the interests of humankind. As such, his stories express a profound indifference to human beliefs and affairs. Lovecraft is best known for his Cthulhu Mythos
Cthulhu Mythos
The Cthulhu Mythos is a shared fictional universe, based on the work of American horror writer H. P. Lovecraft.The term was first coined by August Derleth, a contemporary correspondent of Lovecraft, who used the name of the creature Cthulhu - a central figure in Lovecraft literature and the focus...

 story cycle and the Necronomicon
Necronomicon
The Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire appearing in the stories by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and his followers. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft's 1924 short story "The Hound", written in 1922, though its purported author, the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, had been quoted a year earlier in...

, a fictional grimoire
Grimoire
A grimoire is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons...

 of magical rites and forbidden lore.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his lifetime, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates
Joyce Carol Oates is an American author. Oates published her first book in 1963 and has since published over fifty novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction...

, Lovecraft — as with Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 in the 19th century — has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction". Stephen King
Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

 called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." King has even made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre
Danse Macabre (book)
Danse Macabre is a non-fiction book by Stephen King, about horror fiction in print, radio, film and comics, and the genre's influence on United States popular culture...

 that Lovecraft was responsible for his own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his fiction writing. His stories have also been adapted into theater, film, and have inspired an award-winning role-playing game.

Early life


Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, at 9:00 a.m. in his family home at 194 (later 454) Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island
Providence, Rhode Island
Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

. (The house was torn down in 1961.) He was the only child of Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman of jewelry and precious metals, and Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft, who could trace her ancestry in America back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

 in 1631. His parents married, the first marriage for both, when they were in their thirties, unusually late in life given the time period. In 1893, when Lovecraft was three, his father became acutely psychotic in a Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

 hotel room while on a business trip. The elder Lovecraft was taken back to Providence and placed in Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital
Butler Hospital is a private, non-profit, psychiatric and substance abuse hospital for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors, located in Providence, Rhode Island. The hospital is affiliated with the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and is the flagship for Brown University's...

, where he remained until his death in 1898. Lovecraft maintained throughout his life that his father had died in a condition of paralysis brought on by "nervous exhaustion" due to over-work, but it is now almost certain that the actual cause was paresis
General paresis of the insane
General paresis, also known as general paralysis of the insane or paralytic dementia, is a neuropsychiatric disorder affecting the brain and central nervous system, caused by syphilis infection...

 due to syphilis
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

. It is unknown whether the younger Lovecraft was ever aware of the actual nature of his father's illness or its cause, although his mother likely was.

After his father's hospitalization, Lovecraft was raised by his mother, his two aunts (Lillian Delora Phillips and Annie Emeline Phillips), and his maternal grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips
Whipple Van Buren Phillips
Whipple Van Buren Phillips was an American businessman from Providence, Rhode Island who also had mining interests in Idaho. He was most notable as the grandfather of H. P. Lovecraft whom he raised with his daughters and encouraged to have an appreciation of literature especially classical...

, an American businessman. All five resided together in the family home. Lovecraft was a prodigy, reciting poetry at the age of three and writing complete poems by six. His grandfather encouraged his reading, providing him with classics such as The Arabian Nights
The Book of One Thousand and One Nights
One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age...

, Bulfinch's Age of Fable
Thomas Bulfinch
Thomas Bulfinch was an American writer, born in Newton, Massachusetts. Bulfinch belonged to a well educated Bostonian merchant family of modest means. His father was Charles Bulfinch, the architect of the Massachusetts State House in Boston and parts of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, and children's versions of the Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 and the Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

. His grandfather also stirred the boy's interest in the weird by telling him his own original tales of Gothic horror.

Lovecraft was frequently ill as a child, at least some of which was certainly psychosomatic, although he attributed his various ailments to physical causes only. Due to his sickly condition, he barely attended school until he was eight years old, and then was withdrawn after a year. He read voraciously during this period and became especially enamored of chemistry and astronomy. He produced several hectograph
Hectograph
The hectograph or gelatin duplicator or jellygraph is a printing process which involves transfer of an original, prepared with special inks, to a pan of gelatin or a gelatin pad pulled tight on a metal frame.-Process:...

ed publications with a limited circulation beginning in 1899 with The Scientific Gazette. Four years later, he returned to public school at Hope High School (Rhode Island)
Hope High School (Rhode Island)
Hope High School is a public high school in the East Side of Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. operated by Providence Public School District. It was founded in 1898 and since 2003, Hope High School has been partitioned into three semi-independent "communities" -- Hope High School Arts Community,...

. Beginning in his early life, Lovecraft is believed to have suffered from night terrors, a rare parasomnia disorder; he believed himself to be assaulted at night by horrific "night gaunts." Much of his later work is thought to have been directly inspired by these terrors. (Indeed, Night Gaunts became the subject of a poem he wrote of the same name, in which they were personified as devil-like creatures without faces.)

His grandfather's death in 1904 greatly affected Lovecraft's life. Mismanagement of his grandfather's estate left his family in a poor financial situation and they were forced to move into much smaller accommodations at 598 (now a duplex at 598-600) Angell Street. In 1908, prior to his high school graduation, he himself claimed to have suffered what he later described as a "nervous breakdown", and consequently never received his high school diploma (although he maintained for most of his life that he did graduate). S. T. Joshi
S. T. Joshi
Sunand Tryambak Joshi — known as S. T. Joshi — is an award-winning Indian American literary critic, novelist, and a leading figure in the study of Howard Phillips Lovecraft and other authors of weird and fantastic fiction...

 suggests in his biography of Lovecraft that a primary cause for this breakdown was his difficulty in higher mathematics, a subject needed to master to become a professional astronomer.

Lovecraft wrote some fiction as a youth but, from 1908 until 1913, his output was primarily poetry. During that time, he lived a hermit's existence, having almost no contact with anyone but his mother. This changed when he wrote a letter to The Argosy
Argosy (magazine)
Argosy was an American pulp magazine, published by Frank Munsey. It is generally considered to be the first American pulp magazine. The magazine began as a general information periodical entitled The Golden Argosy, targeted at the boys adventure market.-Launch of Argosy:In late September 1882,...

, a pulp magazine
Pulp magazine
Pulp magazines , also collectively known as pulp fiction, refers to inexpensive fiction magazines published from 1896 through the 1950s. The typical pulp magazine was seven inches wide by ten inches high, half an inch thick, and 128 pages long...

, complaining about the insipidness of the love stories of one of the publication's popular writers, Fred Jackson. The ensuing debate in the magazine's letters column caught the eye of Edward F. Daas
Edward F. Daas
Edward F. Daas was an American amateur journalist.In the beginning of the 20th century Daas was elected President of United Amateur Press Association. He held the post from 1907 to 1916.-References:...

, President of the United Amateur Press Association
Amateur press association
An amateur press association is a group of people who produce individual pages or magazines that are sent to a Central Mailer for collation and distribution to all members of the group.-Organisation:...

 (UAPA), who invited Lovecraft to join them in 1914. The UAPA
Amateur press association
An amateur press association is a group of people who produce individual pages or magazines that are sent to a Central Mailer for collation and distribution to all members of the group.-Organisation:...

 reinvigorated Lovecraft and incited him to contribute many poems and essays. In 1917, at the prodding of correspondents, he returned to fiction with more polished stories, such as "The Tomb
The Tomb (short story)
"The Tomb" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in June 1917 and first published in the March 1922 issue of The Vagrant. It is the first work of fiction that Lovecraft wrote as an adult.-Plot summary:...

" and "Dagon
Dagon (short story)
"Dagon" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in July 1917, one of the first stories he wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant .-Inspiration:...

". The latter was his first professionally-published work, appearing in W. Paul Cook's The Vagrant (November, 1919) and Weird Tales
Weird Tales
Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine first published in March 1923. It ceased its original run in September 1954, after 279 issues, but has since been revived. The magazine was set up in Chicago by J. C. Henneberger, an ex-journalist with a taste for the macabre....

 in 1923. Around that time, he began to build up a huge network of correspondents. His lengthy and frequent missives would make him one of the great letter writers of the century. Among his correspondents were Robert Bloch
Robert Bloch
Robert Albert Bloch was a prolific American writer, primarily of crime, horror and science fiction. He is best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock...

 (Psycho), Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith
Clark Ashton Smith was a self-educated American poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne...

, and Robert E. Howard
Robert E. Howard
Robert Ervin Howard was an American author who wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. Best known for his character Conan the Barbarian, he is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre....

 (Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian
Conan the Barbarian is a fictional sword and sorcery hero that originated in pulp fiction magazines and has since been adapted to books, comics, several films , television programs, video games, roleplaying games and other media...

 series).

In 1919, after suffering from hysteria
Hysteria
Hysteria, in its colloquial use, describes unmanageable emotional excesses. People who are "hysterical" often lose self-control due to an overwhelming fear that may be caused by multiple events in one's past that involved some sort of severe conflict; the fear can be centered on a body part, or,...

 and depression for a long period of time, Lovecraft's mother was committed to Butler Hospital just as her husband had been. Nevertheless, she wrote frequent letters to Lovecraft, and they remained very close until her death on May 24, 1921, the result of complications from gall bladder surgery.

Marriage and New York


A few weeks after his mother's death, Lovecraft attended an amateur journalist convention in Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts, where he met Sonia Greene
Sonia Greene
Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft Davis was a one-time pulp fiction writer and amateur publisher, a single mother, business woman and successful milliner who bankrolled several fanzines in the early twentieth century...

. Born in 1883, she was of Ukrainian
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

-Jewish ancestry and seven years older than Lovecraft. They married in 1924, and the couple relocated to Brooklyn and moved into her apartment. Lovecraft's aunts may have been unhappy with this arrangement, as they were not fond of Lovecraft being married to a tradeswoman (Greene owned a hat shop). Initially, Lovecraft was enthralled by New York, but soon the couple were facing financial difficulties. Greene lost her hat shop and suffered poor health. Lovecraft could not find work to support them both, so his wife moved to Cleveland
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio and is the county seat of Cuyahoga County, the most populous county in the state. The city is located in northeastern Ohio on the southern shore of Lake Erie, approximately west of the Pennsylvania border...

 for employment. Lovecraft lived by himself in the Red Hook
Red Hook, Brooklyn
Red Hook is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, USA. The neighborhood is part of Brooklyn Community Board 6. It is also the location where the transatlantic liner, the , docks in New York City.- History :...

 neighborhood of Brooklyn and came to dislike New York life intensely. Indeed, this daunting reality of failure to secure any work in the midst of a large immigrant population—especially irreconcilable with his opinion of himself as a privileged Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

—has been theorized as galvanizing his racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 to the point of fear, a sentiment he sublimated in the short story "The Horror at Red Hook
The Horror at Red Hook
"The Horror at Red Hook" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft. Written on August 1–2, 1925, it was first published in the January 1927 issue of Weird Tales.-Inspiration:...

".

A few years later, Lovecraft and his wife, still living separately, agreed to an amicable divorce, which was never fully completed. He returned to Providence to live with his aunts during their remaining years.

Return to Providence



Back in Providence, Lovecraft lived in a "spacious brown Victorian
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

 wooden house" at 10 Barnes Street until 1933. The same address is given as the home of Dr. Willett in Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a short novel by H. P. Lovecraft, written in early 1927, but not published during the author's liftetime...

. The period after his return to Providence — the last decade of his life — was Lovecraft's most prolific. In that time he produced almost all of his best-known short stories for the leading pulp publications of the day (primarily Weird Tales), as well as longer efforts, such as The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and At the Mountains of Madness
At the Mountains of Madness
At the Mountains of Madness is a novella by horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in February/March 1931 and rejected that year by Weird Tales editor Farnsworth Wright on the grounds of its length. It was originally serialized in the February, March and April 1936 issues of Astounding Stories...

. He frequently revised work for other authors and did a large amount of ghost-writing, including "The Mound
The Mound (short story)
"The Mound" is a novella H. P. Lovecraft wrote as a ghostwriter from December 1929 to January 1930 after he was hired by Zealia Bishop to create a story based on the following plot synopsis:...

", "Winged Death", and "Under the Pyramids
Under the Pyramids
"Under the Pyramids", also published as "Entombed with the Pharaohs" and "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs", is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in February 1924. Commissioned by Weird Tales founder and owner J. C...

" (also known as "Imprisoned With the Pharaohs") (for Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini
Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American magician and escapologist, stunt performer, actor and film producer noted for his sensational escape acts...

) and "The Diary of Alonzo Typer".

Lovecraft considered himself a "New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 Democrat", and was an ardent supporter of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His political views can be considered as "moderately socialist."

Despite his best writing efforts, however, he grew ever poorer. He was forced to move to smaller and meaner lodgings with his surviving aunt. He was also deeply affected by his former correspondent Robert E. Howard's suicide. In 1936, Lovecraft was diagnosed with cancer of the small intestine
Small intestine cancer
In oncology, small intestine cancer, also small bowel cancer and cancer of the small bowel, is a cancer of the small intestine. It is relatively rare compared to other gastrointestinal malignancies such as gastric cancer and colorectal cancer.Small intestine cancer can be subdivided into duodenal...

, and he also suffered from malnutrition
Malnutrition
Malnutrition is the condition that results from taking an unbalanced diet in which certain nutrients are lacking, in excess , or in the wrong proportions....

. He lived in constant pain until his death on March 15, 1937, in Providence.

In accordance with his lifelong scientific curiosity, he kept a diary of his illness until close to the moment of his death.

Lovecraft was listed along with his parents on the Phillips family monument. That was not enough for his fans, so in 1977 a group of them raised the money to buy him a headstone of his own in Swan Point cemetery, on which they had inscribed Lovecraft's name, the dates of his birth and death, and the phrase "I AM PROVIDENCE", a line from one of his personal letters.

Forbidden knowledge


The central theme in most of Lovecraft's works is that of forbidden knowledge. Some critics argue that this theme is a reflection of Lovecraft's contempt of the world around him, causing him to search inwardly for knowledge and inspiration. In Lovecraft's works the search for forbidden knowledge drives many of the main characters. In most of his works this knowledge proves Promethean
Prometheus
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, the son of Iapetus and Themis, and brother to Atlas, Epimetheus and Menoetius. He was a champion of mankind, known for his wily intelligence, who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mortals...

 in nature either filling the seeker with regret from what they have learned, destroying them psychically, or completely destroying the person who holds the knowledge.

Non-human influences on humanity


The beings of Lovecraft's mythos often have human (or mostly human) servants; Cthulhu
Cthulhu
Cthulhu is a fictional character that first appeared in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. The character was created by writer H. P...

, for instance, is worshiped under various names by cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

s amongst both the Eskimo
Eskimo
Eskimos or Inuit–Yupik peoples are indigenous peoples who have traditionally inhabited the circumpolar region from eastern Siberia , across Alaska , Canada, and Greenland....

s of Greenland
Greenland
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, located between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, east of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Though physiographically a part of the continent of North America, Greenland has been politically and culturally associated with Europe for...

 and voodoo
Louisiana Voodoo
Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of underground religious practices which originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions which developed within the French, Spanish, and Creole speaking African American...

 circles of Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, and in many other parts of the world.

These worshipers served a useful narrative purpose for Lovecraft. Many beings of the Mythos were too powerful to be defeated by human opponents, and so horrific that direct knowledge of them meant insanity for the victim. When dealing with such beings, Lovecraft needed a way to provide exposition and build tension without bringing the story to a premature end. Human followers gave him a way to reveal information about their "gods" in a diluted form, and also made it possible for his protagonists to win paltry victories. Lovecraft, like his contemporaries, envisioned "savages" as closer to the Earth, only in Lovecraft's case, this meant, so to speak, closer to Cthulhu.

Inherited guilt


Another recurring theme in Lovecraft's stories is the idea that descendants in a bloodline can never escape the stain of crimes committed by their forebears, at least if the crimes are atrocious enough. Descendants may be very far removed, both in place and in time (and, indeed, in culpability
Culpability
Culpability descends from the Latin concept of fault . The concept of culpability is intimately tied up with notions of agency, freedom and free will...

), from the act itself, and yet, from however remote the past, blood will out ("The Rats in the Walls
The Rats in the Walls
"The Rats in the Walls" is a short story by American author H. P. Lovecraft. Written in August–September 1923, it was first published in Weird Tales, March 1924.-Plot summary:...

", "The Lurking Fear
The Lurking Fear
"The Lurking Fear" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft in the horror fiction genre. Written in November 1922, it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew.-Origin:...

", "Arthur Jermyn
Arthur Jermyn
"Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1920. The story was first published in the journal The Wolverine in March and June of 1921...

", "The Alchemist
The Alchemist (short story)
"The Alchemist" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1908, when Lovecraft was 17 or 18, and first published in the November 1916 issue of the United Amateur.-Plot summary:...

", "The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. Written in November-December 1931, the story was first published in April 1936; this was the only fiction of Lovecraft's published during his lifetime that did not appear in a periodical....

", "The Doom that Came to Sarnath
The Doom that Came to Sarnath
"The Doom that Came to Sarnath" is an early short story by H. P. Lovecraft. It is written in a mythic/fairy tale style and is associated with his Dream Cycle...

" and "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward").

Fate


Often in Lovecraft's works the protagonist is not in control of his own actions, or finds it impossible to change course. Many of his characters would be free from danger if they simply managed to run away; however, this possibility either never arises or is somehow curtailed by some outside force, such as in "The Colour Out of Space
The Colour Out of Space
"The Colour Out of Space" is a short story written by American fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft in March 1927. In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the "blasted heath" in the wild hills west of Arkham, Massachusetts...

" and "The Dreams in the Witch House
The Dreams in the Witch House
"The Dreams in the Witch House" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror fiction. Written in January/February 1932, it was first published in the July 1933 issue of Weird Tales.-Inspiration:...

". Often his characters are subject to a compulsive influence from powerful malevolent or indifferent beings. As with the inevitability of one's ancestry, eventually even running away, or death itself, provides no safety ("The Thing on the Doorstep
The Thing on the Doorstep
"The Thing on the Doorstep" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror fiction. It was written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales.-Inspiration:...

", "The Outsider
The Outsider (short story)
"The Outsider" 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 man who has been living alone in a castle for as long as he can remember decides to break free in search...

", The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, etc.). In some cases, this doom is manifest in the entirety of humanity, and no escape is possible ("The Shadow Out of Time
The Shadow Out of Time
The Shadow Out of Time is a novella by Americanhorror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written between November 1934 and February 1935, it was first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories.-Plot summary:...

").

Civilization under threat


Lovecraft was familiar with the work of the German conservative-revolutionary theorist Oswald Spengler
Oswald Spengler
Oswald Manuel Arnold Gottfried Spengler was a German historian and philosopher whose interests also included mathematics, science, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West , published in 1918, which puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations...

, whose pessimistic thesis of the decadence of the modern West formed a crucial element in Lovecraft's overall anti-modern worldview. Spenglerian imagery of cyclical decay is present in particular in At the Mountains of Madness. S. T. Joshi, in H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West, places Spengler at the center of his discussion of Lovecraft's political and philosophical ideas.

Lovecraft wrote to Clark Ashton Smith in 1927: "It is my belief, and was so long before Spengler put his seal of scholarly proof on it, that our mechanical and industrial age is one of frank decadence
Decadence
Decadence can refer to a personal trait, or to the state of a society . Used to describe a person's lifestyle. Concise Oxford Dictionary: "a luxurious self-indulgence"...

" (see China Miéville
China Miéville
China Tom Miéville is an award-winning English fantasy fiction writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" , and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party...

's introduction to "At the Mountains of Madness", Modern Library Classics, 2005). Lovecraft was also acquainted with the writings of another German philosopher of decadence: Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

.

Lovecraft frequently dealt with the idea of civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

 struggling against dark, primitive barbarism. In some stories this struggle is at an individual level; many of his protagonists are cultured, highly-educated men who are gradually corrupted by some obscure and feared influence.

In such stories, the "curse
Curse
A curse is any expressed wish that some form of adversity or misfortune will befall or attach to some other entity—one or more persons, a place, or an object...

" is often a hereditary one, either because of interbreeding with non-humans (e.g., "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" (1920), "The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. Written in November-December 1931, the story was first published in April 1936; this was the only fiction of Lovecraft's published during his lifetime that did not appear in a periodical....

" (1931) or through direct magical influence (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward). Physical and mental degradation often come together; this theme of 'tainted blood' may represent concerns relating to Lovecraft's own family history, particularly the death of his father due to what Lovecraft must have suspected to be a syphilitic
Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum. The primary route of transmission is through sexual contact; however, it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis...

 disorder.

In other tales, an entire society is threatened by barbarism. Sometimes the barbarism comes as an external threat, with a civilized race destroyed in war (e.g., "Polaris
Polaris
Polaris |Alpha]] Ursae Minoris, commonly North Star or Pole Star, also Lodestar) is the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor. It is very close to the north celestial pole, making it the current northern pole star....

"). Sometimes, an isolated pocket of humanity falls into decadence and atavism
Atavism
Atavism is the tendency to revert to ancestral type. In biology, an atavism is an evolutionary throwback, such as traits reappearing which had disappeared generations before. Atavisms can occur in several ways...

 of its own accord (e.g., "The Lurking Fear
The Lurking Fear
"The Lurking Fear" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft in the horror fiction genre. Written in November 1922, it was first published in the January through April 1923 issues of Home Brew.-Origin:...

"). But most often, such stories involve a civilized culture being gradually undermined by a malevolent underclass influenced by inhuman forces.

There is a lack of analysis as to whether England's gradual loss of prominence and related conflicts (Boer War
Boer War
The Boer Wars were two wars fought between the British Empire and the two independent Boer republics, the Oranje Vrijstaat and the Republiek van Transvaal ....

, India, World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

) had an influence on Lovecraft's worldview. It is likely that the "roaring twenties
Roaring Twenties
The Roaring Twenties is a phrase used to describe the 1920s, principally in North America, but also in London, Berlin and Paris for a period of sustained economic prosperity. The phrase was meant to emphasize the period's social, artistic, and cultural dynamism...

" left Lovecraft disillusioned as he was still obscure and struggling with the basic necessities of daily life, combined with seeing non-European immigrants in New York City.

Race, ethnicity, and class


Racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 is the most controversial aspect of Lovecraft’s works which “does not endear Lovecraft to the modern reader” and comes across through many disparaging remarks against the various non-Anglo-Saxon races
Race
Race is classification of humans into large and distinct populations or groups by factors such as heritable phenotypic characteristics or geographic ancestry, but also often influenced by and correlated with traits such as appearance, culture, ethnicity, and socio-economic status...

 and cultures within his work. Lovecraft did not seem to hold all White people
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

 in high regard, but rather he held English people and people of English descent above all others. While his racist perspective is undeniable, some critics argue that it does not necessarily detract from his ability to create compelling philosophical worlds which have inspired many artists and readers. In his writings and personal life he argued for a strong color line for the purpose of preserving race and culture. These arguments occurred either through direct statements against different races in his work and personal correspondence, or allegorically in his work using non-human races. Reading Lovecraft's work, his racial attitude was seen as more cultural than biological, showing sympathy to others who assimilated into the western culture and even marrying a Jew whom he viewed as "well assimilated". While Lovecraft's racial attitude has been seen as directly influenced by the time, a reflection of the New England society he grew up in, this racism appeared stronger than the popular viewpoints held at that time. Some researchers note that his views failed to change in the face of increased scientific and social change of that time which invalidated many of his strongly held views.

Risks of a scientific era


At the turn of the 20th century, man's increased reliance upon science was both opening new worlds and solidifying the manners by which he could understand them. Lovecraft portrays this potential for a growing gap of man's understanding of the universe as a potential for horror. Most notably in "The Colour Out of Space", the inability of science to comprehend a contaminated meteorite leads to horror.

In a letter to James F. Morton in 1923, Lovecraft specifically points to Einstein's theory on relativity
Theory of relativity
The theory of relativity, or simply relativity, encompasses two theories of Albert Einstein: special relativity and general relativity. However, the word relativity is sometimes used in reference to Galilean invariance....

 as throwing the world into chaos and making the cosmos a jest. And in a 1929 letter to Woodburn Harris, he speculates that technological comforts risk the collapse of science. Indeed, at a time when men viewed science as limitless and powerful, Lovecraft imagined alternative potential and fearful outcomes. In "The Call of Cthulhu", Lovecraft's characters encounter architecture
Architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 which is "abnormal, non-Euclidian, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours". Non-Euclidean geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry
Non-Euclidean geometry is the term used to refer to two specific geometries which are, loosely speaking, obtained by negating the Euclidean parallel postulate, namely hyperbolic and elliptic geometry. This is one term which, for historical reasons, has a meaning in mathematics which is much...

 is the mathematical language and background of Einstein's general theory of relativity, and Lovecraft references it repeatedly in exploring alien archeology.

Religion


Misotheism
Misotheism
Misotheism is the "hatred of God" or "hatred of the gods" . In some varieties of polytheism, it was considered possible to inflict punishment on gods by ceasing to worship them...

 is a recurrent theme in Lovecraft fiction. Many of Lovecraft's works are directly or indirectly adversarial to the belief in a loving, protective God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

; Lovecraft's works are ruled by several distinct pantheons of deities who are either indifferent or actively hostile to humanity. Several, particularly those of the Cthulhu Mythos, indulge upon alternate human origins in contrast to those found in Genesis and creation stories of other religions. Protagonist characters are often educated men who favor the claims of the physical sciences over those of scripture. Herbert West–Reanimator, reflects on the atheism
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

 common within academic circles. Also in The Silver Key
The Silver Key
"The Silver Key" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft in 1926, considered part of his Dreamlands series. It was first published in the January 1929 issue of Weird Tales. It was followed by a sequel, "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", co-written with E...

 the character Randolph Carter
Randolph Carter
Randolph Carter is a recurring protagonist in H. P. Lovecraft'sfiction and a thinly disguised alter ego of Lovecraft himself. The first tale in which Carter appears--"The Statement of Randolph Carter" --is based on one of Lovecraft's dreams....

 attempts after losing access to dreams to seek solace in religion, specifically Congregationalism
Congregational church
Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs....

, but does not find it and ultimately loses faith.

Lovecraft himself adopted the stance of atheism early in his life. In 1932 he wrote in a letter to Robert E. Howard: "All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist."

Influences on Lovecraft


Some of Lovecraft's work was inspired by nightmares of his own. As he studied many scientific advances of biology, astronomy, geology, and physics, Lovecraft was more and more confounded and fueled his skepticism on humanity. His interest started from his childhood days when his grandfather would tell him Gothic horror stories. The influence of Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen was a Welsh author and mystic of the 1890s and early 20th century. He is best known for his influential supernatural, fantasy, and horror fiction. His novella The Great God Pan has garnered a reputation as a classic of horror...

, with his carefully constructed tales concerning the survival of ancient evil into modern times in an otherwise realistic world and his beliefs in hidden mysteries which lay behind reality, looms large.

Lovecraft was also influenced by authors such as Gertrude Barrows Bennett
Gertrude Barrows Bennett
Gertrude Barrows Bennett was the first major female writer of fantasy and science fiction in the United States, publishing her stories under the pseudonym Francis Stevens. Bennett wrote a number of highly acclaimed fantasies between 1917 and 1923 and has been called "the woman who invented dark...

 (who, writing as Francis Stevens, impressed Lovecraft enough that he publicly praised her stories[19] and eventually "emulated Bennett's earlier style and themes"[20]), Oswald Spengler, Robert W. Chambers
Robert W. Chambers
Robert William Chambers was an American artist and writer.-Biography:He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to William P. Chambers , a famous lawyer, and Caroline Chambers , a direct descendant of Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, Rhode Island...

 (writer of The King in Yellow
The King in Yellow
The King in Yellow is a collection of short stories written by Robert W. Chambers and published in 1895. The stories could be categorized as early horror fiction or Victorian Gothic fiction, but the work also touches on mythology, fantasy, mystery, science fiction and romance...

, of whom Lovecraft wrote in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith: "Chambers is like Rupert Hughes
Rupert Hughes
Rupert Hughes was an American historian, novelist, film director and composer based in Hollywood. Hughes was born in Lancaster, Missouri. His parents were Felix Turner Hughes and Jean Amelia Summerlin, who were married in 1865. His brother Howard R. Hughes, Sr., co-founded the Hughes Tool Company....

 and a few other fallen Titans — equipped with the right brains and education but wholly out of the habit of using them").

The biggest influence was Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

. Lovecraft had many similarities with Poe; they both lost their fathers at a young age, loved poetry, and used archaisms (language pertaining to an earlier generation) in their writing. They both went against the contemporary styles and created their own worlds of fantasy.

Furthermore, Lovecraft's discovery of the stories of Lord Dunsany
Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was an Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work, mostly in fantasy, published under the name Lord Dunsany...

 with their pantheon of mighty gods existing in dreamlike outer realms, moved his writing in a new direction, resulting in a series of imitative fantasies in a 'Dreamlands' setting.

Another inspiration came from a totally different kind of source; the scientific progress at the time in such diverse areas as biology, astronomy, geology, and physics, all contributed to make Lovecraft see the human race seem even more insignificant, powerless, and doomed in a materialistic and mechanical universe. Lovecraft's materialist views led his fiction to espouse his philosophical views; his fiction therefore consists of a stance or worldview which may be termed cosmicism. Lovecraft was a keen amateur astronomer from his youth, often visiting the Ladd Observatory
Ladd Observatory
The Ladd Observatory is an astronomical observatory of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. The observatory was dedicated in 1891 and is named for benefactor Herbert W. Ladd....

 in Providence, and penning numerous astronomical articles for local newspapers. His astronomical telescope is now housed in the rooms of the August Derleth
August Derleth
August William Derleth was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as the first publisher of the writings of H. P...

 Society.

This took on a dark tone with the creation of what is today often called the Cthulhu Mythos, a pantheon of alien extra-dimensional deities and horrors which predate humanity, and which are hinted at in aeon-old myths and legends. The term "Cthulhu Mythos" was coined by Lovecraft's correspondent and fellow author, August Derleth, after Lovecraft's death; Lovecraft jocularly referred to his artificial mythology as "Yog-Sothothery".

Lovecraft considered himself a man best suited to the early 18th century. His writing style, especially in his many letters, owes much to Augustan
Augustan literature
Augustan literature is a style of English literature produced during the reigns of Queen Anne, King George I, and George II on the 1740s with the deaths of Pope and Swift...

 British writers of the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 like Joseph Addison
Joseph Addison
Joseph Addison was an English essayist, poet, playwright and politician. He was a man of letters, eldest son of Lancelot Addison...

 and Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

.

He also cited Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Henry Blackwood, CBE was an English short story writer and novelist, one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. He was also a journalist and a broadcasting narrator. S. T...

 as an influence, quoting The Centaur in the head paragraph of The Call of Cthulhu
The Call of Cthulhu
The Call of Cthulhu is a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written in the summer of 1926, it was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, in February 1928.-Inspiration:...

. He also declares Blackwood's "The Willows
The Willows (story)
"The Willows" is one of Algernon Blackwood's best known short stories. American horror author H.P. Lovecraft considered it to be the finest supernatural tale in English literature. "The Willows" is an example of early modern horror and is connected within the literary tradition of weird...

" to be the single best piece of weird fiction ever written.

Among the books found in his library (as evidenced in Lovecraft's Library by S. T. Joshi) was "The Seven Who Were Hanged
The Seven Who Were Hanged
The Seven That Were Hanged is a 1909 novel by Russian author Leonid Andreyev. Herman Bernstein translated the novel from Russian to English.-Plot:...

" by Leonid Andreyev
Leonid Andreyev
Leonid Nikolaievich Andreyev was a Russian playwright, novelist and short-story writer. He is one of the most talented and prolific representatives of the Silver Age period in Russian history...

 and "A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder
A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder
A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder is the most popular book by James De Mille. It was serialized posthumously and anonymously in Harper's Weekly,...

" by James De Mille
James De Mille
James De Mille was a professor at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, and an early Canadian popular writer who published numerous works of popular fiction from the late 1860s through the 1870s....

.

Lovecraft's style has often been criticised by unsympathetic critics, yet scholars such as S. T. Joshi have shown that Lovecraft consciously utilised a variety of literary devices to form a unique style of his own - these include conscious archaism
Archaism
In language, an archaism is the use of a form of speech or writing that is no longer current. This can either be done deliberately or as part of a specific jargon or formula...

, prose-poetic techniques combined with essay-form techniques, alliteration
Alliteration
In language, alliteration refers to the repetition of a particular sound in the first syllables of Three or more words or phrases. Alliteration has historically developed largely through poetry, in which it more narrowly refers to the repetition of a consonant in any syllables that, according to...

, anaphora, crescendo
Crescendo
-In music:*Crescendo, a passage of music during which the volume gradually increases, see Dynamics * Crescendo , a Liverpool-based electronic pop band* "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue", one of Duke Ellington's longer-form compositions...

, transferred epithet, metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

, symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

 and colloquialism
Colloquialism
A colloquialism is a word or phrase that is common in everyday, unconstrained conversation rather than in formal speech, academic writing, or paralinguistics. Dictionaries often display colloquial words and phrases with the abbreviation colloq. as an identifier...

.

Lovecraft's influence on culture


Lovecraft was relatively unknown during his own time. While his stories appeared in the pages of prominent pulp magazines such as Weird Tales (eliciting letters of outrage as often as letters of praise from regular readers of the magazines), not many people knew his name. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, people who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person. This group of writers became known as the "Lovecraft Circle", since they all freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft's stories – the mysterious books with disturbing names, the pantheon of ancient alien entities, such as Cthulhu and Azathoth, and eldritch places, such as the New England town of Arkham
Arkham
Arkham is a fictional city in Massachusetts, part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft and is featured in many of his stories, as well as those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers....

 and its Miskatonic University
Miskatonic University
Miskatonic University is a fictional university located in Arkham; a fictitious town which is said to exist in Essex County, Massachusetts. It is named after the Miskatonic River . After first appearing in the H. P...

 – for use in their own works (with Lovecraft's blessing and encouragement).

After Lovecraft's death, the Lovecraft Circle carried on. August Derleth in particular added to and expanded on Lovecraft's vision. However, Derleth's contributions have been controversial to say the least; while Lovecraft never considered his pantheon of alien gods more than a mere plot device, Derleth created an entire cosmology, complete with a war between the 'good' "Elder Gods" and the 'evil' "Outer Gods" (such as Cthulhu and his ilk), which the 'good' Gods were supposed to have won, locking Cthulhu
Cthulhu
Cthulhu is a fictional character that first appeared in the short story "The Call of Cthulhu", published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in 1928. The character was created by writer H. P...

 and others up beneath the earth, in the ocean etc. Derleth's Cthulhu Mythos stories went on to associate different gods with the traditional four elements of fire, air, earth and water - an artificial constraint which required justificatory contortions on Derleth's part since Lovecraft himself never envisioned such a scheme.

Lovecraft's fiction has been grouped into three categories by some critics. While Lovecraft did not refer to these categories himself, he did once write, "There are my 'Poe'
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 pieces and my 'Dunsany
Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron Dunsany
Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany was an Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work, mostly in fantasy, published under the name Lord Dunsany...

 pieces' – but alas – where are any Lovecraft pieces?"
  • Macabre stories (approximately 1905–1920)
  • Dream Cycle
    Dream Cycle
    The Dream Cycle refers to a series of stories by author H. P. Lovecraft. These stories concern themselves with "The Dreamlands": a vast, alternate dimension that can be entered via dreams.-Geography:The Dreamlands is apparently divided into four regions:...

     stories (approximately 1920–1927)
  • Cthulhu Mythos/Lovecraft Mythos stories (approximately 1925–1935)


H. P. Lovecraft is now noted as significant figure in 20th century horror fiction. His writing, particularly the so-called "Cthulhu Mythos", has influenced fiction authors worldwide, and Lovecraftian elements can be found in novels, films, movies, music, video games, comic books (e.g. the use of Arkham Insane Asylum
Arkham Asylum
The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, commonly referred to simply as Arkham Asylum, is a fictional psychiatric hospital in the DC Comics Universe, usually appearing in stories featuring Batman...

 in The Batman comic book series), and even cartoons. Many modern horror and fantasy writers, including Stephen King, Bentley Little
Bentley Little
Bentley Little is an American author of horror novels.-Personal history:Little's first novel, The Revelation, was published with St...

, Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale
Joe R. Lansdale is an American author and martial-arts expert. He has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense...

, Alan Moore
Alan Moore
Alan Oswald Moore is an English writer primarily known for his work in comic books, a medium where he has produced a number of critically acclaimed and popular series, including Watchmen, V for Vendetta, and From Hell...

, Junji Ito
Junji Ito
is a Japanese horror manga artist best known for his series of short stories about Tomie, an immortal girl who drives her stricken admirers to madness, and Uzumaki, a three-volume series about a town obsessed with spirals.-Biography:...

, F. Paul Wilson
F. Paul Wilson
Francis Paul Wilson is an American author, primarily in the science fiction and horror genres. His debut novel was Healer . Wilson is also a part-time practicing family physician. He made his first sales in 1970 to Analog while still in medical school , and continued to write science fiction...

, Brian Lumley
Brian Lumley
Brian Lumley is an English horror fiction writer.Born in County Durham, he joined the British Army's Royal Military Police and wrote stories in his spare time before retiring with the rank of Warrant Officer Class 1 in 1980 and becoming a professional writer.He added to H. P...

, Caitlín R. Kiernan
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan is the author of many science fiction and dark fantasy works, including seven novels, many comic books, more than one hundred published short stories, novellas, and vignettes, and numerous scientific papers.- Overview :Born in Dublin, Ireland, she moved to the United States...

, and Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman
Neil Richard Gaiman born 10 November 1960)is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, audio theatre and films. His notable works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book...

, have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences. Beyond direct adaptation, Lovecraft and his stories have had a profound impact on popular culture and have been praised by many modern writers. Some influence was direct, as he was a friend, inspiration, and correspondent to many of his contemporaries, such as August Derleth, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber
Fritz Leiber
Fritz Reuter Leiber, Jr. was an American writer of fantasy, horror and science fiction. He was also a poet, actor in theatre and films, playwright, expert chess player and a champion fencer. Possibly his greatest chess accomplishment was winning clear first in the 1958 Santa Monica Open.. With...

. Many later figures were influenced by Lovecraft's works, including author and artist Clive Barker
Clive Barker
Clive Barker is an English author, film director and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short stories which established him as a leading young horror writer...

, prolific horror writer Stephen King, comics writers Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Mike Mignola
Mike Mignola
Michael Joseph "Mike" Mignola is an American comic book artist and writer who created the comic book series Hellboy for Dark Horse Comics. He has worked for animation projects such as Atlantis: The Lost Empire and the adaptation of his one shot comic book, The Amazing Screw-On Head.-Career:Mignola...

, film directors John Carpenter
John Carpenter
John Howard Carpenter is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, editor, composer, and occasional actor. Although Carpenter has worked in numerous film genres in his four-decade career, his name is most commonly associated with horror and science fiction.- Early life :Carpenter was born...

, Stuart Gordon
Stuart Gordon
After the University of Wisconsin demanded future theatrical productions by Screw Theater be overseen by a University Professor, Gordon cut his University ties to form Broom Street Theater. Its first production, the new translation of the risque Lysistrata, premiered in May 1969. Gordon is...

, and Guillermo Del Toro
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist and designer. He is mostly known for his acclaimed films, Blade II, Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy film franchise. He is a frequent collaborator with Ron Perlman, Federico Luppi and Doug Jones...

, horror manga
Manga
Manga is the Japanese word for "comics" and consists of comics and print cartoons . In the West, the term "manga" has been appropriated to refer specifically to comics created in Japan, or by Japanese authors, in the Japanese language and conforming to the style developed in Japan in the late 19th...

 artist Junji Ito
Junji Ito
is a Japanese horror manga artist best known for his series of short stories about Tomie, an immortal girl who drives her stricken admirers to madness, and Uzumaki, a three-volume series about a town obsessed with spirals.-Biography:...

, and artist H. R. Giger
H. R. Giger
Hans Rudolf "Ruedi" Giger is a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor, and set designer. He won an Academy Award for Best Achievement for Visual Effects for his design work on the film Alien.-Early life:...

.

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

 wrote his short story "There Are More Things" in memory of Lovecraft. Contemporary French writer Michel Houellebecq
Michel Houellebecq
Michel Houellebecq , born Michel Thomas, 26 February 1958—or 1956 —on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French author, filmmaker and poet. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire;...

 wrote a literary biography of Lovecraft called H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life
H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life is a work of literary criticism by French author Michel Houellebecq regarding the works of H. P. Lovecraft...

. Prolific American writer Joyce Carol Oates wrote an introduction for a collection of Lovecraft stories. The Library of America
Library of America
The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

 published a volume of Lovecraft's work in 2005, essentially declaring him a canonical
Canonical
Canonical is an adjective derived from canon. Canon comes from the greek word κανών kanon, "rule" or "measuring stick" , and is used in various meanings....

 American writer. French philosophers Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze
Gilles Deleuze , was a French philosopher who, from the early 1960s until his death, wrote influentially on philosophy, literature, film, and fine art. His most popular works were the two volumes of Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus and A Thousand Plateaus , both co-written with Félix...

 and Felix Guattari
Félix Guattari
Pierre-Félix Guattari was a French militant, an institutional psychotherapist, philosopher, and semiotician; he founded both schizoanalysis and ecosophy...

 made reference to Lovecraft in A Thousand Plateaus
A Thousand Plateaus
A Thousand Plateaus is the second book of Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the first being Anti-Oedipus. Written by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, it was translated into English by Brian Massumi...

 and called the short story Through the Gates of the Silver Key
Through the Gates of the Silver Key
"Through the Gates of the Silver Key" is a short story co-written by H. P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price between October 1932 and April 1933. A sequel to Lovecraft's "The Silver Key", and part of a sequence of stories focusing on Randolph Carter, it was first published in the July 1934 issue of...

 one of his masterpieces.

He has also been a significant influence on speculative realism
Speculative realism
Speculative realism is an emerging movement in contemporary philosophy which defines itself loosely in its stance of metaphysical realism against the dominant forms of post-Kantian philosophy or what it terms correlationism. Speculative realism takes its name from a conference held at Goldsmiths...

, a recent continental philosophy
Continental philosophy
Continental philosophy, in contemporary usage, refers to a set of traditions of 19th and 20th century philosophy from mainland Europe. This sense of the term originated among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the 20th century, who used it to refer to a range of thinkers and...

 movement, with admirers from Graham Harman
Graham Harman
Graham Harman is a professor at the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He is a contemporary philosopher of metaphysics, who attempts to reverse the linguistic turn of Western philosophy...

 (who has connected the cognitive style of Husserl
Edmund Husserl
Edmund Gustav Albrecht Husserl was a philosopher and mathematician and the founder of the 20th century philosophical school of phenomenology. He broke with the positivist orientation of the science and philosophy of his day, yet he elaborated critiques of historicism and of psychologism in logic...

 to Lovecraft and has developed what he describes as "weird realism") to Iranian writer Reza Negarestani.

In music, examples of Lovecraftian influence include the psychedelic rock band H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft (band)
H. P. Lovecraft was an American psychedelic rock band, formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1967 and named after horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. Much of the band's music was possessed of a haunting, eerie ambience, and consisted of material that was inspired by the macabre writings of the author whose...

 (who shortened their name to Lovecraft and then Love Craft in the 1970s) who released the H. P. Lovecraft
H. P. Lovecraft (album)
H. P. Lovecraft is the debut album by the American psychedelic rock band H. P. Lovecraft and was released in October 1967 by Philips Records. It blended psychedelic and folk rock influences and was marked by the haunting, eerie ambiance of the band's music, which itself was often inspired by the...

 and H. P. Lovecraft II
H. P. Lovecraft II
H. P. Lovecraft II is the second album by the American psychedelic rock band H. P. Lovecraft and was released in September 1968 on Philips Records. As with their debut LP, the album again saw the band blending psychedelic and folk rock influences, albeit with a greater emphasis on psychedelia than...

 albums in 1967 and 1968 respectively; the metal band Metallica
Metallica
Metallica is an American heavy metal band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1981 when James Hetfield responded to an advertisement that drummer Lars Ulrich had posted in a local newspaper. The current line-up features long-time lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo ...

 who recorded a song inspired by "The Call of Cthulhu", an instrumental entitled "The Call of Ktulu", a song based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Over Innsmouth is a novella by H. P. Lovecraft. Written in November-December 1931, the story was first published in April 1936; this was the only fiction of Lovecraft's published during his lifetime that did not appear in a periodical....

 titled "The Thing That Should Not Be", and a song based on Frank Belknap Long
Frank Belknap Long
Frank Belknap Long was a prolific American writer of horror fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry, gothic romance, comic books, and non-fiction. Though his writing career spanned seven decades, he is best known for his horror and science fiction short stories, including early contributions to...

's "The Hounds of Tindalos", titled "All Nightmare Long
All Nightmare Long
"All Nightmare Long" is a song by American heavy metal band Metallica, the song is released as their fifth single from their ninth album Death Magnetic, and their forty-fourth single overall. The single was released on December 15, 2008...

"; Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath are an English heavy metal band, formed in Aston, Birmingham in 1969 by Ozzy Osbourne , Tony Iommi , Geezer Butler , and Bill Ward . The band has since experienced multiple line-up changes, with Tony Iommi the only constant presence in the band through the years. A total of 22...

's "Behind the Wall of Sleep", which appeared on their 1970 debut album and is based on Lovecraft's short story "Beyond the Wall of Sleep"; The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets
The Darkest of the Hillside Thickets is a rock band from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. Their music largely consists of often tongue-in-cheek homages to the works of H. P...

 whose entire repertoire is Lovecraft-based; The Mountain Goats song called "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" on their 2008 album Heretic Pride; black metal band Nehëmah has songs inspired by Lovecraft including "Creeping Chaos", "The Great Old Ones", "Dead But Dreaming in the Eternal Icy Waste", and "The Elder Gods Awakening" on their 2004 album Requiem Tenebrae; melodic death metal band The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder
The Black Dahlia Murder is an American heavy metal band from Waterford, Michigan, formed in 2001. Their name is derived from the 1947 unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, often referred to as Black Dahlia. The band comprises vocalist Trevor Strnad, guitarists Brian Eschbach and Ryan Knight, bassist...

 also has produced several songs based on the Cthulhu Mythos, "Throne of Lunacy" and "Thy Horror Cosmic"; progressive metal band Dream Theater
Dream Theater
Dream Theater is an American progressive metal band formed in 1985 under the name Majesty by John Petrucci, John Myung, and Mike Portnoy while they attended Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts. They subsequently dropped out of their studies to further concentrate on the band that would...

's song "The Dark Eternal Night" is based on the story "Nyarlathotep
Nyarlathotep (short story)
"Nyarlathotep" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft written in 1920, and first published in the November 1920 issue of The United Amateur. It is the first mention in fiction of the Cthulhu Mythos entity Nyarlathotep.-Synopsis:...

" by Lovecraft; Morbid Angel
Morbid Angel
Morbid Angel is an American death metal band based in Tampa, Florida. UK music magazine Terrorizer ranked one Morbid Angel album in its “Top 40 greatest death metal albums”, with their 1989 debut Altars of Madness appearing at number 1...

 also features songs that uses the Mythos; Mark E Smith
Mark E. Smith
Mark Edward Smith is the lead singer, lyricist, frontman, and only constant member of the English post-punk band The Fall.-Early life:...

, lead singer of The Fall, is a known fan of Lovecraft's work, and the song "Spectre Vs Rector", a ghost story, contains the lyric "Yog Sothoth rape me lord"; and UK anarcho-punk band Rudimentary Peni
Rudimentary Peni
Rudimentary Peni are a British anarcho-punk/deathrock band formed in 1980.-Line-up:*Nick Blinko - guitar, vocals, artwork, lyrics*Grant Matthews - bass guitar, lyrics*Jon Greville - drums-History:...

 make repeated references in their song titles, lyrics and artwork, including the album Cacophony
Cacophony (album)
Cacophony is an album by British deathrock band Rudimentary Peni. Self-released on their own imprint Outer Himalayan in 1987, it's entire track list and lyrics are inspired by the life and stories of early 20th Century horror-author HP Lovecraft....

, all 30 songs of which are inspired by the life and writings of Lovecraft. In the Iron Maiden album Live After Death
Live After Death
Live After Death was well received by the music press, with Kerrang! describing it as "possibly the greatest live album of all time." Allmusic shared this sentiment, describing Live After Death as "easily one of heavy metal's best live albums."...

, the band mascot, Eddie, is rising from a grave, where can be read "H.P. Lovecraft" and a quote form the The Nameless City: "That is not dead which can eternal lie yet with strange aeons even death may die.".

The Lovecraftian world has also made its mark on gaming. Chaosium
Chaosium
Chaosium is one of the longer lived publishers of role-playing games still in existence. Founded by Greg Stafford, its first game was actually a wargame, White Bear and Red Moon, which later mutated into Dragon Pass and its sequel, Nomad Gods...

 first made its mark as a publisher of games based on Lovecraft's Mythos. The role-playing game Call of Cthulhu
Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game)
Call of Cthulhu is a horror fiction role-playing game based on H. P. Lovecraft's story of the same name and the associated Cthulhu Mythos.The game, often abbreviated as CoC, is published by Chaosium.-Setting:...

 has been in print for 30 years (currently in its sixth major edition) and has garnered consistent praise for the high quality of its campaign and adventure supplements. Two collectible card games are Mythos
Mythos (card game)
Mythos is a collectible card game published by Chaosium. It is based on the Cthulhu Mythos stories of the horror author H. P. Lovecraft, as well as on Chaosium's own Call of Cthulhu role-playing game.-Overview:...

 and Call of Cthulhu, the Living Card Game. In the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game
The is a Japanese collectible card game developed and published by Konami. It is based on the fictional game of Duel Monsters created by manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, which is the main plot device during the majority of his popular manga franchise, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and its various anime adaptations...

 an archetype, the Arcana Force, are based on his works. Several computer horror adventure game
Adventure game
An adventure game is a video game in which the player assumes the role of protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and puzzle-solving instead of physical challenge. The genre's focus on story allows it to draw heavily from other narrative-based media such as literature and film,...

s are influenced heavily by Lovecraft such as Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth is a Lovecraftian horror first-person action-adventure game developed by Headfirst Productions and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2005, in conjunction with 2K Games. The game was released for the PC and Xbox systems; the Xbox version is officially...

, Shadowman
Shadowman
Shadowman or Shadow Man may refer to:*Shadow people, creatures of both modern folklore and paranormal popular culture*Shadowman , a comic book series from Valiant Comics...

, Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark
Alone in the Dark is the title of several works of fiction:*Alone in the Dark, a series of video games*Alone in the Dark , a 1992 video game and the first in the series...

, Chzo Mythos
Chzo Mythos
The Chzo Mythos is the collective title given to a series of four amateur adventure games created by Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw using the Adventure Game Studio development tool. The games are, in order of release and intended play-order, 5 Days a Stranger, 7 Days a Skeptic, Trilby's Notes and 6 Days a...

, Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a psychological horror action-adventure video game released for the Nintendo GameCube. Developed by Canadian developer Silicon Knights and originally planned for the Nintendo 64, it was first released and published by Nintendo on June 24, 2002 in North America...

, Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened
Sherlock Holmes: The Awakened is an adventure game developed by Frogwares and published in 2006 for Microsoft Windows. The game follows an original plotline as Sherlock Holmes and his companion Dr. John H...

, Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Amnesia: The Dark Descent is a survival horror video game by Frictional Games, who previously developed the Penumbra series. Released for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms, the game features an unarmed protagonist exploring a dark and foreboding castle, while avoiding monsters and other...

, Dead Space
Dead Space (video game)
Dead Space is a survival horror third-person shooter video game, developed by EA Redwood Shores for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The game was made available on Steam on October 20, 2008...

, "Splatterhouse" "Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder
Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder
Darkness Within: In Pursuit of Loath Nolder is a first-person 3D adventure / horror thriller video game. It takes place in an imaginary "Lovecraftian" place called Wellsmoth. It is the first in an expected series of three games. The second game being Darkness Within: The Dark Lineage.The story of...

", "Darkness Within 2: The Dark Lineage", and the Penumbra
Penumbra (video game series)
Penumbra is the name of an episodic video game series by developer Frictional Games, published by Lexicon Entertainment and Paradox Interactive. The games use the HPL Engine, initially developed as a tech demo...

 series. Blizzard's World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft
World of Warcraft is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the fourth released game set in the fantasy Warcraft universe, which was first introduced by Warcraft: Orcs & Humans in 1994...

 has several references to Lovecraft, such as the boss C'thun and the boss Yogg-Saron. All of these bosses in Warcraft are labeled "Old Gods". The first-person shooter Quake also references Lovecraft - even having a boss called the Shub-Niggurath
Shub-Niggurath
Shub-Niggurath, often associated with the phrase “The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young”, is a deity in the Cthulhu Mythos of H. P. Lovecraft...

. Also, whilst not always Lovecraft based at their essence, references to his work are common in other games such as Fallout 3
Fallout 3
Fallout 3 is an action role-playing game released by Bethesda Game Studios, and the third major installment in the Fallout series. The game was released in North America, Europe and Australia in October 2008, and in Japan in December 2008 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360...

, Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse
Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse is a graphic adventure video game developed by Telltale Games. It is the third "season" of the Sam & Max episodic series created by Telltale Games, following Sam & Max Save the World and Sam & Max Beyond Time and Space...

, and Blood.

Lovecraft as a character in fiction


Aside from his thinly-veiled appearance in Robert Bloch's "The Shambler from the Stars", Lovecraft continues to be used as a character in supernatural fiction. Examples include:
  • Bradbury, Ray
    Ray Bradbury
    Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

    : In an early version of the story "The Exiles", published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
    The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction is a digest-size American fantasy and science fiction magazine first published in 1949 by Mystery House and then by Fantasy House. Both were subsidiaries of Lawrence Spivak's Mercury Publications, which took over as publisher in 1958. Spilogale, Inc...

     Volume 1 No. 2 (Winter-Spring 1950), and later to become part of Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, Bradbury uses Lovecraft as a character, making a brief (600-word) appearance, eating ice cream in front of a fire and complaining about how cold he is. The passage was excised from all subsequent versions of the story.
  • Lupoff, Richard A.: Lovecraft's Book (1985)
  • Barbour, David and Richard Raleigh. Shadows Bend (2000)
  • Cannon, Peter
    Peter Cannon
    Peter H. Cannon is an H. P. Lovecraft scholar and an author of Cthulhu Mythos fiction.Cannon first made his name in Lovecraft studies with his graduate theses written in the 1970s - A Case for Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Lovecraft's New England...

    . The Lovecraft Chronicles (2004)

Survey of the work


For most of the 20th century, the definitive editions (specifically At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels, Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, The Dunwich Horror and Others, and The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions) of his prose fiction were published by Arkham House
Arkham House
Arkham House is a publishing house specializing in weird fiction founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1939 by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to preserve in hardcover the best fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. The company's name is derived from Lovecraft's fictional New England city, Arkham. Arkham House...

, a publisher originally started with the intent of publishing the work of Lovecraft, but which has since published a considerable amount of other literature as well. Penguin Classics has at present issued three volumes of Lovecraft's works: The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories is Penguin Classics' first omnibus edition of works by seminal 20th century American author H. P. Lovecraft. It was released in October 1999 and is still in print...

, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, and most recently The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories. They collect the standard texts as edited by S. T. Joshi, most of which were available in the Arkham House editions, with the exception of the restored text of "The Shadow Out of Time" from The Dreams in the Witch House, which had been previously released by small-press publisher Hippocampus Press
Hippocampus Press
Hippocampus Press is an American publisher of fantasy, horror and science fiction, and specializes in reprints or first editions of work by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. One of its major projects is the 5-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays...

. In 2005 the prestigious Library of America
Library of America
The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher of classic American literature.- Overview and history :Founded in 1979 with seed money from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Ford Foundation, the LoA has published over 200 volumes by a wide range of authors from Mark Twain to Philip...

 canonized Lovecraft with a volume of his stories edited by Peter Straub
Peter Straub
Peter Francis Straub is an American author and poet, most famous for his work in the horror genre. His horror fiction has received numerous literary honors such as the Bram Stoker Award, World Fantasy Award, and International Horror Guild Award, placing him among the most-honored horror authors in...

, and Random House's Modern Library
Modern Library
The Modern Library is a publishing company. Founded in 1917 by Albert Boni and Horace Liveright as an imprint of their publishing company Boni & Liveright, it was purchased in 1925 by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer...

 line have issued the "definitive edition" of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness (also including "Supernatural Horror in Literature
Supernatural Horror in Literature
"Supernatural Horror in Literature" is a long essay by the celebrated horror writer H. P. Lovecraft surveying the field of horror fiction. It was written between November 1925 and May 1927 and revised in 1933-1934. It was first published in 1927 in the one-shot magazine The Recluse...

").

Lovecraft's poetry is collected in The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. P. Lovecraft (Night Shade Books, 2001), while much of his juvenilia, various essays on philosophical, political and literary topics, antiquarian travelogues, and other things, can be found in Miscellaneous Writings (Arkham House, 1989). Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature", first published in 1927, is a historical survey of horror literature available with endnotes as The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature.

Letters


Although Lovecraft is known mostly for his works of weird fiction, the bulk of his writing consists of voluminous letters about a variety of topics, from weird fiction and art criticism to politics and history.

He sometimes dated his letters 200 years before the current date, which would have put the writing back in U.S. colonial times, before the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 (a war which offended his Anglophilia). He explained that he thought that the 18th and 20th centuries were the "best"; the former being a period of noble grace, and the latter a century of science.

Lovecraft was not a very active letter-writer in youth. In 1931 he admitted: "In youth I scarcely did any letter-writing — thanking anybody for a present was so much of an ordeal that I would rather have written a two hundred fifty-line pastoral or a twenty-page treatise on the rings of Saturn." (SL 3.369–70). The initial interest in letters stemmed from his correspondence with his cousin Phillips Gamwell but even more important was his involvement in the amateur journalism movement, which was initially responsible for the enormous number of letters Lovecraft produced.

Despite his light letter-writing in youth, in later life his correspondence was so voluminous that it has been estimated that he may have written around 30,000 letters to various correspondents, a figure which places him second only to Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 as an epistolarian. Lovecraft's later correspondence is primarily to fellow weird fiction writers, rather than to the amateur journalist friends of his earlier years.

Lovecraft clearly states that his contact to numerous different people through letter-writing was one of the main factors in broadening his view of the world: "I found myself opened up to dozens of points of view which would otherwise never have occurred to me. My understanding and sympathies were enlarged, and many of my social, political, and economic views were modified as a consequence of increased knowledge." (SL 4.389).

Today there are five publishing houses that have released letters from Lovecraft, most prominently Arkham House with its five-volume edition Selected Letters. (Those volumes, however, severely abridge the letters they contain). Other publishers are Hippocampus Press
Hippocampus Press
Hippocampus Press is an American publisher of fantasy, horror and science fiction, and specializes in reprints or first editions of work by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. One of its major projects is the 5-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays...

 (Letters to Alfred Galpin et al.), Night Shade Books
Night Shade Books
Night Shade Books is an independent publishing company based in San Francisco, specializing in science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It was started in 1997 by Jason Williams, with Jeremy Lassen coming on board as a partner shortly after the company's founding...

 (Mysteries of Time and Spirit: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei et al..), Necronomicon Press
Necronomicon Press
Necronomicon Press is an American small press publishing house specialising in fiction, poetry and literary criticism relating to the horror and fantasy genres. It is run by Marc A. Michaud....

 (Letters to Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett et al.), and University of Tampa Press (O Fortunate Floridian: H. P. Lovecraft's Letters to R. H. Barlow). S.T. Joshi is supervising an ongoing series of volumes collecting Lovecraft's unabridged letters to particular correspondents.

Ohio University Press also published "Lord of a Visible World — An Autobiography in Letters" in 2000 which presents his letters according to themes, such as adolescence and travel. It was edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz.

Copyright


There is controversy over the copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 status of many of Lovecraft's works, especially his later works. Lovecraft had specified that the young R. H. Barlow
R. H. Barlow
Robert Hayward Barlow was an American author, avant-garde poet, anthropologist and historian of early Mexico, and expert in the Nahuatl language....

 would serve as executor of his literary estate, but these instructions had not been incorporated into his will. Nevertheless his surviving aunt carried out his expressed wishes, and Barlow was given charge of the massive and complex literary estate upon Lovecraft's death.

Barlow deposited the bulk of the papers, including the voluminous correspondence, with the John Hay Library
John Hay Library
The John Hay Library is the second oldest library on the campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Located on Prospect Street, opposite the Van Wickle Gates, it replaced the outgrown former library, now Robinson Hall, as the main library on the campus...

, and attempted to organize and maintain Lovecraft's other writing. August Derleth, an older and more established writer than Barlow, vied for control of the literary estate. One result of these conflicts was the legal confusion over who owned what copyrights.

All works published before 1923 are public domain
Public domain
Works are in the public domain if the intellectual property rights have expired, if the intellectual property rights are forfeited, or if they are not covered by intellectual property rights at all...

 in the U.S. However, there is some disagreement over who exactly owns or owned the copyrights and whether the copyrights apply to the majority of Lovecraft's works published post-1923.

Questions center over whether copyrights for Lovecraft's works were ever renewed under the terms of the United States Copyright Act of 1976
Copyright Act of 1976
The Copyright Act of 1976 is a United States copyright law and remains the primary basis of copyright law in the United States, as amended by several later enacted copyright provisions...

 for works created prior to January 1, 1978. The problem comes from the fact that before the Copyright Act of 1976 the number of years a work was copyrighted in the U.S. was based on publication rather than life of the author plus a certain number of years and that it was good for only 28 years. After that point, a new copyright had to be filed, and any work that did not have its copyright renewed fell back into the public domain. The Copyright Act of 1976 retroactively extended this renewal period for all works to a period of 47 years and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 added another 20 years to that, for a total of 95 years from publication. If the works were renewed, the copyrights would still be valid in the United States.

The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection of 1993 extended the copyrights to 70 years after the author's death. So, all works of Lovecraft published during his lifetime, became public domain in all 27 European Union countries on 1 January 2008. In those Berne Convention
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, usually known as the Berne Convention, is an international agreement governing copyright, which was first accepted in Berne, Switzerland in 1886.- Content :...

 countries who have implemented only the minimum copyright period, copyright expires 50 years after the author's death.

Lovecraft protégés and part owners of Arkham House, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei
Donald Wandrei
Donald Albert Wandrei was an American science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction writer, poet and editor. He wrote as Donald Wandrei. He was the older brother of science fiction writer and artist Howard Wandrei...

, often claimed copyrights over Lovecraft's works. On October 9, 1947, Derleth purchased all rights to Weird Tales. However, since April 1926 at the latest, Lovecraft had reserved all second printing rights to stories published in Weird Tales. Hence, Weird Tales may only have owned the rights to at most six of Lovecraft's tales. Again, even if Derleth did obtain the copyrights to Lovecraft's tales, no evidence as yet has been found that the copyrights were renewed.

S. T. Joshi concludes in his biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, that Derleth's claims are "almost certainly fictitious" and that most of Lovecraft's works published in the amateur press are most likely now in the public domain. The copyright for Lovecraft's works would have been inherited by the only surviving heir of his 1912 will: Lovecraft's aunt, Annie Gamwell. Gamwell herself perished in 1941 and the copyrights then passed to her remaining descendants, Ethel Phillips Morrish and Edna Lewis. Morrish and Lewis then signed a document, sometimes referred to as the Morrish-Lewis gift, permitting Arkham House to republish Lovecraft's works but retaining the copyrights for themselves. Searches of the Library of Congress
Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

 have failed to find any evidence that these copyrights were then renewed after the 28-year period and, hence, it is likely that these works are now in the public domain.

Chaosium, publishers of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, have a trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 on the phrase "The Call of Cthulhu" for use in game products. Another RPG publisher, TSR, Inc.
TSR, Inc.
Blume and Gygax, the remaining owners, incorporated a new company called TSR Hobbies, Inc., with Blume and his father, Melvin Blume, owning the larger share. The former assets of the partnership were transferred to TSR Hobbies, Inc....

, original publisher of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, included in one of that game's earlier supplements, Deities & Demigods
Deities & Demigods
Deities & Demigods , alternatively known as Legends & Lore , is a reference book for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game . The book provides descriptions and game statistics of gods and legendary creatures from various sources in mythology and fiction...

 (originally published in 1980 and later renamed to "Legends & Lore"), a section on the Cthulhu Mythos; TSR, Inc. later agreed to remove this section at Chaosium's request.

Regardless of the legal disagreements surrounding Lovecraft's works, Lovecraft himself was extremely generous with his own works and actively encouraged others to borrow ideas from his stories, particularly with regard to his Cthulhu mythos. He actively encouraged other writers to reference his creations, such as the Necronomicon, Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth
Yog-Sothoth
Yog-Sothoth is a cosmic entity of the fictional Cthulhu Mythos and the Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft. Yog-Sothoth's name was first mentioned in his novella The Case of Charles Dexter Ward...

. After his death, many writers have contributed stories and enriched the shared mythology of the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as making numerous references to his work. (See Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture
Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture
This article provides a list of cultural references to the work of author H. P. Lovecraft. These references are collectively known as the Cthulhu Mythos. For works that are stylistically influenced by Lovecraft, see Lovecraftian horror.- Film :...

.)

Locations featured in Lovecraft stories


Lovecraft drew extensively from his native New England for settings in his fiction. Numerous real historical locations are mentioned, and several fictional New England locations make frequent appearances. (See Lovecraft Country
Lovecraft Country
Lovecraft Country is a term coined by Keith Herber for the New England setting, combining real and fictitious locations, used by H. P. Lovecraft in many of his weird fiction stories, and later elaborated by other writers working in the Cthulhu Mythos. The term was popularized by Chaosium, the...

.)

Historical locations

  • Pascoag, Rhode Island
    Pascoag, Rhode Island
    Pascoag is a census-designated place and village in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. The population was 4,742 at the 2000 census.Pascoag is one of at least eight villages that make up Burrillville...

     in The Horror at Red Hook
    The Horror at Red Hook
    "The Horror at Red Hook" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft. Written on August 1–2, 1925, it was first published in the January 1927 issue of Weird Tales.-Inspiration:...

  • Chepachet, Rhode Island
    Chepachet, Rhode Island
    Chepachet is a village and census-designated place in the town of Glocester in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Rhode Island. It is centered at the intersection of U.S. Route 44 and RI Route 102...

     in The Horror at Red Hook
  • Gainesville, Florida
    Gainesville, Florida
    Gainesville is the largest city in, and the county seat of, Alachua County, Florida, United States as well as the principal city of the Gainesville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area . The preliminary 2010 Census population count for Gainesville is 124,354. Gainesville is home to the sixth...

     in The Statement of Randolph Carter
    The Statement of Randolph Carter
    "The Statement of Randolph Carter" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft. Written December 1919, it was first published in The Vagrant, May 1920...

  • Binger
    Binger, Oklahoma
    Binger is a town in Caddo County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 708 at the 2000 census.Binger is the headquarters of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma, who were settled here in the 1870s....

     in Caddo County, Oklahoma
    Caddo County, Oklahoma
    Caddo County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of 2000, the population was 30,150. Its county seat is Anadarko. It is named after the Caddo tribe who were settled here on the 1870s...

     (The Mound
    The Mound (short story)
    "The Mound" is a novella H. P. Lovecraft wrote as a ghostwriter from December 1929 to January 1930 after he was hired by Zealia Bishop to create a story based on the following plot synopsis:...

    )
  • Copp's Hill
    Copp's Hill
    Copp's Hill is an elevation in the historic North End of Boston, Massachusetts. It is bordered by Hull Street, Charter Street and Snow Hill Street. The hill takes its name from William Copp, a shoemaker who once owned the land...

    , Boston
    Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

    , Massachusetts
    Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

  • Red Line (MBTA)
    Red Line (MBTA)
    The Red Line is a rapid transit line operated by the MBTA running roughly north-south through Boston, Massachusetts into neighboring communities. The line begins west of Boston, in Cambridge, Massachusetts at Alewife station, near the intersection of Alewife Brook Parkway and Route 2...

  • Pawtuxet
    Cranston, Rhode Island
    Cranston, once known as Pawtuxet, is a city in Providence County, Rhode Island, United States. With a population of 80,387 at the 2010 census, it is the third largest city in the state. The center of population of Rhode Island is located in Cranston...

     (now Cranston, Rhode Island)
  • Newburyport, Massachusetts
    Newburyport, Massachusetts
    Newburyport is a small coastal city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States, 35 miles northeast of Boston. The population was 21,189 at the 2000 census. A historic seaport with a vibrant tourism industry, Newburyport includes part of Plum Island...

  • Ipswich, Massachusetts
    Ipswich, Massachusetts
    Ipswich is a coastal town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 12,987 at the 2000 census. Home to Willowdale State Forest and Sandy Point State Reservation, Ipswich includes the southern part of Plum Island...

  • Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Bolton, Massachusetts
    Bolton, Massachusetts
    As of the census of 2000, there were 4,148 people, 1,424 households, and 1,201 families residing in the town. The population density was . There were 1,476 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the town was 97.76% White, 0.19% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.30%...

  • Salem, Massachusetts
    Salem, Massachusetts
    Salem is a city in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 40,407 at the 2000 census. It and Lawrence are the county seats of Essex County...

  • Brattleboro, Vermont
    Brattleboro, Vermont
    Brattleboro, originally Brattleborough, is a town in Windham County, Vermont, United States, located in the southeast corner of the state, along the state line with New Hampshire. The population was 12,046 at the 2010 census...

  • Albany, New York
    Albany, New York
    Albany is the capital city of the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Albany County, and the central city of New York's Capital District. Roughly north of New York City, Albany sits on the west bank of the Hudson River, about south of its confluence with the Mohawk River...

  • Many locations within his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence, Rhode Island
    Providence is the capital and most populous city of Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States. Located in Providence County, it is the third largest city in the New England region...

    , including the (then purportedly haunted) Halsey House, Prospect Terrace and Brown University
    Brown University
    Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

    's John Hay Library and John Carter Brown Library.
  • Danvers State Hospital
    Danvers State Hospital
    Danvers State Hospital, also known as the State Lunatic Hospital at Danvers, The Danvers Lunatic Asylum, and The Danvers State Insane Asylum, was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts....

    , in Danvers, Massachusetts
    Danvers, Massachusetts
    Danvers is a town in Essex County, Massachusetts, United States. Located on the Danvers River near the northeastern coast of Massachusetts, Danvers is most widely known for its association with the 1692 Salem witch trials, and for its famous asylum, the Danvers State Hospital.-17th century:The land...

    , which is largely believed to have served as inspiration for the infamous Arkham sanatorium from "The Thing on the Doorstep
    The Thing on the Doorstep
    "The Thing on the Doorstep" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror fiction. It was written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales.-Inspiration:...

    ".
  • Catskill Mountains, New York
  • New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    , New York
  • Kilderry
    Kilderry
    Kilderry is located in County Kerry, Ireland, on the N70 National secondary road between Milltown and Killorglin ....

    , Ireland
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
    Louisiana
    Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

    , in "The Call of Cthulhu", including a mention of Tulane University
    Tulane University
    Tulane University is a private, nonsectarian research university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States...

    .
  • Newport, Rhode Island
    Newport, Rhode Island
    Newport is a city on Aquidneck Island in Newport County, Rhode Island, United States, about south of Providence. Known as a New England summer resort and for the famous Newport Mansions, it is the home of Salve Regina University and Naval Station Newport which houses the United States Naval War...


Fictional locations

  • Miskatonic University in the fictional Arkham, Massachusetts
  • Dunwich
    Dunwich (Lovecraft)
    Dunwich is a fictional town that appeared in the H. P. Lovecraft short story "The Dunwich Horror" . Dunwich is found in the fictional Miskatonic River Valley of Massachusetts, part of the imaginary region sometimes called Lovecraft Country...

    , Massachusetts
  • Innsmouth
    Innsmouth
    Innsmouth is a fictional town in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, part of the Lovecraft Country setting of the Cthulhu Mythos.Lovecraft first used the name "Innsmouth" in his 1920 short story "Celephaïs" , where it refers to a fictional town in New England...

    , Massachusetts
  • Kingsport
    Kingsport (Lovecraft)
    Kingsport is a fictional town in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. The town first appeared in Lovecraft's short story "The Terrible Old Man"...

    , Massachusetts
  • Aylesbury, Massachusetts
  • Martin's Beach
  • The Miskatonic River
    Miskatonic River
    The Miskatonic River is a fictional New England river in the writings of H. P. Lovecraft. It is also the name of a river system, the Miskatonic Valley. The equally fictitious Miskatonic University in Arkham is named after this river...

  • The fictional Central University Library at the real University of Buenos Aires
    University of Buenos Aires
    The University of Buenos Aires is the largest university in Argentina and the largest university by enrollment in Latin America. Founded on August 12, 1821 in the city of Buenos Aires, it consists of 13 faculties, 6 hospitals, 10 museums and is linked to 4 high schools: Colegio Nacional de Buenos...

    , Buenos Aires, Argentina. According to Lovecraft there is a copy of the Necronomicon here, but the University of Buenos Aires never had a central library.

Further reading

  • The Strange Sound of Cthulhu: Music Inspired by the Writings of H. P. Lovecraft (ISBN 978-1-84728-776-2), written by Gary Hill.
  • Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe (ISBN 0-8131-1728-3), by Donald R. Burleson, PhD, a longtime scholar on Lovecraft and acquaintance of S. T. Joshi, is probably the only book analyzing Lovecraft's literature from a deconstructionist standpoint. University Press of Kentucky, November 1990.
  • The Gentleman From Angell Street: Memories of H. P. Lovecraft ( ISBN 978-0-9701699-1-4), written by Muriel and C. M. Eddy, Jr.
    C. M. Eddy, Jr.
    Clifford Martin Eddy, Jr. was an American author best known for his horror and supernatural short stories. He is best remembered for his work in Weird Tales magazine.- Career :...

     is a collection of personal remembrances and anecdotes from two of Lovecraft's closest friends in Providence. The Eddys were fellow writers, and Mr. Eddy was a frequent contributor to Weird Tales.
  • Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos
    Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos
    Lovecraft: A Look Behind the "Cthulhu Mythos" is a 1972 non-fiction book written by Lin Carter, published by Ballantine Books. The introduction notes that the book "does not purport to be a biography of H. P...

     (ISBN 0-586-04166-4), written by Lin Carter
    Lin Carter
    Linwood Vrooman Carter was an American author of science fiction and fantasy, as well as an editor and critic. He usually wrote as Lin Carter; known pseudonyms include H. P. Lowcraft and Grail Undwin.-Life:Carter was born in St. Petersburg, Florida...

     in 1972, is a survey of Lovecraft's work (along with that of other members of the Lovecraft Circle) with considerable information on his life.
  • The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos by S. T. Joshi (Mythos Books, 2008) is the first full-length critical study since Lin Carter's to examine the development of Lovecraft's Mythos and its outworking in the oeuvres of various modern writers.
  • The first full-length biography was Lovecraft: a Biography
    Lovecraft: a Biography
    Lovecraft: a Biography is a 1975 biography of the writer H. P. Lovecraft by science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp, first published in hardcover by Doubleday in February 1975. A later hardcover edition was issued by Barnes & Noble in January 1996. The first paperback edition, corrected and...

     (ISBN 0-345-25115-6), written by L. Sprague de Camp
    L. Sprague de Camp
    Lyon Sprague de Camp was an American author of science fiction and fantasy books, non-fiction and biography. In a writing career spanning 60 years, he wrote over 100 books, including novels and notable works of non-fiction, including biographies of other important fantasy authors...

    ; published in 1975, it is now out of print
    Out of print
    Out of print refers to an item, typically a book , but can include any print or visual media or sound recording, that is in the state of no longer being published....

    .
  • Frank Belknap Long's Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Nightside
    Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Nightside
    Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Nightside is a biography of H. P. Lovecraft written by Frank Belknap Long, a longtime friend of Lovecraft. It was released in 1975 and by Arkham House in an edition of 4,991 copies. It was one of three biographies of Lovecraft released in 1975. The...

     (Arkham House, 1975, ISBN 0-87054-068-8) presents a more personal look at Lovecraft's life, combining reminiscence, biography and literary criticism. Long was a friend and correspondent of Lovecraft, as well as a fellow fantasist who wrote a number of Lovecraft-influenced Cthulhu Mythos stories (including The Hounds of Tindalos).
  • A newer, more extensive biography is H. P. Lovecraft: A Life
    H. P. Lovecraft: A Life
    H. P. Lovecraft: A Life is a biography of H. P. Lovecraft by S. T. Joshi, first published by Necronomicon Press in 1996. The original one-volume edition was reissued in 2004, with a new afterword by Joshi....

     (ISBN 0-940884-88-7) written by Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi. An alternative is Joshi's abridged A Dreamer & A Visionary: H. P. Lovecraft in His Time (ISBN 0-85323-946-0). An unabridged reprint in two volumes of Joshi's biography, newly retitled I Am Providence:", was published in 2010 by Hippocampus Press
    Hippocampus Press
    Hippocampus Press is an American publisher of fantasy, horror and science fiction, and specializes in reprints or first editions of work by authors such as H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith. One of its major projects is the 5-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays...

    .
  • An English translation of Michel Houellebecq
    Michel Houellebecq
    Michel Houellebecq , born Michel Thomas, 26 February 1958—or 1956 —on the French island of Réunion, is a controversial and award-winning French author, filmmaker and poet. To admirers he is a writer in the tradition of literary provocation that reaches back to the Marquis de Sade and Baudelaire;...

    's H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life (ISBN 1-932416-18-8) was published by Believer Books in 2005.
  • Other significant Lovecraft-related works are An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia
    An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia
    An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia is a reference work written by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. It covers the life and work of American horror fiction writer H. P...

     by Joshi and David S. Schulz; Lovecraft's Library: A Catalogue (a meticulous listing of many of the books in Lovecraft's now scattered library), by Joshi; Lovecraft at Last, an account by Willis Conover
    Willis Conover
    Willis Clark Conover, Jr. was a jazz producer and broadcaster on the Voice of America for over forty years. He produced jazz concerts at the White House, the Newport Jazz Festival, and for movies and television. By arranging concerts where people of all races were welcome, he is credited with...

     of his teenage correspondence with Lovecraft; Joshi's A Subtler Magick: The Writings and Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft.
  • Andrew Migliore
    Andrew Migliore
    Andrew John Migliore is the founder and director of the annual and in Portland Oregon. In 2006 he also began a spin-off, two-day version of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival held each August in Austin, Texas.He is also the co-author of Lurker in the Lobby: The Guide to the Cinema of H. P...

     and John Strysik's Lurker in the Lobby: The Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft
    Lurker in the Lobby: The Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft
    Lurker in the Lobby: A Guide to the Cinema of H. P. Lovecraft is a non-fiction book by Andrew Migliore and John Strysik analysing the influence of Providence author H. P. Lovecraft in the world of cinema.-Contents:...

     and Charles P. Mitchell's The Complete H. P. Lovecraft Filmography both discuss films containing Lovecraftian elements.
  • Lovecraft's prose fiction has been published numerous times. The corrected texts were released by Arkham House in the 1980s, and many other collections of his stories have appeared, including Ballantine Books editions and three popular Del Rey editions. The three collections published by Penguin, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories, The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories, and The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories, incorporate the modifications made in the corrected texts as well as the annotations provided by Joshi.
  • Lovecraft's ghost-written works are compiled in The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions, edited again by Joshi.
  • Some of Lovecraft's writings are annotated with footnote
    Footnote
    A note is a string of text placed at the bottom of a page in a book or document or at the end of a text. The note can provide an author's comments on the main text or citations of a reference work in support of the text, or both...

    s or endnote
    EndNote
    EndNote is a commercial reference management software package, used to manage bibliographies and references when writing essays and articles. It is produced by Thomson Reuters.- Features :...

    s. In addition to the Penguin editions mentioned above and The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature, Joshi has produced The Annotated H. P. Lovecraft as well as More Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, both of which are footnoted extensively.
  • An Epicure in the Terrible (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1991), edited by David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi is an anthology of 13 essays on Lovecraft (excluding Joshi's lengthy introduction)on the centennial of Lovecraft's birth. The essays are arranged into 3 sections; Biographical, Thematic Studies and Comparative and Genre Studies. The authors include S. T. Joshi, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, Jason C. Eckhardt, Will Murray, Donald R. Burleson, Peter Cannon, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Steven J. Mariconda, David E. Schultz, Robert H. Waugh, Robert M. Price, R. Boerem, Norman R. Gatford and Barton Levi St. Armand.
  • “H. P. Lovecraft: Alone in Space,” chapter 3 in Emperors of Dreams: Some Notes on Weird Poetry by S. T. Joshi (Sydney: P’rea Press, 2008: ISBN 978-0-9804625-3-1 (pbk) and ISBN 978-0-9804625-4-8 (hbk)), discusses some of Lovecraft's weird poetry.
  • The Intersection of Fantasy and Native America: From H.P. Lovecraft to Leslie Marmon Silko edited by Amy H. Sturgis
    Amy H. Sturgis
    Amy H. Sturgis is an author, speaker and scholar of science fiction/fantasy studies and Native American studies. She earned her Ph.D...

     and David D. Oberhelman (Mythopoeic Press, 2009: ISBN 978-1887726122).
  • Poole, W. Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-60258-314-6.
  • Anderson, James Arthur. Out of the Shadows: a structuralist approach to understanding the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft (The Milford Series, Popular Writers of Today, Vol. 75 Wildside Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-80953-002-1 A close reading of Lovecraft's fiction.

External links