Author Spotlight: H. P. Lovecraft
We are back again with another post to help get you in the mood for Halloween! This week we are taking a look at horror gore heavyweight and (oc)cult favourite H.P. Lovecraft!
Free books? Yes Please!
Wherever you sit on the physical versus digital debate there is only one side to take in the free versus paid debate! All of Lovecraft’s fiction, essays, letters and poetry are available for free online at the H. P. Lovecraft Archive (http://hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/).
It won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started reading about the Great Old Ones, though meeting one in real life might cost you more than that!
Who was he?
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) lived most of his life in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. His early years as a writer saw him contribute to Scientific periodicals in his field of study: Organic Chemistry. He spent time as an amateur journalist and his letters to editors would appear in pulp and weird fiction magazines around 1911. He self-published poems and short stories and even though he gained some notoriety in life he was never able to support himself on his writings alone. Posthumously his works have gathered a cult following and his contributions to the horror genre put him in league with such venerable authors as Edgar Allen Poe and Mary Shelley.
What did he write?
Lovecraft wrote intense gothic horror and sparked the sub genre of Cosmicism, perfect for a Halloween evening. Dark tales of madness and the occult, magic and mysticism, astral projection, and sacrifice to ancient and otherworldly god-like beings named “The Great Old Ones”. His most famous examples include “The Call of Cthulhu”, “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Shadow at Innsmouth”.
Lovecraft’s works have inspired a great many adaptations in literature, cinema, video games and music, particularly his so called “Cthulhu Mythos” (stories concerning “The Great Old Ones”). Authors Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Caitlin R. Kiernan, comic book writers Junji Ito and Alan Moore all cite Lovecraft as major inspirations . In Cinema the works of John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro, the artist H. R. Giger and musicians Metallica have paid homage to or taken inspiration from Lovecraft’s writings.
So you may already be a fan and didn’t know it!
I would be remiss to mention Lovecraft and not highlight the darker side of the author’s personal opinions and his works. Xenophobia and racism are often explicitly shown in his writing. And while certainly a product of the society of his time his own prejudice seems stronger than his contemporaries.