Authors: H. P. Lovecraft
The Complete Works of
H. P. LOVECRAFT
© Delphi Classics 2013
The Complete Works of
Other Weird and Supernatural Fiction authors
Although at the time of his death H. P. Lovecraft was relatively unknown as a writer, his imaginative and original horror, fantasy and science fiction stories have now earned him the prestige of being one of
’s most popular writers.
Having established the Cthulhu Mythos story cycle and his Necronomicon world of forbidden lore, Lovecraft is celebrated for having developed an aesthetic and philosophical principle of ‘cosmicism’, a belief that life is incomprehensible to human minds and so the universe is fundamentally opposed to their interest. It was with this innovative theory that he used many of his short stories to create unusual worlds and horrific encounters.
Many of his tales convey a cold indifference to human concerns and affairs, creating an atmosphere unprecedented in literature until this time.
With few of his readers even knowing his name during his literary career, Lovecraft’s stories appeared chiefly in prominent pulp magazines such as
Nevertheless, he corresponded with other contemporary writers, such as Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth, eventually forming a literary group that is now referred to as the “
All members of the group were directly inspired by Lovecraft, who actively encouraged other writers to use his ideas and share his work.
The author’s prolific letters reveal a learned and enthusiastic knowledge of the classics, as well as a heightened understanding of critical study.
After Lovecraft’s death, the
continued their work, expanding his vision and the mythological worlds he had established in his short stories.
Developed by Lovecraft, the Cthulhu Mythos is a fictive universe, whose name was coined by August Derleth, after the name of the Cthulhu creature from Lovecraft’s famous short story
The Call of Cthulhu
Written in 1926 and first published two years later in
, this story
is widely regarded as being one of Lovecraft’s greatest works.
Reportedly, Lovecraft was inspired in the writing of the tale by Lord Alfred Tennyson’s 1830 sonnet
, due to its reference of a huge aquatic creature sleeping for an eternity at the bottom of the ocean.
The short story is presented in form as a manuscript discovered among the papers of the late Francis Wayland Thurston, of
. In the narrative, Thurston recounts his discovery of notes left behind by his granduncle, George Gammell Angell, a prominent Professor of Semitic languages at
, who died suddenly in the winter of 1926 amid mysterious circumstances.
In many of his subsequent short stories, Lovecraft expanded on his theme of absolute irrelevance of mankind in the face of the cosmic horrors existing in the universe, with the author constantly referring to the “Great Old Ones”, a pantheon of ancient and omnipotent deities from space, who had once ruled the Earth and since fallen into a deathlike sleep.
Following Lovecraft’s untimely death to cancer in 1936, August Derleth continued publishing Lovecraft’s stories, whilst attempting to categorise and expand the Mythos. Since then, many writers have added to the Lovecraftian milieu, shaping the Cthulhu Mythos in what has become an ongoing expansion of the fictional universe.
As Lovecraft’s reputation has blossomed over the decades, he is now regarded as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, drawing the admiration of writers such as Stephen King, Félix Guattari, Michel Houellebecq and Jorge Luis Borges. In this edition, Lovecraft’s complete fictional works, including the tales he collaborated on with other writers, are presented in the chronological order they were written, allowing readers to chart the gradual development of Lovecraft’s universe and the originality of his writing.
due to copyright restrictions, the short stories that Lovecraft wrote with C. M. Eddy, Jr. cannot appear in this collection.