H. P Lovecraft (20th August 1890 – 15th March 1937) was an American author who shaped the horror genre that we know today. Largely unappreciated until after his death, Lovecraft’s influence on the horror genre is still felt today.
Virtually unknown, Lovecraft only saw his works published in pulp magazines and died in poverty, but is now considered to be one of the most significant authors of his genre. And here are eight more things you may not know about H.P Lovecraft.
Both Lovecraft’s parents were institutionalised
Lovecraft’s father, Winfield Scott Lovecraft was committed to Butler Hospital with psychosis when the author was just three years old. He died five years later. Lovecraft’s mother, Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft was later committed to the same hospital in 1919. She remained in close correspondence with her son and died two years later of complications after surgery.
Lovecraft influenced Batman
If you’re a fan of the Batman comics you’ll know that the superhero often sends his enemies to Arkham Asylum. What you might not know is that the setting was invented by Lovecraft and was the name of a fictional city in many of the author’s works.
Lovecraft had aims to be a professional astronomer
When a young boy, Lovecraft had dreamed of being a professional astronomer, but only attended school sporadically and never finished high school. Although a keen amateur astronomer during his life, he never pursued it further.
Lovecraft was a racist bastard
We don’t want to skate around this one, in Lovecraft’s correspondence he was a nasty, horrible, racist bastard. We make no excuses for this side of his personality, and the evidence is plentiful given that he wrote 100,000 letters in his lifetime.
Lovecraft preferred cats to dogs
Or at least he wrote an essay on the subject. However, when you read the essay it has the typical slant of Lovecraft’s other works, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Lovecraft suffered from night terrors
And they inspired much of his work. From around six years old Lovecraft was plagued with uncontrollable night time fears, linked to the illnesses suffered by his parents.
Which could explain why he was nocturnal
Lovecraft was rarely seen outside during daylight hours, writing all day and leaving the house only after sunset, study astronomy and write. He routinely slept days away and considered himself a recluse.
Cthulhu is pronounced ‘khul-loo’
Because we know you’ve wondered!
He graduated form Oxford in 1928 and after spending a year in Germany returned to the UK to become a teacher.
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