Tuesday, August 22, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

H. P. Lovecraft (1890 – 1937)


American author of fantasy, horror, and science fiction, noted for combining these three genres within single narratives and possibly best known for the creation of the Cthulhu Mythos.
H. P. Lovecraft
In cloud-ships the gods are wont to travel, and wise cotters have legends that keep them from certain high peaks at night when it is cloudy, for the gods are not lenient as of old.
Lovecraft quotes
The writing accompanying this oddity was, aside from a stack of press cuttings, in Professor Angell's most recent hand; and made no pretense to literary style. What seemed to be the main document was headed "CTHULHU CULT" in characters painstakingly printed to avoid the erroneous reading of a word so unheard-of.
Lovecraft
Atop the tallest of earth's peaks dwell the gods of earth, and suffer not man to tell that he hath looked upon them. Lesser peaks they once inhabited; but ever the men from the plains would scale the slopes of rock and snow, driving the gods to higher and higher mountains till now only the last remains. When they left their old peaks they took with them all signs of themselves, save once, it is said, when they left a carven image on the face of the mountain which they called Ngranek. ... They are grown stern, and where once they suffered men to displace them, they now forbid men to come; or coming, to depart. It is well for men that they know not of Kadath in the cold waste; else they would seek injudiciously to scale it.




Lovecraft H. P. quotes
Of the pleasures and pains of opium much has been written. The ecstasies and horrors of De Quincey and the paradis artificiels of Baudelaire are preserved and interpreted with an art which makes them immortal, and the world knows well the beauty, the terror and the mystery of those obscure realms into which the inspired dreamer is transported. But much as has been told, no man has yet dared intimate the nature of the phantasms thus unfolded to the mind, or hint at the direction of the unheard-of roads along whose ornate and exotic course the partaker of the drug is so irresistibly borne.
Lovecraft H. P.
The Thing of the idols, the green, sticky spawn of the stars, had awaked to claim his own. The stars were right again, and what an age-old cult had failed to do by design, a band of innocent sailors had done by accident. After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight.
H. P. Lovecraft quotes
I found myself projected against an obstacle which I could not penetrate. It was like the others, yet incalculably denser; a sticky clammy mass, if such terms can be applied to analogous qualities in a non-material sphere.
I had, I felt, been halted by a barrier which my friend and leader had successfully passed. Struggling anew, I came to the end of the drug-dream...
H. P. Lovecraft
Above the mists on Hatheg-Kla, earth's gods sometimes dance reminiscently; for they know they are safe, and love to come from unknown Kadath in ships of clouds and play in the olden way, as they did when earth was new and men not given to the climbing of inaccessible places.
Lovecraft H. P. quotes
The very sun of heaven seemed distorted when viewed through the polarising miasma welling out from this sea-soaked perversion, and twisted menace and suspense lurked leeringly in those crazily elusive angles of carven rock where a second glance shewed concavity after the first shewed convexity.
Something very like fright had come over all the explorers before anything more definite than rock and ooze and weed was seen.
Lovecraft
Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous. Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species — if separate species we be — for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loosed upon the world.
Lovecraft H. P.
From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.
H. P. Lovecraft
Now the trickiest catch in the negro problem is the fact that it is really twofold. The black is vastly inferior. There can be no question of this among contemporary and unsentimental biologists—eminent Europeans for whom the prejudice-problem does not exist. But, it is also a fact that there would be a very grave and very legitimate problem even if the negro were the white man's equal. For the simple fact is, that two widely dissimilar races, whether equal or not, cannot peaceably coexist in the same territory until they are either uniformly mongrelised or cast in folkways of permanent and traditional personal aloofness. No normal being feels at ease amidst a population having vast elements radically different from himself in physical aspect and emotional responses. A normal Yankee feels like a fish out of water in a crowd of cultivated Japanese, even though they may be his mental and aesthetic superiors; and the normal Jap feels the same way in a crowd of Yankees. This, of course, implies permanent association. We can all visit exotic scenes and like it—and when we are young and unsophisticated we usually think we might continue to like it as a regular thing. But as years pass, the need of old things and usual influences—home faces and home voices—grows stronger and stronger; and we come to see that mongrelism won't work. We require the environing influence of a set of ways and physical types like our own, and will sacrifice anything to get them. Nothing means anything, in the end, except with reference to that continuous immediate fabric of appearances and experiences of which one was originally part; and if we find ourselves ingulphed by alien and clashing influences, we instinctively fight against them in pursuit of the dominant freeman's average quota of legitimate contentment. . . . All that any living man normally wants—and all that any man worth calling such will stand for—is as stable and pure a perpetuation as possible of the set of forms and appearances to which his value-perceptions are, from the circumstances of moulding, instinctively attuned. That is all there is to life—the preservation of a framework which will render the experience of the individual apparently relevant and significant, and therefore reasonably satisfying. Here we have the normal phenomenon of race-prejudice in a nutshell—the legitimate fight of every virile personality to live in a world where life shall seem to mean something. . . . Just how the black and his tan penumbra can ultimately be adjusted to the American fabric, yet remains to be seen. It is possible that the economic dictatorship of the future can work out a diplomatic plan of separate allocation whereby the blacks may follow a self-contained life of their own, avoiding the keenest hardships of inferiority through a reduced number of points of contact with the whites . . . No one wishes them any intrinsic harm, and all would rejoice if a way were found to ameliorate such difficulties as they have without imperilling the structure of the dominant fabric. It is a fact, however, that sentimentalists exaggerate the woes of the average negro. Millions of them would be perfectly content with servile status if good physical treatment and amusement could be assured them, and they may yet form a well-managed agricultural peasantry. The real problem is the quadroon and octoroon—and still lighter shades. Theirs is a sorry tragedy, but they will have to find a special place. What we can do is to discourage the increase of their numbers by placing the highest possible penalties on miscegenation, and arousing as much public sentiment as possible against lax customs and attitudes—especially in the inland South—at present favouring the melancholy and disgusting phenomenon. All told, I think the modern American is pretty well on his guard, at last, against racial and cultural mongrelism. There will be much deterioration, but the Nordic has a fighting chance of coming out on top in the end.




H. P. Lovecraft quotes
Theosophists have guessed at the awesome grandeur of the cosmic cycle wherein our world and human race form transient incidents. They have hinted at strange survivals in terms which would freeze the blood if not masked by a bland optimism. But it is not from them that there came the single glimpse of forbidden eons which chills me when I think of it and maddens me when I dream of it. That glimpse, like all dread glimpses of truth, flashed out from an accidental piecing together of separated things — in this case an old newspaper item and the notes of a dead professor....
H. P. Lovecraft
I really agree that Yog-Sothoth is a basically immature conception, & unfitted for really serious literature. The fact is, I have never approached serious literature yet. But I consider the use of actual folk-myths as even more childish than the use of new artificial myths, since in the former one is forced to retain many blatant peurilities & contradictions of experienced which could be subtilised or smoothed over if the supernaturalism were modelled to order for the given case. The only permanently artistic use of Yog-Sothothery, I think, is in symbolic or associative phantasy of the frankly poetic type; in which fixed dream-patterns of the natural organism are given an embodiment & crystallisation . . . But there is another phase of cosmic phantasy (which may or may not include frank Yog-Sothothery) whose foundations appear to me as better grounded than those of ordinary oneiroscopy; personal limitations regarding the sense of outsideness. I refer to the aesthetic crystallisation of that burning & inextinguishable feeling of mixed wonder & oppression which the sensitive imagination experiences upon scaling itself & its restrictions against the vast & provocative abyss of the unknown. This has always been the chief emotion in my psychology; & whilst it obviously figures less in the psychology of the majority, it is clearly a well-defined & permanent factor from which very few sensitive persons are wholly free. . . . Reason as we may, we cannot destroy a normal perception of the highly limited & fragmentary nature of our visible world of perception & experience as scaled against the outside abyss of unthinkable galaxies & unplumbed dimensions—an abyss wherein our solar system is the merest dot . . . The time has come when the normal revolt against time, space, & matter must assume a form not overtly incompatible with what is known of reality—when it must be gratified by images forming supplements rather than contradictions of the visible & measurable universe. And what, if not a form of non-supernatural cosmic art, is to pacify this sense of revolt—as well as gratify the cognate sense of curiosity?
Lovecraft quotes
We know today that nothing will restore the pre-machine condition of reasonably universal employment save an artificial allocation of working hours involving the use of more men than formerly to perform a given task. . . . The primary function of society, in spite of all the sophistries spurred of selfishness, is to give men better conditions than they could get without it; and the basic need today is jobs for all—not for "property" for a few of the luck and the acquisitive. . . . In view of the urgent need for change, there is something almost obscene in the chatter of the selfish about various psychological evils allegedly inherent in a New Deal promising decent economic security and humane leisure for all instead of for a few. . . . What is worth answering is the kindred outcry about "regimentation", "collective slavery", "violation of Anglo-Saxon freedom", "destruction of the right of the individual to make his own way" and so on; with liberal references to Stalin, Hitler, Mustapha Kemal, and other extremist dictators who have sought to control men's personal, intellectual, and artistic lives, and traditional habits and folkways, as well as their economic fortunes. Naturally the Anglo-Saxon balks at any programme calculated to limit his freedom as a man and a thinker or to disturb his inherited perspectives and daily customs—and need we say that no plan ever proposed in an Anglo-Saxon country would conceivably seek to limit such freedom or disturb such perspectives and customs? Here we have a deliberate smoke-screen—conscious and malicious confusion of terms. A decent planned society would indeed vary to some extent the existing regulations (for there are such) governing commercial and economic life. Yet who save a self-confessed Philistine or Marxist (the plutocrat can cite "Das Kapital" for his purpose!) would claim that the details and conditions of our merely economic activities form more than a trivial fraction of our whole lives and personalities? That which is essential and distinctive about a man is not the routine of material struggle he follows in his office; but the civilised way he lives, outside his office, the life whose maintenance is the object of his struggle. So long as his office work gains him a decently abundant and undisputedly free life, it matters little what that work is—what the ownership of the enterprise, and what and how distributed its profits, if profits there be. We have seen that no system proposes to deny skill and diligence an adequate remuneration. What more may skill and diligence legitimately ask? Nor is any lessening in the pride of achievement contemplated. Man will thrill just as much at the overcoming of vast obstacles, and the construction of great works, whether his deeds be performed for service or for profit. As it is, the greatest human achievements have never been for profit. Would Keats or Newton or Lucretius or Einstein or Santayana flourish less under a rationally planned society? Any intimation that a man's life is wholly his industrial life, and that a planned economic order means a suppression of his personality, is really both a piece of crass ignorance and an insult to human nature. Incidentally, it is curious that no one has yet pointed to the drastically regulated economic life of the early Mass. Bay colony as something "American"!
Lovecraft H. P.
There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life. But some of us awake in the night with strange phantasms of enchanted hills and gardens, of fountains that sing in the sun, of golden cliffs overhanging murmuring seas, of plains that stretch down to sleeping cities of bronze and stone, and of shadowy companies of heroes that ride caparisoned white horses along the edges of thick forests; and then we know that we have looked back through the ivory gates into that world of wonder which was ours before we were wise and unhappy.
Lovecraft H. P. quotes
Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse.
H. P. Lovecraft
When the last days were upon me, and the ugly trifles of existence began to drive me to madness like the small drops of water torturers let fall ceaselessly upon one spot of their victim's body, I loved the irradiate refuge of sleep. In my dreams I found a little of the beauty I had vainly sought in life, and wandered through old gardens and enchanted woods.
H. P. Lovecraft quotes
It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful.
H. P. Lovecraft
I'd first read Lovecraft when I was a young adolescent, which is perhaps the best time to read Lovecraft. Now, I admire him for his style, his monomaniacal precision, the 'weirdness' of his imagination, and the underlying, intransigent tragic vision that informs all of his work. He's an American original, whose influences on subsequent writers in the field (Stephen King, for instance) is all-pervasive.
Lovecraft H. P.
It must be remembered that there is no real reason to expect anything in particular from mankind; good and evil are local expedients—or their lack—and not in any sense cosmic truths or laws. We call a thing "good" because it promotes certain petty human conditions that we happen to like—whereas it is just as sensible to assume that all humanity is a noxious pest and should be eradicated like rats or gnats for the good of the planet or of the universe. There are no absolute values in the whole blind tragedy of mechanistic nature—nothing is good or bad except as judged from an absurdly limited point of view. The only cosmic reality is mindless, undeviating fate—automatic, unmoral, uncalculating inevitability. As human beings, our only sensible scale of values is one based on lessening the agony of existence. That plan is most deserving of praise which most ably fosters the creation of the objects and conditions best adapted to diminish the pain of living for those most sensitive to its depressing ravages. To expect perfect adjustment and happiness is absurdly unscientific and unphilosophical. We can seek only a more or less trivial mitigation of suffering. I believe in an aristocracy, because I deem it the only agency for the creation of those refinements which make life endurable for the human animal of high organisation.


© 2009–2013Quotes Privacy Policy | Contact