Lovecraft clearly states that his contact to numerous different people through letter-writing was one of the main factors in broadening his view of the world: "I found myself opened up to dozens of points of view which would otherwise never have occurred to me. My understanding and sympathies were enlarged, and many of my social, political, and economic views were modified as a consequence of increased knowledge.
Today there are four publishing houses that have released letters from Lovecraft — Arkham House with its five-volume edition Selected Letters being the most prominent. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei et al. There is no little controversy over the copyright status of many of Lovecraft's works, especially his later works.
All works published in the US before are public domain. However, there is some disagreement over who exactly owns or owned the copyrights and whether the copyrights for the majority of Lovecraft's works published post - including such prominent pieces as The Call of Cthulhu and At the Mountains of Madness - have now expired. Questions center over whether copyrights for Lovecraft's works were ever renewed under the terms of the USA Copyright Act of for works created prior to January 1 If Lovecraft's work had been renewed they would be eligible for protection for years after the author's death according to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of This means the copyrights would not expire on some of Lovecraft's works until at the earliest, providing that no further laws extend the periods of copyrights within the USA.
Similarly, the European Union Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection of extended the copyrights to 70 years after the author's death. In those Berne Convention countries who have implemented only the minimum copyright period, copyright expires 50 years after the author's death. On October 9 , Derleth purchased all rights to Weird Tales. However, since April at the latest, Lovecraft had reserved all second printing rights to stories published in Weird Tales. Hence, Weird Tales may only have owned the rights to at most six of Lovecraft's tales.
Again, even if Derleth did obtain the copyrights to Lovecraft's tales no evidence as yet has been found that the copyrights were renewed. However, prominent Lovecraft scholar S.
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Joshi concludes in his biography, H. Lovecraft: A Life , that Derleth's claims are "almost certainly fictitious" and that most of Lovecraft's works published in the amateur press are most likely now in the public domain. The copyright for Lovecraft's works would have been inherited by the only surviving heir of his will: Lovecraft's aunt, Annie Gamwell.
Gamwell herself perished in and the copyrights then passed to her remaining descendents, Ethel Phillips Morrish and Edna Lewis. Morrish and Lewis then signed a document, sometimes referred to as the Morrish-Lewis gift, permitting Arkham House to republish Lovecraft's works but retaining the copyrights for themselves. Searches of the Library of Congress have failed to find any evidence that these copyrights were then renewed after the 28 year period and, hence, it is likely that these works are now in the public domain. It is unclear whether these letters contradict Joshi's views on Lovecraft's copyrights.
It is also worth noting that Chaosium , publishers of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game , have a trademark on the phrase "The Call of Cthulhu" for use in game products. Regardless of the legal disagreements surrounding Lovecraft's works, Lovecraft himself was extremely generous with his own works and actively encouraged others to borrow ideas from his stories, particularly with regard to his Cthulhu Mythos.
By "wide citation" he hoped to give his works an "air of verisimilitude" and actively encouraged other writers to reference his creations, such as the Necronomicon , Cthulhu and Yog-Sothoth. After his death, many writers have contributed stories and enriched the shared mythology of the Cthulhu Mythos, as well as making numerous references to his work see References to the Cthulhu Mythos.
Lovecraft drew extensively from his native New England for settings in his fiction.
Numerous real historical locations are mentioned, and several fictional New England locations make frequent appearances. Films based generally very loosely on specific Lovecraft works partial list only; see Lovecraft's IMDB entry for a more complete selection :.
Beyond direct adaptation, Lovecraft and his stories have had a profound if sometimes indirect and unnoticed impact on popular culture, and has been praised by many modern writers of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. Much of his influence is secondary, as he was a friend, inspiration, and correspondent to many authors who would gain fame through their creations. He was a friend of Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Many later creators of horror writing and films show influences from Lovecraft, including Clive Barker , H.
Giger and John Carpenter. Videogames like Eternal Darkness show a great amount of influence from his work; others, like Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth , are directly based on his job. Lovecraft pastiches are common. For more examples of specific references to and uses of the Mythos in popular culture, see References to the Cthulhu Mythos.
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Lovecraft's "universe" is so distinctive that he is an eponym for strange creatures and settings. Lovecraftian horror may mean a story that references the Mythos, or that is simply too bizarre to be classified as normal horror.
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Examples include beings with hideous and completely unnatural features innumerable sets of eyes , far too many limbs or architecture or geography of inhuman or alien design such as the city of R'lyeh, which makes exclusive use of curves in its architecture. Lovecraftian horror stands in contrast to the predominantly humanoid and anthropomorphic designs in mainstream horror and mythology.
The racist , classist and sexist themes in much of Lovecraft's writing evoke strong reactions in many modern readers. Lovecraft was an avowed Anglophile, and may have held English culture to be the pinnacle of civilization, with the descendants of the English in America as something of a second-class offshoot, and everyone else below them see, for example, his poem " An American to Mother England. Lovecraft's writing showed a distinct disinclination towards mixing with other ethnic groups, reverence for birth-issued social status, and a preference for traditional social roles for women.
Racial, ethnic, class, and sexual stereotypes are frequently encountered in Lovecraft's work. A typical example of this sentiment is found in the name of the black cat "Nigger-Man" in his tale The Rats in the Walls fiction , which was actually the name he gave to his real-life cat.
The narrator in "The Rats in the Walls" expresses sentiments which could be considered hostile towards Jews although several of Lovecraft's closer friends and correspondents were Jewish , Italians , and Poles. Racist views can also be found in his poetry, particularly in On the Creation of Niggers, and New England Fallen both Contemporary critics have decried Lovecraft's presumed white supremicism , particularly in the treatment of immigrants and African-Americans.
However, Lovecraft does not spare even northern European ethnic groups from his onslaught of negative ethnic stereotyping. The degenerate descendants of Dutch immigrants in the Catskill Mountains , "who correspond exactly to the decadent element of white trash in the South ," Beyond the Wall of Sleep fiction , are common targets.
The Temple fiction presents a stereotypical arrogant and coldly murderous Prussian aristocrat U-boat captain from World War I who makes frequent references to his "iron German will," supremely rational Prussian mental powers, and the insignificance of human life compared to the need to glorify the Fatherland. Perhaps the best example of his classist views can be found in the short story Cool Air : the presumably Anglo-Saxon narrator speaks disparagingly of the poor Hispanics of his neighborhood, but he worshipfully respects the wealthy and aristocratic Spaniard Dr.
Lovecraft drew upon the history of his own ethnic group for the environment of much of his work, and his love for Anglo-Saxon history and culture is often-times repeated in his work such as King Kuranes ' nostalgia for England in The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath fiction. Characteristically, this history is viewed sardonically. A major Lovecraftian theme is the individual who finds that his lineage is accursed or interbred with a non-human strain. This theme may represent concerns relating to Lovecraft's own family history, particularly the death of his father due to what Lovecraft must have suspected to be a syphilitic disorder.
Lovecraft expressed racist and ethnocentric beliefs in his personal correspondence and he gave a thorough summary of his views on race and culture in a letter to J. Vernon Shea written September 25 , Women in Lovecraft's fiction are rare, and the few leading female characters in his stories often turn out to be agents of some evil, alien force. The marriage failed, and some commentators believe that the cause may have been shame felt by Lovecraft over his wife being essentially the breadwinner.
While the unapologetic frankness with which Lovecraft reveals his beliefs on race, class, and sex can often seem quite shocking to the early 21st century reader, the modern reader must bear in mind that these attitudes were not at all unusual during Lovecraft's lifetime. The eugenics movement, for example, was quite mainstream in the United States and most of Europe before World War II , to the point where harsh eugenics policies were actually written into the law in many states.
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Racial segregation was still legally enforced throughout much of the United States. Very many prominent and powerful individuals in these times openly avowed attitudes similar to or even harsher than Lovecraft's. In the past few decades, the quantity of books about Lovecraft has increased considerably. Also, Lovecraft's stories themselves have enjoyed a veritable publishing renaissance in recent years. The titles mentioned below are a small sampling.
Lovecraft, a Biography , written by L. Sprague de Camp , published in , and now out of print , was Lovecraft's first full-length biography. Frank Belknap Long 's Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer on the Night Side Arkham House , presents a more personal look at Lovecraft's life, combining reminiscence, biography, and literary criticism. Long was a friend and correspondent of Lovecraft, as well as a fellow fantasist who wrote a number of Lovecraft-influenced Cthulhu Mythos stories including The Hounds of Tindalos. A newer, more extensive biography is H.
Lovecraft: A Life, written by Lovecraft scholar S. It was for a long time out of print , but has recently been republished by Necronomicon Press , with a new afterword by the author. Used copies of the first edition are rare. Lovecraft in His Time. Other significant Lovecraft-related works are An H. Lovecraft Encyclopedia informative but expensive and Lovecraft's Library: A Catalogue a meticulous listing of many of the books in Lovecraft's now scattered library , both by Joshi, and also Lovecraft at Last, an account by Willis Conover of his teenage correspondence with Lovecraft.
Lovecraft is useful both for the analysis it provides and for the thorough bibliography appended to it. Lovecraft and Charles P. Mitchell 's The Complete H. Lovecraft Filmography are both practicable for their discussion of films containing Lovecraftian elements see Adaptations , below. Lovecraft's prose fiction has been published numerous times, but, even after the "corrected texts" were released by Arkham House in the s, many non-definitive collections of his stories have appeared, including Ballantine Books editions and, also, three popular Del Rey editions, which nonetheless have interesting introductions.
H.P. Lovecraft - YSDC CthulhuWiki
Many readers, when they first encounter Lovecraft's works, find his writing style difficult to read — owing, no doubt, to his fondness for adjectives, long paragraphs, and archaic diction. Yale J. The colour out of space HP Lovecraft. International Organization At the Mountains of Madness.