What is Lovecraft?

First and fore-mostly, I have a confession. This week’s theme was a little vague because the subject I wanted to write about is really hard to clarify under the shared boundary of four different people’s interests. Lately at work I’ve been reading the Necronomicon, a massive eight hundred plus page collection of the stories of H.P. Lovecraft, the father of modern horror. Of course, my coworkers tend to keep their distance now.

I have a fascination with H.P. Lovecraft, not just because he writes horror or the spin-off roleplaying game written in his honour, but because of how he writes. Lovecraft died in 1937, so his writing is seventy-odd years before our current form of language. The extra-descriptive detail he goes into accentuates the implicated horrors of his writing, and some of his ways of phrasing things are divine to read.

What fascinates me the most about Lovecraft is how he captured the late twentieth century. Nowadays, the majority of people are desensitised to the sort of horror Lovecraft enters into, simply because of overexposure. A long tale of a man capable of reanimating the dead becomes little more than a cough considering the number of “zombie” movies on the market. Another story entitled “rats in the walls” features a man living in a giant manor he inherited, and eventually discovering…that there are rats in the walls. To the modern reader, this is laughable, but in such a time where plague was rampant and the shadow of the black death remained over the country, such a tale would have spread a lot of shivers and panic.

I respect Lovecraft because of this noticeable difference in language. He captured the essence of his time period so it’s easy to look at and analyse. I only hope that writers of the present day will have such an impact eighty years after their death.


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