Friday, April 06, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1990 & Les Daniels

It was hard on the old eyes, but here is the text as I could recover from the Les* Daniels text of the Providence memorial paper.

(* Corrected 13 April 2007 - Thanks for the correction!)

Although Horror is Sometimes Despised …
By Lex Daniels

On his death in 1937, H.P. Lovecraft … has achieved a level of fame for espousing the sound recognition he experienced during his lifetime. He is now a legendary figure, familiar to readers all … and known to many who have never read his stories. The growth of Lovecraft’s reputation varies, of course to the qualities on … work, but also to the several … of writers who have acknowledged him in their own work.

…wrote fantasy, science fiction, and … that had not achieved their … popularity – Lovecraft’s stories … published in comparatively obscure … they might have languished after his death, two of his fellow … August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, … money to publish a collection of … The Outsider and Others, in … the beginning of Lovecraft.

… Lovecraft encouraged others in this field, sometimes in person … through his letters. Among … were Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan the Barbarian, and Robert Bloch … In addition to the advice … themes he explored in the … inspiration for many of his …

…a fusion of horror and science-fiction …. The monsters of ancient …. As entities from different universes. At his most radical … of Einstein into fantasy … obvious in such films as …

Ramsey Campbell, perhaps the dean of modern British supernatural writers, began his career with frank imitations of Lovecraft’s subjects and style. Campbell in his turn had a significant affect on the best selling English author Clive Barker. The American Stephen King, whose phenomenally successful novels have no precedent in the field of popular fiction, discovered Lovecraft when he was a boy, and has stated that “Lovecraft opened the way for me.”

Even more than Edgar Allan Poe, who has become the mascot of mystery writers, H. P. Lovecraft is the symbol of speculative fiction. It is his likeness that adorns the World Fantasy Award presented annually to writers as diverse as Stephen King and Jorge Luis Borges.

As a writer of supernatural fiction, I can testify to Lovecraft’s continuing significance. Although my work is as different from his as it could be within the confines of a comparatively narrow field, I owe him a great deal. Beyond his fiction, his letters and essays constitute a strong endorsement of the idea that such stories, often dismissed as entertainment of dubious morality, are in fact flexible enough to encompass serious observation on the human condition.

Although horror is sometimes despised, at its best it is one of the few popular genres that deals with serious philosophical issues, ranging from the danger of ambition to the meaning of mortality. More than just good guys fighting bad guys, at its most sophisticated it approaches classical tragedy. Lovecraft … was presenting human endeavors against a … background of time and space which … the monumental pettiness of our struggles … and glory. His high-minded approach has provided an inspiration for the best writers in the game and a reproach to those who are … very mere melodrama.

Lovecraft was never in it for the money which is just as well, since he made very little. … now a commercial property regularly … adopted by Hollywood … Ironically, the commercial value … work now possesses derives from his … was worth doing for next to nothing. Despite the cynicism he was known for, he will be remembered for his conviction that visions and dreams are more worthwhile than politics or …

The current popularity of fantastic … the arts owes more to H. P. Lovecraft than can ever be repaid, but he asked for nothing but the chance to work in his chosen field. “… though essential branch of human expression:, he wrote, “ and will chiefly appeal to a limited audience with keen special …”. By concentrating on what he … esoteric, Lovecraft has touched the world.

Les Daniels, a Providence-based writer of horror fiction, is writing a history of Marvel Comics and he recently wrote the introduction to the illustrated edition of Lovecraft’s novella At The Mountains of Madness.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The author is Les (not Lex) Daniels, who has written a number of genre-related works.


Blog Archive


Google Analytics