On this day…
15th March, 1937 – H.P. Lovecraft died
Howard Phillips Lovecraft August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937 —known as H.P. Lovecraft—was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and only published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.
The UAPA reinvigorated Lovecraft and incited him to contribute many poems and essays; in 1916, his first published story, The Alchemist, appeared in the United Amateur. The earliest commercially published work came in 1922, when he was thirty-one. By this time he had begun to build what became 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 (Psycho), Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian series). Many former aspiring authors later paid tribute to his mentoring and encouragement through the correspondence.
His oeuvre is sometimes seen as consisting of three periods: an early Edgar Allan Poe influence; followed by a Lord Dunsany inspired Dream Cycle; and finally the Cthulhu Mythos stories. However, many distinctive ideas and entities present in the third period were introduced in the earlier works, such as the 1917 story “Dagon”, and the threefold classification is partly overlapping.
I know there is speculation about racism within Lovecraft’s work which is never a good thing. However I think the sheer horror found in his words is masterful and does make him an exceptional writer, perhaps if he was a modern writer his morals would be different but I think his writing talent would be the same. For those yet to experience his work this youtube video is a reading of the story so you can pop your headphones on at work and enjoy a classic while typing away.
For those interested in quirky facts did you know heavy metal band Metallica released an instrumental track called “The Call of Ktulu” on their album, Ride the Lightning. Their song, “The Thing That Should Not Be,” on the album Master of Puppets, was inspired by the short story “The Shadow over Innsmouth”. They also recorded a song on the album Death Magnetic called “All Nightmare Long” that was also inspired by Lovecraft. I think its safe to assume they are fans!