Sunday, October 29, 2006

Frank Belknap Long On Lovecraft and Occultism

Q: Did Lovecraft take occultism seriously? It has been said ... in his youth he drew magical symbols on the walls and floor of one of the roomsin the Angell Street House, which was found by an elderly physician whose residence it later became.

A: nonsense. such an attempt ... would have seemed to him a silliness meriting nothing but contempt. His disbelief in the occult was absolute. ... Lovecraft was an extreme scientific materialist ... no patience with anything that went contray to modern biochemistry or astrophysics ... to him the Cthulhu Mythos was an artistic construct and nothing else. But as an artistic construct it was of supreme importance ... he was a dreamer on the nightside, an explorer of the Great Unknown...

Q: Was Lovecraft a mystic?

A: No. His approach to reality waould be so probing and rationalistic that he had much in common with Voltaire.

I recommend to anyone who can find a copy to read: Howard Phillips Lovecraft: Dreamer On the Night Side, Updated, Frank Belkanp Long, 1975, Arkham House. Mr. Long obviously looks back many decades to tap memories, and a few have been challenged as accurate by S.T. Joshi - as Mr. Joshi has recently been challenged by others in too narrow an interpretation of Lovecrfat's life with respect to cosmic nihilism. But it is a wonderful, warm read given to us by the late Mr. Long.

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