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HP Lovecraft: Books & Monsters

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

H.P. Lovecraft is a fiction writer of the weird and interesting. Known for creating haunting creatures that stay with readers, he was also known for his intriguing correspondence.

Biography

H.P Lovecraft, born in 1890 in Rhode Island, was a sickly child growing up. He was raised solely by his mother and family after his father died from syphilis when Lovecraft was eight. One of his biggest influences was his grandfather, who loved tales of Gothic times and weird fantasy. Although frequently ill, he showed a love for literature early on, and became fascinated with Arabian Nights at a young age. The combination of his comprehension of heavy literature and his grandfather's penchant for unique tales created a serious love for the strange and creepy.

Other traumas in his childhood influenced his writing. His grandfather died when he was in high school, and the home in which he had grown up was eventually sold due to the family not managing the remaining inheritance wisely. At this point, Lovecraft had a nervous breakdown and became a recluse, writing poetry and staying inside.

He started to emerge from his self-imposed hiding because of his audacity at pulp fictions writers and their writing skills. He would write letters in verse arguing with how the stories were written. These letters were then published, starting Lovecraft on his way to becoming a writer.

Lovecraft eventually married a woman named Sonia Haft Greene. Initially, the marriage seemed amicable. However, just like others around Lovecraft, she ended up in a sanitarium for a time. Once she was released, she moved out and started a business in another city, making the spouses live apart. This led to divorce when Lovecraft, driven by loneliness, moved home to Rhode Island to be near his family, and they refused to allow his Jewish wife to move in with them. They divorced shortly thereafter. He did not live much longer, as he died of cancer in 1937 at the young age of 47.

H.P. Lovecraft

Books

Lovecraft was known for his creepy literature with books like The Call of Cthulhu, The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, and The Rats in the Walls. His books tend toward ritual and dark beasts. However most of his work is all in short story form, originally written for pulp magazines instead of a novel. His poetry and letters written in prose were one of his true passions, and he tended to focus more on these, unless he was pushed by his peers to pick up his pen to write more science fiction.

The Call of Cthulhu is about a creature that is part octopus and part dragon. The book is written like a factual account of the alien beast. The story is written in three tales, from three different narrators all culminating with the third and final tale of the beast as he terrorizes the people in the story.

The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is well-known not only for the onyx city and the amazing detail of its descriptions, but also for the mention of the Necronomicon (whose creator is highly debated). This world is one of amazing trips to the moon on a ship and cats that can leap from the stars to the earth.

Rats in the Walls is a horror story building upon the classic idea of a haunted house, but then adding an evil city that was built beneath it where humans were bred to be killed and eaten.

Creatures

Although Lovecraft wrote dozens of stories and prose during his lifetime, he was also known to craft amazing beasts. The following are a few that have left their imprint on literature.

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