The Real Shadow Over Innsmouth
The odd, possibly, in light of the current controversy, prophetic cover for this 1944 edition of Lovecraft's stories
As I have already noted in my introduction, HPL was a racist. It is clear to me that his strong aversion to the other, extended not only to non-Aryan groups but it also to people he considered lower class, the country folk of The Dunwich Horror, the squatters of The Lurking Fear, the poor " the two-year-old child of a clod-like laundry worker named Anastasia Wolejko had completely vanished from sight" in his story Dreams in a Witch-House. If he had used local instead of clod-like it would perhaps, have shown a degree of empathy that HPL apparently lacked when considering the death of a child. That he lived in racist times there is no doubt, we obviously still do, but so were the times that gave us the British Slavery Abolition Act of 1833, and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, HPL sank rather than rose to the occasion. HPL's letters do not help his case because they demonstrate that he brought a vile and sadistic imagination to bear when he discussed encounters with non-Aryan peoples, that I suspect was extreme even in his own time. The reason that I am discussing this now, is that I intend to use this blog to highlight web resources that I think would be of interest to any reader of HPL's work. I recently read an excellent discussion of this topic, The "N' Word Through the Ages: The Madness of H.P. Lovecraft by Phenderson Djeli Clark, at Racialicious which provided excellent quotes from his letters.
I was directed to this post by the Salon article, Its Ok to admit that H.P. Lovecraft was racist, which I also recommend.
Will I close this blog down and sell off my books, not at present. I have been reading HPL's stories and letters for years as well as those of his contemporaries and I was aware of this unfortunate trend. While HPL was more extreme and/or possibly more vocal, racism and misogyny are common in both the early pulp fiction genre and the science fiction works that grew out of it. Often these ideas so dominate the works that the story or novel suffers when compared to the author's less polemic works. For that reason I suggest you skip the very badly written The Horror at Red Hook and read instead The Colour Out of Space, The Outsider, or one of my favourites for HPL at his world building best The Shadow out of Time.