Two ships sail from Boston Harbor on September the 2nd, 1930, one the stately Miskatonic and the other, the rugged Arkham. At the helm of each is a weathered whaling-boat captain, and distributed between the two ships are a drilling apparatus, four men of science, their assistants and skilled mechanics, and their means for surviving the frigid Antarctic. Thus begins the journey of the fateful Miskatonic Expedition.
Of Lovecraft’s contributions to our culture, it may be argued his most enduring is the Necronomicon.
When a traveler in north central Massachusetts takes the wrong fork at the junction of Aylesbury pike just beyond Dean's Corners he comes upon a lonely and curious country.
Last week, my erudite and astute coworker José did what we in the activism community refer to as, “call me out on my sh*t.” Meaning, he cut right to the obvious issue readers of Lovecraft must grapple with in a more enlightened 21st century: the author’s real world bigotry that seeped into his writing. I may have hoped to skip this issue. Lovecraft is well-known for his racism and anti-Semitism, and we're just beginning to discuss his classism as well. I hoped other people had written enough about it, but José is right: I have to face the issue before I can blog on.
What terminology do we use to describe the stories of strange and unfathomable beings? Lovecraft and his contemporaries in the early twentieth century called them weird tales, but for we readers of the new millenium, this term might not hold the same cachet. We could begin with genre definitions. In Lovecraft’s work, we find themes of horror – he was called the “dark, baroque prince of horror” by Stephen King, and was graduated to the “pope of horror” by China Miéville – but we also find themes in his work that are more neatly categorized as science fiction, and still others so fantastic they defy categorization.
Beginning 19 September with a new post each Wednesday leading up to Halloween, I, Red Emma will blog abouty Lovecraft: his writing, his life, and his odd predilection for Anglicized spellings. If you'd like to follow along at home, I'll be reading the Del Rey compilations from 1996, all of which can be ordered through wellerbookworks.com.
“I want to push back against the idea that one has to be in academia to understand philosophy because it’s so entangled in our everyday lives.” He explained his broad definition of a philosopher as a ‘conceptual engineer,’ one who works with concepts that are old and need re-tooling. “People use these techniques every day. If you are working with concepts, you are engaging with philosophy.”