H. P. Lovecraft has become notorious for his racist ideas during part of his life. We do not condone or support such ideas. We are, however, able to separate the art from the artist and can enjoy his stories while rejecting the negative beliefs he had that emerged from his experiences in a deprecated era. As with anything we post here, we don't always believe in, agree with, or support the ideas or ideology of the writers or even the messages in what they wrote. We can still take from them the good things, and appreciate their creative uniqueness and mastery of their craft.
Interesting quotes by H. P. Lovecraft
“Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity.”
A brief biography of H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Philips Lovecraft (better known as H. P. Lovecraft) was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was an American writer who pioneered weird fiction and horror. He is best known for his short story, The Call of Cthulhu, published in 1926. He was a major influence for many famous writers and movie makers, such as Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter and Guillermo Del Toro. Lovecraft also conceived of the literary philosophy known as Cosmicism—mankind’s fear of the uknown depths of the universe, which he referred to as, “the cosmic void.”
Howard was an only child and was very intelligent. He was proficient in reading and writing by the age of three. His father was a traveling salesman, but in 1893 suffered a psychotic episode and was admitted to Butler Hospital in Providence. He died five years later in 1898. Once Lovecraft’s father was in the hospital, he and his mother went to live with his grandparents. It was then that his grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips, became a father figure to young Lovecraft, once calling him, “centre of my entire universe.” Whipple emboldened Lovecraft’s affection for literature—mostly classical and English poetry. His grandfather would also entertain him with stories of, “winged horrors,” accompanying them with, “deep, low moaning sounds.” Traveling often, as a successful businessman, his grandfather kept up an exchange of letters with young Lovecraft. In 1896, Lovecraft’s maternal grandmother died. Even though he didn’t have a close relationship with her, it had a profound effect on him. Lovecraft stated it sent them into, “a gloom from which it never fully recovered.” Adorned in black mourning dresses, Lovecraft’s mother and aunts would horrify five year old Lovecraft to the point of nightmares. Thirty years later, he would include them in, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, referring to them as “night-gaunts.”
Along with the correspondence between his beloved grandfather and he, H. P. Lovecraft started writing at a fairly young age. When he was seven, Lovecraft would reform and stylize The Odyssey, as well as other tales of mythology. Lovecraft was fascinated by the Roman gods—believing them to be more palpable—foresaking his traditional Christian upbringing. Coupled with his interest in literature and writing, he was also thoroughly absorbed by astronomy and human anatomy. This would propel him to self-publish Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy and the Scientific Gazette, which he would circulate amongst his friends as a child. This was also the time young Lovecraft would formulate the first types of fiction, branding his legacy.
During his academic years, Lovecraft would experience a slew of “health issues” later believed to be atypical depression. This caused him to be absent from school. Lovecraft would describe these times in his life as a “nervous collapse” and “a sort of break down.” Even though he was determined to attend Brown University, he never graduated from high school. Living with his mother, their relationship became unhealthy. Lovecraft’s mother had developed a love-hate relationship with him. In 1919, Lovecraft’s mother experienced a nervous breakdown of her own, and was brought to the same hospital as her late husband, Butler Hospital. It would be a few years later in 1921 that she would die after a gallbladder operation.
He was devastated by the loss of his mother, but managed to pull himself together in a matter of weeks—just in time to attend an amateur journalism convention in Boston, Massachusetts. This is where Lovecraft would meet his future wife, Sonia Haft Greene. He later visiting Ms. Greene in Brooklyn, New York, in 1922 and they eventually married in 1924—Lovecraft moving into Sonia’s Brooklyn apartment. Life for the newlywed couple looked promising. Lovecraft had several of his earlier stories published in Weird Tales, a pulp magazine, while Sonia owned a fruitful hat shop on Fifth Avenue in New York. Unfortunately, soon after this, life began to sour, and Lovecraft had turned down an editor’s position for a magazine in relation to Weird Tales and Sonia’s hat shop went out of business. This misfortune caused the couple to split up—Sonia left for Cleveland to obtain a job, while Lovecraft moved into a single apartment in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Lovecraft yearned to return to Providence, and he did so in 1926, but without his wife. His aunts refused Sonia to come along and he obliged their wishes. His aunt did not want the blemish of a “tradeswoman wife” to besmirch their nephew. After being apart, a divorce was finalized in 1929. However, Lovecraft didn’t revert back to depression. He traveled along the Eastern seaboard visiting antiquarian sites and embarked on his journey to become the prolific writer we know today.
It was in the last decade of Lovecraft’s life when his writing would really bloom. Leading with his cult classic, The Call of Cthulhu, he also published many other short stories such as, At the Mountains of Madness and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. In addition to his work, Lovecraft also did revisions for other authors, collaborations, and an abundance of ghost-writing, including tales such as The Mound, and Winged Death. Lovecraft’s final short story was The Haunter of the Dark.
Unfortunately Lovecraft’s bodily health began to decline. After visiting with a doctor, he was given a diagnosis of terminal cancer in his small intestine. As a result of his fear of doctors, Lovecraft wasn’t properly examined until a month before his death. It was then, in that final month, while being hospitalized, Lovecraft would live in a perpetual state of pain before succumbing. He kept a journal of his health during his stay until he was rendered incapable of holding a pen. H.P. Lovecraft died on March 15, 1937 in Brown Memorial Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. He is buried at Swan Point Cemetery, being listed alongside his parents on the Phillips family monument. It wasn’t until 1977 when some of his fans fashioned Lovecraft a headstone, which reads:
Howard Phillips Lovecraft August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937 ——————— ‘I AM PROVIDENCE’