H.P. Lovecraft Style, Science, Myth

Course Description

In this class, in addition to reading the major works of H.P. Lovecraft, we will be considering his work in three specific ways: as a style, as a philosophy of science, and as a source of contemporary myth. Students will complete projects analyzing these three issues, as they pertain to Lovecraft's writing and world.

Welcome to Class!

Howard Philips Lovecraft was an American author of so-called “weird fiction” who lived primarily in New England from 1890 to 1937. Noted for the total commitment to human insignificance present in his fiction, he has recently come to transcend his status as “merely” a horror writer and is now regarded as one of the true masters of literary fiction in the United States during the twentieth century.

In this class, we will, obviously, be reading a lot of H.P. Lovecraft, including the “great texts” (“The Call of Cthulu,” “The Colour Out of Space,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Dreams in the Witch House,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and “The Shadow Out of Time”). However, beyond just reading Lovecraft’s fiction, we will be completing a series of projects designed to focus understanding of three of the most important features of Lovecraft’s fiction: his style, his interest in science, and his mythology.

By considering Lovecraft’s unique style, his ability to integrate both an extreme aversion to modernity and a fascination with scientific progress, and his dense and ominously anti-human mythology, this class will allow you to better understand how H.P. Lovecraft has gone from an author who’s work was famously described as “bad art and bad taste” by Edmund Wilson in 1945 to an important figure in the development of the short story in America during the twentieth century.