|mouser - 2009-03-15 |
Ssssspoooky! In an 19th century kinda way.
Holy fuck! A guy from the way early 1900s was racist! SURELY NOT!
|manfred - 2009-03-16 |
It is quite disturbing how almost all of his stories have some sort of twisted racialist context: Great horrors occur due to miscegenation (Shadow over Innsmouth), abolitionism (At the Mountains of Madness) or race war (Shadow Out of Time). The cyclopean nightmare city of R'lyeh is clearly supposed to represent New York, full of interracial couples, Jews and Negroes.
Shadow Out Of Time's main alien race was socialist. It is, in fact, one of Lovecraft's more progressive works. The idea of two alien races going to war isn't exactly all that "out there" if you think of them as differing nations, cultures, or governments rather than purely along the lines of race. Galaxy/Universe on the scale we think of nationalities on our own planets.
Also, deduct two Beard Points for trying to use Shadow Out Of Time to support a belief that Lovecraft's entire career was based around racialism but completely omitting his most obvious offenders, particularly The Horror At Red Hook and The Street.
The rats in the walls? Anybody?
There's a cat named Niggerman for christ's sake.
|dancingshadow - 2009-03-16 |
Dreams are the well for thirsty writers. Be careful around Nightgaunts.
|manfred - 2009-03-16 |
Red Hook and the Street are racist, sure, but straightforwardly so. Innsmouth and ATMM are not obviously about race but the symbolism becomes clear when read between the lines.
|StanleyPain - 2009-03-16 |
Dismissing Lovecraft's work because of his occasional leanings towards racist ideals, most of which were thoroughly commonplace amongst families of his particular upbringing, would be incredibly ignorant. Also, reading all of that into his stories in such detail is ridiculous. His deep interest in astronomy and his own personal issues with insomnia and night terrors unquestionably drove much of his work, not to mention the fact the literary personalities he most wanted to emulate were hardly icons of casual racism. It's true that he had a pathological dislike of black people (which he certainly didn't hide in his communication with other people), but it hardly defines his work as a whole, not to mention that, despite some of his recurring themes of Anglo-Saxon culture being the best there is, no one is safe from the horrors of his creation.
I believe the brilliance of his work easily overcomes the fact that he was a prejudiced individual.
Rodents of Unusual Size
He might have had second thoughts about it later on in life. From Wikipedia (because I'm lazy)
"According to L. Sprague de Camp's biography, Lovecraft greatly moderated his views toward the end of his life. Sprague de Camp says Lovecraft was horrified by reports of anti-Jewish violence in Germany during the 1930s, which he regarded as irrational.
Recent studies have begun to question, not Lovecraft's racism per se, but his dedication to the theory. For example, Michael Gurnow's study of "The Dunwich Horror," relays that Lovecraft makes martyrs of African American twins by the close of the text, thus suggesting that, at least in part and at various times throughout his life, Lovecraft explored and questioned the veracity of his racial views."
The introductory essay to one of the Arkham House volumes (I believe Dagon and Other Tales) goes to some length explaining how Lovecraft's belief system changed throughout his life. Up toward the time of his life he firmly believed in the concept of socialism and had seemed to come to a point where he considered intellectualism a more superior qualifier for a person's acceptability in society than their race. I'll have to look up the volume and the essayist and post that info in this thread.
|HURF BLURF DUH - 2009-03-16 |
WHAT?! Are you trying to tell me that a man born in AMERICA in 1890 was influenced by institutional racism?! THE HELL YOU SAY
Lovecraft's racism went way beyond the norm of the era.
Carter frequently excoriates Lovecraft for his lack of professionalism, and bluntly condemns what he finds to be Lovecraft's racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism:
"[H]is loathing of "Jews and foreigners" was something more than merely the snobbery of one of "pure" English descent, soured by the provincialism of his Rhode Island background. It was, I suppose, nearly if not actually pathological."
Damn idiot fingers.
What I meant is, if he was so hateful of Jews, it was sure odd of him to marry one, wouldn't you say?
Rovin, H.P. Lovecraft was a raving Anti-Semite. While married to Sonia Greene, he would rant that jews were monsters who were responsible for all the world's ills.
She would remind him that he was married to one of those monsters. He simply reply that she was Mrs H.P. Lovecraft...
I see Lovecraft as a product of his times & upbringing. He wrote incredible stories. He inspired many writers & artists. Whatever his personal demons, he contributed a great deal to our world.
He might have, but Mrs. H.P. Lovecraft WAS a Jew. While he might have ranted on Jews, which was likely as he ranted against a LOT of people, it certainly points him out as more a fractured soul than a completely one-sided one.
I do agree with you that he was a product of his times and upbringing though, of course, and I think he was a far more complicated and perhaps damaged person than we can necessarily sum up to a simple statement of, "A racist who wrote horror stories with racist themes." There was far more to this individual than that.
Rodents of Unusual Size
I think that his racism was more of a race fear. Everything about him denotes an individual that was scared of the world in general. He had a nervous breakdown during his first real job and never got over it. He went into the big world and came back a failure, crawled into a hole and lived there the rest of his life with his proto Internet group of fanboys. He basically was haunted by his nightmares and allowed us to be as well, and I respect that. Horror is so easily done nowadays in the form of something we can easily see and understand. The slasher comes and kills a teen, we cringe.
Lovecraft on the other hand was afraid and paranoid of what he couldn't see or prove, and it's interesting from an anthropological viewpoint how even his ideas on race play into that. His gradual dismissal of most of humanity as not worthy or capable of being saved from the reality he viewed as far worse than most people wanted to see or imagine.
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