Wednesday, November 16, 2005

further literary criticism

The Bulwer-Lytton page also provides a link to a Salon.com article about H.P. Lovecraft, "the greatest bad writer of our time." I confess I never read any more of Lovecraft than excerpts, because yes, he really was long-winded, obfusticating and boring. But here's a few facts I never knew:
[Lovecraft's] parents both suffered from mental illness (his father's was possibly syphilitic in origin) and as a teenager he endured a nervous breakdown that interfered with his schooling and any conventional socialization. He was tall, thin, pale and extremely bookish, the pet and the target of a mother who was both smothering and critical, particularly of his physical appearance. A brief marriage to an older woman eventually fell apart and after a disastrous try at living in New York, he retired to his native and beloved Providence to live with two elderly aunts.

Now doesn't that tell you everything you need to know about the man, and what kind of fiction he'd produce? Doesn't that sound like every other wannabe scifi/fantasy (fan)writer I know? Doesn't that perfectly describe the lives of the bulk of Lovecraft's fans--guys living in basements with cranky elderly mothers, writing dark navel-gazing fiction about the horror and futility of life?

Thus endeth my feelings of inadequacy for never having read him.

2 comments:

Willis said...

May the glorious octopus headed man-thing Cthulhu strike you down for...

Wait, no... never mind. I can't even keep a straight face typing that.

You have to give Lovecraft props though. Without him, think of all the lonely, angsty teen nerds who'd never have met the angsty teen goths down at the Hot Topic to combine forces with. Without this mighty union, capitalism would collapse from the inability to sell KMFDM t-shirts and the rivers would run purple from unsold vats of hair dye.

Holly said...

Wow... Lovecraft as cautionary tale. Never thought of it that way.