LOVECRAFT WAS A RACIST
I have been asked why I have not yet covered H.P. Lovecraft. Certainly At the Mountains of Madness is considered mandatory reading?
I cannot argue that the man’s work was (and remains!) influential on horror literature. And, yes. If I were to choose a single work of his to feature it would be Mountains.
Truth is, I have something personal against writing about a known racist.
Was Lovecraft a Racist?
Lovecraft's first poem that was not self-published appeared in a local newspaper in 1912. Called Providence in 2000 A.D., the poem envisioned a future where people of English heritage were displaced by immigrants. Surviving unpublished poems from this period, most notoriously "On the Creation of Niggers", were also emblematic of the xenophobia and racism inherent in much of Lovecraft's later work.
There are numerous examples of his racism you can find on your own.
If I were to write about Lovecraft and his work I feel as if I would have to defend his racism. The above facts exemplify how institutionalized racism was in Lovecraft’s world. I cannot pick and choose facts from a writer’s life and wedge them in place of an article I want to be read as honoring a literary icon. Plain and simple: the man was racist and xenophobic. If I choose to write about him my only defense for it would be the man’s work, specifically At the Mountains of Madness. That is all that merits such an article and that’s just not enough.
If I were to honor a racist I would be contributing to hate culture. I’m not going to do that.
Men like Lovecraft have outlived their honors. If we could bury the hatred they bred in their lifetimes we might have inherited a better society. There are many who will continue to honor them. I am not one of them.
Mandatory Midnight returns next week.