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Author Spotlight: HP Lovecraft

Author Spotlight: HP Lovecraft

Known only by devotees of pulp fiction and Weird Tales magazine during his lifetime, HP Lovecraft is now recognized as one of the 20th century’s most significant writers of supernatural horror fiction and, as the creator of Cthulhu, a pioneer in the use of imaginary mythologies.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1890 and, apart from a few years in New York city, he lived in New England until his death in 1937. He seems to have been a precocious child, reading and writing at an early age, although his home life was marred by first his father and, some years later, his mother being placed in a psychiatric hospital. Lovecraft himself suffered from episodes of what he described as ‘nervous collapse’ while at high school.

Having begun writing poems, stories and letters to editors in his early twenties, Lovecraft became a regular contributor to Weird Tales in 1923 and in 1926, after his return to Providence from New York, he wrote The Call of Cthulhu and changed the direction of travel for many writers of supernatural and horror stories.

Lovecraft’s fiction reflected his atheism and his somewhat gloomy beliefs about the cosmos and the decline of civilizations; he described his tales as ‘based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large’. However dire Cthulhu, the evil Other God, enthusiasm for Lovecraft and his creations continues unabated.

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