H. P. Lovecraft Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Except for his personal correspondence, H. P. Lovecraft’s total output was quite modest, even considering his relatively short life. Like that of his illustrious predecessor, Edgar Allan Poe, almost all of Lovecraft’s narratives are in the shorter forms, with at most three works qualifying as novelettes. Other than fiction, his writings consist of some poetry, a few essays on literature and science, and a voluminous amount of personal correspondence, much of which has been published. In addition to his own work, Lovecraft revised, rewrote, and “ghosted” a large number of works for other authors, including one short story for Harry Houdini. Although a number of his stories have served as the basis for films, the products have seldom resembled the originals. Indicative of this is the ironical fact that probably the most successful adaptation of Lovecraftian material was released under the title “Edgar Allan Poe’s Haunted Palace.”


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

H. P. Lovecraft brought an intimate knowledge of the short story to his horror-story creations. Beginning as a ghost writer and pulp-fiction hack, Lovecraft produced a body of tales that is still viewed as important by those who write fantasies on the dark side: Robert Bloch and Stephen King, to name only two who cite Lovecraft as an important influence on their own work. Of equal importance is Lovecraft’s study of horror literature, Supernatural Horror in Literature (1945), in which he outlines the structure of the tale of terror. This work is still cited as an important study in the narrative structure of the horror story.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Airaksinen, Timo. The Philosophy of H. P. Lovecraft: The Route to Horror. New York: Peter Lang, 1999. A good study of Lovecraft’s themes and execution. Includes bibliographical references and an index.

Burleson, Donald R. H. P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1983. A very helpful consideration of Lovecraft’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Provides a good overview of his work as well as placing him among other writers in the genre.

Burleson, Donald R. “Lovecraft’s ‘The Colour Out of Space.’” The Explicator 52 (Fall, 1993): 48-50. A discussion of the story “The Colour Out of Space,” focusing on the craft and intricacy of this masterful piece.

Cannon, Peter, ed. Lovecraft Remembered. Sauk City, Wis.: Arkham House, 1998. A look at Lovecraft’s life and works.

Carter, Lin. Lovecraft: A Look Behind the “Cthulhu Mythos.” New York: Ballantine, 1972. An extended examination of Lovecraft’s mythic horror pantheon. Useful for following the development of his fictive world of demons and altered “realities.”

Clements, Nicholaus. “Lovecraft’s ‘The Haunter of the Dark.’” The Explicator 57 (Winter, 1999): 98-100. Argues that the lightning in the story is not ordinary light, but...

(The entire section is 587 words.)