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Howard Phillips Lovecraft (20 August 1890–15 March 1937) was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction, but some believe his voluminous correspondence to be his greatest accomplishment. He wrote short stories, novels and novellas, including The Lurking Fear, At the Mountains of Madness, The Call of Cthulhu and The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft could trace her ancestry to the arrival of George Phillips to Massachusetts in 1630. His father Winfield Scott Lovecraft was a traveling salesman for Gorham & Co., Silversmiths, of Providence. When Lovecraft was three when his father suffered a nervous breakdown while in Chicago and was brought back to Butler Hospital, where he remained for five years, dying on July 19, 1898.
In 1904 the death of Lovecraft’s grandfather, and the subsequent mismanagement of his property and affairs, plunged Lovecraft’s family into severe financial difficulties. Lovecraft and his mother were forced to move out of their lavish Victorian home into cramp quarters at 598 Angell Street. Lovecraft was devastated by the loss of his birthplace, and apparently contemplated suicide, as he took long bicycle rides and looked wistfully at the watery depths of the Barrington River. But the thrill of learning banished those thoughts.
Lovecraft had by this time already discovered weird fiction, and his first story, the non-extant “The Noble Eavesdropper,” may date to as early as 1896. His interest in the weird [or macabre] was fostered by his grandfather, who entertained Lovecraft with off-the-cuff weird tales in the Gothic tradition.
–excerpts from a brief biography that first appeared in the H.P. Lovecraft Centennial Guidebook.
Since his death, H.P. Lovecraft has earned greater acclaim than he enjoyed during his lifetime. He has been an inspiration to such writers as Peter Straub, Stephen King and Neil Gaiman. His stories have also served as the inspiration for numerous films, including 2011's Hunters of the Dark and 2007's Cthulhu. As Stephen King explained to American Heritage magazine, "Now that time has given us some perspective on his work, I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale."
Appearances and Mentions
- According to MM showrunner/writer/director Peter Mitchell, "We knew we were going to do it ... we just needed to find a Lovecraft."