Author Topic: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)  (Read 6433 times)

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« on: July 02, 2018, 10:13:54 PM »
...and the ever-expanding swamp of shittery emerging in his wake.

I went to a Fortean Society thing in which he was part of the programme. Please comment if you know any of the titles/authors mentioned in connection with him:

https://www.facebook.com/notes/jonathan-norton/the-thing-on-the-doorstep/10156237175461013/

Also would be nice to have a reference to which "alt-right" people are boosting his reputation. Although the racism has been known about for years, I didn't know he was on the Nazi radar, but I suppose the Cthulu Mythos is the perfect modern conspiracy to plug in to.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 10:49:43 PM »
Quote
The Vampire Rabbit Of Old Newcastle City

never heard of that...


Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 11:14:44 PM »
Lovecraft being adopted by the alt-right seems like it was always horribly inevitable, as his appalling views on race would make him all too easy for these dickheads to absorb into their milieu.

I'd say the real modern obsession with Howard P didn't really start until the internet age, I remember endless Cthulu memes on Something Awful and other similar places. It seemed a lot more innocent back then, as we all were.

Not familiar with any of the speakers, but Cathi Unsworth is one of the Melody Maker/Quietus mob as I'm sure you know.


Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 09:27:26 AM »
Aren't various lit theory lefties big on Lovecraft now? There seem to be a number of Zero Books releases on Lovecraftian whatever.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2018, 11:37:33 AM »
Yeah I mentioned that however that bubble may have burst now that the Trumpers have moved in.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2018, 12:36:26 PM »
Anyway, you asked for sources to back up that assertion, so here are some words:

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/from-sci-fi-to-alt-right-extremists-and-conspiracy-theorists-using-lovecraft-to-attack-feminism-and-l-ron-hubbard-to-take-on-international-bankers
https://www.imperica.com/en/hp-lovecraft-and-the-alt-right

The comparison between believing in patriarchy theory, the red pill or Lovecraftian mythos in the first article seems about right to me. It's easy to see why Lovecraft would appeal to the critical theory postmodern set, as retreating into an immersive alternative universe mindscape of 'signifiers' and such is what they're all about.

Cathi Unsworth is a bit of Derek Raymond fangirl, which is fair enough. She's written a few crime novels, but they don't look much cop so I've never read any. She has a piece in the Iain Sinclair 'London: City of Disappearances' thing.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2018, 01:03:09 PM »
It's sickening that this hysterical politicalisation of every cultural marker seems to be made in our modern age.

Loved Lovecraft from my early teens. When I became aware of his 'politics' I shrugged and continued to enjoy his stories for what they were. It demeans art and culture to politicise them for narcissistic or indeed any other reason.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2018, 01:15:47 PM »
It's sickening that this hysterical politicalisation of every cultural marker seems to be made in our modern age.

Loved Lovecraft from my early teens. When I became aware of his 'politics' I shrugged and continued to enjoy his stories for what they were. It demeans art and culture to politicise them for narcissistic or indeed any other reason.

Couldn't agree more. He was adept at the craft of creating unease in a reader, which is far from being the highest form of literature, but you only have to look at the rubbish contemporary attempts to do it to see that it's not so easy to do. He wrote some decent scary stories, he was a bad hat with shitty politics. That's it, really.

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2018, 01:21:45 PM »
It's sickening that this hysterical politicalisation of every cultural marker seems to be made in our modern age.

Loved Lovecraft from my early teens. When I became aware of his 'politics' I shrugged and continued to enjoy his stories for what they were. It demeans art and culture to politicise them for narcissistic or indeed any other reason.

Yep.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2018, 01:22:11 PM »
I only have a couple of books in my iBooks folder and one of hem is "Writings in the United Amateur 1915-1922", Howard was its Chairman for a period. It's a dull tome of literary criticism (Department of Public Criticism) with a couple of Lovecraft stories and some dull poems and short pieces by other authors. The introductory notes and comments scattered throughout by HP show him to be somewhat acerbic but gracious and benevolent, and most of all encouraging (to amateur authors). I don't care for his opinion on race, but I suppose someone who writes about the cosmic other, his hatred is really only borne from a fear that probably many had during that time. He just transposed it to a different setting (the vast universe) rather than internalise it.

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2018, 02:03:02 PM »
I believe there’s been a marked increase in academic interest into Lovecraft.

When catching up with one of my friends in academia, we often discuss what’s going on at their university in terms of research. They mentioned a while ago – I’d guess, this was two, maybe three years ago – that there had been a big boom in Lovecraft research at their university. When asked about this, they commented that this reflected (to some degree, anyway) a growing interest in the wider academic world.

Famous Mortimer

  • War - it's fantastic!
    • International Syndicate of Cult Film Critics
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2018, 02:38:31 PM »
Anyway, you asked for sources to back up that assertion, so here are some words:

http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/from-sci-fi-to-alt-right-extremists-and-conspiracy-theorists-using-lovecraft-to-attack-feminism-and-l-ron-hubbard-to-take-on-international-bankers
https://www.imperica.com/en/hp-lovecraft-and-the-alt-right

Been a reader of Jason Colavito's for years, so it's always nice to meet a fellow fan. He's been a Lovecraft nerd since forever, and was always honest about the worst parts of his personality and writing. I was at a talk by China Mieville years ago where he read some of Lovecraft's letters talking about the working class immigrants of New York, and it read like a description of an elder demon.

The world's foremost authority on Lovecraft, I guess, is this guy:



ST Joshi, who Colavito doesn't like very much but seems like an okay sort; and a person who I'm just guessing Lovecraft wouldn't have liked that much.

BlodwynPig, I never saw discussion of Lovecraft and what a rum 'un he was, and what awful stuff there is in some of his stories ("yellow, squint-eyed people" and so on) as politicising him. Perhaps you're talking about what the modern Nazis have done with him? I think it's good that these conversations are being had now, and (for instance) Lovecraft's image was taken off the World Fantasy Award a few years ago. I think it's good that we're having these honest analyses of people like him that's a bit deeper than "well, everyone was racist then".

(As an aside, a similar debate is "raging" at the moment as Laura Ingalls Wilder has had her name removed from a childrens' book award due to her saying "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" a bunch of times in her books, and having a lot of other racist stuff in there - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/books/laura-ingalls-wilder-book-award.html. When I searched for a link just now, the right must have been hammering those searches, as the top ten are all "the librarians are the real bigots")

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2018, 04:50:35 PM »
These works are products of their time, and need to be understood in context,and largely speaking everyone was racist then. Do we learn much from these conversations? Having a more advanced view on political issues than a text that was written a hundred years ago isn't that difficult.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2018, 05:34:48 PM »
Been a reader of Jason Colavito's for years, so it's always nice to meet a fellow fan. He's been a Lovecraft nerd since forever, and was always honest about the worst parts of his personality and writing. I was at a talk by China Mieville years ago where he read some of Lovecraft's letters talking about the working class immigrants of New York, and it read like a description of an elder demon.

The world's foremost authority on Lovecraft, I guess, is this guy:



ST Joshi, who Colavito doesn't like very much but seems like an okay sort; and a person who I'm just guessing Lovecraft wouldn't have liked that much.

BlodwynPig, I never saw discussion of Lovecraft and what a rum 'un he was, and what awful stuff there is in some of his stories ("yellow, squint-eyed people" and so on) as politicising him. Perhaps you're talking about what the modern Nazis have done with him? I think it's good that these conversations are being had now, and (for instance) Lovecraft's image was taken off the World Fantasy Award a few years ago. I think it's good that we're having these honest analyses of people like him that's a bit deeper than "well, everyone was racist then".

(As an aside, a similar debate is "raging" at the moment as Laura Ingalls Wilder has had her name removed from a childrens' book award due to her saying "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" a bunch of times in her books, and having a lot of other racist stuff in there - https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/26/books/laura-ingalls-wilder-book-award.html. When I searched for a link just now, the right must have been hammering those searches, as the top ten are all "the librarians are the real bigots")

I respectfully disagree on that last note - having conversations in enlightened times is all well and good, but (and I haven't looked into this) unless Lovecraft was openly racist, I think he shouldn't be so readily brushed under the carpet as a "wrong 'un". Even the most liberally minded of his generation probably looked as foreigners with some sort of distrust. I have no problem with the word swarthy being written in the early 20th century.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2018, 06:34:35 PM »
I don't think there's much doubt as I understand it that Lovecraft was rabidly racist, but I never got that from reading his stories, which are just odd and too detached from ordinary reality to have any obvious political agenda. He's such a marginal character culturally that it's hard to see him as having any great influence on wider values or beliefs. And later writers influenced by him like Ramsey Campbell don't seem to have any right wing leanings, so it's not like he's been some kind of nefarious influence. He just wrote some creepy stories. His racism and his skill in writing creepy stories probably both stemmed from being somewhat fucked up and neurotic.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2018, 06:36:50 PM »
We have to understand these works are the products of pan-dimensional colour-fields controlled by underground extraterrestrial cephalopods. They're defiantly non-PC.

Mark Steels Stockbroker

  • Lost in the former West
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2018, 06:49:16 PM »
Quote
The librarians are the real bigots

They won't allow any immigrants into Libraria.

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2018, 01:35:37 AM »
Maybe a lot of the people who are looking a Lovecraft from an literary criticism rather than horror fandom perspective were influenced by Michel Houllebecq's book about him, which came out in English in 2005. That book talks about Lovecraft's racism a lot, but it doesn't condemn him, it  just talks  about it as an important part of his background. Maybe it's inescapable if you want to talk about the man at length, it doesn't nevessarily mean you're 'calling him out', it's just interesting. In some of the private letters Houllebecq quotes, there's an obvious overlap between Nazi style racist fanaticism and the horror of non-human beings in the stories. Regarding his time in New York:

The organic things-Italo-Semitico-Mongoloid- inhabiting that awful cesspool could not by strech of the imagination be called human. They were monstrous and nebulous adumbrations of the pithecanthropoid and amoebal; vaguely moulded from some stinking viscous slime of earth's corruption, and slithering and oozing in and on the filthy streets or in and out of windows and doorways in a fashion suggestive of nothing but infesting worms or deep sea unnamabilities[/i

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2018, 01:44:41 AM »
There's a context here too, for a French writer like Houllebecq, because other literary critics inFrance have tried to understand how Louis Ferdiannd Celine came to be the author of good novels and also horrific anti-semitic pamphlets. It's really not about being offended or saying anything should be banned, it's more like a psychological case study.

BlodwynPig

  • Throwing two dogs at a goblin
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2018, 03:42:52 AM »
Nothing your average Daily Mail reader wouldn't nod their head in general agreement with.

"The swarths of amorphous benefits scroungers of all colours out of space"

Twed

  • What, prick? That's my child. My Johnson's child
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2018, 07:03:58 AM »

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #22 on: July 04, 2018, 09:30:27 AM »
Quote
Dr. Reese, who belongs to the Nambe Pueblo tribe in New Mexico, said that the books could be used to educate high school or college students, but were inappropriate for young children.

“People are trying to use them and say, ‘Well, we can explain them,’ and I say: ‘O.K., you’re trying to explain racism to white people. Good for those white kids,’” she said. “But what about the Native and the black kids in the classroom who have to bear with the moment when they’re being denigrated for the benefit of the white kids?”

Fair enough, no?

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2018, 10:53:59 AM »
This article outlines some of the recent writing by philosophers about HPL
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/lets-get-weird-on-graham-harmans-h-p-lovecraft/

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2018, 12:25:48 PM »
Fair enough, no?

Why does explaining how prejudice manifested itself in the past and why it was wrong only benefit the white chiidren?

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2018, 12:28:41 PM »
Maybe a lot of the people who are looking a Lovecraft from an literary criticism rather than horror fandom perspective were influenced by Michel Houllebecq's book about him, which came out in English in 2005. That book talks about Lovecraft's racism a lot, but it doesn't condemn him, it  just talks  about it as an important part of his background. Maybe it's inescapable if you want to talk about the man at length, it doesn't nevessarily mean you're 'calling him out', it's just interesting. In some of the private letters Houllebecq quotes, there's an obvious overlap between Nazi style racist fanaticism and the horror of non-human beings in the stories. Regarding his time in New York:

The organic things-Italo-Semitico-Mongoloid- inhabiting that awful cesspool could not by strech of the imagination be called human. They were monstrous and nebulous adumbrations of the pithecanthropoid and amoebal; vaguely moulded from some stinking viscous slime of earth's corruption, and slithering and oozing in and on the filthy streets or in and out of windows and doorways in a fashion suggestive of nothing but infesting worms or deep sea unnamabilities[/i

Conversations about why Houllebecq is 'problematic' aren't in short supply either - I don't imagine he's very influential in woke nerd circles.

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #26 on: July 04, 2018, 12:34:16 PM »
This article outlines some of the recent writing by philosophers about HPL
https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/lets-get-weird-on-graham-harmans-h-p-lovecraft/

FFS. A new way for academics to chart a course up their own arse by creating an imaginary world in which nothing is known and all is subjectivity. Except instead of having to read stodgy literary classics, you get to read trashy pulp horror - dumbing down continues apace. If it hasn't done so already this will surely link up with Harry Potter.

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #27 on: July 04, 2018, 12:37:50 PM »
You should read Jordan Peterson, you'd really like him

Funcrusher

  • Been shot up more times than Tom Mix
Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #28 on: July 04, 2018, 12:40:13 PM »
You should read Jordan Peterson, you'd really like him

Stop following me around, you meany!

Re: Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 - 1937)
« Reply #29 on: July 04, 2018, 12:42:06 PM »
Why does explaining how prejudice manifested itself in the past and why it was wrong only benefit the white chiidren?

The assumption is that non-white children will likely have experienced racism. Even without the racist stuff, I don't know why anyone would want to set Lovecraft for primary school kids.