H.P. Lovecraft, Weird fiction, Antarctic

Document Type

Research Paper


The 'weird fiction' of H.P. Lovecraft has frustrated any attempt to place the author safely in the canons of genre fiction. Writing in the brief period of 1917 - 1937 with a keen mind towards the era's scientific discoveries, Lovecraft's stories about cosmic horror, insanity, and inhumanity cultivated the author no fame during his lifetime. The weirdness of his 'weird fiction' derives from a unique combination of science, supernatural, metaphysics, and speculation all in service of the decentering and reduction of mankind on a cosmic scale. The mythology maintained across Lovecraft's numerous short stories depicts a world that is determined to undermine the ideals and arrogant assumptions of twentieth-century rationality, a nightmarish undoing of everything that could have been called human or humanity. "The mo t merciful thing in the world ... ," Lovecraft wrote, "is the inability of man to correlate all its contents. 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" (The Call of Cthulhu 381).



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Fantasy fiction, American--History and criticism; Antarctica--Discovery and exploration--Fiction; Antarctica--In literature; Centering (Psychology)


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Rights Statement


Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Lovecraft, H. P. (Howard Phillips),1890-1937. At the mountains of madness

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