This fourth entry into the Favorite Quotes File comes to you from H.P. Lovecraft. A rather fitting name (and quote) for October, don’t you think?
Why did I choose it? Because for some of us, or maybe all of us (at least in some way), that read horror, it’s true. Reality is so … draining. Monotonous. So consuming of every speck of passion, energy, hope, and life. Sometimes delving into unnameable horrors from elsewhere is the only way to escape from it. Even though it’s ‘scary’, it’s different. Some of us can’t lift our faces to the sun and smile anymore. We can’t run our fingers through fertile soil and rejoice in the cycle of life. But we can open a good book, let our minds be whisked away to a horrible place, and come back with a renewed appreciation for the normalcy of life.
Why H.P. Lovecraft chose Old Gods and Unnameable Terrors?
“No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace.”― H.P. Lovecraft
I think H.P. Lovecraft turned his attention to the Old Gods and ‘unnameable terrors’ for a reason. Since the beginning, humanity has been driven by an urge to find, to name, to classify. To make life be a certain way for a reason. We need to know who, what, when, where and why. Even with the christian god, and taking things ‘on faith’, it’s a way of establishing a set of rules both for the universe and for ourselves. He reaches past that, going to a place that takes away our ability to even classify something to the point we can put a name on it.
To grab a handful of that fearragescare/angerterrorhorror, and bring it to the forefront? To force us to play in the sandbox of things that do not act as humans, or our religious icons do is to put us in a position of extreme vulnerability. Peace? Love? Tolerance? Nurturing humanity? A glorious reward after death? Whether it be 72 virgins, or cherubs, rainbows, and puppydogs, religious people like to think that- in the grand scheme of things – they matter. That even after their bits have crumbled into stardust, they’ll be ferried off to a happily ever after. In Lovecraft’s world, though, no f*cks are given about the human race for the most part, except where they are of use to the higher beings for some reason.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t venerate H.P. Lovecraft. Dude had some serious issues. But his talent? His sandbox? Those are truly awesome things.
H.P. Lovecraft never really had a book published in his lifetime. His short stories and such were scattered throughout various publications. It’s kind of amazing that someone who saw so little success during his lifetime has gained such respect for his talent after his death.
Check out his bibliography (in chronological order) here.
One often overlooked aspect of Lovecraft’s racism, more evident in his earlier stories, is that he didn’t really have a lot good to say about “his own” people by the late 1920s. The Colour Out of Space”, “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and the latter’s sort-of-sequel, “The Thing On the Doorstep,” clearly express Lovecraft’s belief that even his own people had decayed into something loathsome. I think his willingness to accept the then-common notion of New England Yankee degeneracy went and-in-hand with his belief that there was no positive supernatural force in the universe.
Yeah.He was not, uhm, the happiest of fellows.