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!
The former children’s laureate, Riddell, pointed out that Moz the Monster bears a striking similarity to Mr Underbed, his own monster character. Riddell then went on to show blow by blow how the stories are almost identical, and even the monsters bear a striking resemblance. Read More
Kafka was a shy and introverted character, and an avid reader. He considered writers such as Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, and Heinrich Von Kleist to be “true blood brothers”. Kafka’s father expected him to take over the family goods business, however, after completing a degree in Law he worked for insurance companies, and started an asbestos factory with an acquaintance. He claimed to despise working just to pay bills and would much rather have spent his time writing. Illness plagued him through his adult life, with complications arising from tuberculosis keeping him from joining the military.
Her curiosity and interest in rural life bled into her quaint and sweet stories, accompanied by beautifully detailed images of anthropomorphised field mice and other hedgerow creatures. Her Brambly Hedge stories were adored by many children growing up in the 80s and 90s from her first book ‘A Spring Story’ (1980) to ‘A Year in Brambly Hedge’ (2010). Her work was made into an animation in 1996, voiced by two British treasures- Jim Broadbent and June Whitfield.
After a long illness Jill died, aged 66, on November 16th 2017. The publisher’s staff at HarperCollins were all deeply saddened at the news of Barklem’s death. “Her exquisite Brambly Hedge stories have enchanted children and many adult admirers across the world for more than 35 years. Jill was a lovely person with a rare talent to turn her astute observation of the English countryside into an enchanting miniature world,” she said. “Her enduring stories about the mice of Brambly Hedge remain as beautiful today as when she first created them and will continue to be treasured by future generations.”
Eric Blair had worked at the BBC as a producer for the “Empire Service” over 70 years ago and some suggest that it is this time at the BBC that gave him the inspiration for room 101, in his now famous novel 1984 which he penned under the more familiar name George Orwell.
An early feminist, Lessing was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007, described by the Swedish Academy as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. When met on the street by journalists and told she had won the prize, she responded “Oh, Christ!”. Read More
Achebe lived a fascinating life, growing up in South-Eastern Nigeria. He excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine but changed his studies to English Literature at University College, Ibadan. It was here he began writing stories, eventually gaining worldwide attention for his works. Read More