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Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Plea to the Lovecraftians

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?


houseinrlyeh aka Denis said...

It's a little difficult to talk about without knowing exactly which stories you have read by now.
I don't think you are over-reacting anyway - Lovecraft's racism is the point that can make him impossible to read. I am really of two minds there myself. Lovecraft is one of my favorite writers, but I find his racism/xenophobia absolutely abhorrent. I would never buy a book by a living author who expresses ideas like that. Still, I have no problem reading Lovecraft. Somehow (and I can't say if that is a good thing) I learned to see it but to ignore it.

gord said...

Yikes, that is a tough one. Hmm, well I think writing a larger piece, and even this small post is definitely a step in the right direction. Complacency is clearly not the best option and I am 100% with you on the issue.

That being said, I think that as long as you aren't complacent or apologetic with his writings then reading his material shouldn't be a huge problem. It may be difficult or sad at times to see a favourite writer act in such an abhorrent fashion, but as long as your aware of it and always stick to your guns about the issue, then I wouldn't give him up completely.

Lovecraft is a historic figure and like it not, those sorts of views, although perhaps extreme in his case, were acceptable back then. However, he's still a master of horror literature and for good reason. I know that it's not like the Wagner issue, but if you think about it, they aren't THAT much different. If you can read the work from a historical perspective, enjoy the horror, and as I said earlier, not get sucked in by his views or become complacent, then that's what you should do.

In real life if he were violent towards such individuals, and wrote about it, then that I would definitely have a problem with.

In a modern context I for one, would dump an author in a minute if they shared similar views these days. It's just flat out embarrassing to be honest.

Anonymous said...

You left out sexism. Or haven't you read The Thing on the Doorstep yet? (Ooh, you should. It's a good'un.)

It's a bit difficult to address your issues directly without knowing more about you, your background, and your experience of racism and anti-Semitism.

So I guess I'll just dance around it. :)

I'm a member in good standing of the horror-as-catharsis school of thought. That is, I think that the horror genre is a way for each generation to come to terms with and hopefully transcend the unspoken fears of that time and place. That's why, for example, you have atomic monsters in the 1950s; that's why post-Abu Ghraib America churns out torture porn, and post-growth Asian Tiger countries make techno-horror.

Lovecraft's peak as a writer corresponds with the peak in power of the KKK and other racist terrorist groups. Public lynchings were a weekly occurrence. Now, Lovecraft was undoubtedly a racist, but he was also a classist (see, e.g., Beyond the Wall of Sleep). And like most members of his class, he was appalled by naked racism. One simply doesn't say those things aloud -- the servants might hear.

So there was an inherent contradiction between his own extreme xenophobia and how he thought people ought to be and are not. And I think that he used his own unresolvable and irrational fears as fodder for his stories. Had Lovecraft lived in a different time and place, different types of fears would have served the same purpose. For example, had Lovecraft served in the trenches in WWI, we'd be looking at a very different horror writer.

I think that Lovecraft's willingness to confront his own racism (and by extension, the racism of his readers) was a risky and honest move for a writer working in a time when, for example, a country like Haiti could be depicted in fiction without showing a single black face.

And it has to be said, as well, that if you look at, say, the black-boxer-turned-white-baby-eating-zombie
in Herbert West: Re-animator, the real monster in the story is clearly the blond, blue-eyed psychopath with the syringe full of reagent.

So, on the one hand, I think that Lovecraft's use of racism in his stories is a reflection of his time, place, and class. But I think Lovecraft's work remains relevant, and is resurgent in recent years, precisely because of his willingness to address racist fears directly. We still live in a grossly racist society, but any acknowledgment of that has become taboo. Even the most pious white liberal (like me!) takes the time to lock his car doors when driving through a "bad neighborhood." We've all internalized generations of racist thought to the point where we're no longer conscious of it. And studies of unconscious racism show that members of minorities have internalized those biases as well.

But racist fears are generally taboo in contemporary horror, a genre that's supposed to be about breaking taboos. So instead we get Stephen King's endless parade of Magic Negroes, and nobody seems to mind, because Stephen King is such a positive racist.

One reason to read Lovecraft today is to give yourself an opportunity to challenge your own unexamined racist fears. And we (Americans, at any rate) all have them, because that's the defining pathology of our society.

B-Sol said...

One story I've read which I can mention in particular is The Horror at Red Hook. Being descended from immigrants myself, it really bothered me. Here I am, reading an author who, if he were to meet me, would be disgusted by me and my very presence in "his" country. It's just very disconcerting.

B-Sol said...

Hmmm...I definitely see your points, Howard. And it's true what you say about Lovecraft, because apparently he was appalled by stories of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews, despite his own personal fantasies of exterminating them. Hard to reconcile, but it makes sense in a way. In the end, I don't think it will stop me from reading Lovecraft, I just don't think I'll be able to enjoy his work as thoroughly as I otherwise would have.

deepfix said...

"despite his own personal fantasies of exterminating them"

i don't know what you've read where you get this idea. keep in mind that he married a jew and robert bloch, one of his acolytes, was jewish as well.

"One story I've read which I can mention in particular is The Horror at Red Hook. Being descended from immigrants myself, it really bothered me. Here I am, reading an author who, if he were to meet me, would be disgusted by me and my very presence in "his" country. It's just very disconcerting."

also keep in mind that he had an excessively "pampered" (for lack of a better term) upbringing and never really travelled until later in his life. he was, to a certain extent (some exaggerate it too much, some to little) mentally "unstable" (not what i really mean but am lacking a better word for it). so when he moved to new york, with his jewish wife, was unable to find a job, was living away from his overly fawning aunts, and was thrust face first into the hustle and bustle of the urban metropolis that is the early twentieth century new york, he suffered an emotional breakdown of sorts. "Horror At Red Hook" was one of the stories written during that time and reflects a bit of his fear and hatred of that place. he soon fled back to the waiting arms of his aunts and the smaller sleepier providence.

not to seem as if i'm apologizing for his rascism, but there is a context for everything and as he got older and met more people (post-New York) his views shifted considerably.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I am demographically one of the few Lovecraft would approve of - so take that bias as you will, but I personally find no qualms with enjoying his professional life because of his private. That isn't to say that your objection is over reacting, but I think enough history has come and gone in the years betwixt that his work should stand as his work.

I only found out of his personal life after having devoured much of his catalog; however I am not entirely sure prior knowledge would have held me any less rapt. I think the fact that there is no contemporary threat to his hatred helps quite a bit. That thought path though, I realize, makes me look even more calloused to the issue. I suppose back in the day he could have acted upon his beliefs and made (or help make) someone else's life worse because of it, but I've never seen any evidence this was the case. Stories of 'ole HP are more concerned with his recluse and crippling social phobias, so I doubt he ever acted on anything.

Is that a justification? Hardly, but it helps ease it. I picture Lovecraft as a crotchety old man who lives alone in the house all the school kids dare each other to go inside. Hate filled, yes, but harmlessly alone.

B-Sol said...

Deepfix, this is the kind of thinking I'm referring to, from one of Lovecraft's personal letters:
"On our side there is a shuddering physical repugnance to most Semitic types, and when we try to be tolerant we are merely blind or hypocritical. Two elements so discordant can never build one society – no feeling of real linkage can exist where so vast a disparity of ancestral memories is concerned – so that wherever the Wandering Jew wanders, he will have to content himself with his own society till he disappears or is killed off in some sudden outburst of physical loathing on our part."

As for Lovecraft's marriage to the Jewish Sonia Greene:
"He married a woman of Ukrainian Jewish ancestry, Sonia Greene, who later said she had to repeatedly remind Lovecraft of her background when he made anti-Semitic remarks. "Whenever we found ourselves in the racially mixed crowds which characterize New York," Greene wrote after her divorce from Lovecraft, "Howard would become livid with rage. He seemed almost to lose his mind."[20]"--Wikipedia, citing Lin Carter's 1972 biography.

CRwM said...

I've always read Lovecraft's racism (or whatever other -ism on assigns him - he really disgusted penguins, for example, so we can add anti-Spheniscidaeist to the long list) as just a subset of his global hatred of humans and life in general.

His white, upper-class, New England stock characters are just as likely to find out they're half-ape creature or discover that they're distantly related to a race of fishmen or to degenerate into a subterranean bread of cannibal or turn out to be a nutso doctor who don't know when to quit with the re-animation experiments.

The only time Lovecraftian characters can even begin to conceive of happiness and satisfaction is when they are in the Dreamlands, fantastic realms where Lovecraft's imagination is the sole arbiter of what will be. That was Lovecraft's idea of a good place - a completely artificial world made of his own ego.

We've become so sensitive to real and perceived slights based on identity politics that we miss the big picture - Lovecraft doesn't really like anybody. He, along with Bierce, is that rarest of things: a genuine American misanthrope. The sentiment is so foreign to the liberal, democratic ideal central to American identity that we don't have very many genuine haters of humanity in the abstract.

I don't think you're overreacting, but I think anybody who dismisses this hatred as an unfortunate blemish on Lovecraft's body of work isn't being honest. He doesn't like blacks, women, Jews, white ethnics, the poor, the rich, the intellectual, the uneducated, the military, artists, or any other group of people you care to mention because he doesn't like people. It's central to the uniqueness of his vision, it is why his perceived racism seems so strangely virulent even for his day, and it is part of the power of the dread he evokes. Without it, you don't have a Lovecraft.

B-Sol said...

He really was quite the misanthrope, wasn't he? Hye, I can respect that, I'm a pretty staunch one myself. But he does seem to also idealize the Aryan ideal at the same time, so it's not pure misanthropy.

Anonymous said...

I also think you have to focus on one of the things we are scared of most as an entire group of people, regardless of sex, race, religion etc -=- we are afraid of strange things, different things, things that seem alien to us and our way of life. Hell just look at the Food network and their show about strange dishes from around the world - we sit and watch and squeal with horror as they eat bugs and rotten eggs. Lovecraft uses that to the T with his stories. Also I just re-read the Red Hook story to verify but in it he is throwing everyone under the bus from black, Asian, to white European. And the character that is the central evil genius so to speak is the white upper class researcher. So I don't view him as really a racist but more like crwm said - he hates all people and the evil they create, spawn and keep alive.

CRwM said...

There's something vapid and bloodless about Lovecraft's white superiority. Mainly, we just never see it. He made claims for the just nature of Aryan conquests of various cultures and he so on, but his "white" cultures are always depicted as thin layers of civilization decaying from forces internal and external. His most "Aryan" creation is Herbert West, and West is a mad failure.

Compare Lovecraft's aesthetic to, say, Nazi authors (or Soviet Era authors, with their class purity concerns rather than race purity concerns) and you'll see what I mean. Lovecraft never produces this absurdly heroic image of his race or class. Instead, white Westerners (where they aren't already nuts) are always doomed to destruction, madness, and failure.

He reminds me of John Ruskin, famed Victorian art critic, who fainted the first time he saw his wife naked because he hadn't suspected body hair. Lovecraft has abstract notions about this or that but, on the daily level of life as it is actually lived, everything disgusts and horrifies him.

I'm not trying to excuse him. He truly felt things about women and blacks and whatnot that we find repugnant. But I believe that the horror of the other (all "other" - we could make an truly exhausting list of people Lovecraft found disgusting) was sincere and it is at the root of his vision of horror.

hombrezoo said...

Well, I'm mexican, and when I found out about Lovecraft racist side, was very dissapointed, specially cause I've devoted quite a few years doing a shortfilm based on one of his short stories, but anyway, that made me want to know more about him.
So I began reading more...
And his problem was pretty much the fact that he was a very ignorant man, he never left his mom and his aunts laps, who though him in that kind of thinking, he never made a life for himself, it wasn't until his last years that he realized how dumb he was, and he actually changed his mind, began to have friends from the races that he previously hated so bad, even some of his friends were very upset at times for his ignorance and his racism.

Read L. Sprage de Camp bio, i'ts a very good one, has tons of info, specially a lot of HPs correspondence with his friends and family.
Think the coolest think is that in the end he was very, very human, I'm really glad I read that, cause I was about to rip appart my short.

Anonymous said...

While HPL was a racist, I do not think his work reflects that at all. In fact I loved HPL stories (and the horror movies made from them) for years before I got more interested in who he was as a person and it wasm't until then when I read some about his life and his letters etc that I discovered that about him. I also found out he was a prohibitionist which is a huge turn-off to me as well.
Anyway, I don't think unless someone knows he is a racist and they read purely his horror short stories that they would ever know. I don't think it detracts from his stories and you don't have to "like" an artist to like their work.


B-Sol said...

Good grief, you mean he was against booze, too?? Man, this just keeps getting worse...
Seriously, though, I'm glad I posted this because it's encouraged me to read further and delve deeper into HPL, whereas I might have otherwise hesitated. I guess "disappointed" as hombrezoo put it earlier, is the best way to describe my feeling. It's just a letdown that a writer of such important and brilliant fiction would be so upsettingly flawed. Sad too, but I guess we all are to one extent or another.

Anonymous said...

I tend to see Lovecraft as more of an "Elitist" than a straight-up racist. That is, like modern Republicans (and many Democrats), HPL felt a sneering contempt (and fear-based revulsion) toward "the lower types" (which, in various stories, also included Irishmen, Scots, and even the Dutch - "small hands, you know" - oh, wait, that was Austin Powers) but could easily ignore these feelings when someone from an outsider race gave evidence of being "one of us" - refined tastes, education, erudition, etc. Hence, Bloch, the Jewish wife, a handful of minority characters who behave somewhat admirably, etc.

This strain of thought is still clearly with us, just cloaked in safer language. If you listen to Pat Buchanan or Lou Dobbs or Barbara Bush or Fox News, you hear much the same sort of thought. Shows like "Cops" (and the six-o'clock news) permeate culture with the sordid exploits of "The Other", and the fearmongering of the newsmedia is always focused on the efforts of "lesser races" to drag "us" down.

My point, I guess, is that HPL wrote Modern Fiction. His language might make liberal readers (and, for other reasons, English majors) cringe at times, but it was his mindset then and it's a majority mindset now. We can reject his work and feel good about it, but the same attitudes permeate most modern popular fiction and literary fiction as well. For example, "24" may feature black heroes but they are "us"... the show's premise is that a degenerate "them" is out to destroy "us". Xenophobia. As other posters have mentioned, HPL was a xenophobe, and to his cloistered life, just about everything was "xeno". Including the cold.

HPL should be read and appreciated for his wild ideas, for his concepts, for the sheer fun of his overwrought prose, and for his ability to build tension. It should not be bawdlerized; he was a product of his time but in so many ways his time is our time.

And, to spoil more reading fun, a reminder that L. Frank Baum wrote horrible newspaper editorials where he called for genocide against Native Americans. Literally.

AndyDecker said...

I don´t see the problem here. Lovecraft´s racism is so obviously divorced from the real world and expresses itself mainly in the fear of the other - and here regardless in what form or gender -that you can´t take it serious.

Especially in his case I think it also wasn´t in the first place the sign of the times, but his upbringing which has a lot in common with cult-like upbringings, when you think about it. I always marvel about his marriage - how difficult it must have been for him to marry in the first place. And it still didn´t work.

I have more problems with the content of some of his stories, where even my suspense of disbelief often cannot stomach how utterly idiotic his heroes act, how naive his idea of the real world sometimes is - and surely must have even been back then when he wrote the stories.

But still his achievements outweigh the bad. For all his shortcomings (as I personally perceive them; other readers will have other things to object) his work is truly unique. And you can´t say that about a lot of writers.

deepfix said...

"his "white" cultures are always depicted as thin layers of civilization decaying from forces internal and external." - crwm

i'm glad i didn't respond immediately cause others have seen the forest beyond the trees though they might not have realized it. lovecraft's racism was a tree. one of many. modern readers get lost amongst all these trees not seeing the forest. his great-grandfather was wealthy, his grandfather less so. his mother was married to a salesman who died in an asylum. his mother to die years later in the same asylum. he was poor with the ideas and mores of someone with his great-grandfather's wealth. his whole lifespan was an example of degeneration with insanity as the end result. the racism is there to be dug up, exhumed and shown to the world but there were deeper hangups that the racism was more a symptom of.
anyway, in this year of the fruitbat, we don't have the language to adequately deal with his neuroses; you're either racist or you're not and it seems as if none of his readers today are.

l. sprague de camp had a certain axe to grind and his biography is truly pitiful. lin carter, whom i love (as well as de camp) based most of his conclusions on de camp's poor work. read joshi's biography for a more honest take on lovecraft (which is not to say he's without his own biases as well.)

p.s. too, too many years digging in these trenches can make a man overly sensitive. forgive and forgive alike. even the ancient athenians who gave us democracy gave us slavery as well.

deepfix said...

by the way, if you think wagner never wrote about his jew hatred then you really don't understand the dwarves in the ring cycle.

deepfix said...

"because apparently he was appalled by stories of what the Nazis were doing to the Jews, despite his own personal fantasies of exterminating them"

(i really should find somrthing better to do tonight, seriously. i truly am this bored.)

if we're going to discuss lovecraft's racism this may be the most important sentence that's been written. h.p. lovecraft WAS appalled by the actions of the nazis. but this is an easy statement to make because outside of a few psychos, everyone was appalled by the holocaust. but what your sentence leaves out is that lovecraft died in 1937. 1937 was one year before "Kristallnacht" which is considered when the true pgrom against the jews began. so that means when he was appalled (your word) by the actions of the nazis, he was appalled by the earliest actions that they had taken. before kristallnacht, no country in the world had cesured germany for their anti-semitic actions. by being appalled by the actions of the nazis in his lifetime he was well ahead of the governments of both america and britain, the supposed leading lights of freedom.

quite the actions of a racist who wanted all the jews exterminated.

B-Sol said...

All good points, deepfix. Thanks for your well-though-out comments. I'll have to take another at the ring cycle, that's for sure. Also, I'm curious, what was L. Sprague de Camp's beef with Lovecraft?

Anonymous said...

I like all kinds of music by all kinds of different bands... including a few who have political ideas that are RADICALLY different than my own. Does this mean that I'm now obligated to hate their music? ONLY to the extent that their music reflects their ideology, and sometimes not even then. Hell, MOST of the time, not even then. I've sang along and rocked out lots of times to lyrics that are diametrically opposed to my own viewpoint. Sometimes I may not tell people that I like a specific band, and I may not want to financially support them as much (or at all), but a good song is a good song.

The same applies to fiction.

There were a few instances of Lovecraft's racism creeping into his text, (a cat named "niggerman" for instance) and it was obvious enough to make me stop and think about whether I should keep reading. But there were two things to think about:
A) Is the story ABOUT racism or BASED on racism in some way? In Lovecraft's case, the answer is no.
B) Is the story good IN SPITE of the presence of racist descriptions/names/etc.? For Lovecraft, the answer was yes.

These two factors earn Lovecraft a pass in my book. Not a 100% pass, but enough of one to allow me to enjoy his stories without feeling guilty for doing so.

If he were a modern writer, I would tend NOT to go to any of his of his book signings and I may be tempted to acquire his books in ways that don't put money in his pocket, but would still read and enjoy his work.

Anonymous said...

RayRay - checking in a little late - I have been away on family business. But I felt that, since I started this, I should make a point. Not to belabor all the fine points already made, but firstly, history doesn't exist in a vacuum. Though we find racism, and all ethnocentrism, abhorrent, it was the norm in HP's day. It does nothing to excuse it, but it is the fact. Woodrow Wilson, a contemporary, was an extraordinary racist. Also, as has been said, HP really hated everyone, including himself. He found humans abhorrent, though some were more abhorrent on the surface. He found decay everywhere, and the word decadence is everywhere in his writings, even when speaking of alien races. He also seemed to hate God, which was not fashionable. Further, regardless of all else, he is a principal of the genre. He must be read in order to fully understand and appreciate that which came later, notwithstanding his personal failings. Finally, while it may be easier to see in HPL's works and his private writings, if we, the consumers of the arts, were to delve into the private thoughts of all the artists over the centuries and compare them to the mores and norms of the present, our political correctness would only serve to rob of their work, and for what gain? So we can say we only read/watch/consume those that we agree with? I am not trying to be a moral relativist, but rather to say people are more despicable than we think, and it would not serve our pursuits to always sit in judgment.

B-Sol said...

Thanks for checking in Ray. All good points. I sometimes wonder if future generations will look back on our own social mores and be shocked for reasons we would even have difficulty conceiving.

deepfix said...

"what was L. Sprague de Camp's beef with Lovecraft?"

it wasn't beef per se. it's like you couldn't find two men more diametrically opposed to each other, especially in the time frame when de camp's bio was written. it's like a member of the alpha beta fraternity writing a bio for louis skolnik from revenge of the nerds only with piss poor knowledge of frued as your guideline.

de camp was a man's man and as we know lovecraft was far, too far, from that ideal.

B-Sol said...

Hmmm...sounds like de Camp was more like his other idol, Robert E. Howard. Incidentally, I tried to track down a copy of the Lovecraft biography at my local library, and it was missing. I suspect Cthulhu worshipers.

Phil Fasso said...

I'll quote Robert Bloch in answer to your plea. Bloch was a protege of Lovecraft's, and a far better judge than i can be. Here's what he says of Lovecraft and racism in The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre:

"If Lovecraft was a racist we must recognize that the term was not generally considered pejorative during his own time. In the twenties and thirties, Anglo-Saxon superiority was virtually taken for granted not only in literature but in daily life... To Lovecraft these changes were anathema, and he expressed his attitudes both privately and in print. But his views were not inflexible... the racist elements of earlier efforts is muted or absent in later tales. And what sort of anti-Semitic author marries a Jewess, associates with Jews as friends and correspondents, and retains one as his literary agent?"

I agree that racism is unacceptable in any form. But Bloch is right: it was a lot more acceptable in Lovecraft's time. Not that this makes it forgivable, but I think to avoid reading Lovecraft, the preeminent horror author of the 20th century, is a disservice. Yes, tales such as "Herbert West, Re-Animator" and "The Rats in the Walls" clearly display his racism. But to look only at an author's particular biases and judge his whole body of work on them, especially someone as talented as Lovecraft, is an injustice.

Lovecraft's works are all about fear of the Outsider; it's a primal fear that all people have to some degree, and so I'd rather focus on his fear of Cthulhu than his fear of minorities.

B-Sol said...

Thanks for this thoughtful reply, Phil. I agree, it would be a shame to avoid reading Lovecraft, and so I don't plan to. And while it does seem that HPL's racism waned in later years, I do think it is possible for someone to espouse his views and still associate with Jews in everyday life. I've seen this type of hypocrisy in action before--people will espouse broad racist beliefs, but when it comes to personal one-to-one relationships, it's a different story.

Phil Fasso said...

I have to thank you, actually. At first I thought you were jumping at Lovecraft's latent racism just to be controversial. But as I read not only your comments, but others, it really provoked me to think deeper on the subject. This is a great topic, one worthy of discussion.

I got to thinking after my initial response that Lovecraft's entire mythos fits in with his view of "lesser" races: he fears the Outsider in every way. Jews are strange creatures just as is Yog Sothoth, because neither is White Teutonic soldier. Lovecraft certainly took his fear of that which is different, and built his whole career on it. One must remember that White Man's America was starting to crumble during Lovecraft's day, giving way to the "melting pot," and he was clearly afraid of that.

Add to this that Lovecraft was more than a bit of a snob, and it's easy to understand his sensibilities, or lack thereof, when it came to races other than his own. Lovecraft was a man born in the wrong epoch, striving for glories that were dead long before his birth. Perhaps this is why Herbert West was a failure, as a reflection of Lovecraft's view of himself. Look at his story "The Outsider" and it's easy to understand that Lovecraft's view of himself might not have been so high after all. Thus, he may have bolstered himself at the expense of others, to boost his self-esteem.

I'd say to anyone who loves horror to read Lovecraft. Warts and all, he still writes some of the most imaginative fiction ever.

beedubelhue said...

Doesn't change my opinion of HPL one iota.Love him,love his work,period.

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