The Horror, the Horror

by John J. Miller on August 20, 2014 · 2 comments

in Blog Posts

  • SumoMe

My long article on H.P. Lovecraft in the Claremont Review of Books is now available online. It dives into the Cthulhu Mythos, of course, but also attempts an apologia for horror as a literary genre:

Horror, in any case, is more than a genre: it’s a technique that great writers have used from the earliest times. Homer is full of horror…

lovecraft_horror_avont284

  • wolfram_and_hart

    John, thanks so much for your writing about the wonderfully weird fiction of HPL. When I was a boy in the 1960s, Lovecraft was almost as mythic as Cthulhu himself. His stuff was out of print, and I had only heard of the name from its mention in one or two Ray Bradbury stories. This despite my being a hard-core science fiction/fantasy fan.

    Finally, when I was in seventh or eighth grade, my oldest brother tracked down Lovecraft at the local library and checked out the Arkham House editions of “The Dunwich Horror” and “Dagon.” I read them both and became a lifelong fan. Things became a lot easier for Cthulhu Mythos fans with the explosion of fantasy publishing in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

    In your discussion of Lovecraft’s entry into today’s culture, you leave out two of the most important names: August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, who founded Arkham House in 1939 primarily to champion HPL’s fiction and keep it in print. Without their efforts, I doubt anyone but specialists today would know about the tormented and talented denizen who wrote weird tales in Providence under a gibbous moon.

  • Oakley Stewart Lollar Jr.

    As a teenage boy in Mississippi in the late 1960s-early1970s, I had the
    same experience; the 2 Bradbury mentions (one in The Martian Chronicles,
    AIR) were my only clues. A character asks a librarian about Lovecraft,
    and she asks “Was he a sex writer?” The reader knows better in the context.

    I
    did manage to find a Lovecraft anthology in the adult area of the
    county library: “adult” meaning “not for children” without the modern
    connotation of sex. Shortly afterward came the paperback publication and
    the riches of the past sat upon my bookshelves, where the yellowing
    pages still sit in a top front place of pride. Thank you, Mr. Bradbury!

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