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!
Sadly Leo passed away in April 2017, aged 86, but has left behind him a legacy of legendary characters still in comic book circulation today. I, personally, owe him a debt of gratitude for my first heroine of literature I looked up to: Minnie the Minx, a violent, rebel girl who hated snobby parents and boring kids.
Robert’s life was far from simple, or easy, and this is reflected in his wise and intelligent musings within his work. It is difficult to condense such a fine body of work into a small blog but we hope we have done some justice to the great writer by choosing our favourite 10 quotes from Zen…
Stare at it! For a long time… Read More
During WWII Muriel worked as a propagandist for the Political Intelligence Department for the British Foreign Office, but once the war was over she concentrated on her writing, in particular poetry and literary criticism.
Muriel considered her joining the Roman Catholic Church to be important in her development as a novelist as it apparently gave her an insight into the meaning of human existence. Her first novel was published in 1957, named The Comforters, and centred on a young woman who discovers she is a character in a novel (I have yet to read it but it sounds fascinating!).
Her most popular novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was published in 1961, which was adapted for stage and film in the 1960s, and for television in the 70s.
Muriel passed away on April 13th 2006, survived by her estranged son.
Beckett’s work often looked at the bleaker aspects of human existence and his use of black comedy and gallows humour can be seen throughout his work. Considered to be one of the last modernist writers, Beckett was one of the key figures in the Theatre of the Absurd, a post WWII designation for plays of absurdist fiction written during the late 1950s. Read More