Lovecraft, H(oward) P(hillips) (1890–1937)
Celebrated American writer of macabre supernatural fiction.
He was born August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island.
His father died of syphilis in 1898 and his grandfather,
who was the dominant intellectual influence in his life, died in
1904. Lovecraft himself grew up as a lonely neurasthenic with
a love of eighteenth-century English literature. He was also
strongly influenced by the fantasy fiction of Edgar Allan Poe.
He began writing stories at the age of five, and as a young man
became something of an eccentric recluse. At the age of sixteen,
he contributed a series of articles on astronomy to the Providence
Tribune.
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Lovecraft, H(oward) P(hillips)
939
A shy, imaginative, and delicate individual, he was much influenced
in his own stories by such fantasy authors as Algernon
Blackwood, Lord Dunsany, Arthur Machen, and Walter de la
Mare. His own somewhat Augustan prose style and highly individual
preoccupation with fantasy and horror themes remained
too specialized for conventional literary outlets, and much of
his work was for small press magazines like Vagrant and Home
Brew or the new generation of pulps like Weird Tales, Amazing
Stories and Astounding Stories. In 1924 he married Sonia Greene
of New York City, also a writer, but the marriage only lasted a
couple of years and he was later divorced, returning to Providence
where he wrote late into the night at his stories.
His most impressive creation was the Cthulhu Mythos, involving
a group of stories about entities from another time and
space. Part of the myth was a fictitious grimoire, or magical instruction
and ritual book, called the Necronomicon, also referred
to as the Book of Dead Names compiled by the ‘‘mad
Arab Abdul Alhazred.’’
In spite of his considerable literary output, Lovecraft made
very little money out of his fiction, which he supplemented by
editing and ghost-writing. He died from cancer March 15,
1937. After his death, his friend and biographer August Derleth
revived and reissued his stories through Arkham House
Press, ‘‘Arkham’’ being a fictional city in Lovecraft’s stories.
It has been suggested that some of the fantasy inventions of
Lovecraft may have had some real existence in some other
plane of reality, contacted through his subconscious mind. A
small group of magicians have explored the possibility of the
Cthulu Mythos for the working of magic. No less than three
Necronomicons have been written and published.
Sources
Burleson, Donald R. Lovecraft Disturbing the Universe. Lexington
University Press of Kentucky, 1990.
de Camp, L. Sprague. Lovecraft A Biography. Garden City,
N.Y. Doubleday, 1975.
Derleth, August. H.P.L. A Memoir. Ben Abramson, 1945.
Joshi, S. T. H. P. Lovecraft A Life. West Warwick, R.I. Necronomicon
Press, 1996.
Long, Frank Belknap. Howard Phillips Lovecraft Dreamer on
the Nightside. Sauk City, Wis. Arkham House, 1975.
Lovecraft, Howard Phillips. At the Mountains and Other Novels.
Sauk City, Wis. Arkham House, 1964.
———. Collected Poems. Sauk City, Wis. Arkham House,
1963.
———. The Dunwich Horror and Others. Sauk City, Wis. Arkham
House, 1963.
———. Haunter of the Dark, and Other Tales of Horror. London
Gollancz, 1950.
———. Supernatural Horror in Literature. New York B.
Abramson, 1945.
Simon, ed. The Necronomicon. New York Schjangekraft,
1977.

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