Quotes by H. P. Lovecraft
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Wikipedia Summary for H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (US: ; August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer of weird and horror fiction, who is known for his creation of what became known as the Cthulhu Mythos.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Lovecraft spent most of his life in New England. He was born into affluence, but his family's wealth dissipated soon after the death of his grandfather. In 1913, he wrote a critical letter to a pulp magazine that ultimately led to his involvement in pulp fiction. During the interwar period, he wrote and published stories that focused on his interpretation of humanity's place in the universe. In his view, humanity was an unimportant part of an uncaring cosmos that could be swept away at any moment. These stories also included fantastic elements that represented the perceived fragility of anthropocentrism.
Lovecraft joined the small "Kalem Club" of writers when he first moved to New York, and would later be the center of a wider body of authors known as the "Lovecraft Circle". This group wrote stories that frequently shared details among them. He was also a prolific letter writer. He maintained a correspondence with several different authors and literary proteges. According to some estimates, he wrote approximately 100,000 letters over the course of his life. In these letters, he discussed his worldview and his daily life, and tutored younger authors, such as August Derleth, Donald Wandrei, and Robert Bloch.
Throughout his adult life, Lovecraft was never able to support himself from earnings as an author and editor. He was virtually unknown during his lifetime and was almost exclusively published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty at the age of 46, but is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors of supernatural horror fiction. Among his most celebrated tales are "The Call of Cthulhu", "The Rats in the Walls", At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time. His writings form the basis of the Cthulhu Mythos, which has inspired a large body of pastiches across several mediums drawing on Lovecraft's characters, setting and themes, constituting a wider subgenre known as Lovecraftian horror.
The cat is classic whilst the dog is Gothic -- nowhere in the animal world can we discover such really Hellenic perfection of form, with anatomy adapted to function, as in the felidae.
Throw a stick, and the servile dog wheezes and pants and shambles to bring it to you. Do the same before a cat, and he will eye you with coolly polite and somewhat bored amusement.
Outside, across the putrid moat and under the dark mute trees, I would often lie and dream for hours about what I read in the books; and would longingly picture myself amidst gay crowds in the sunny world beyond the endless forests.
I neither knew nor cared whether my experience was insanity, dreaming, or magic; but was determined to gaze on brilliance and gaiety at any cost.
As the savage progresses, he acquires experience and formulates codes of 'right' and 'wrong' from his memories of those courses which have helped or hurt him... Then out of the principle of barter comes the illusion of 'justice' .
All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
It was from the artists and poets that the pertinent answers came, and I know that panic would have broken loose had they been able to compare notes.
The cat is classic whilst the dog is Gothic - nowhere in the animal world can we discover such really Hellenic perfection of form, with anatomy adapted to function, as in the felidae.
The moon is dark, and the gods dance in the night; there is terror in the sky, for upon the moon hath sunk an eclipse foretold in no books of men or of earth's gods.
I have seen the dark universe yawning
Where the black planets roll without aim,
Where they roll in their horror unheeded,
Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.
The basis of all true cosmic horror is violation of the order of nature, and the profoundest violations are always the least concrete and describable.
The earliest English attempts at rhyming probably included words whose agreement is so slight that it deserves the name of mere 'assonance' rather than that of actual rhyme.
Religion struck me so vague a thing at best, that I could perceive no advantage of any one system over any other.
Horrors, I believe, should be original -- the use of common myths and legends being a weakening influence.
The end of a story must be stronger rather than weaker than the beginning, since it is the end which contains the denouement or culmination and which will leave the strongest impression upon the reader.
There is no field other than the weird in which I have any aptitude or inclination for fictional composition. Life has never interested me so much as the escape from life.
I am so beastly tired of mankind and the world that nothing can interest me unless it contains a couple of murders on each page or deals with the horrors unnameable and unaccountable that leer down from the external universes.
The ignorant and the deluded are, I think, in a strange way to be envied. That which is not known of does not trouble us, while an imagined but insubstantial peril does not harm us. To know the truths behind reality is a far greater burden.
Naturally one would rather be a broad artist with power to evoke beauty from every phase of experience -- but when one unmistakably isn't such an artist, there's no sense in bluffing and faking and pretending that one is.
Man's relations to man do not captivate my fancy. It is man's relation to the cosmos -- to the unknown -- which alone arouses in me the spark of creative imagination.
Two widely dissimilar races, whether equal or not, cannot peaceably coexist in the same territory until they are either uniformly mongrelised or cast in folkways of permanent and traditional personal aloofness.
Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-mooned abysses of night, I have lived o'er my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight.
There were nameless horrors abroad; and no matter how little one might be able to get at them, one ought tp stand prepared for any sort of action at any time.
It would not be amiss for the novice to write the last paragraph of his story first, once a synopsis of the plot has been carefully prepared -- as it always should be.
Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth.
I felt myself on the edge of the world; peering over the rim into a fathomless chaos of eternal night.
Something like fear chilled me as I sat there in the small hours alone-I say alone, for one who sits by a sleeper is indeed alone; perhaps more alone than he can realise.
I could not help feeling that they were evil things -- mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss.
I could not help feeling that they were evil things -- mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss. That seething , half-luminous cloud-background held ineffable suggestions of a vague, ethereal beyondness far more than terrestrially spatial; and gave appalling reminders of the utter remoteness, separateness, desolation, and aeon-long death of this untrodden and unfathomed austral world.
The trees grew too thickly, and their trunks were too big for any healthy New England wood. There was too much silence in the dim alleys between them.
Uncertainty and danger are always closely allied, thus making any kind of an unknown world a world of peril and evil possibilities.
Someday our piecing together of knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas we shall either go mad or flee into the safety of a new dark age.
Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species -- if separate species we be -- for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loossed upon the world.
We love kitties, gawd bless their little whiskers, and we don't give a damn whether they or we are superior or inferior! They're confounded pretty, and that's all we know and all we need to know!
Humour is but the faint terrestrial echo of the hideous laughter of the blind mad gods that squat leeringly and sardonically in caverns beyond the Milky Way. It is a hollow thing, sweet on the outside, but filled with the pathos of fruitless aspiration.
No one ever wrote a story yet without some real emotional drive behind it -- and I have not that drive except where violations of the natural order ... defiances and evasions of time, space, and cosmic law ... are concerned.
Good and evil and beauty and ugliness are only ornamental fruits of perspective, whose sole value lies in their linkage to what chance made our fathers think and feel, and whose finer details are different for every race and culture.
Religion itself is an absurdity and an anomaly, and paganism is acceptable only because it represents that purely orgiastic phase of religion farthest from reality.
Orthodox Christianity, by playing upon the emotions of man, is able to accomplish wonders toward keeping him in order and relieving his mind. It can frighten or cajole him away from evil more effectively than could reason.
The sole ultimate factor in human decisions is physical force. This we must learn, however repugnant the idea may seem, if we are to protect ourselves and our institutions. Reliance on anything else is fallacious and ruinous.
I have never been able to soothe myself with the sugary delusions of religion; for these things stand convicted of the utmost absurdity in light of modern scientific knowledge.
Certain of Poe's tales possess an almost absolute perfection of artistic form which makes them veritable beacon-lights in the province of the short story.
Though not a participant in the Business of life; I am, like the character of Addison and Steele, an impartial (or more or less impartial) Spectator, who finds not a little recreation in watching the antics of those strange and puny puppets called men.
Truth is of no practical value to mankind save as it affects terrestrial phenomena, hence the discoveries of science should be concealed or glossed over wherever they conflict with orthodoxy.
All attempts at gaining literary polish must begin with judicious reading, and the learner must never cease to hold this phase uppermost. In many cases, the usage of good authors will be found a more effective guide than any amount of precept.
Even when the characters are supposed to be accustomed to the wonder, I try to weave an air of awe and impressiveness corresponding to what the reader should feel. A casual style ruins any serious fantasy.
The darkness always teemed with unexplained sound -- and yet he sometimes shook with fear lest the noises he heard subside and allow him to hear certain other fainter noises which he suspected were lurking behind them.
Never should an unfamiliar word be passed over without elucidation, for, with a little conscientious research, we may each day add to our conquests in the realm of philology and become more and more ready for graceful independent expression.
The 'punch' of a truly weird tale is simply some violation or transcending of fixed cosmic law -- an imaginative escape from palling reality -- hence, phenomena rather than persons are the logical 'heroes.'
To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void. We drift on a chartless, resistless sea. Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest.
Cosmic terror appears as an ingredient of the earliest folklore of all races and is crystallised in the most archaic ballads, chronicles, and sacred writings.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
To me there is nothing more fraught with mystery and terror than a remote Massachusetts farmhouse against a lonely hill. Where else could an outbreak like the Salem witchcraft have occurred?
In writing a weird story, I always try very carefully to achieve the right mood and atmosphere and place the emphasis where it belongs.
Write out the story -- rapidly, fluently, and not too critically -- following the second or narrative-order synopsis. Change incidents and plot whenever the developing process seems to suggest such change, never being bound by any previous design.
I am essentially a recluse who will have very little to do with people wherever he may be. I think that most people only make me nervous -- that only by accident, and in extremely small quantities, would I ever be likely to come across people who wouldn't.
It is easy to remove the mind from harping on the lost illusion of immortality. The disciplined intellect fears nothing and craves no sugar-plum at the day's end, but is content to accept life and serve society as best it may.
It is easy to remove the mind from harping on the lost illusion of immortality. The disciplined intellect fears nothing and craves no sugar-plum at the day's end, but is content to accept life and serve society as best it may. Personally I would not care for immortality in the least. There is nothing better than oblivion, since in oblivion there is no wish unfulfilled. We had it before we were born, yet did not complain. Shall we whine because we know it will return? It is Elysium enough for me, at any rate.
A dog is a pitiful thing, depending wholly on companionship, and utterly lost except in packs or by the side of his master. Leave him alone, and he does not know what to do except bark and howl and trot about till sheer exhaustion forces him to sleep.
To me, there is nothing but puerility in a tale in which the human form -- and local human passions and conditions and standards -- are depicted as native to other worlds and universes.
In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of rational evidence, I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.
In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of rational evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist. The chance's of theism's truth being to my mind so microscopically small, I would be a pedant and a hypocrite to call myself anything else.
We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.
That metre itself forms an essential part of all true poetry is a principle which not even the assertions of an Aristotle or the pronouncements of a Plato can disestablish.
One cannot be too careful in the selection of adjectives for descriptions. Words or compounds which describe precisely, and which convey exactly the right suggestions to the mind of the reader, are essential.
Atmosphere, not action, is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood.
Heaven knows where I'll end up -- but it's a safe bet that I'll never be at the top of anything! Nor do I particularly care to be.
The monotony of a long heroic poem may often be pleasantly relieved by judicious interruptions in the perfect succession of rhymes, just as the metre may sometimes be adorned with occasional triplets and Alexandrines.
It is a mistake to fancy that horror is associated inextricably with darkness, silence, and solitude.
My nervous system is a shattered wreck, and I am absolutely bored and listless save when I come upon something which peculiarly interests me.
All of my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and emotions have no validity or significance in the cosmos-at-large.
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
I am not very proud of being an human being; in fact, I distinctly dislike the species in many ways. I can readily conceive of beings vastly superior in every respect.
I am disillusioned enough to know that no man's opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he's talking about.
Of our relation to all creation we can never know anything whatsoever. All is immensity and chaos. But, since all this knowledge of our limitations cannot possibly be of any value to us, it is better to ignore it in our daily conduct of life.
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
If I could create an ideal world, it would be an England with the fire of the Elizabethans, the correct taste of the Georgians, and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians.
All rationalism tends to minimalise the value and the importance of life and to decrease the sum total of human happiness.