OK, I have a bit of a dilemma going on. For a while now, H.P. Lovecraft had remained a great undiscovered country for me. While aware that he is the single most influential force in modern horror, I had only glimpsed bits and pieces of his actual writing--I had yet to really delve into it.
And now that I have, I've got a real problem to deal with. And that problem is the fact that H.P. Lovecraft was a passionate racist, white supremacist and anti-Semite, and his work readily reflects it.
My recent foray into HPL comes as a result of the essay submitted to The Vault of Horror some months ago by RayRay, a devout fan of the author since our days in high school together. And while I can't deny the raw and attractive power of his horror writing, I'm having a hard time with the aforementioned issue.
I plan to write a more deeply considered piece on the subject when I've read more of his work and can feel comfortable fully commenting on it. For now, I merely ask those who enjoy his work to help me out. Am I over-reacting?
See, my problem is complex. Yes, racism was more acceptable and rampant in Lovecraft's day, but his level of virulent hatred goes above and beyond even the acceptability such opinions enjoyed in a pre-Nazi world. Not only that, but it's all over the place in his fiction--you can't escape it. Richard Wagner may have been one of history's most famous Jew-haters, yet I can enjoy his music because he never wrote operas about it. But one need only browse through a handful of Lovecraft's pieces to come across his deep-seated hate for blacks, Jews, Asians and immigrants of all kinds. Don't even get me started on his private writings. Saying, "Well, that's how people thought back then," doesn't quite cover it.
So what do I do with this? I invite anyone with an opinion on the subject to leave a comment. Is it possible to enjoy Lovecraft in spite of his racism? Is it right to?