Saturday, May 30, 2009

Edwin Hubble and Lovecraft

Above, Hubble the dedicatory of the New Albany High School yearbook, with his basketball stars, the first know picture of him with a telescope, and spelunking in Wyandotte Cave.

In 1923, Hubble made a profound discovery: He showed that the "spiral nebulae" that were previously presumed to be within our galaxy, the Milky Way, were actually other galaxies that lay far beyond our own. The following year, he showed that the Milky Way was just one of many galaxies in the universe.

Lovecraft, always keen to read about astronomical phenomenon would not have missed this news alert. In October 1923, part of the New York Times headline read: "Finds spiral nebulae are stellar systems. Doctor Hubbel [sic] confirms view that they are 'island universes' similar to our own."

Lovecraft had already forumlated key nihilist aspects of his weird tales, and after 1923 he progressed to write more intense examples of man's inconsequential existence in the vastness of the universe.

As Lovecraft was proud of his Providence, Chrispy is equally proud that Louisville has played some prominence in history. For a portion of his life, Hubble was a member of the Kentuckiana region. Click Here to see of those times: His family lived there between 1909 - 1916. A 1914 yearbook from his high school teaching assignment showed that the girls were "ga ga over him as they indicated in a dedicating the New Albany High School yearbook to him. He placed, as coach, third place in the state basketball tournament that year.

If Lovecraft had etter tutorng in mathematics, his grandfather had not died so soon, this could have been Lovecraft's life, too. From college, to high school teacher, and perhaps astronomical greatness. Instead, he switched to poetry, and then to weird tales.

{I've not had time to research if Lovecraft actually quoted Hubble in any letters.}

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