H.P. Lovecraft


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H.P. Lovecraft

  1. 1. H.P. Lovecraft (August 20 1890 – March 15 1937)Early LifeHoward Phillips Lovecraft (hereafter referred to simply as Lovecraft) was born on the 20th of August1890. He was born at his family home in Rhode Island to Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and WinfieldScott Lovecraft. His father died on July 19th 1898 after a nervous breakdown and illness. After hisfather’s death, Lovecraft was cared for by his mother, his two aunts and grandfather Whipple Van BurenPhilips.Lovecraft was able to recite poetry by the age of two, read by three and had started writing his own poetryby six. Lovecraft’s grandfather would also provide him with books and stories to read, one of which wasArabian Nights which became a favourite of Lovecraft’s (it is likely that he created the pseudonym AbdulAlhazred from this book; he was later adapted into a character in Lovecraft’s stories as the writer of theNecronomicon).His interest in the Arabian Nights was relatively short lived however, as just over a year later Lovecraftwas introduced to Greek mythology. This, along with Lovecraft’s discovery of weird fiction, led to his firststory The Noble Eavesdropper, which may date as early as 1896.Education and Discovery of ScienceLovecraft was often ill (some of this may have been psychological) during childhood and missed a lot ofschool; however he learned much from home schooling.When Lovecraft was as young as 8 years old he enjoyed writing about science in home-made magazinesto share with friendsWhen he attended Hope Street High School he found long-lasting friendship and encouragement fromhis teachers.Lovecraft soon made his first appearance in print by writing: • 1906 - a letter on astronomical matter to the Providence Sunday Journal. • 1906 onwards - regular articles for the Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner (a rural paper). • 1906 – 08 - articles for the Providence Tribune. • 1914 – 18 - the Providence Evening News. Page 1 of 5
  2. 2. Death of Grandfather and Loss of the FamilyHomeWhen Lovecraft’s grandfather died in 1904, Lovecraft and his mother were forced to move into a smallerhouse at 598 Angell Street due to financial difficulties. -.Coming to terms with the loss of both, his grandfather and his home, was difficult for Lovecraft and hesupposedly contemplated suicide, whilst going through depression where he took long bike rides andwould stare into the depths of the Barrington River. His depression was lifted however by his thrill forlearning and writing.Sadly, in 1908, Lovecraft suffered a nervous breakdown which meant he left school without a diploma.He then failed to get into Brown University, which resulted in great shame for Lovecraft later in his life.This was in spite of the fact that he was the most successfully self taught person of his time.From 1908 until 1913 Lovecraft was a virtual hermit; during which time he did little besides pursue hishobbies of astronomy and poetry writing. He was forming an unhealthily close relationship with hismother who, still suffering from the trauma of her husband’s death, developed a sort of love-haterelationship with her son.Return to Normal Life and First Published StoryLovecraft returned to his former self when incensed by the insipid love stories concerning a man namedFred Jackson in the pulp magazine The Argosy. He wrote a letter of complaint in verse attacking Jacksonwhich was published in 1913 and evoked a storm of protest from Jackson’s defenders. Lovecraft engagedin a heated debate in the letters column of The Argosy and its associated magazines.The style of Lovecraft’s writing in these letters caught the eye of Edward F. Daas, President of the UnitedAmateur Press Association (UAPA) - a group of amateur writers from around the country who wrote andpublished their own magazines. Daas invited Lovecraft to join the UAPA in 1914 and he subsequentlypublished 13 issues of his own paper The Conservative (1915-23) in addition to contributing poetry andessays to other journals.Lovecraft later became president and official editor of the UAPA and for a short time served as presidentof the rival magazine the National Amateur Press Association (NAPA). This whole experience is likelywhat saved Lovecraft from a life of unproductive reclusiveness.In 1917 Lovecraft decided to return his hand to writing fiction and proceeded to release The Tomb andDagon in quick succession. Lovecraft continued to write fiction until 1922, although poetry and essayswere still his preferred forms of writing. Lovecraft’s communication with an ever-increasing network offriends and acquaintances; led him to become one of the greatest letter-writers of the century.Mother’s Death and Meeting his WifeIn 1919 Lovecraft’s mother suffered a nervous breakdown, together with deteriorating physical health(much like her husband), and died after a failed gall bladder operation on the 24th of May, 1921.This latest death hit Lovecraft especially hard; however, by early July he had recovered enough to attenda Boston amateur journalism convention. It was here that he met Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew, whodespite being seven years older than him would eventually become Lovecraft’s wife in 1924.Lovecraft moved in with Sonia and initial prospects seemed good with Lovecraft having gained a footholdin the writing industry and Sonia owning a hat store in New York. These good times were relatively short Page 2 of 5
  3. 3. due to the bankruptcy of the hat shop and Lovecraft’s refusal to become editor of a magazine as itrequired him moving to Chicago.Sonia spent some time in a sanatorium due to ill health and Lovecraft found it hard to find work. In1925 Sonia went to Cleveland to find work and Lovecraft moved into a single apartment in Brooklyn.Whilst there he became depressed from the isolation and became nostalgic for his hometown ofProvidence, which was also the location of his story The Shunned House.In early 1926, Lovecraft began to make plans to move back to Providence but, despite still professingaffection for Sonia, Lovecraft had no secure place for her in his plans. His Aunts also were not keen forSonia to join him in Providence and the marriage was rendered all but over. They were divorced in 1929.Return to Providence and Last 10 YearsAfter his return to Providence, Lovecraft spent his last 10 years writing what would become some of hisgreatest works. These included The Call of Cthulhu (the start of the famous Cthulhu Mythos) and At theMountains of Madness.After some time spent travelling, Lovecraft settled down in New England where he found his niche as awriter of weird fiction, thereby nurturing the careers of many young writers.Lovecraft soon became concerned with political and economical issues and during the Great Depression,supporting Roosevelt. He became a moderate socialist who continued to absorb information on a widevariety of subjects, from philosophy to architecture.The last few years of his life were filled with hardship – suffering the loss of both his aunts between 1932and 1933. His later stories became difficult to sell due to their length and complexity; Lovecraft wasforced to resort to ghost writing to support himself. In 1936 the suicide of Robert E. Howard (one ofLovecraft’s closest correspondents) left him confused and saddened. By this time Lovecraft was sufferingfrom intestinal cancer which, due to its late stage, could not be treated. Lovecraft tried to carry onthrough the increasing pain during the winter of 1936-37 but was finally compelled to enter Jane BrownMemorial Hospital on the 10th of March 1937. Just 5 days later he died here; he was buried on the 18 thMarch at the family plot in Swan Point Cemetery.LegacyLovecraft died without ever having published a real book; his various stories and poems scattered in abewildering number of magazines (both amateur and pulp).Despite this, the friends he had forged merely by correspondence, held him in good stead. AugustDerleth and Donald Wandrei founded the printing company Arkham House with the purpose ofpublishing Lovecraft’s stories in books - wishing to bind Lovecraft’s stories in the dignity of a hardcoverbook. The Outsider and Others (1939) was the first of many volumes released by Arkham House, andLovecraft’s stories would eventually become available in paperback and also in a variety of languages.Nowadays, at the centennial of his birth, his stories are available in textually corrected additions.Although it’s only small, Howard Phillip Lovecraft has gained a definite place in the canon of Americanand world literature. Page 3 of 5
  4. 4. Stories and Release DateStory name Year releasedDagon, A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson, Sweet Ermengarde, The Tomb 1917The Mystery of Murdon Grange, Polaris 1918Beyond the Wall of Sleep, The Doom That Came to Sarnath, Memory, 1919The Cats of Ulthar, Celephaïs, Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His 1920Family,The Moon-Bog, The Music of Erich Zann, The Nameless City 1921Azathoth, The Hound, Hypnos, 1922The Festival, The Rats in the Walls, The Unnamable 1923The Shunned House 1924He, The Horror at Red Hook, In the Vault 1925The Call of Cthulhu, Cool Air, The Descendant 1926The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Colour out of Space 1927The Dunwich Horror, Ibid 1928The Whisperer in Darkness 1930At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth 1931The Dreams in the Witch House 1932The Book, The Evil Clergyman, The Thing on the Doorstep 1933The Haunter of the Dark, The Shadow Out of Time 1935Family tree Name Spouse Year of Year of Relation to Howard Philips Birth/death spouse lovecraft Birth/deat h Sonia Haft Howard Philips Greene 1890/1937 1883/1972 Lovecraft (divorce 1929) Winfield Scott Sarah Susan 1853/1898 1857/1921 Father/mother Lovecraft Phillips Mary Louise Paul Mellon 1855/1916 1863/1910 Aunt/Uncle (fathers side) Lovecraft Lillian D. Franklin Chase 1856/1932 1847/1915 Aunt/Uncle (mothers side) Phillips Clark Wipple Van Roby Alzada Grandfather/grandmother (mothers 1833/1904 1827/1896 Buren Phillips Place side) George Grandfather/grandmother (fathers Helen Allgood 1814/1895 1820/1881 Lovecraft side) Jeremiah Great grandfather/great grandmother Roby Rathbun 1800/1848 1797/1848 Phillips (mothers side) Joseph S. Great grandfather/great grandmother Mary Full 1775/1850 1782/1864 Lovecraft (fathers side) Page 4 of 5
  5. 5. REFERENCESThe information in the above table was taken from Wikipedia and can be foundHERE. The rest of the information the table containing his family tree and the picturewere found at the H.P. Lovecraft Archive click HERE, HERE and HERE respectively(permission granted by the site administrator via e-mail)To all who have read this ‘Thank you’ and I hope you enjoyedInformation on and picture of Lovecraft:http://www.hplovecraft.com/life/biograph.asphttp://www.hplovecraft.comhttp://www.hplovecraft.com/life/family.aspList of his stories:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft_bibliography Page 5 of 5