The Unofficial Lovecraft Studies Magazine Compendium
Updated 5 October 2023
Updated 5 October 2023
The writing of H. P. Lovecraft now stands on its own as the byword for fantastical horror. It is interesting to understand that Lovecraft wrote many of his stories under his own name. Lovecraft also wrote related stories under many pen-names. He would even lend his own monster to these writers. The more common names that H. P. Lovecraft is known to write under are, Adolphe de Castro, Hazel Heald, and Zealia Bishop. Many more horrific creatures arise in the writings under these pen names.
H. P. Lovecraft's pantheon of other worldly deities are large in count. Many readers will know the big five Lovecraftian deities, Cthulhu, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, Yog-Sothoth, and Shug-Niggurath. There is plenty of controversy on exactly who (or better described as what) belongs to the official mythos. Lovecaft's vision of the universe was expansive. How could mere mortals grasp what secrets lay in the universe? If you can label something then you can define it, drawn boundaries, understand it. Lovecraft's universe is indescribable. The nature of Lovecraft's stories reveal how normal objective and scientific minds will react to the knowing about these things. Readers are asked to consider how science constrains our understanding of the universe.
All my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the cosmos-at-large.
It is the Cthulu Mythos that captures the reader's interest. Lovecraft never used this term. There is conjecture that there never was a Cthulhu Mythos. And yet it sticks in the public's conscious. Lovecraft described his deities as synthetic daemons. Lovecraft seemed to want other writers to refer to his pantheon of deities. There are no stories with Cthulu and other ancient ones as the main character. Nor were these creatures ever described as unholy or evil. Rather, they exist to show the insignificance of the human race. The awakening of the ancient ones causes despair. The realization that humans are insignificant in this world is the context of the story.
The mythic premise is explicitly unstructured. This creates the sense of realism. We workshop what we do not know and do not understand. Creating structure defines the Cthulu Mythos is human terms. We categorize. We create taxonomy to understand. The mythic background is only every hinted as. It remains unbounded for effect. It is the terror that lurks in the shadows. Lovecraft's creatures are unearthly and bare no resemblance to our understanding of creatures.
I discovered the Necronomicon in the Evil Dead movie series. It is also a feature of the Evil Dead television series. The name is natural and sounds like an ancient evil myth. It is so real in name that it is easy to mistake it for a real document. There is an urban legend of a Yale student smuggling a library card into the Yale University Library catalog. The Necronomicon is sometimes called the Book of the Dead. The Necronomicon is a fictional artifact invented by H. P. Lovecraft. The work contains an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them. Who knows what other magic is locked within the book?
In Lovecraft's stories existed in fictional locations but in his words has set "New England as a seat of Weirdness." The towns of Dunwich, Innsmouth, Kingsport, and Arkham are fictional towns that reader's become familiar with. Much like reading a travel guide for the creepy and insane.
More recently, Wikipedia has developed a strong compendium of information relating to the stories of H. P. Lovecraft. More of Lovecraft's more memorable stories were located in New England. Lovecraft lived and wrote fiction during his time living in New England. Lovecraft found the setting of New England to be ideal for the fantastical. The wider Massachesetts area is called Lovecraft Country. The location of Arkham sits Lovecraft Country. Most people will be aware of the Batman homage to H. P. Lovecraft with Arkham Asylum.
"I wrote only as a means of re-creating around me the atmosphere of my beloved 18th century favourites," wrote Lovecraft. Lovecraft is described as valuing his background and heritage. This concept and his desire to live through is heritage features in his writing. Lovecraft believed that the creative output was more authentic when he utilised his knowledge of local customs, attitudes and institutions as background for his writing canvas.
A fun-fact about towns in what we loosely call Lovecraft Country is that they were exclusively the domain of Lovecraft' writing. Lovecraft wrote under many pseudonyms and client works but never used his precious locales for these auxilliary works. Will Murrary in his 1986 article, "In Search of Arkham Country" suggests that Lovecraft felt compelling personal ownership toward Arkham country.