Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft


This week, 119 years ago, master horror writer H.P. Lovecraft was born. Lovecraft believed imaginative fiction to be “art in its most essential sense.” While Lovecraft was an atheist, there are surprising commonalities between his own view of art and that of J.R.R. Tolkien, as brilliantly expounded by scholar Amy H. Sturgis in “New Shoggoth Chic: Why H.P. Lovecraft Now?“. Dr. Sturgis has a collection of Lovecraft links at her blog in honor of his birthday.

Lovecraft can be difficult to get into at first. Dr. Sturgis gives some helpful tips for “Getting into the Lovecraft Zone.” Some recommended starting places, in my lovecraftview, are the shorter “The Outsider,” “The Music of Erik Zahn,” “The Rats in the Walls,” and “The Colour Out of Space,” as well as the lengthier “The Haunter of the Dark” and the novella “At the Mountains of Madness” (del Toro has plans to make a film version of this, though I’m guessing The Hobbit has much delayed his original plans to have it done by 2010).  Lovecraft is best known for his Cthulhu stories, including “The Call of Cthulhu” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.”

Our own Pete Peterson, you might remember, has been inspired by Lovecraft.

Lovecraft’s view of supernatural horror in literature informed my analysis of the theme of Fear in the Harry Potter stories in chapter three of Harry Potter & Imagination: The Way Between Two Worlds.


  1. Matt M

    Pete’s story was excellent. At the time, I had only read a little bit of Lovecraft. Having a couple volumes of his work under my figurative belt, I appreciate Pete’s homage all the more. Well done!

  2. becky

    Travis, this comment has nothing to do with Lovecraft. I couldn’t figure out how to contact someone about a problem with the site, so here it is. My computer is having an issue with Jason Gray’s post, A Tale of Two Songs. On the home page, or any other page where this post shows up (MUSIC for example) I can see the header for the post, but not the post itself. In addition, everything after this post and all of the information on the right side of the screen (earlier posts, bios, recommendations, etc.) are gone. If I click on the title or the comments for Jason’s post, I get a page with the same problem. I’ve never had this happen before. The issue seems to be isolated to this post. If I click on a tabbed item that does not contain this post (STORY for example) everything is ok. Also, if I click on an item that has been posted after A Tale of Two Songs, everything is normal. Any ideas?

  3. Peter B

    Pete’s story finally inspired me to take in some Lovecraft. Oddly enough, The Rabbityville Horror had a much greater effect on me than any of the Cthulu mythos or other stories (excepting The Colour Out of Space, which completely freaked me out and gave me nightmares for several days).

    I keep trying to read At the Mountains of Madness, but that isn’t really gripping me either. Of course the only copy I have is digital and maybe the stop-start nature of reading it has desensitized me; has anyone else experienced similar effects?

  4. George

    Peter B, I have a hard time reading Lovecraft stories, too. But I find I can get into them a bit more if I listen to an audio recording of them. B.J. Harrison at The Classic Tales podcast almost always does great readings of Lovecraft. A lot of his past stuff is available through Audible.com. But there are also quite a few free audio versions of Lovecraft out there. Sorry I don’t have any links handy.

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