Recent Dorkiness

Lovecraft in Brooklyn

HP Lovecraft spent the years of his brief marriage living unhappily in New York City. It was a period of great failure and loss for a man who saw more than his fair share of those things in his life. He was unable (or perhaps unwilling) to find work, his marriage failed, and his xenophobia (always keen) soared to new heights as he was exposed for the first time to the Great American Melting Pot. Most of his fiction from this period is baldly racist, boiling up as it did out of his increasing unease and paranoia. “The Horror at Red Hook,” for instance, is just plain vile, one of those stories that Lovecraft scholars find historically fascinating, but which Lovecraft fans cannot (and should not) even begin to defend. That he was able to assimilate his New York experience once he returned to his beloved Providence, Rhode Island, and use it to power horror fictions as good as “The Call of Cthulhu” or “The Colour Out of Space” just a year later is nothing short of amazing.

Of course, most Lovecraft fans know all this. But I was really stunned today when I found out that The Mountain Goats know it, too:

(And thanks to the great HP Lovecraft Archive for all the free reading.)

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About Mark Brett (418 Articles)
Shaved Yeti. Alien. Writer of stuff. Read my fiction at http://reportsfromthefieldblog.wordpress.com/. Read my thoughts on comic books and other dork culture ephemera at https://dorkforty.wordpress.com/.

3 Comments on Lovecraft in Brooklyn

  1. You exaggerate racism in the story “The Horror at Red Hook”. We must not forget that the main evil character is white.

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  2. All right. You’ve touched a sore spot. My initial response to you got pretty long, and I started to feel like I was beating up on your opinion, which was not my intent. So I’ll just say that I disagree with you. I personally find the racism in “Horror at Red Hook” to be pretty disturbing, but that’s me. Your mileage obviously varies.

    Thank you for your comment, however. It made me return to the story to see what, exactly, made me have such a strong negative reaction, and I was reminded of how much I like parts of it. I’ll be writing about all of that confusing, conflicted reaction in a separate post.

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    • I believe this was not the ideology of racism. That was the Lovecraft’s perception of some New York City features and its inhabitants. Sort of artistic vision. I do not approve of that approach, but do not see the connection with the ideology of racism. So when Lovecraft returned to his native Povidence, a painful feeling of xenophobia disappeared soon.

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2 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” by The Mountain Goats
  2. A Babel of Sound and Filth: A Few Words on Lovecraft and Racism « Dork Forty!

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