H. P. Lovecraft | appreciation

Appreciation

Within the genre

By 1957 Floyd C. Gale of Galaxy Science Fiction said that "like R. E. Howard, Lovecraft seemingly goes on forever; the two decades since their death are as nothing. In any event, they appear more prolific than ever. What with de Camp, Nyberg and Derleth avidly rooting out every scrap of their writings and expanding them into novels, there may never be an end to their posthumous careers".[90] According to Joyce Carol Oates, Lovecraft (and Edgar Allan Poe in the 19th century) has exerted "an incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction".[91] Horror, fantasy, and science fiction author Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."[92][93] King has made it clear in his semi-autobiographical non-fiction book Danse Macabre that Lovecraft was responsible for his own fascination with horror and the macabre and was the largest figure to influence his fiction writing.[94]

Literary

Early efforts to revise an established literary view of Lovecraft as an author of 'pulp' were resisted by some eminent critics; in 1945 Edmund Wilson expressed the opinion that "the only real horror in most of these fictions is the horror of bad taste and bad art". But "Mystery and Adventure" columnist Will Cuppy of the New York Herald Tribune recommended to readers a volume of Lovecraft's stories, asserting that "the literature of horror and macabre fantasy belongs with mystery in its broader sense."[95] Gale said that "Lovecraft at his best could build a mood of horror unsurpassed; at his worst, he was laughable".[90] In 1962 Colin Wilson, in his survey of anti-realist trends in fiction The Strength to Dream, cited Lovecraft as one of the pioneers of the "assault on rationality" and included him with M. R. James, H. G. Wells, Aldous Huxley, Tolkien and others as one of the builders of mythicised realities over against the failing project of literary realism. Subsequently, Lovecraft began to acquire the status of a cult writer in the counterculture of the 1960s, and reprints of his work proliferated. In 2005 the status of classic American writer conferred by a Library of America edition was accorded to Lovecraft with the publication of Tales, a collection of his weird fiction stories.[96]

Philosophical

Philosopher Graham Harman, seeing Lovecraft as having a unique—though implicit—anti-reductionalist ontology, writes: "No other writer is so perplexed by the gap between objects and the power of language to describe them, or between objects and the qualities they possess."[97] Harman said of leading figures at the initial speculative realism conference (which included philosophers Quentin Meillassoux, Ray Brassier, and Iain Hamilton Grant) that, though they shared no philosophical heroes, all were enthusiastic readers of Lovecraft.[98] Speculative realists, Mark Fisher and other contemporary philosophers, took Lovecraft seriously, mainly because Lovecraft's weird reality as presented in his novels, had nothing to do with the Gothic's insistence in the supernatural, but presented another reality incomprehensible to the human mind, but nonetheless real. According to scholar S. T. Joshi: "There is never an entity in Lovecraft that is not in some fashion material".[99]

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