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Thank you for your feedback. The Decline of the West , places Spengler at the center of his discussion of Lovecraft's political and philosophical ideas. Lovecraft wrote to Clark Ashton Smith in Lovecraft frequently dealt with the idea of civilization struggling against dark, primitive barbarism. In some stories this struggle is at an individual level; many of his protagonists are cultured, highly educated men who are gradually corrupted by some obscure and feared influence. In such stories, the curse is often a hereditary one, either because of interbreeding with non-humans e.
Physical and mental degradation often come together; this theme of 'tainted blood' may represent concerns relating to Lovecraft's own family history, particularly the death of his father due to what Lovecraft must have suspected to be a syphilitic disorder. In other tales, an entire society is threatened by barbarism. Sometimes the barbarism comes as an external threat, with a civilized race destroyed in war e. Sometimes, an isolated pocket of humanity falls into decadence and atavism of its own accord e.
But most often, such stories involve a civilized culture being gradually undermined by a malevolent underclass influenced by inhuman forces. It is likely that the " Roaring Twenties " left Lovecraft disillusioned as he was still obscure and struggling with the basic necessities of daily life, combined with seeing non-Western European immigrants in New York City. Race is the most controversial aspect of Lovecraft's legacy, expressed in many disparaging remarks against the various non-Anglo-Saxon races and cultures in his work.
As he grew older, his original Anglo-Saxon racial worldview softened into a classism or elitism which regarded the superior race to include all those self-ennobled through high culture. From the start, Lovecraft did not hold all white people in uniform high regard, but rather esteemed the English people and those of English descent.
In his early published essays, private letters and personal utterances, he argued for a strong color line to preserve race and culture. Lovecraft showed sympathy to those who adopted Western culture, even to the extent of marrying a Jewish woman whom he viewed as "well assimilated". At the turn of the 20th century, humanity's increased reliance upon science was both opening new worlds and solidifying understanding of ours. Lovecraft portrays this potential for a growing gap of man's understanding of the universe as a potential for horror, most notably in "The Colour Out of Space", where the inability of science to comprehend a contaminated meteorite leads to horror.
In a letter to James F. Morton in , Lovecraft specifically pointed to Einstein 's theory on relativity as throwing the world into chaos and making the cosmos a jest; in a letter to Woodburn Harris in , he speculated that technological comforts risk the collapse of science. Indeed, at a time when men viewed science as limitless and powerful, Lovecraft imagined alternative potential and fearful outcomes.
In "The Call of Cthulhu", Lovecraft's characters encounter architecture which is "abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours". Lovecraft's works are ruled by several distinct pantheons of deities actually aliens worshiped as such by humans who are either indifferent or actively hostile to humanity. Lovecraft's actual philosophy has been termed "cosmic indifference" and this is expressed in his fiction.
For instance, in Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness it is proposed that humankind was actually created as a slave race by the Old Ones, and that life on Earth as we know it evolved from scientific experiments abandoned by the Elder Things.
Anthony Tollin's Sanctum Books At the printer and shipping this month! Although he was able to combine his distinctive style allusive and amorphous description by horrified though passive narrators with the kind of stock content and action that the editor of Weird Tales wanted—Wright paid handsomely to snap up " The Dunwich Horror " which proved very popular with readers—Lovecraft increasingly produced work that brought him no remuneration. Arkham House Publishers and the H. The Musical The Cabin in the Woods Some critics argue that this theme is a reflection of Lovecraft's contempt of the world around him, causing him to search inwardly for knowledge and inspiration. Dziemianowicz, Stefan July 12, , "Terror Eternal: For most of the 20th century, the definitive editions specifically At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels , Dagon and Other Macabre Tales , The Dunwich Horror and Others , and The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions of his prose fiction were published by Arkham House , a publisher originally started with the intent of publishing the work of Lovecraft, but which has since published a considerable amount of other literature as well.
Protagonist characters in Lovecraft are usually educated men, citing scientific and rational evidence to support their non-faith. Herbert West—Reanimator reflects on the atheism common in academic circles. In " The Silver Key ", the character Randolph Carter loses the ability to dream and seeks solace in religion, specifically Congregationalism , but does not find it and ultimately loses faith.
Lovecraft himself adopted the stance of atheism early in life. In , he wrote in a letter to Robert E. All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hairsplitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine.
In theory, I am an agnostic , but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist. In , famed magician and escapist Harry Houdini asked Lovecraft to ghostwrite a treatise exploring the topic of superstition. Houdini's unexpected death later that year halted the project, but The Cancer of Superstition was partially completed by Lovecraft along with collaborator C.
A previously unknown manuscript of the work was discovered in in a collection owned by a magic shop.
The book states "all superstitious beliefs are relics of a common 'prehistoric ignorance' in humans," and goes on to explore various superstitious beliefs in different cultures and times. Some of Lovecraft's work was inspired by his own nightmares. Lovecraft's most significant literary influence was Edgar Allan Poe. He had a British writing style due to his love of British literature. Like Lovecraft, Poe's work was out of step with the prevailing literary trends of his era. Both authors created distinctive, singular worlds of fantasy and employed archaisms in their writings. This influence can be found in such works as his novella The Shadow over Innsmouth  where Lovecraft references Poe's story " The Imp of the Perverse " by name in Chapter 3, and in his poem "Nemesis", where the " He was influenced by Arthur Machen 's  carefully constructed tales concerning the survival of ancient evil into modern times in an otherwise realistic world and his beliefs in hidden mysteries which lay behind reality.
Lovecraft was also influenced by authors such as Oswald Spengler and Robert W.
Lovecraft's discovery of the stories of Lord Dunsany ,  with their pantheon of mighty gods existing in dreamlike outer realms, moved his writing in a new direction, resulting in a series of imitative fantasies in a "Dreamlands" setting. He declared Blackwood's story " The Willows " to be the single best piece of weird fiction ever written.
Another inspiration came from a completely different source: His astronomical telescope is now housed in the rooms of the August Derleth Society. Lovecraft's materialist views led him to espouse his philosophical views through his fiction; these philosophical views came to be called cosmicism. Cosmicism took on a dark tone with his creation of what is today often called the Cthulhu Mythos, a pantheon of alien extra-dimensional deities and horrors which predate humanity, and which are hinted at in eons-old myths and legends.
The term "Cthulhu Mythos" was coined by Lovecraft's correspondent and fellow author, August Derleth, after Lovecraft's death; Lovecraft jocularly referred to his artificial mythology as "Yog-Sothothery". Lovecraft considered himself a man best suited to the early 18th century. His writing style, especially in his many letters, owes much to Augustan British writers of the Enlightenment like Joseph Addison and Jonathan Swift. Among the books found in his library as evidenced in Lovecraft's Library by S. Lovecraft's style has often been subject to criticism,  yet scholars such as S.
Joshi have shown that Lovecraft consciously utilized a variety of literary devices to form a unique style of his own — these include conscious archaism , prose-poetic techniques combined with essay-form techniques, alliteration , anaphora , crescendo , transferred epithet , metaphor , symbolism , and colloquialism. Lovecraft was relatively unknown during his own time. He did, however, correspond regularly with other contemporary writers such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth,  who became good friends of his, even though they never met in person.
This group of writers became known as the "Lovecraft Circle", since their writing freely borrowed elements of Lovecraft's stories, with his encouragement: After Lovecraft's death, the Lovecraft Circle carried on. August Derleth in particular added to and expanded on Lovecraft's vision, not without controversy.
While Lovecraft considered his pantheon of alien gods a mere plot device, Derleth created an entire cosmology, complete with a war between the good Elder Gods and the evil Outer Gods , such as Cthulhu and his ilk. The forces of good were supposed to have won, locking Cthulhu and others up beneath the earth, in the ocean, and so forth. Derleth's Cthulhu Mythos stories went on to associate different gods with the traditional four elements of fire, air, earth and water — an artificial constraint which required rationalizations on Derleth's part as Lovecraft himself never envisioned such a scheme.
Lovecraft's fiction has been grouped into three categories by some critics. While Lovecraft did not refer to these categories himself, he did once write: Lovecraft's writing, particularly the so-called Cthulhu Mythos, has influenced fiction authors including modern horror and fantasy writers. Kiernan , William S. Burroughs , and Neil Gaiman , have cited Lovecraft as one of their primary influences.
Beyond direct adaptation, Lovecraft and his stories have had a profound impact on popular culture. Some influence was direct, as he was a friend, inspiration, and correspondent to many of his contemporaries, such as August Derleth, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber. Konaka is an acknowledged disciple and has participated in Cthulhu Mythos, expanding several Japanese versions.
Against the World, Against Life. Prolific American writer Joyce Carol Oates wrote an introduction for a collection of Lovecraft stories.
The Library of America published a volume of Lovecraft's work in , a reversal of traditional judgment that "has been nothing so far from the accepted canon as Lovecraft". Lovecraft has also influenced gaming, despite having hated games during his lifetime. Novel to the game was the Lovecraft-inspired insanity mechanic, which allowed for player characters to go insane from contact with cosmic horrors. This mechanic would go on to make appearance in subsequent table top and video games.
Though few subsequent Lovecraftian board games were released annually between and , the years after saw a surge in the number of Lovecraftian board games, possibly because of the entry of Lovecraft's work into the public domain combined with a revival of interest in board games. Few video games are direct adaptations of Lovecraft's works, but many video games have been inspired or heavily influenced by Lovecraft.
Besides employing Cthulthean antagonists, games that invoke Lovecraftian horror have used mechanics such as insanity effects, or even fourth wall breaking effects that suggest to players that something has gone wrong with their game consoles. Aside from his thinly veiled appearance in Robert Bloch's "The Shambler from the Stars", Lovecraft continues to be used as a character in supernatural fiction.
An early version of Ray Bradbury 's "The Exiles"  uses Lovecraft as a character, who makes a brief, word appearance eating ice cream in front of a fire and complaining about how cold he is. Lovecraft makes an appearance as a rotting corpse in The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont , a novel with fictionalized versions of a number of period writers. German writer Wolfgang Hohlbein used H.
Lovecraft as a main character in his pulp fiction series Der Hexer The Wizard , which is mainly based on the Cthulhu Mythos, even though the plot takes place before Lovecraft was born. Necronomicon , Witch Hunt , Out of Mind: The Stories of H. Lovecraft , Stargate SG Roswell , and Alan Moore 's comic Providence — A satirical version of Lovecraft named "H. Hatecraft" appeared as a recurring character on the Cartoon Network television series Scooby-Doo! A character based on Lovecraft also appears in the visual novel Shikkoku no Sharnoth: Howard" to most of the main characters. Another character based on Lovecraft appears in Afterlife with Archie.
He is eventually killed when his body becomes host to an extradimensional being infecting the timestream. Even his power, "The Great Old Ones" pays homage to his classic book, " The Call of Cthulhu ", which grants him the ability of transforming himself into an octopus-like monster resembling Cthulhu. The short story "The Invention of H. Azoulay suggests that Lovecraft was a fictional creation invented by Jorge Luis Borges. In Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom , Howard Lovecraft is re-imagined as a seven year old version of himself, long before he became the famed horror writer H. For most of the 20th century, the definitive editions specifically At the Mountains of Madness and Other Novels , Dagon and Other Macabre Tales , The Dunwich Horror and Others , and The Horror in the Museum and Other Revisions of his prose fiction were published by Arkham House , a publisher originally started with the intent of publishing the work of Lovecraft, but which has since published a considerable amount of other literature as well.
Penguin Classics has at present issued three volumes of Lovecraft's works: They collect the standard texts as edited by S. Joshi, most of which were available in the Arkham House editions, with the exception of the restored text of "The Shadow Out of Time" from The Dreams in the Witch House , which had been previously released by small-press publisher Hippocampus Press. In the prestigious Library of America canonized Lovecraft with a volume of his stories edited by Peter Straub , and Random House's Modern Library line have issued the "definitive edition" of Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness also including " Supernatural Horror in Literature ".
Lovecraft's poetry is collected in The Ancient Track: The Complete Poetical Works of H. Lovecraft Night Shade Books, , while much of his juvenilia, various essays on philosophical, political and literary topics, antiquarian travelogues, and other things, can be found in Miscellaneous Writings Arkham House, Lovecraft's essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature", first published in , is a historical survey of horror literature available with endnotes as The Annotated Supernatural Horror in Literature.
Although Lovecraft is known mostly for his works of weird fiction , the bulk of his writing consists of voluminous letters about a variety of topics, from weird fiction and art criticism to politics and history. Sprague de Camp estimates that Lovecraft wrote , letters in his lifetime, a fifth of which are believed to survive. He sometimes dated his letters years before the current date, which would have put the writing back in US colonial times, before the American Revolution a war that offended his Anglophilia.
He explained that he thought that the 18th and 20th centuries were the "best", the former being a period of noble grace, and the latter a century of science. Lovecraft was not an active letter-writer in youth. In he admitted: The initial interest in letters stemmed from his correspondence with his cousin Phillips Gamwell but even more important was his involvement in the amateur journalism movement, which was initially responsible for the enormous number of letters Lovecraft produced.
Despite his light letter-writing in youth, in later life his correspondence was so voluminous that it has been estimated that he may have written around 30, letters to various correspondents, a figure which places him second only to Voltaire as an epistolarian. Lovecraft's later correspondence is primarily to fellow weird fiction writers, rather than to the amateur journalist friends of his earlier years. Lovecraft clearly states that his contact to numerous different people through letter-writing was one of the main factors in broadening his view of the world: My understanding and sympathies were enlarged, and many of my social, political, and economic views were modified as a consequence of increased knowledge.
Today there are five publishing houses that have released letters from Lovecraft, most prominently Arkham House with its five-volume edition Selected Letters these volumes severely abridge the letters they contain. The Letters of H. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei et al. Lovecraft's Letters to R. Joshi is supervising an ongoing series of volumes collecting Lovecraft's unabridged letters to particular correspondents. Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters was published in , in which Lovecraft's letters are arranged according to themes, such as adolescence and travel.
Despite several claims to the contrary, there is currently no evidence that any company or individual owns the copyright to any of Lovecraft's work, and it is generally accepted that it has passed into the public domain. There has been controversy over the copyright status of many of Lovecraft's works, especially his later works. Lovecraft had specified that the young R. Barlow would serve as executor of his literary estate ,  but these instructions were not incorporated into the will.
Nevertheless, his surviving aunt carried out his expressed wishes, and Barlow was given charge of the massive and complex literary estate upon Lovecraft's death. Barlow deposited the bulk of the papers, including the voluminous correspondence, with the John Hay Library , and attempted to organize and maintain Lovecraft's other writing. August Derleth , an older and more established writer than Barlow, vied for control of the literary estate. One result of these conflicts was the legal confusion over who owned what copyrights. All works published before are public domain in the US.
Before the United States Copyright Act of , copyright lasted for 28 years from publication and a work that did not have its copyright renewed passed into the public domain. The Copyright Act of retroactively extended this renewal period for all works to a period of 47 years  and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of added another 20 years to that, for a total of 95 years from publication.
But everything turned on the renewal or expiration of copyright at the end of the first year term. The European Union Copyright Duration Directive of extended the copyrights to 70 years after the author's death. All of Lovecraft's works published during his lifetime became public domain in all 27 European Union countries on January 1, In those Berne Convention countries that have implemented only the minimum copyright period, copyright expires 50 years after the author's death.
On October 9, , Derleth purchased all rights to Weird Tales. However, since April at the latest, Lovecraft had reserved to himself all second printing rights to stories published in Weird Tales. Weird Tales may only have owned the rights to at most six of Lovecraft's tales.
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Again, even if Derleth did obtain the copyrights to Lovecraft's tales, there is no evidence that the copyrights were renewed. Joshi concludes in his biography of Lovecraft that Derleth's claims are "almost certainly fictitious" and that most of Lovecraft's works published in the amateur press are most likely now in the public domain.
The copyright for Lovecraft's works would have been inherited by the only surviving heir named in his will, his aunt Annie Gamwell. When Gamwell died in , the copyrights passed to her remaining descendants, Ethel Phillips Morrish and Edna Lewis, who then signed a document, sometimes referred to as the Morrish-Lewis gift, permitting Arkham House to republish Lovecraft's works while retaining the copyrights for themselves.
Searches of the Library of Congress have failed to find any evidence that these copyrights were renewed after the year period, making it likely that these works are now in the public domain. Chaosium, publishers of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, have a trademark on the phrase "The Call of Cthulhu" for use in game products. TSR later agreed to remove this section at Chaosium's request. In , Lovecraft Holdings, LLC, a company based out of Providence, filed trademark claims for clothing graphics of Lovecraft's name and silhouette. Regardless of the legal disagreements surrounding Lovecraft's works, Lovecraft himself was extremely generous with his own works and encouraged others to borrow ideas from his stories and build on them, particularly with regard to his Cthulhu Mythos.
In , writer Donald Wandrei caused some controversy after he was offered a World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement but refused to accept it because the award was a bust of H.