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.)