H.P. Lovecraft is a cult-figure in the world of horror fiction. Needless to say any fan of horror and the wicked will not be a stranger to his name and his works. Metal fans know of him, since his name has a tendency to appear in lyrics, either as homage or for the purpose of making them eerie. Because isn't the name in of itself kind of creepy?
I first came in contact with this name, and this writer, while I was still very young. Back then I would read the English original works, even though I barely comprehended enough to make sense of what I was reading. Still it was just something special about the stories enticing me.
Later on I would slowly begin to get a better grip of the English used in his novels making me enjoying the stories even more. I even went out of my way to find the Swedish translations, just for comparison; but they would all leave me in big disappointment. Going through the unavoidable losses of translation there were basically nothing at all left of what made Lovecraft so good, almost as though it lacked it's soul. Some things you just have to enjoy in the original.
Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890, in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1893 Lovecrafts father became acutely psychotic and later died in 1898. The duty of raising Lovecraft was left in the hands of his mother and aunts, and perhaps most important of all, his maternal grandfather.
Lovecrafts grandfather encouraged him to read and introduced him to the great works, such as The Arabian nights, Bullfinch's Age of Fable as well as children's versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The grandfather would also tell his own stories about Gothic horror.
As a child Lovecraft was frequently ill, which hindered him from normally attending school. Something which he felt great shame about. He couldn’t get a diploma. But he still kept up a voracious reading habit. Devouring not only prose and poetry but also scientific books. He especially took interest in astronomy and chemistry.
It is believed that Lovecraft as a child suffered from night terrors. He believed himself being assailed by night gaunts. Some of his later stories is thought to be directly inspired by these experiences. Which, if I may say it myself, adds to the eerily vividness of the creatures in his stories.
With the death of his grandfather in 1904, Lovecraft was destroyed. Besides losing a loved one the family was also forced to move out of their family home after seeing the grandfather's estate gotten mismanaged by his business associates. All of this would drive him to the brink of suicide.
In the earlier years Lovecraft wrote mostly poetry. But it was with novels, especially horror novels he would get most of his fame. Lovecraft enjoyed the pulp magazines of the early 1900s and would also contribute with his own stories.
Lovecraft never earned enough money on his writing to sustain himself. For a living he was forced to take money from what little heritage there was left from his grandfather. On top of that he worked as a revising other peoples work as well as doing ghostwriting.
He married a girl he met at a gathering for journalists. They married but a series of disasters caused the married to become pretty unhappy. In New York Lovecraft was out of his environment.
He didn’t like new york, he wanted back to Providence.
After leaving New York, back to Providence, divorcing his wife, was the most productive in his life.
The 10 years remaining he produced the works today most recognized as the cult of cthulu.
He died from cancer of the intestine. He kept a very detailed account of his desease through the years but he didn’t go a nd look or a cure. When he atlast went to the hospital they could only give hm some morphine to ease the pain. He died five days later.
Lovecraft produced horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially fiction known under the subgenre of Weird fiction. His best known literary work is the Cthulu Mythos, which inclueds many of his later stories all involving the Great Old Ones, ancient and powerful extraterrestrial beings.
Another of his influential literary inventions is the Necronomicon, a fictional book appearing in many of his stories, purportedly written by the Mad Arab, Abdul Alhazred. Lovecraft purposely wanted to make Necronomicon as believable as possible, and it was very successfull. There are many stoires of antiquaries and book shops getting requests about it. Even other authors in the field quoted the book in their works, making the illusion even stronger..
If Edgar Allan Poe was the most influential horror writer of the 1900s Lovecraft is probably the one of the 20th. Even Stephen King has called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”, and accredited Lovecraft for getting him into the genre. But it wasn't until after his death his fame started to rise.