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H. P. Lovecraft

Short story writer, Editor, Novelist, Poet

Country:United States

Lifetime: 1890 - 1937 Passed: ≈ 85 years ago

Forbidden, dark, esoterically veiled knowledge is a central theme in many of Lovecraft's works. Many of his characters are driven by curiosity or scientific endeavor, and in many of his stories the knowledge they uncover proves Promethean in nature, either filling the seeker with regret for what they have learned, destroying them psychologically, or completely destroying the person who holds the knowledge.  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.

The awe and dread described by the characters in Lovecraft's weird fiction baffle them; they are stunned as their minds struggle to comprehend the alien things before them. They can only describe their own sensations in the presence of great horrors, such as the way the beings smell or what horrible sounds they make. The scientists of Lovecraft's stories usualy stumble while trying to describe the terrible shape of the beings - essentially failing at describing what they actually are.

Graham Harman, in a philosophical consideration of Lovecraft's work, calls Lovecraft's preferred method for expressing the indescribable "literacy cubism." According to Harman, this is a technique wherein "troubling features of a palpable thing are piled up in such excessive number that it becomes to combine allow of these facets neatly into a single object, thereby giving us the sense of a purely immanent object that is nonetheless distinct from any bundle of features." Harman also notes that Lovecraft also was fond of writing about objects that were ostensibly impossible to describe both in and of themselves, and on the level of their features, such as Azathoth.

Lovecraft was born in his family home on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. He was the only child of Winfield Scott Lovecraft and Sarah Susan [née Phillips] Lovecraft. Susie's family was of substantial means at the time of their marriage, her father, Whipple Van Buren Phillips, being involved in business ventures.

 

Due to his fear of doctors, Lovecraft was not examined until a mere month before his death. After seeing a doctor, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the small intestine. He remained hospitalized until he died. He lived in constant pain until his death on March 15, 1937, in Providence. In accordance with his lifelong scientific curiosity, he kept a diary of his illness until he was physically incapable of holding a pen.

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Books by H. P. Lovecraft