Howard Phillips Lovecraft wrote in a mixed genre of fantasy, supernatural horror, and science fiction; he came to dominate his pulp periodical market, particularly the magazine Weird Tales, throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on August 20, 1890, the only child of a relatively affluent family whose ancestry dated to the original founding colonists. This fact, a susceptibility to illness, and the death of his father and most of his relatives during his formative years contributed to the precociously brilliant and imaginative Lovecraft’s introspection and nostalgia for the past.
His neurotic mother convinced him that he was ugly; it was possibly this belief but certainly his predilection for solitude which caused him to be reclusive. The few friends he made were firm, and over the course of his life he was to write 100,000 letters of several million words. In the 1970’s, these letters, by volume his largest work, were analyzed, as were his deserving essays on nonfiction subjects. Lovecraft’s poetry has been variously described by critics as first-rate, mediocre, and hideous. In the arena of fantasy and borderline science fiction, however, he has received lasting acclaim.
Several influences on his success in these genres are traceable, among them the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Jules Verne, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, eighteenth century poetry in general, and Greco-Roman mythology. Four authors definitely influenced Lovecraft:...
(The entire section is 619 words.)