On Reading Lovecraft
Some lessons, and some thoughts
For Halloween, I checked out a Lovecraft anthology. It was a complete anthology, so it had basically everything he had ever written. This revealed some points.
Big Words for Big Words’ Sake Is A Mixed Bag
Lovecraft had a particular style that uses many words (and generally the old British spelling) that are arcane and unusual. ‘Litten,’ ‘sub-pedragal,’ and other such words are strewn through his works.
Sometimes, seeing these words inspired me to expand my vocabulary. Hey, once in a while, a few fancy options are necessary.
Other times, I just thought, ‘why not use the more prosaic version of the word that people will recognize?’ If people don’t know what you are saying, it’s pointless.
Jason Colavito maintains that ‘The Morning of the Magicians’ is taking Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythology as true, and then got copied by Von Daniken, the source material for much of Ancient Aliens.
Certainly, Lovecraft’s consistent use of the same gods, places, and names could inspire the assumption that they are based on something real. Reading the fourth story involving Arkham, Innsmouth, and Nyalarthotep does make the lore feel more real.
I’m also just shocked how much he wrote in his short life. Apparently, he even wrote poetry.
I was not expecting the sheer amount of verbiage. The novellas and multiple long-form stories are hard to digest in a group. That’s the problem with ebooks: it’s hard to figure out how long a book is when it is all digital. His verboseness does not help in that area, either.