H. P. Lovecraft

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Wikipedia) was a nervous racist.

Though progressive in other ways, Lovecraft was uncommonly regressive on the idea of race, even for his time. He wrote of his own attachment to the past as one of comfortable “illusion”, a hollow protection from meaningless chaos. In his stories, a thorough inquiry will often result in a negative self-image. People like to offer biographical explanations for such things. For example, Lovecraft would not admit—perhaps not even to himself—that his father, Winfield, slowly died of syphilis while the boy began to write. His mother, Susan, ended up dead in the same hospital with the same disease. Lovecraft himself then lived, and would die, as what assholes call a “penniless loser”.

No audience—not even a racist one—will recognize its conscious experience or aspiration in Lovecraft. He was interested in the distant, the unknown and the external. Like few others, he understood what both Darwin and Einstein would mean for culture. He failed to break away from bad old ideas, but his focus was otherwise fruitful. By avoiding anthropocentrism, allegory and wishful thinking, he succeeded in building monstrous metaphors for the subconscious human fear of dysteleology. Paradoxically, this opens him up even to readers looking for themselves.


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