View Full Version : The Works of H.P. Lovecraft

Sunday, October 3rd, 2004, 07:16 PM
This is a discussion list about Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Aug. 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937), American author of fantastic and macabre short novels and stories, and creator of the Cthulhu Mythos. This list will focus on his life and writings, both of fiction and non-fiction, and including his voluminous letter-writing as well. If it's about Lovecraft, it's about here.

"Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places. For them are the catacombs of Ptolemais, and the carven mausolea of the nightmare countries. They climb to the moonlit towers of ruined Rhine castles, and falter down black cobwebbed steps beneath the scattered stones of forgotten cities in Asia. The haunted wood and the desolate mountain are their shrines, and they linger around the sinister monoliths on uninhabited islands. But the true epicure in the terrible, to whom a new thrill of unutterable ghastliness is the chief end and justification of existence, esteems most of all the ancient, lonely farmhouses of backwoods New England; for there the dark elements of strength, solitude, grotesqueness and ignorance combine to form the perfection of the hideous."
~H.P. Lovecraft.

"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die."
~Abdul Alhazred ("The Necronomicon")


The Lurker on the Threshold of Interpretation: Hoax Necronomicons and
Paratextual Noise.

by Dan Clore

If the Necronomicon legend continues to grow, people will end up
believing it and accusing me of faking when I point out the true
origin of the thing!
-- H.P. Lovecraft (cited in Harms and Gonce, 47).

Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.
-- last words of Hassan i Sabbah.

The publication of hoax editions of the Necronomicon -- a
fictional work used as a prop in the weird fiction of Howard Phillips
Lovecraft and other writers -- may seem a simple matter. On closer
examination this may no longer appear to be the case. It is not merely
a question of the self-denying hoax -- for the hoax versions are all
either admitted spoofs, or indicate their nature as hoax by internal
evidence -- it is not merely that a hoax must not present itself as a
hoax, in order for it to actually function as a hoax. Instead, the
subject opens up onto a field that Gérard Genette has termed the
paratext: roughly, the manner in which one text influences the
interpretation of another text. The paratext may be a peritext, which
appears alongside the text -- examples include the title, author's
name, preface, introduction, and so forth; or it may be an epitext,
which appears in a physical location not directly connected to the
text. Genette explains that "More than a boundary or a sealed border,
the paratext is, rather, a threshold, or -- a word Borges used apropos
of a preface -- a 'vestibule' that offers the world at large the
possibility of either stepping inside or turning back" (2). Where the
epitext is concerned, moreover, the paratext displays a "potential for
indefinite diffusion" (346) as more and more texts become mutually
relevant and interconnected. It is evidently this problematic which
study of the hoax Necronomicons provides data for.

Before attempting to tackle the hoax editions of the Necronomicon
themselves, it should be informative to observe how the subject is
prefigured in Lovecraft's own work. Lovecraft saw the weird tale as
itself necessarily similar to a hoax -- in a letter to Clark Ashton
Smith dated October 17, 1930, he says: "My own rule is that no weird
story can truly produce terror unless it is devised with all the care
& verisimilitude of an actual hoax. The author must forget all about
'short story technique', & build up a stark, simple account, full of
homely corroborative details, just as if he were actually trying to
'put across' a deception in real life -- a deception clever enough to
make adults believe it. My own attitude in writing is always that of
the hoax-weaver. One part of my mind tries to concoct something
realistic & coherent enough to fool the rest of my mind & make me
swallow the marvel as the late Camille Flammarion used to swallow the
ghost & revenant yarns unloaded on him by fakers & neurotics. For the
time being I try to forget formal literature, & simply devise a lie as
carefully as a crooked witness prepares a line of testimony with
cross-examining lawyers in his mind. . . . This ideal became a
conscious one with me about the 'Cthulhu' period . . ." (SL III, 193)
In short, the weird tale is devised as a hoax but it is not presented
as one, which effectively means that it is merely devised to be like a
hoax. The difference comes from the concrete speech-act that sets the
text adrift in the world. A hoax that is presented as a hoax, that
presents itself as a hoax, is no longer a hoax, but while an actual
hoax is not presented as a hoax, neither is a work of fiction
presented as a hoax -- but in the latter case this precondition for
the hoax prevents it from functioning as a hoax. But then the "care &
verisimilitude of an actual hoax" may create the suspicion in the
reader that the tale is a fictionalized version of real events, and in
effect an inverse hoax presenting reality as fiction rather than the
other way around.

The possibility that such a fiction may be taken for reality is
not all that remote, considering that even a seasoned "skeptic" like
James Randi has included entries in his Encyclopedia of Claims,
Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural which appear to take
the historical existence of the Necronomicon as a mediaeval grimoire
as uncontested fact (110-11, 159). He may, on the other hand, have
intended these entries tongue-in-cheek, as the book does contain the
occasional witticism, such as an entry on "Martinet Jardinier" which
is actually a spoof based on Martin Gardner. If so, these arid
attempts at humor are remarkably out of place in something apparently
intended as a serious reference work. Likewise, it is interesting to
note that the Cthulhu Mythos genre would later incorporate the idea
that Lovecraft had disguised fact as fiction as one of its abiding
clichés. An interesting example occurs in Robert Shea and Robert Anton
Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy, in which a character inquires of
Lovecraft "In 'The Case of Charles Dexter Ward' you quote a formula
from Eliphas Levi's History of Magic. But you don't quote it in full.
Why not?" and Lovecraft responds that "One doesn't have to believe in
Santa Claus to recognize that people will exchange presents at
Christmas time. One doesn't have to believe in Yog-Sothoth, the Eater
of Souls, to realize how people will act who do hold that belief. It
is not my intent, in any of my writings, to provide information that
will lead even one unbalanced reader to try experiments that will
result in the loss of human life" (331-32). In fact, Lovecraft
employed even more caution than this passage implies, as he never
published The Case of Charles Dexter Ward in any form. Elsewhere in
the trilogy a scholar researching Lovecraft and other weird fiction
writers explicitly states our theme:

The usual hoax: fiction presented as fact. This hoax described
here opposite to this: fact presented as fiction (296; italics in

To complete the cycle, we need only a work of fiction that
describes these prior works of fiction, which describe Lovecraft as
presenting fact in the guise of fiction, as themselves presenting fact
in the guise of fiction -- by some who believes that this is in fact true.

This ambivalent fiction-presented-as-fact vs.
fact-presented-as-fiction status is put into play in "The Haunter in
the Dark". The tale is told from the viewpoint of an anonymous
narrator, who devotes the majority of the story to a paraphrase of the
diary of Robert Blake, a young fantaisiste, and most of the rest to
paraphrases of supplementary accounts from other witnesses and
newspaper stories. The narrator, however, does not accept Blake's word
for the events he describes. He begins with the assertion that
"Cautious investigators will hesitate to challenge the common belief
that Robert Blake was killed by lightning, or by some profound nervous
shock derived from an electrical discharge" and that "the entries in
his diary are clearly the result of a fantastic imagination aroused by
certain local superstitions and by certain old matters he had
uncovered" (DH 92). But "his death may have nipped in the bud some
stupendous hoax destined to have a literary reflection" (DH 93) --
note already the connection between the weird tale and the hoax. The
narrator informs us that "the newspapers have given the tangible
details from the sceptical angle" -- which the narrator clearly
accepts as the true account of events -- "leaving for others the
drawing of the picture as Robert Blake saw it -- or thought he saw it
-- or pretended to see it" (DH 93). He therefore follows the latter
course, despite his own rejection of the conclusion implied in it. The
tale is thus constructed on ironic grounds: what the narrator presents
as a hoax, the reader must assume to instead be true in the fictional
world of the text, or the tale will not be an effective weird story.
In short, Lovecraft has concocted a hoax (after his usual fashion) to
present as fiction instead of an "actual" hoax, but then has the
narrator argue that it is in fact a hoax destined for use in the
construction of a work of fiction.

But "The Haunter of the Dark" also opens up the field in another
direction. In the story, the protagonist Robert Blake discovers a
typical library of forbidden tomes: "He had himself read many of them
-- a Latin version of the abhorred Necronomicon, the infamous Cultes
des Goules of Comte d'Erlette, the sinister Liber Ivonis, the
Unaussprechlichen Kulten of von Junzt, and old Ludvig Prinn's hellish
De Vermis Mysteriis. But there were others he had known merely be
reputation or not at all -- the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Book of
Dzyan, and a crumbling volume in wholly identifiable characters yet
with certain symbols and diagrams shudderingly recognizable to the
occult student" (DH 100). Now, most of these are the fictional
inventions of members of the Lovecraft circle, but the Book of Dzyan
is another matter.

If Robert Blake had desired to read the Book of Dzyan (more
properly, the Stanzas of Dzyan), he needed to look no further than
H.P. Blavatsky's massive two-volume opus The Secret Doctrine, which
contains both a translation of these Stanzas and select translations
from the traditional commentaries on them, and is itself comprised of
Blavatsky's own lengthy commentaries. Blavatsky describes the book:
"An Archaic Manuscript -- a collection of palm leaves made impermeable
to water, fire, and air, by some specific unknown process -- is before
the writer's eyes" (I 1) written in a language known as Senzar, which
ultimately derives from "the inhabitants of lost Atlantis" (I xliii)
-- an unlikely story that is not helped by wild tales of secret
subterranean galleries deep in Central Asian regions unvisited by
Westerners, containing libraries left over from lost civilizations.
The term Dzyan itself seems to have been invented by Madame Blavatsky,
and derives from a Sanskrit root that refers to meditation and by
extension to the enlightenment that results from the practice of
meditation. The same root gives the Japanese term zen.

Contemporary research has shown that Blavatsky did in fact have
contact with teachers of many different religious groups --
Rosicrucian, Sufi, Druze, Hindu, and both Hinayana and Mahayana
Buddhist. The books she refers to and sometimes presents translations
of -- the Chaldean Book of Numbers, the Book of the Golden Precepts,
and the Book of Dzyan itself -- reveal genuine lore from Sufi,
Mahayana Buddhist, and other traditions, though the precise source
texts cannot be identified. It seems that she was simultaneously
charged with giving these groups' secrets to the world and at the same
with time concealing her connection with them. In some cases, this may
have been for mundane political reasons: a number of the figures she
was involved with in India were actively fighting against British
colonial rule and presumably would not wish to draw further attention
to themselves from the authorities. The cover story referring to
Tibetan Mahatmas -- safely located in a country which was then closed
to the West -- provided the necessary blind to put authorities off the
track. (Perhaps it is a significant coincidence in this connection to
note that the first appearance of the Necronomicon in Lovecraft's
fiction, which occurs in "The Hound", refers to its information on
"the ghastly soul-symbol of the corpse-eating cult of inaccessible
Leng, in Central Asia" (D 174) -- where Leng is a fictional doublet of

The source for the Book of Dzyan itself has recently been
identified. In an article Blavatsky said that the book "is the first
volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te, and
a Glossary of the public works of the same name" (cited in Pratt).
This work, in its own turn, has created more confusion, but the matter
becomes settled when it is realized that kiu-te is a rough phonetic
rendering for a Tibetan title correctly transliterated as rGyud-sde.
This title refers to the Kanjur and the Tanjur, a massive set of some
325 volumes, copies of which were held by at least two of Blavatsky's
contacts in the region. Indeed, Blavatsky herself refers to these
works in the Introduction to The Secret Doctrine (xxvii) though she
does not claim them as her source for the Book of Dzyan. Nonetheless,
the precise text in the Kanjur and Tanjur from which the Book of Dzyan
derives has not been identified, and most likely has been withdrawn
from public circulation.

An entire procession of cults and obscure religious sects has
followed Blavatsky's lead, copying their doctrines from her and from
one another while simultaneously denying their true sources and
instead attributing their second- and third-hand revelations to
further contact with the Hidden Masters of the Great White
Brotherhood. This process has been called "genealogical dissociation"
(Johnson 1995; 158) and has continued through groups more-or-less in
the classical Theosophical mold, such as Guy Ballard's I AM or
Elizabeth Clare Prophet's Church Universal and Triumphant, and also
into more up-to-date models in the form of the flying saucer contactee
cults that replace the Hidden Masters in their Himalayan hideaways
with Space Brothers winging in their cosmic wisdom from Venus or the
Pleiades. J. Gordon Melton has noted that the flying saucer is
practically the only new element of the story -- many of the older
tales had the element of interplanetary travel already, such as
Blavatsky's Hidden Masters originating in the distant past when the
Lords of Flame traveled to earth from Venus -- and that even this
element is often absent from current contact accounts, leaving them
almost indistinguishable from nineteenth-century accounts (7; cf. also

But I digress.

While the construction of a weird tale like a hoax does not itself
involve the construction of the tale as a hoax, there are two senses
in which Lovecraft's fiction can be said to truly indulge in hoaxing.
The first involves the use of the various paraphernalia of the
Lovecraft Mythos -- the invented gods and forbidden tomes shared by
the contributors to the Mythos. It is perhaps significant that this
technique seems to have first occurred to Lovecraft as the result of
an interesting example of paratextual noise: a letter writer to Weird
Tales named N.J O'Neail enquired whether there wasn't some connection
between Lovecraft's Cthulhu and Kathulos, who had appeared in Robert
E. Howard's novel Skull-Face; he also notices the presence of Cthulhu
and Yog-Sothoth in a story by Adolphe de Castro, a Lovecraft revision
client (cited by Mariconda, 35). Lovecraft writes to Howard, in a
letter dated August 14, 1930, that "[Frank Belknap] Long has alluded
to the Necronomicon in some things of his -- in fact, I think it is
rather good fun to have this artificial mythology given an air of
verisimilitude by wide citation." (SL III, 166) He explains the
strategy further in a letter to William Anger, dated August 14, 1934:
"For the fun of building up a convincing cycle of synthetic folklore,
all of our gang frequently allude to the pet daemons of the others --
thus Smith uses my Yog-Sothoth, while I use his Tsathoggua. Also, I
sometimes insert a devil or two of my own in the tales I revise or
ghost-write for professional clients. Thus our black pantheon acquires
an extensive publicity & pseudo-authoritativeness it would not
otherwise get. We never, however, try to put it across as an actual
hoax; but always carefully explain to enquirers that it is 100%
fiction. In order to avoid ambiguity in my references to the
Necronomicon I have drawn up a brief synopsis of its 'history' . . .
All this gives it a sort of air of verisimilitude." (SL V, 16) And in
another letter, to Margaret Sylvester, dated January 13, 1934, he
says: "Regarding the Necronomicon -- I must confess that this
monstrous & abhorred volume is merely a figment of my own imagination!
Inventing horrible books is quite a pastime among devotees of the
weird, & ..... many of the regular W.T. contributors have such things
to their credit -- or discredit. It rather amuses the different
writers to use one another's synthetic demons & imaginary books in
their stories -- so that Clark Ashton Smith often speaks of my
Necronomicon while I refer to his Book of Eibon .. & so on. This
pooling of resources tends to build up quite a pseudo-convincing
background of dark mythology, legendry, & bibliography -- though of
course none of us has the least wish actually to mislead readers" (SL
IV, 346; ellipses as in original).

The reader will note Lovecraft's disingenuous disavowal of the
intention of misleading readers, even though the strategy he outlines
relies on doing precisely that. It should be noted that the strategy
involves more than merely disseminating elements of the Mythos into
multiple texts: in addition, many are altered in the process. In some
cases this transformation reaches absurd heights, as in "The Mound",
in which loathsome Cthulhu appears as "Great Tulu, a spirit of
universal harmony anciently symbolised as the octopus-headed god who
had brought all men down from the stars" (HM 136). This creates the
impression, amongst naive readers, that author A and author B are not
borrowing from each other -- or even from the same source, but are
instead borrowing from sources which had in turn borrowed from earlier
sources, which in turn were ultimately derived from a single ur-source
and which reveal the traces of evolution over time, much as the
variant versions of real myths do. In short, the transformation of the
elements of the Mythos not only does not detract from the air of
verisimilitude through the inconsistency, but adds to the air of
verisimilitude by operating on another level. Since Lovecraft never
codified his conceptions but instead continually added new ones while
reconceptualizing the old (so that, for example, supernatural beings
become extra-dimensional or ultra-terrestrial creatures more akin to
the alien races of science fiction than to traditional supernatural
monsters), this strategy provided greater room for his creativity.

It is noteworthy that one example of an earlier writer whose
inventions were put to use by Lovecraft comes in Arthur Machen, for
Lovecraft says, in the letter to Robert E. Howard cited above, that
"Long and I often debate about the real folklore basis of Machen's
nightmare witch-cult hints -- 'Aklo letters', 'Voorish domes', 'Dols',
'Green and Scarlet Ceremonies', etc., etc." (167). In "The Haunter of
the Dark", for example, Blake deciphers a text "in the dark Aklo
language used by certain cults of evil antiquity, and known to him in
a halting way through previous researches" (DH 106). Howard's
Kathulos, which apparently first began the whole business, itself
appears in a laundry-list of Mythos names derived from Lovecraft,
other members of the Lovecraft circle, Lovecraft revision clients, and
precursor writers such as Ambrose Bierce and Robert W. Chambers, names
which the narrator had "heard elsewhere in the most hideous of
connections", in the form "L'mur-Kathulos", which likely adds a
reference to the lost continent Lemuria (DH 223).

The second sense in which Lovecraft can be said to have truly
indulged in hoaxing incorporates and intensifies the first. This
refers to Lovecraft's revisions, which, as mentioned in the letters
cited above, frequently include references to the Mythos elements
created by Lovecraft and other members of his circle. It should be
noted as well that to refer to these works as "revisions" is often a
bit of an exaggeration: Lovecraft frequently discarded anything his
revision clients chanced to produce and simply wrote a new tale,
almost purely of his own devising, to be sold as the client's work.
The Lovecraft Mythos was not only disseminated through the work of
many authors, but Lovecraft himself was many of those authors. The
later publication of these stories under Lovecraft's own name -- which
he would be unlikely to approve of, both as a matter of professional
courtesy to his revision clients and out of (sometimes justified)
concern over the aesthetic quality of these tales -- destroys the
paratextual effect intended by the author.

All of which brings us by a rather circuitous route to actual
Necronomicon hoaxes. We will not deal here with such matters as the
various spoof sale ads for whatever edition of the Necronomicon, nor
with the card catalogue entries that a number of university libraries
(Yale, UC Berkeley, etc.) have sported at various times, nor with the
entries in assorted bibliographies, etc. etc. etc. Here we will deal
only with actual editions of texts that purport to present the
Necronomicon itself. Unfortunately, no Pierre Menard has arisen to
re-write the mad Arab's text in the way that Menard re-produced that
of Cid Hamete Benengeli. Instead, we have three main editions -- the
DeCamp-Scithers, the Wilson-Hay-Langford-Turner, and the Simon
Necronomicons. Of these, the first two are admitted spoofs. Each of
the three presents within itself the denial of its own authenticity as
the work of the mad Arab, as we shall see below. These hoax
Necronomicons frequently display an utter lack of verisimilitude where
a little research would have provided a much more convincing story:
the Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner Necronomicon, for example, spins a
cock-and-bull story about Lovecraft's father obtaining the
Necronomicon through his contacts in Egyptian Masonry and passing the
book on to his son before going insane; in fact, while Lovecraft's
father was not a Mason, his maternal grandfather, Whipple Phillips,
not only belonged to the Masons but had himself founded a Masonic
lodge. Clearly it was during little Howard's formative years, when
grandfather Whipple took on the role of father to him after driving
his real father insane, that the elderly gentleman introduced him to
the Book of Hell.

Lovecraft himself considered writing a hoax Necronomicon. In a
letter to James Blish and William Miller dated May 13, 1936, he says,
"If anyone were to try to write the Necronomicon, it would disappoint
all those who have shuddered at cryptic references to it. The most one
could do -- and I may try that some time -- is to 'translate' isolated
chapters of the mad Arab's monstrous tome . . . A collected series of
such extracts might later be offered as an 'abridged and expurgated
Necronomicon' -- although I am opposed to serious hoaxes, since they
really confuse and retard the sincere student of folklore. I feel
quite guilty every time I hear of someone's having spent valuable time
looking up the Necronomicon at public libraries" (Uncollected Letters,
37-38). Perhaps it is unfortunate that Lovecraft himself did not close
the field to further hoax editions; perhaps it is fortunate that the
open-endedness of his enterprise remained unsullied.

Colin Wilson, in his "The Necronomicon: The Origin of a Spoof",
regarding the Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner Necronomicon, fulminates
against Gerald Suster for daring to accuse the producers of the volume
of "commercial opportunism", and he himself informs us that the book
denies its own authenticity: "In fact, anyone with the slightest
knowledge of Latin will instantly recognize it for a fake -- it is
subtitled 'The book of dead names' -- when the word 'necronomicon'
actually means the book of dead laws" (88). In fact, anyone with the
slightest knowledge of Latin will instantly recognize that the word
necronomicon is not Latin but Greek, and Wilson's translation is no
more accurate than the (inaccurate) translation included as the
spoof's subtitle.

He does, however, hit the nail on the head regarding the
DeCamp-Scithers volume when he discusses the stories produced for the
Wilson-Hay-Turner-Langford spoof before he had become involved in the
project (the original idea was to present stories about the
Necronomicon, not a hoax text of the Necronomicon itself): "It was
awful. The writers all seemed to have the idea that all they had to do
was to imitate the basic Lovecraft formula. And this formula, as we
all know, is deceptively straightforward. The writer explains that he
is cringing in a garret in Arkham -- or Innsmouth -- committing his
awful story to paper by the light of a guttering candle. Six months
ago, in the library of Miskatonic University, he came across an
ancient manuscript written in mediaeval German. . . . He ignored the
advice of the doddery old librarian, and proceeded to practise its
magic spells in the hills behind Arkham. Even the violent death of the
old librarian failed to deflect him from his foolishness. And now, too
late, he realises that he has unleashed the Thing on the inhabitants
of Massachusetts. . . . even as he writes, he can hear an ominous
creaking on the stairs, as if an oversized elephant is trying to
tiptoe on its hind feet. . . . But even as the door cracks open, he
continues to write: 'I can hear its hoarse breathing, and smell its
loathsome graveyard stench. . . . Aaaargh! . . . ." (88; ellipses in

But this "basic Lovecraft formula" never appears in Lovecraft's
work. It is in fact a cliché-plot that derives from the work of
Lovecraft's less creative imitators -- and those who in turn have
imitated the imitators rather than the original, having found in them
an example of "how to do it". In short, the imitation has eclipsed the
original, becoming not only a model for the method of imitation but
for the material to be imitated as well. While the elements described
by Wilson do exist in many Lovecraft tales, the formula abstracts them
from the novel conceptions at the heart of each tale, all of which
contain some unique and innovative subject. Just such a story
introduces the DeCamp-Scithers Necronomicon, explaining why the
publishers have left the text in its original Arabic rather than
provide a translation. It seems that the first translator that L.
Sprague de Camp had hired disappeared without a trace; the second was
heard screaming, whereupon his locked study was found empty; the third
disappeared, spatters of his blood remaining on the walls, floor, and
ceiling of his room (de Camp 125-126). In short, de Camp has done
nothing with "the basic Lovecraft formula" except to apply
triplification to it after the manner described by Vladimir Propp in
his study of Russian folktales. The Simon Necronomicon provides us
with a similarly suspicious tale of a mysterious
appearing/disappearing manuscript, though it mercifully refrains from
splattering its translators on the walls and ceiling.

There is another way in which the internal evidence of the texts
presented as the Necronomicon denies that they are the Necronomicon
that Lovecraft wrote of: they embody, not the Lovecraft Mythos, but
the Derleth Mythos -- for the authors themselves had fallen victim to
hoaxing, conscious or otherwise.

The Simon Necronomicon describes Lovecraft's mythology as follows:
"Lovecraft developed a kind of Christian Myth of the struggle between
opposing forces of Light and Darkness, between God and Satan, in the
Cthulhu Mythos. . . . Basically, there are two 'sets' of gods in the
mythos: the Elder Gods, about whom not much is revealed, save that
they are a stellar Race that occasionally comes to the rescue of man,
and which corresponds to the Christian 'Light'; and the Ancient Ones,
about which much is told, sometimes in great detail, who correspond to
'Darkness'. These latter are the Evil Gods who wish nothing but ill
for the Race of Man, and who constantly strive to break into our world
through a Gate or Door that leads from the Outside, In" (Simon xiv).
In Robert Turner's commentary on the Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner
Necronomicon (Turner is the author of the actual text presented as an
extract from the Necronomicon), he likewise accepts the Derleth Mythos
of cosmic good guy Elder Gods vs evil Old Ones, although he uses the
fact to argue that Lovecraft had borrowed his cosmology from the Book
of Dzyan (!). But this whole scenario never appears in Lovecraft's
work: it is the invention of August Derleth.

Derleth was able to insinuate his own concepts, which were
frequently at great variance with those of Lovecraft, into common
conceptions of Lovecraft's work in two ways. First, he was the
publisher of Lovecraft's texts in book form, and provided them with
introductions, giving his ideas greater influence on the reader's
experience then they would otherwise have (he also spread these
interpretations far and wide in magazine articles). Derleth tells us,
for example, that "As Lovecraft conceived the deities or forces of his
Mythos, there were, initially, the Elder Gods . . . these Elder Gods
were benign deities, representing the forces of good, and existed
peacefully at or near Betelgeuze in the constellation Orion, very
rarely stirring forth to intervene in the unceasing struggle between
the powers of evil and the races of Earth. These powers of evil were
variously known as the Great Old Ones or the Ancient Ones"
(Introduction to Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, viii). This is all very
unlike Lovecraft, in whose work the Elder Gods never appear (but
perhaps this is merely a limit case showing how "rarely" they stir
forth -- never), and there is no unified pantheon of Great Old Ones.
Indeed, the term "Ancient Ones" only appears in one story, "Through
the Gates of the Silver Key", and this says of the protagonist: "He
wondered at the vast conceit of those who had babbled of the malignant
Ancient Ones, as if They could pause from their everlasting dreams to
wreak a wrath upon mankind. As well, he thought, might a mammoth pause
to visit frantic vengeance on an angleworm" (MM 433-34). Derleth's
work, on the other hand, is filled with recaps of his basic cosmic
good guys vs bad guys scenario. Derleth further tells us that "To
supplement this remarkable creation [the Necronomicon], Lovecraft
added . . . the R'lyeh Text" (x). In fact, Lovecraft never referred to
the R'lyeh Text, as it was invented by August Derleth after
Lovecraft's death.

In these paratexts to Lovecraft's work, Derleth provided not only
summaries of these ideas, but support for them in the form of an
alleged quotation from one of Lovecraft's letters. This, the infamous
"black magic" quotation ("All my stories, unconnected as they may be,
are based on the fundamental lore or legend that this world was
inhabited at one time by another race who, in practicing black magic,
lost their foothold and were expelled, yet live on outside ever ready
to take possession of this earth again."), supports not only the
expulsions and imprisonment of the Old Ones -- a key element of
Derleth's good vs evil scenario, but also affirms that Lovecraft's
stories are all based on a shared myth. In this case Derleth was the
victim of yet another hoax, albeit both hoaxster and victim most
likely believed in it in good faith. The actual author of the passage
allegedly cited from a Lovecraft letter is one Harold Farnese, who
gave the passage in a letter to August Derleth as a direct quotation
from his correspondence with Lovecraft. Farnese, it appears, had
little grasp of what Lovecraft was doing in his fiction, and simply
projected his own concerns with black magic onto Lovecraft, and then
presented a paraphrase from memory as a direct quotation -- which
Derleth then seized upon, as it fortuitously coincided with his own
ideas about the Cthulhu Mythos, however much it might contradict
Lovecraft's own words (Schultz 1990).

Second, Derleth presented many of his own works as "posthumous
collaborations" with Lovecraft. Often based on a single sentence from
Lovecraft's commonplace book (in which he kept notes of ideas for
future stories), for practical purposes these can be considered the
work of Derleth alone. Derleth was relatively forthcoming about the
nature of this practice in, for example, his pamphlet Some Notes on
H.P. Lovecraft, in which he describes the actual Lovecraftian material
on which the stories were based, noting that only three of them
"contain very much Lovecraft prose" -- which itself is a bit of
exaggeration, it would be more accurate to say that only three of them
"contain any Lovecraft prose" (x) -- and he gives the actual prose
fragments he worked with. As he says "The rest of the stories grew out
of jotting left by Lovecraft, insufficient in most cases to give any
sure form to plot" (x) -- which may in fact be viewed as a similar
exaggeration. Nevertheless, the practice allowed Derleth to insinuate
his own work in the minds of readers into the Lovecraft corpus, as the
stories appeared under both of their names, implying genuine dual
authorship, or even under Lovecraft's name alone. The most insidious
example of this appears to be the current editions of The Lurker at
the Threshold and The Watchers out of Time published by Carroll &
Graf, which contain only Lovecraft's name on the front cover, spine,
and title page, and on the back cover give "H.P. Lovecraft with August
Derleth". (Thus the Carroll & Graf edition of The Watchers out of Time
may cause some confusion amongst unwary readers, as it ends with the
note that the title story was "Unfinished at the time of August
Derleth's death, July 4, 1971".) The old hoaxster, who published his
own work under the names of others in order to create singular
paratextual effects through cross-comparison, now has another's work
published under his own name, displacing the earlier paratextual
effects with new ones, erasing and writing over his conceptions like a
palimpsest. Taken together with the spurious "black magic" quotation,
Lovecraft has been doubly erased and overwritten. The whole of this
process has the effect of entirely inverting Lovecraft's open-ended,
anti-systematic, ceaselessly productive practice into a celebration of
him as the inventor and codifier of a closed Mythos that allows
breathing room only in so far as newcomers may add additional
creatures and entities to fill the slots left vacant by Lovecraft --
as for example Derleth's fire-elemental Cthugha: having arbitrarily
decided that Lovecraft's creations corresponded to Aristotelian
elementals, not even Derleth could cram one into the "fire" slot, and
so Cthugha's birth was mandated by the necessity of closing the system.

The title of The Lurker at the Threshold opens the field up onto
yet another chain of association with similar fiction/reality
paradoxes. The term appears to derive from the "Dweller on the
Threshold" in Bulwer-Lytton's novel Zanoni: A Rosicrucian Tale.
Bulwer-Lytton belonged to a Rosicrucian group, and embodied a number
of their ideas in his fictional works, not only Zanoni, but also A
Strange Story and The Coming Race as well. Some of these ideas -- such
as the "Dweller on the Threshold" and Vril, a sexual energy force
through which magick may be performed -- were then incorporated into
the theories of various later occultists -- Blavatsky among them. The
Rosicrucians themselves, it should be noted as well, had their origins
in a seventeenth-century hoax and only came into existence as this
hoax was imitated in real life (Washington, 36-40; Borges, 70).

While the hoax Necronomicons are quite evidently not the fictional
work described by Lovecraft, a look at their actual contents may
provide some clue as to what they, in fact, are. The
Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner Necronomicon contains a rather conventional
set of rituals deriving from the common practice of ceremonial magick.
As Wilson describes their goal: "the first thing to do was to find
someone who really knew something about magic, and persuade him to
concoct a book that could have been a perfectly genuine magical
manuscript" (89), which they found in the person of Robert Turner.
Turner's rituals tend to follow those actually used by ceremonial
magickians rather slavishly, with some embellishment in the form of
Mythos names and symbols. The Simon Necronomicon is likewise utterly
conventional in its approach to magick: it mostly consists of ritual
récipé texts transcribed from various Mesopotamian sources, Sumerian,
Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian, with assorted references to
Lovecraftian (and Derlethian) deities tossed in at random. The
inclusion of Mythos elements is not at all central to these works,
since they could just as well have chosen any other myth-cycle, real
or fictional, for the same use: it is yet another form of paratextual
noise leading the reader onto a threshold -- a threshold to the abyss
of interpretation.

We now have the clue that we needed: the
Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner and Simon Necronomicons belong to the
grimoire genre, the spellbook compilations used by mediaeval wizards.
It is a commonplace in the grimoire genre to attribute authorship to
the most unlikely sources -- Moses, Solomon, Pope Honorius, Pope Leo
III, Faust, or occasionally to more likely but nonetheless spurious
sources -- Cornelius Agrippa, Pietro de Abano. The texts furthermore
tend to contain all sorts of anachronisms and otherwise improbable
material. Viewed in this light, the misattributed authorship and other
problems with the hoax Necronomicons mark them as authentic entries in
their chosen genre.

And so, after a somewhat lengthy journey through a labyrinth of
thresholds, thresholds which do not always lead one out or in as might
have been expected at first glance, but instead twist and turn as if
they comprised a labyrinth constructed according to some non-Euclidean
geometry, we can conclude that the hoax Necronomicons -- at least the
Hay-Wilson-Langford-Turner and Simon versions -- falsely claim to be
the work of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred, but in so falsely attributing
themselves, they signal their genuine inclusion in the grimoire genre.
The misattribution is the mark of their genre, and their very falsity
is the condition of their genuineness. The hoax Necronomicons are
every bit as "authentic" as the Lesser Key of Solomon or the Sixth and
Seventh Books of Moses.

Works Cited or Consulted

Blavatsky, H.P. The Secret Doctrine. Pasadena: Theosophical
University Press, 1977. Facsimile of original edition of 1888. In two
Borges, Jorge Luis. Collected Fictions. New York: Viking, 1998.
Translated by Andrew Hurley.
De Camp, L. Sprague. "Preface to the Al Azif." In The
Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays Concerning the Blasphemous
Tome of the Mad Arab, ed. Robert M. Price. Oakland: Chaosium, 1996.
Derleth, August. The Lurker at the Threshold. First collected
1945. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1988. As by H.P. Lovecraft.
---. Some Notes on H.P. Lovecraft. 1959. West Warwick, RI:
Necronomicon Press, 1982.
---, ed. 1969. Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos. New York: Beagle
Books, 1971. Two volumes.
---. The Watchers out of Time. First collected 1974. New York:
Carroll & Graf, 1991. As by H.P. Lovecraft.
Harms, Daniel, and John Wisdom Gonce, III. The Necronomicon Filed:
The Truth Behind the Legend. Mountain View, CA: Night Shade Books, 1998.
Genette, Gérard. Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation. 1987.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Translated by Jane E.
Lewin. Foreword by Richard Macksey. Literature, Culture, Theory: 20.
Hay, George, ed. The Necronomicon: The Book of Dead Names.1978.
London: Skoob Books, 1992.
Joshi, S.T. H.P. Lovecraft: A Life. West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon
Press, 1996.
K. Paul Johnson. The Masters Revealed: Madame Blavatsky and the
Myth of the Great White Lodge. New York: State University of New York
Press, 1994.
---. Initiates of Theosophical Masters. New York: State University
of New York Press, 1995.
Lovecraft, H.P. Dagon and Other Macabre Tales. Sauk City, WI:
Arkham House, 1984. Revised edition by S.T. Joshi.
---. The Dunwich Horror and Others. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House,
1984. Revised edition by S.T. Joshi.
---. The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions. Sauk City, WI:
Arkham House, 1989. Revised edition by S.T. Joshi.
---. Selected Letters III. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1971.
---. Selected Letters IV. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1976.
---. Selected Letters V. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House, 1976.
Mariconda, Steven J. "Toward a Reader-Response Approach to the
Lovecraft Mythos." In Mariconda, On the Emergence of "Cthulhu" & Other
Observations. West Warwick, RI: Necronomicon Press, 1995.
Melton, J. Gordon. "The Contactees: A Survey." In The Gods Have
Landed: New Religions from Other Worlds, ed. James R. Lewis. New York:
State University of New York Press, 1995.
Nethercot, Arthur. The First Five Lives of Annie Besant. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1960.
Price, Robert M. H.P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. Mercer
Island, WA: Starmont House, 1990.
Pratt, David. "The Book of Dzyan." World Wide Web document:
Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. 1928. Austin:
University of Texas Press, 1968. Translated by Lawrence Scott. Revised
second edition.
Randi, James. An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the
Occult and Supernatural: James Randi's Decidedly Skeptical Definitions
of Alternate Realities. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.
Schultz, David. "Notes Toward a History of the Cthulhu Mythos."
Crypt of Cthulhu, No. 92 (Vol. 15, No. 2).
---. "The Origin of Lovecraft's 'Black Magic' Quote." In The
Horror of it All: Encrusted Gems from the "Crypt of Cthulhu", ed.
Robert M. Price. Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, 1990.
Shea, Robert, and Robert Anton Wilson. The Illuminatus! Trilogy.
New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1975.
Simon. The Necronomicon. 1977. New York: Avon Books, 1980.
Stupple, David W. "Historical Links between the Occult and Flying
Saucers." Journal of UFO Studies, New Series, Vol. 5.
Washington, Peter. Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the
Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America. New
York: Schocken Books, 1993.
Wilson, Colin. "The Necronomicon: The Origin of a Spoof." In Black
Forbidden Things, ed. Robert M. Price. Mercer Island, WA: Starmont
House, 1992.


Online anthology:


Lovecraft by Hans Rodionoff, Enrique Breccia and Keith Giffen
Vertigo/DC Comics, March, 2004.
Graphic Novel (Mature Readers), 144 pages.
ISBN: 1401201105

H.P Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of the great American horror masters. His influence has been felt throughout the genres of horror, fantasy and sf and beyond. The truth behind Lovecraft's life is as bizarre as one might expect from the creator of Cthulu and the Old Ones. Based upon a screenplay about Lovecraft's life, this new graphic novel asks the question, "What if the Cthulhu and all the other nightmarish visions Lovecraft described were real?" The story follows the major events in Lovecraft's life: his childhood when he was forced to dress as a little girl, the death of his father in an insane asylum, the loss of the family fortune, his writing career and his failed romance. Overshadowing all these events is the knowledge that Lovecraft gained from a secret book that was his father's, called the Necronomicon which opens a gate to a world of pure horror. Lovecraft spends his life battling the monsters from Arkham, which are determined to take Lovecraft's very soul.

Howard Lovecraft's tortured life provides rich material for the imaginations of Hans Rodionoff and Keith Giffenand, and the perfectly suited illustration style of Enrique Breccia. Breccia manages to convey both the grotesquerie of the Lovecraftian universe and the pathos of Lovecraft's life in this fascinatingly creepy story.

Why Lovecraft Still Matters:
The Magical Power of Transformative Fiction

by Don Webb

According to American Book Review, I am, after only 13 years in the profession, a "new writer." This has led me to reflect that one of my biggest influences, Howard Philips Lovecraft (1890-1937), only wrote seriously for 18 years. Though a half century dead, a number of elements make Lovecraft's work more relevant today than ever: his bravery, his antinomianism, his understanding of how the transformative power of an object (especially a book) can link the realms of imagination and reality, his sense of the cosmic, and finally, above all and unifying all, his insistence on the primacy of the imagination. Most of these traits are common among better fantasists, but perhaps "antinomianism" (meaning against the foundation (NOMOS)) needs a bit of expansion. Lovecraft rebelled artistically against the horror story of his time (monster vs. victim) and replaced it with a cosmic theme (Cosmos as source of terror and/or ecstasy). He rebelled against the common sense of how to have a writing career as well-he thought it was more important to play games such as doctoring the texts of others than focusing on income-producing work. Lovecraft's primary outlet for his fiction was Weird Tales, which published all but four of his major works. A secondary source of income was manuscript revision for other Weird Tales authors, which enabled him to salt their mines with references to his own imaginative universe. In addition, several other writers (starting with Frank Belknap Long) began using and contributing to Lovecraft's Mythos. The influence this had on his audience was truly Weird. With each issue, the names of eldritch deities began to have subtle evocative/emotional effects on readers' minds-effects which were strengthened by two narrative strategies.

First, the names of strange gods were presented in an inconsistent form, sometimes benign, sometimes terrible. Even Cthulhu, Lovecraft's best known bogey, receives benign mention in "The Strange High House in the Mist." This evasive/evocative approach, which Lovecraftian critic Steven J. Mariconda (following the critical lead of Wolfgang Iser and Stanley Fish) has characterized as "reader-response," is essentially a magical technique. Any magician in an initiating society (such as the Golden Dawn) is aware of how her or his thinking of the entities and names used changes with time. (I am indebted to my friend Mary Denning who turned me onto Steven J. Mariconda's On the Emergence of "Cthulhu" and Other Observations-Uncle Don says "Check it out!").

The second strategy, which produces a "weird" or becoming, was Lovecraft's effort at making Mythos fiction appear derived from ancient sources. He created a number of fictional texts, such as the Necronomicon or the Pnakotic Manuscripts, as triggering devices for his readers. The trigger works as follows: the reader reads a tale in which the protagonist reads a text partially concealed. Suddenly, the reader has the frisson of glimpsing a partially obscured part of their own imagination. Lovecraft pushed this technique by seeding other writer's tales with these forbidden books, and encouraging his friends to drop references to them in their own work. This illusional reality convinced many Weird Tales readers of these books' existence, just as it convinces many modern readers first encountering the Cthulhu Mythos today.

To understand Lovecraft's lasting appeal, one must first examine how Lovecraft's techniques evolved as an extension of, and in tandem with, his own world view. Lovecraft's public writing career spanned 18 years, from 1917 to 1935. His first public tales were the "The Tomb" and "Dagon." "The Tomb" is a somewhat heavy-handed ghost story, in which a young man realizes he is not part of the modern world (in which he is sickly and scholarly-a role that Lovecraft cultivated (quite falsely) as his own), but is displaced from an idealized past where he is a lusty, boisterous fellow. The tale's end provides a sort of redemption, in that he may be buried in the tomb of the family which is his spiritual kin. The idea of a redemptive return to the past, connected with fear and pleasure, is one which fills the beginning of his work.

"Dagon," his second tale, concerns a vast pagan sea god who seeks after the narrator. This tale represents the fundamental Lovecraftian structure-if you seek after the mysteries, they will seek after you. The tale also contains what most people fault in Lovecraft's fiction, the rational narrator writing about his demise up to the last minute. People who don't like Lovecraft say, "Why don't those people get up and run away?" not realizing that the things they run from are internal.

In 1918 Lovecraft wrote "Polaris," a bipolar horror of the past colliding with the present. The pole star causes a contemporary narrator to remember the events of 26,000 years ago when he fell asleep at guard duty and allowed the North to fall to the Eskimo. The star which lured him to sleep then now keeps him perpetually awake. This bipolar force impelling the past and the present is a common theme to many of Lovecraft's tales. 1919 saw the beginning of a fairly steady production of fiction. Of the seven or so tales produced that year, the most important is "The Statement of Randolph Carter." Presented as a report to an unnamed police authority, Randolph Carter explains the death of his friend Warren. Randolph is Lovecraft, his magical persona if you will. He witnesses his friend's descent into a tomb, and discovers the latter's death by remote sensing. This image of distance shows Lovecraft himself wasn't ready to face the depths of his own imagination. Lovecraft recorded that the story had come to him in a dream. 1920 had 14 tales, the most important being the prose poem "Nyarlathotep," which Bruce Sterling once described as the first tale of virtual reality. Like "The Statement of Randolph Carter," it had its origin in a dream.

A terrible traveling con-man out of Egypt produces frightening and glorious visions for his audience, who find themselves transported to a strangely altered world after their encounter. Nyarlathotep is a symbol of an experience which changes the experiencer. He is therefore seen as a messenger or initiator-a bringer of Understanding (magical knowledge) which changes all who grasp it.

1921 was another seven-story year. Of particular note was "The Music of Erich Zann." The nameless narrator discovers the mute violinist above him plays weird and unearthly harmonies that attract and also hold at bay strange forces in the night. Erich Zann attempts to pass the secret of his music to the narrator, but unearthly forces snatch the pages away. All the narrator is left with is the notion of a sound, not of this world, which resonates with another reality. It is a typical Lovecraftian idea-a memory so real it cannot be forgotten and so alien that it cannot be acted upon. In short, a sort of reverse existentialism.

1922 saw seven more tales, the most interesting among them being "Hypnos." Another nameless narrator encounters a silent initiator on the streets of London. The initiator leads the narrator through a series of dreams, where they both experience revelation after revelation. The narrator draws back from the knowledge beyond, but the initiator continues his quest. The initiator achieves apotheosis or death, for he is transformed into a bust bearing the name, HYPNOS.

1923 saw little fiction, but for the first time Lovecraft's characters begin to be more than passive observers. "The Rats in the Wall" is a lengthy tale about a man who actively seeks to discover the secret of his ancestors. Brave and decisive, Delapoer shows a manliness in this world which is lacking in Lovecraft's previous tales. Nevertheless the secret of his family overtakes him and he fulfills their dreadful pattern of cannibalism in the depths beneath the castle. The standard Lovecraftian motif of the-mythic-past-is-the-future is strongly in place here; an interesting addition is the fact that Delapoer is ultimately descended from something other than human. This begins to displace Lovecraft's characters a bit more from the world. They are drawn not only to a past, but to a nonhuman past.

1924 was a bad year for HPL with only three tales. The best of these was "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" which was ghost written for Harry Houdini. Houdini was the hero of the piece, and therefore escaped to tell the tale without being eaten by Hrumachis, whose horrifying secret he had glimpsed beneath the pyramid of Cheops.

1925, with a mere three tales, was also sterile. "The Horror at Red Hook" united his fiction with figures of conventional demonology. The purpose of consorting with demons is made clear; it is not merely the pleasures of the demon-wife, but the prospect of personal immortality, which draws the magician on. The Past, the Outside, the Other bringing these into the soul overcomes the much weaker here-and-now.

1926 was a year of regeneration. Eight stories were produced, three of them key to Lovecraft's artistic concepts. "The Call of Cthulhu" introduces the notion that there are beings, gods perhaps, whose life cycles and cosmic purposes are so vast that human history is a mere footnote. These vast beings sleep in a huge city of R'lyeh, which has a frightening nonhuman geometry. Their High Priest, Cthulhu, sends out dreams to cause humans to act in strange ways to prepare the cosmos for their return. Cthulhu has cultists in strange places, but can reach into the minds of sensitive souls like artists. Like many of Lovecraft's stories, this too began as a dream, of an artist showing a clay sculpture still wet-yet claiming it was older than Babylon or Egypt. The story is a triumph of narrative structure which would have made Henry James jealous. It is told in a series of nested tales; at the center of this nesting, nine layers deep, Professor Webb says the awful formula, "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn." (In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming.) The horror of Cthulhu is that he is an accurate depiction of the human psyche, which has purposes larger than the here-and-now and is seldom awakened. This story is one of the best descriptions of numinous terror available to man.

The other two very strong tales which come from this time are two Randolph Carter pieces, "The Silver Key" and a novel, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath. The first deals with Randolph Carter's urge for a transmundane life, which he gains by acting in accordance with an entity beyond any set of space-time known as Yog-Sototh. This tale and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath both introduce the urge to go to another world as a heroic urge, and like all such urges they produce great becoming in the hero as he can obtain only images of his quest. In the novel, Randolph Carter seeks to discover the secret of earth's gods, and finds he is descended from them and-even more to his horror-has transcended them by his questing. This heroic motif mirrors Lovecraft's own quest for the fantastic.

In 1927 Lovecraft wrote what he considered to be his best story, "The Colour Out of Space." This tale of a color which cannot be described is again one of Lovecraft's nested narratives. The narrator, having seen a strangely wasted area of the countryside, seeks a crazy old man who tells him of the destruction of the (ironically named) Gardner family. The color had come with a meteorite; it was a strange living thing, alien to nature, which longed to return to its place of origin. To do so it sapped every living thing in its presence, a powerful metaphor for the estranged human psyche which must use up all of its life to transform itself according to its innate unnatural patterns. As always with Lovecraft, the closer to his real, but hidden, human experience, the more memorable his tales. Like most of Lovecraft's fiction, tension exists between human interests (the Gardner family), and the transmundane which is indifferent to them. Here the mythic past, which becomes also the color's future, has become perfectly nonhuman.

In 1928, Lovecraft penned his second best known tale (after "The Call of Cthulhu"), "The Dunwich Horror." This is the story of two half-human brothers of the Whately clan who have a new mission. Instead of trying to return to their nonhuman past, they desire nothing short of opening the Earth to their nonhuman progenitor Yog-Sototh. This tale changes longing into action, and like any religious reformers these brothers die martyr deaths. Wilbur dies seeking access to the Necronomicon, which would open the gate to the otherness his father represents. Wilbur's unnamed brother dies in a mock crucifixion scene, which had been prophesied before his birth. The tale is a long send-up of the Christianity that Lovecraft despised with Wilbur's invisible monstrous brother as Jesus. It is without a doubt the funniest thing Lovecraft ever wrote.

1929 saw only revision work from Lovecraft. The tale he wrote for Zealia Bishop, "The Mound," began the cementing together of all of his themes: the Cthulhu Mythos gods both of his creation and others exist here, the idea of secret history involving the geologic layers of the earth, and the nested narrative are all on display.

1930 had the keystone tale of the Cthulhu Mythos, "The Whisperer in the Darkness." Albert N. Wilmarth, folklorist, is contacted by Henry W. Akeley, who claims beings from Yuggoth were tormenting him at his rural Vermont home. Eventually the narrator is lured to the home, where Akeley claims there has been a mistake-the fungi from Yuggoth are really our friends. Akeley, hidden in darkness, begins psychologically torturing Wilmarth, mentioning every Mythos concept he can, from Frank Belknap Long's Hounds of Tindalos to Clark Ashton Smith's Tsathoggua. Wilmarth is invited to give up terrestrial life, and join Akeley and others as a living brain in a cylinder-to be flown endlessly from sphere to sphere. But in the end Wilmarth discovers the whole affair to be a ghastly practical joke, since he has not been dealing with Akeley at all but a brain in a cylinder playing Akeley's part. This story is one of Lovecraft's most unsatisfying, apparently written only to patch things together.

1931 saw Lovecraft's second stab at a novel, At the Mountains of Madness, an investigation of prehuman ruins in Antarctica. The narrator's party discovers the frozen corpses of the Old Ones. The hero of this tale is not any of the individuals involved but the long description of the rise and fall of the Old Ones, whose bioengineering caused all the life on this planet to evolve, and whose blind pride allowed them to be wiped out by their own creations. This is one of the first ecological novels, and like most of them will no doubt fail to wake mankind up.

1932 had two trans-dimensional fantasies, "The Dreams in the Witch House"-which tied together witchcraft, other dimensions, architecture and dreaming as methods of prolonging life-and "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," which dealt with Randolph Carter's brief return from the other dimensions he had spent a lifetime in. Both posit human life can be extended by living outside of time, but nostalgia for human life brings the sorcerer back from time to time. These stories have a more positive view on the bipolarity of human concerns and the indifference of the transmundane. Lovecraft seems to be reconciling and synthesizing the day-to-day life's pleasures and the vast possibilities of time and space. Both of these tales were set in real-world cities, Salem and New Orleans, as opposed to the fictional Arkham.

1933 was marked by some of his least interesting revision work, as though the synthesis begun in 1932 took too much from his imagination.

In 1934 Lovecraft created his utopia. Typical of his distrust of human kind, it was the nonhuman world of the Great Race. In "The Shadow Out of Time" he envisioned a race of cone-shaped, half-animal, half-vegetable beings called the Great Race. These entities had one purpose-the pursuit of knowledge. They could send their minds into the bodies of any species at any time, and then return to report to their fellows. They were esteemed for the strength of their mind, and, as most critics fail to notice, for their ability at fantasy. Sexless, eternal, curious-they represented all of Lovecraft's values, yet they also return to their home to share their discoveries. This utopian vision was the final synthesis of Lovecraft's themes.

In 1935, he wrote "The Haunter of the Dark" as a favor to the young Robert Bloch. Set in real-world Providence, it tells of Robert Blake's discovery of the Starry Wisdom Church. He actively seeks after the mystery of the Church, discovering that they possessed an angular gateway-a dark gem called the Shining Trapezohedron-which opens the way for the materialization of Nyarlathotep into this world. The Messenger and the Seeker unite. Just as in "Dagon," the worried seeker writes with horror as the god comes to him-describing the changes of his consciousness until the last minute of terror (or transcendence).

Lovecraft, after a horrible wasting period, died of stomach cancer and malnutrition on March 15, 1937. Writing, then as now, doesn't pay very much. Despite his great pain and emaciated condition, he charmed the nurses of Jane Brown Memorial Hospital with his politeness and courage. According to Mrs. Muriel E. Eddy, he spent the last few days of his life making copious notes on his illness in hopes it would be of aid to future physicians.

Lovecraft's themes dominated his life. He was like his heroes, seeking a return to an idealized past. He avoided any intrusion in his world, kept his shutters drawn and avoided outside employment like the plague. On one occasion he refused a job in Chicago since the city had no Victorian buildings. He spent far more time writing letters than stories, and far more time idly dreaming than anything else. There are no doubt hundreds-maybe thousands-like him in most college towns. But Lovecraft's dreaming, and his communication of it to his friends, served as a sort of initiation. Many of his correspondents were initiated into writing from him-Robert Bloch, Frank Belknap Long, Fritz Leiber, and Harry Kuttner. One of his disciples, the late August Derleth, created an entire publishing house to keep the master's work in print, naming it Arkham House after Lovecraft's favorite fictional city. The themes he introduced dominate such modern masters as Thomas Ligotti, Bruce Sterling, and Alan Moore. The films, the dissertations, the rock groups, the comics, the role playing games, art, even magical tributes such as recent articles in Gnosis, could make an essay ten times as long as this and scarcely cover the field. Lovecraft's fictions are of a greater interest to the current reader than they were to his contemporaries. In a society where science fiction can no longer provide us with cosmic themes, fantasy has largely eaten itself, and horror is reduced to splatter, Lovecraft still provides a glimpse of the Absolute Other. His power as a writer is so strong that many young writers still come under his spell, fated to spend their first few years producing horrid pastiches, until the better of them escape to stronger approaches to the cosmic. Lovecraft should be on any beginning SF/F/H writer's shelf for the possibilities that he opens.

Of course, for the critic, Lovecraft is essential, since his is the Ur-text of so many current masters. The essence of postmodernism-that creation lies only in context for the current writer/artist-exists as a honorific motif for Lovecraft's heroes. Like the postmodernist writer, Lovecraft's heroes suffer from the curse of influence-even from men not only long dead, but whose names they have never heard of. Seeking to be transformed (and to transform) by what has already shaped one's self is the postmodern quest, one that Lovecraft's heroes and antiheroes knew well when they were compelled to seek out that forgotten volume of elder lore called the Necronomicon.

Source page:


http://es.geocities.com/sucellus23/630.htm <- a quick intro to his person.


Celestial Bodies in the Cthulhu Mythos

by John Beal

According to L. Sprague De Camp, Lovecraft was a keen astronomer, whose first interest was created through the classical myths associated with the constellations. The stories of H. P. Lovecraft-and other writers of the Cthulhu mythos often mention the roles of stars in connection with deities, events or rituals. -A certain number of these places are fictional, for example the planet Sharnoth, home of Nyarlathotep beyond this universe, in what might be termed Universe B. Others are real stars and planets, so I thought it interesting to investigate any mythology connected with them, and the meaning of their names.
THE PLANETS: Rather than list each individual planet and their associated myths, here is a synopsis of a few which seem particularly of interest. In the Lovecraft and Sterling story In the Walls of Eryx the setting is a Venus covered by lush jungle, through which the narrator searches for a crystal worshipped by the Venutian Man-Lizards, possibly a reference to the Serpent People and Shining Trapezohedron of The Haunter of the Dark and other stories. Venus is also mentioned along with Jupiter in The Shadow out of Time in which Lovecraft writes "There was a mind from Venus, which would live incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six million years in the past." Many of Clark Ashton Smith’s stories are set upon planets, The Door to Saturn for example and also The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis which is set upon Mars. Most of Smith’s works however concern Planets in other star systems, for example The Planet of the Dead, the planet mentioned in Marooned in Andromeda, and The Flower-Women of Voltap. The final planet I shall mention, appears to be pivotal to the astronomical ideas in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Yuggoth synonymous with Pluto, is the abode of fungal creatures who leave crab-like footprints and make inter-planetary journeys... ‘on clumsy, powerful wings which have a way of resisting the ether". Kenneth Grant uses Yuggoth as a symbol of the boundary between dimensions, an idea expressed in the poem Beyond by Lin Carter:

"I have seen Yith, and Yuggoth on the Rim,And black Carcosa in the Hyades." It is interesting that Carter mentions Carcosa (the invention of Ambrose Bierce in his story An inhabitant of Carcosa) as lying in the seven sister stars of the Hyades, as this area of the sky is returned to again and again in the Cthulhu mythos.
FOMALHAUT (Alpha Pisces Australis): This name, like many others derives straight from Arabic. Its origins are Fum al Hiiit, meaning ‘Mouth of the Fish’. It is not so surprising therefore that this star is located at the mouth of the drinking fish, Pisces Australis. Interestingly it is the only named star in this constellation and is the most southerly first-magnitude star visible from Great Britain. The fact that it is of first magnitude relates to the Cthulhu mythos deity Cthugga with which it is connected. Cthugga is described as resembling an "enormous burning mass continually varying in shape." Cthugga is also served by beings called Flame Vampires which again suggests an intensely hot abode.
ALDEBARAN (Alpha Tauri): Aldebaran is generally known as ‘The Eye of the Bull’, Taurus, due to its distinct orange colouration. Originally the name was given to the entire Hyades cluster, which it is in fact not a member of, but is some distance in front of. Its name again comes from Arabic, Al Dabaran, meaning ‘The Follower’. This was due to the Greeks belief that the star followed the Pleiades. This star is linked to the Cthulhu mythos in an extremely interesting way. The original link was through the stories of Robert William Chambers in The King in Yellow, where it is the bright twin star, home of Hastur.
It is regarded by August Derleth as the Star where some of the Cthulhu deities emenated from. In this respect it is of interest to quote from The Whisperer in Darkness; "To Nyarlathotep, mighty messenger must all things be told. And he shall put on the semblance of men, the waxen mask and the robe that hides and come down from the world of seven suns to mock...", Robert Graves in his book The Greek Myths states that both the Pleiades and the Hyades were the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, making them equivalent in mythological terms. The statement from The Whisperer in Darkness clearly shows an alignment with the seven sister suns of either cluster, thus connecting Nyarlathotep to Aldebaran’s area of influence. Perhaps one can go further and express the possibility that Hastur, the King in Yellow, is one of Nyarlathotep’s "thousand other forms", since in the story; The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath Nyarlathotep is described as wearing a "yellow mask". As well as this in the story The Crawling Chaos by Lovecraft and Elizabeth Berkeley, the destruction of the Earth is portrayed as seen by a Being on "Cetharion of the seven suns, thus connecting the area again to Nyarlathotep as the crawling chaos, the Nemesis of the Earth.
Another observation is that Aldebaran was once in the constellation of Mithras; which consisted of the constellations Taurus and Perseus. This connects to the star Algol, another star mentioned briefly in Beyond the Walls of Sleep by Lovecraft.
ALGOL (Beta Persei): This was the very first eclipsing binary star to be discovered:Montanan, an Italian astronomer in the 1600’s was the first European to note and produce explanation for the stars periodic wink. Its Arabic name Al Ghtil means ‘The Demon’ or more precisely ‘The Ghoul’, and in English it also has the nickname ‘The Demon Star’. Originally Algol was one of the stars making up the shield of Mithras, but later came to represent the malevolent winking eye of Medusa in the constellation Perseus. Due to it being the first eclipsing binary to be discovered the class of such stars is termed ‘Algol-type’ variables.
BETELGEUSE (Alpha Orion is): Although this star is labelled the Alpha star it is in fact dimmer than Beta Orion is, or RIGEL. The star is a red supergiant whose name derives from Yad al Jauzah meaning ‘Hand of the Giant’, or ‘Hand of the Sacred One’. Apparently the name should be spelled Yedelgeuse, but due to poor translation of the Arabic into Latin it was wrongly read as Bad, Arabic for armpit, instead of the word Yad which means hand. This star lies some 650 light years away from us and it is a period variable star, altering its luminance by brightening and fading in an annual cycle. In the Cthulhu mythos it is regarded as the star from which the Elder Gods ruled.
POLARIS (Alpha Ursae Minoris): Obviously the name implies it to be the pole star, and it is in fact within l~ of the celestial north pole. However in Greek its name is Cynosura, and means ‘dog’s tail’, thus implying that the whole constellation at one time referred to a dog instead of a bear. An even earlier Greek name was Phoenice, possibly connecting it to the name Phoenissa, (whose masculine form is Phoenix). The name Phoenissa means ‘the red, or bloody one’. Robert Graves states it as connecting with Demeter and Astarte; Phoenissa’s name implying the moon goddess’s role of Death-in-Life. Interestingly Phoenix is stated as renaming the land of Canaan as Phoenicia, thus producing another possible link.
The Pole star will be at its closest to celestial north in the year 2100 and then will be gradually succeeded by the star Vega. This procession seems to be implied in Lovecraft’s story Polaris, in the poem:

"Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,Six and twenty thousand yearsHave revolv’d, and I returnTo the spot where now I burn.Other stars anon shall riseTo the axis of the skies;Stars that soothe and stars that blessWith a sweet forgetfulness;Only when my round is o’erShall the past disturb thy door." The use of the term ‘the axis of the skies’ in the poem is most interesting due to its connecting with the Arabic name for the star: Al Kutb al Shamaliyy, meaning ‘the axle of the north’.
ARCTURUS (Alpha Bootes): This stars name in Greek means ‘the bear-watcher’ or ‘bear-keeper’, and in Arabic is Al Simak al Rimah or ‘the lofty lance-bearer’. It was at one time the name of the entire constellation of Bootes, ‘the herdsman’. The constellations name also means ‘the bear-hunter’, and the word Bootes itself derives from Boetes the Greek for ‘clamorous’, and the Latin name seems to comply with this as ‘vociferator’ or ‘clamator’; the shout of a huntsman with his dogs (Canes Venatici). This star is mentioned briefly in a passage of Lovecraft’s story Beyond the Wall of Sleep suggesting that the dreaming consciousness of Joe Slater, (the hero) had "drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus".
SIRIUS (Alpha Canis Major): Kenneth Grant associates Sirius with the Lovecraftian and Babylonian deity Dagon, an idea which Robert Temple also propounds in his book The Sirius Mystery. Temple quotes from a Babylonian historian named Berossus, who writes of a group of Alien Amphibians whose leader was Oannes, later to become the fish-god Dagon of the Philistines. Berossus also speaks of another amphibious alien called Odacon, which Temple believes to be a corrupted form of Dagon. Temple’s book concerns amongst other things, an African tribe called the Dogon, who are aware of SIRIUS B an invisible-to-the-eye star, which they believe has a planet circling it from which the Amphibian Aliens came.
In Greek the stars name was Seirios aster, ‘the scorching star’; whilst the Latin was Kanikuly, due in both cases to its appearance in the ‘caniculares dies’ or dog days of the hot summer months. In Arabic it had the name Al Shira al ‘Abur al Yamaniyyah meaning ‘the shining one in the passage of Yemen’, signifying its position to the right of a Muslim as he faces Mecca. This star is in fact the brightest in the night sky and similar to ALGOL is also binary, with the white dwarf star SIRIUS B orbiting at a full revolution every fifty years. In Greek mythology it is also called Orthus which was the two-headed watch-dog belonging to Atlas, parented by Typhon and Echidne. Also in myth the Dog-star Sirius was regarded as Cerberus pertaining to the tripartite year. In Egyptian myth the dog-star was associated with Anubis, who according to Robert Graves can be identified with Hecate as the tn-headed bitch, eating corpse flesh and howling at the moon. Elsewhere Graves also identifies it with the Egyptian god Thoth and thus also to the Greek Hermes, both messengers of the gods, the role which Nyarlathotep serves in the Cthulhu mythos.


link (http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/ktul_bodies.html)

[url=http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/index.html]The Works of H.P. Lovecraft (http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/ktul_bodies.html)

fms panzerfaust
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 01:36 AM

by H. P. Lovecraft

Written 1918

Published December 1920 in The Philosopher, Vol. 1, No. 1 , p. 3-5.

Into the North Window of my chamber glows the Pole Star with uncanny light. All through the long hellish hours of blackness it shines there. And in the autumn of the year, when the winds from the north curse and whine, and the red-leaved trees of the swamp mutter things to one another in the small hours of the morning under the horned waning moon, I sit by the casement and watch that star. Down from the heights reels the glittering Cassiopeia as the hours wear on, while Charles' Wain lumbers up from behind the vapour-soaked swamp trees that sway in the night wind. Just before dawn Arcturus winks ruddily from above the cemetary on the low hillock, and Coma Berenices shimmers weirdly afar off in the mysterious east; but still the Pole Star leers down from the same place in the black vault, winking hideously like an insane watching eye which strives to convey some strange message, yet recalls nothing save that it once had a message to convey. Sometimes, when it is cloudy, I can sleep.

Well do I remember the night of the great Aurora, when over the swamp played the shocking corruscations of the daemon light. After the beam came clouds, and then I slept.

And it was under a horned waning moon that I saw the city for the first time. Still and somnolent did it lie, on a strange plateau in a hollow between strange peaks. Of ghastly marble were its walls and its towers, its columns, domes, and pavements. In the marble streets were marble pillars, the upper parts of which were carven into the images of grave bearded men. The air was warm and stirred not. And overhead, scarce ten degrees from the zenith, glowed that watching Pole Star. Long did I gaze on the city, but the day came not. When the red Aldebaran, which blinked low in the sky but never set, had crawled a quarter of the way around the horizon, I saw light and motion in the houses and the streets. Forms strangely robed, but at once noble and familiar, walked abroad and under the horned waning moon men talked wisdom in a tongue which I understood, though it was unlike any language which I had ever known. And when the red Aldebaran had crawled more than half-way around the horizon, there were again darkness and silence.

When I awaked, I was not as I had been. Upon my memory was graven the vision of the city, and within my soul had arisen another and vaguer recollection, of whose nature I was not then certain. Thereafter, on the cloudy nights when I could not sleep, I saw the city often; sometimes under the hot, yellow rays of a sun which did not set, but which wheeled low in the horizon. And on the clear nights the Pole Star leered as never before.

Gradually I came to wonder what might be my place in that city on the strange plateau betwixt strange peaks. At first content to view the scene as an all-observant uncorporeal presence, I now desired to define my relation to it, and to speak my mind amongst the grave men who conversed each day in the public squares. I said to myself, "This is no dream, for by what means can I prove the greater reality of that other life in the house of stone and brick south of the sinister swamp and the cemetery on the low hillock, where the Pole Star peeps into my north window each night?"

One night as I listened to the discourses in the large square containing many statues, I felt a change; and perceived that I had at last a bodily form. Nor was I a stranger in the streets of Olathoe, which lies on the plateau of Sarkia, betwixt the peaks of Noton and Kadiphonek. It was my friend Alos who spoke, and his speech was one that pleased my soul, for it was the speech of a true man and patriot. That night had the news come of Daikos' fall, and of the advance of the Inutos; squat, hellish yellow fiends who five years ago had appeared out of the unknown west to ravage the confines of our kingdom, and to besiege many of our towns. Having taken the fortified places at the foot of the mountains, their way now lay open to the plateau, unless every citizen could resist with the strength of ten men. For the squat creatures were mighty in the arts of war, and knew not the scruples of honour which held back our tall, grey-eyed men of Lomar from ruthless conquest.

Alos, my friend, was commander of all the forces on the plateau, and in him lay the last hope of our country. On this occasion he spoke of the perils to be faced and exhorted the men of Olathoe, bravest of the Lomarians, to sustain the traditions of their ancestors, who when forced to move southward from Zobna before the advance of the great ice sheet (even as our descendents must some day flee from the land of Lomar) valiently and victoriously swept aside the hairly, long-armed, cannibal Gnophkehs that stood in their way. To me Alos denied the warriors part, for I was feeble and given to strange faintings when subjected to stress and hardships. But my eyes were the keenest in the city, despite the long hours I gave each day to the study of the Pnakotic manuscripts and the wisdom of the Zobnarian Fathers; so my friend, desiring not to doom me to inaction, rewarded me with that duty which was second to nothing in importance. To the watchtower of Thapnen he sent me, there to serve as the eyes of our army. Should the Inutos attempt to gain the citadel by the narrow pass behind the peak Noton and thereby surprise the garrison, I was to give the signal of fire which would warn the waiting soldiers and save the town from immediate disaster.

Alone I mounted the tower, for every man of stout body was needed in the passes below. My brain was sore dazed with excitement and fatigue, for I had not slept in many days; yet was my purpose firm, for I loved my native land of Lomar, and the marble city Olathoe that lies betwixt the peaks Noton and Kadiphonek.

But as I stood in the tower's topmost chamber, I beheld the horned waning moon, red and sinister, quivering through the vapours that hovered over the distant valley of Banof. And through an opening in the roof glittered the pale Pole Star, fluttering as if alive, and leering like a fiend and tempter. Methought its spirit whispered evil counsel, soothing me to traitorous somnolence with a damnable rhythmical promise which it repeated over and over:

Slumber, watcher, till the spheres,

Six and twenty thousand years

Have revolv'd, and I return

To the spot where now I burn.

Other stars anon shall rise

To the axis of the skies;

Stars that soothe and stars that bless

With a sweet forgetfulness:

Only when my round is o'er

Shall the past disturb thy door.

Vainly did I struggle with my drowsiness, seeking to connect these strange words with some lore of the skies which I had learnt from the Pnakotic manuscripts. My head, heavy and reeling, drooped to my breast, and when next I looked up it was in a dream, with the Pole Star grinning at me through a window from over the horrible and swaying trees of a dream swamp. And I am still dreaming.

In my shame and despair I sometimes scream frantically, begging the dream-creatures around me to waken me ere the Inutos steal up the pass behind the peak Noton and take the citadel by surprise; but these creatures are daemons, for they laugh at me and tell me I am not dreaming. They mock me whilst I sleep, and whilst the squat yellow foe may be creeping silently upon us. I have failed in my duties and betrayed the marble city of Olathoe; I have proven false to Alos, my friend and commander. But still these shadows of my dreams deride me. They say there is no land of Lomar, save in my nocturnal imaginings; that in these realms where the Pole Star shines high, and red Aldebaran crawls low around the horizon, there has been naught save ice and snow for thousands of years of years, and never a man save squat, yellow creatures, blighted by the cold, called "Esquimaux."

And as I writhe in my guilty agony, frantic to save the city whose peril every moment grows, and vainly striving to shake off this unnatural dream of a house of stone and brick south of a sinister swamp and a cemetery on a low hillock, the Pole Star, evil and monstrous, leers down from the black vault, winking hideously like an insane watching eye which strives to convey some message, yet recalls nothing save that it once had a message to convey.

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 02:18 PM
The Works of H.P. Lovecraft (http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/index.html)

A collection of short stories by H.P. Lovecraft.

Gorm the Old
Sunday, October 2nd, 2005, 03:33 PM
I had thought that I had read most of H.P. Lovecraft's stories, but, from this list, I find that I have read, at most, half. I wonder if the unfamiliar titles are in print at present.

Monday, October 3rd, 2005, 02:54 PM
What's your favourite? :)

Gorm the Old
Monday, October 3rd, 2005, 04:21 PM
"Shadow out of Time"

Thursday, April 20th, 2006, 12:46 AM
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (20 August 1890–15 March 1937)
is probably best known as a writer of weird fiction, but some believe his voluminous correspondence to be his greatest accomplishment.
The H.P. Lovecraft's Archive (http://www.hplovecraft.com/)

Thursday, April 20th, 2006, 07:13 AM
wasn't that the Necronomicon-fellow?

Thursday, April 20th, 2006, 07:14 AM
']wasn't that the Necronomicon-fellow?
Hmm, I don't think so. Not sure though...

Thursday, April 20th, 2006, 02:03 PM
']wasn't that the Necronomicon-fellow?

Yep, Cthulhu stories.


Friday, April 21st, 2006, 03:30 AM

Complete (I think) collection of Lovecraft stories.

Friday, April 21st, 2006, 09:16 AM
']wasn't that the Necronomicon-fellow?

He made it up, yes. It figures in several of his stories.

Friday, April 21st, 2006, 02:51 PM
While I have never actually read any of Lovecrafts works, save for the Necronomicon (and even then I was in my early teens). This thread sparked me to do some research into his writings and I must say that I am enticed to read more now.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006, 01:11 PM
While I have never actually read any of Lovecrafts works, save for the Necronomicon (and even then I was in my early teens). This thread sparked me to do some research into his writings and I must say that I am enticed to read more now.

Lovecraft's collected stories: http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/index.html

White Iceland
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 06:43 AM
Just read Shadow over Innsmouth the other week and noticed a reference to the swastika... after a bit of research, discovered mention of this hack job article Shadows over Lovecraft. Apparently the article was once indexed at northernlight, but I cannot find it just now. Anyone who could track the complete article down would be very helpful:

Personal Prejudice Expressed in a Science Fiction Fantasy

A review of Shadows over Lovecraft: Reactionary fantasy and immigrant eugenics.


Berliners Remember
Wednesday, October 4th, 2006, 07:52 AM
Shadow over Innsmouth is a nice little read. Lovecraft provides some really interesting dreamlike celestial imagery in his work.

White Iceland
Saturday, November 4th, 2006, 08:12 PM
I discovered a Lovecraft poem from ca. 1916 entitled "The Teuton's Battle Song" a few weeks ago. Upon doing a bit more looking, I found the text and additional articles and citations from Lovecraft's letters demonstrating very extreme racial statements! I may read through these and pull a few of my favorite quotes from time to time:

www.vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=29386 (http://www.vnnforum.com/showthread.php?t=29386)

(Note: The poem's text here seems littered with a great many typos which I'm sure are not the author's own. I have corrected a couple of the more immediate ones below.)

H. P. Lovecraft

The mighty Woden laughs upon his throne,
And once more claims his children for his own.
The voice of Thorburn resounds again on high,
While arm’d Valkyries ride from out of the sky:
The Gods of Asgard all their pow’rs released
To rouse the dullard from his dream of peace.
Awake! Ye hypocrites, and deign to scan
the actions of your “brotherhood of Man”.
Could your shrill pipings in the race impair
The warlike impulse put by nature there?
Where now the gentle maxims of the school,
The cant of preachers, and the Golden Rule?
What feeble word or doctrine now can sway?
Too long restrain’d, the bloody tempest breaks,
And Midgard ‘neath the tread of warriors shakes,
On to death, Beserker bold! And try
In acts of Godlike bravery to die!
Who cares to find the heaven of the priest,
When only warriors can with Woden feast?
The flesh of Schrimnir, and the cup of mead,
Are but for him who falls in martial deed:
You luckless boor, that passive meets his end,
May never in Valhalla’s court contend.
Slay, brothers, slay! And bathe in crimson gore;
Let Thorburn, triumphant, view the sport once more!
All other thoughts are fading in the mist,
But to attack, or of attack’d, resist.
List, great Alfadur, to the clash of steel;
How like a man does each brave swordsman feel!
The cries of pain, the roars of rampant rage,
In one vast symphony our ears engage.
Strike! Strike him down! Whoever bars the way;
Let each kill many ere he die today!
Ride o’er the weak; accomplish what ye can;
The Gods are kindest to the strongest man!
Why should we fear? What greater joy than this?
Asgard alone could give us sweeter bliss!
My strength is waning; dimly can I see
the helmeted Valkyries close to me.
Ten more I slay! How strange the thought of fear,
With Woden’s mounted messengers so near!
The darkness comes; I feel my spirit rise;
A kind Valkyrie bears me to the skies.
With conscience clear, I quit the earth below,
The boundless joys of Woden’s halls to know.
The grove of Glasir soon shall I behold,
And on Valhalla’s tablets be enroll’d:
There to remain, till Heimdall’s horn shall sound,
And Ragnarok enclose creation round;
And Bifrost break beneath bold Surtur’s horde,
And Gods and men fall dead beneath the sword;
When sun shall die, and sea devour the land,
And stars descend, and naught but Chaos stand.
Then shall Alfadur make his realm anew,
And Gods and men with purer life indue.
In that blest country shall Abundance reign,
Nor shall one vice or woe of earth remain.
Then, not before, shall men their battles cease,
And live at last in universal peace.
Thro’ cloudless heavens shall the eagle soar,
And happiness prevail for evermore.