Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lovecraft's Non-Influences

Ol' Ech Pi El was an eclectic man. He lived in an incredibly dynamic age - F Scott Fitzgerald, Hemmingway, T S Elliot, e e cummings, and more. He lived at the dawn of the Jazz Age and yet never commented in his stories on Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, or George Gershwin. The Lindbergh Kidnapping, Sacco and Venzetti, and more all were of his era, and they were non-events to his antiquarian minds.

Yet, an obscure house, quirky painting, musty book at the back of the book stall, or out of the way newspaper clipping could send him into a tizzy for years until a story emerged.

Only after the fact can we find the influences that churned through HPL's mind. His friends and colleagues never knew what might emerge next. Frank Belknap Long wondered why one thig or another might have captivated his attention.

Lovecraft could recite Roman and Egyptian lore backwards and forwards, quote long passages from scripture or horror books, and yet he might see a really odd thing (like witch-like women in a park) and ignore them for the truly obscure (touching the stone walls of an Egyptian display in a museum) or mundane such as George Kirk's residence (Cool Air) !

Here's to the unfathomable brain of Mr. Lovecraft !

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