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H. P. Lovecraft

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Michelle Jahn
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« on: July 22, 2010, 01:26:13 pm »

H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 March 15, 1937) was an American author of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction.

Lovecraft's guiding literary principle was what he termed "cosmicism" or "cosmic horror", the idea that life is incomprehensible to human minds and that the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, **** with sanity. As early as the 1940s, Lovecraft had developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a series of loosely interconnected fiction featuring a pantheon of humanity-nullifying entities, as well as the Necronomicon, a fictional grimoire of magical rites and forbidden lore. His works were deeply pessimistic and cynical, challenging the values of the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Christian humanism.[1][2] Lovecraft's protagonists usually achieve the mirror-opposite of traditional gnosis and mysticism by momentarily glimpsing the horror of ultimate reality and the abyss.

Although Lovecraft's readership was limited during his life, his reputation has grown over the decades, and he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century. According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft as with Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction".[3] Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."[4][5]

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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 01:27:53 pm »



H. P. Lovecraft, circa 1934.
Born Howard Phillips Lovecraft
August 20, 1890(1890-08-20)
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died March 15, 1937 (aged 46)
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Resting place Swan Point Cemetery, Providence
Pen name Lewis Theobold, Humphry Littlewit, Ward Phillips, Edward Softly
Occupation Novelist, Short story writer, Poet
Nationality American
Ethnicity English American
Alma mater Hope High School, Providence
Period 1917-1936
Genres Horror, Science fiction, Fantasy, Weird fiction, Gothic fiction
Literary movement Cosmicism
Notable work(s) "The Call of Cthulhu", The Shadow Out of Time, At the Mountains of Madness
Spouse(s) Sonia Greene (1924–1929)


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Influences[show]
Edgar Allan Poe, Gertrude Barrows Bennett, Robert W. Chambers, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, A. Merritt, Oswald Spengler, Augustan literature

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Influenced[show]
Stephen King, August Derleth, Robert Bloch, Fritz Leiber, Jorge Luis Borges, Michel Houellebecq, Robert E. Howard, Ramsey Campbell, Gene Wolfe, China Mieville, George R. R. Martin, Guillermo del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Brian Lumley

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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2010, 01:28:21 pm »

Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, at 9:00 a.m. in his family home at 194 (later 454) Angell Street in Providence, Rhode Island. (The house was torn down in 1961.) He was the only child of Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman of jewelry and precious metals, and Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft, who could trace her ancestry in America back to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630. His parents married, the first marriage for both, when they were in their thirties, unusually late in life given the time period. In 1893, when Lovecraft was three, his father became acutely psychotic in a Chicago hotel room while on a business trip. The elder Lovecraft was taken back to Providence and placed in Butler Hospital, where he remained until his death in 1898. Lovecraft maintained throughout his life that his father had died in a condition of paralysis brought on by "nervous exhaustion" due to over-work, but it is now almost certain that the actual cause was general paresis of the insane.[6] It is unknown whether the younger Lovecraft was ever aware of the actual nature of his father's illness or its cause (syphilis), although his mother likely was, possibly having even received tincture of arsenic as "preventive medication".

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Michelle Jahn
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« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2010, 01:28:40 pm »

After his father's hospitalization, Lovecraft was raised by his mother, his two aunts (Lillian Delora Phillips and Annie Emeline Phillips), and his maternal grandfather, Whipple Van Buren Phillips, an American businessman. All five resided together in the family home. Lovecraft was a prodigy, reciting poetry at the age of three and writing complete poems by six. His grandfather encouraged his reading, providing him with classics such as The Arabian Nights, Bulfinch's Age of Fable, and children's versions of The Iliad and The Odyssey. His grandfather also stirred the boy's interest in the weird by telling him his own original tales of Gothic horror. His mother, on the other hand, worried that these stories would upset him.

Lovecraft was frequently ill as a child, at least some of which was certainly psychosomatic, although he attributed his various ailments to physical causes only. Early speculation that he may have been congenitally disabled by syphilis passed on from father to mother to fetus has been ruled out. Due to his sickly condition and his undisciplined, argumentative nature, he barely attended school until he was eight years old, and then was withdrawn after a year. He read voraciously during this period and became especially enamored of chemistry and astronomy. He produced several hectographed publications with a limited circulation beginning in 1899 with The Scientific Gazette. Four years later, he returned to public school at Hope High School (Rhode Island). Beginning in his early life, Lovecraft is believed to have suffered from night terrors, a rare parasomnia disorder; he believed himself to be assaulted at night by horrific "night gaunts." Much of his later work is thought to have been directly inspired by these terrors.

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« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2010, 01:29:41 pm »

His grandfather's death in 1904 greatly affected Lovecraft's life. Mismanagement of his grandfather's estate left his family in such a poor financial situation they were forced to move into much smaller accommodations at 598 (now a duplex at 598-600) Angell Street. Lovecraft was so deeply affected by the loss of his home and birthplace that he contemplated suicide for a time. In 1908, prior to his high school graduation, he himself claimed to have suffered what he later described as a "nervous breakdown", and consequently never received his high school diploma (although he maintained for most of his life that he did graduate). S. T. Joshi suggests in his biography of Lovecraft that a primary cause for this breakdown was his difficulty in higher mathematics, a subject he needed to master to become a professional astronomer. This failure to complete his education (he wished to study at Brown University) was a source of disappointment and shame even late into his life.

Lovecraft wrote some fiction as a youth but, from 1908 until 1913, his output was primarily poetry. During that time, he lived a hermit's existence, having almost no contact with anyone but his mother. This changed when he wrote a letter to The Argosy, a pulp magazine, complaining about the insipidness of the love stories of one of the publication's popular writers. The ensuing debate in the magazine's letters column caught the eye of Edward F. Daas, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA), who invited Lovecraft to join them in 1914. The UAPA reinvigorated Lovecraft and incited him to contribute many poems and essays. In 1917, at the prodding of correspondents, he returned to fiction with more polished stories, such as "The Tomb" and "Dagon". The latter was his first professionally-published work, appearing in W. Paul Cook's The Vagrant (November, 1919) and Weird Tales in 1923. Around that time, he began to build up a huge network of correspondents. His lengthy and frequent missives would make him one of the great letter writers of the century. Among his correspondents were Robert Bloch (Psycho), Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian series).

In 1919, after suffering from hysteria and depression for a long period of time, Lovecraft's mother was committed to Butler Hospital just like her husband before her. Nevertheless, she wrote frequent letters to Lovecraft, and they remained very close until her death on May 21, 1921, the result of complications from gall bladder surgery. Lovecraft was devastated by the loss.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cousin_Bette

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft

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