Tuesday, August 12, 2014

About H.P. Lovecraft

The author H.P. Lovecraft wrote works I very much enjoyed.  But I did not enjoy one aspect of them.  He was a misanthrope, and a racist.  I have no idea if he hated individuals, instead of just the idea of the race different than his own.  But he was a bright man who should well have known better that his views were wrong.

But, having said this, I love his writing.  The Cthulhu Mythos is superior to most other literary constructs, and he made certain to bring other talented people into the work.   That shows a generosity that I don't see in the present world of literature or comics.

It might be argued, well in fact it has been argued, that Lovecraft and his views are a product of his era.  That the modern reader should forgive his flaws as being socially induced, rather than firmly held beliefs.  But there is proof in the writing that this is not true.  Robert E. Howard, also a man of his era, wrote that there were black savages, and yellow men.  But he never seemed to suggest that the people being described were flawed for their ethnic difference.  In fact, RE Howard seemed to say, with permission here to paraphrase, the noble primitive was a finer human than the most civilized man.  That is, he might well have described people racially, but he never seemed to set out to say the differences equaled superiority.  Lovecraft did do that.  He saw whites as being the height of moral civilization.  All other races were failed, flawed and to be feared.  As a commentary about a world it makes a frightening literary conceit, but only when the writer knows the difference.  I am uncertain if HPL did.

This neither removes the quality of the work, nor matter much.  Because in any event, my taste still exists.  Despite my misgivings about what HPL believed, I like very much his work. 

(Lovecraft as illustrated by Michael Whelan)

No comments:

Post a Comment