Today in Literary History – March 15, 1937 – Cult horror writer H.P. Lovecraft dies

H.P. Lovecraft, the American writer of horror and supernatural tales, died on March 15, 1937, in dire poverty and near complete obscurity at the age of 46.

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It was only years after his death that his reputation began to spread, originally promoters of his work like influential literary critic Edmund Wilson who considered Lovecraft to be an heir of Edgar Allan Poe. In the 1960s Lovecraft’s work and his fictional landscapes found a receptive audience among the youth counterculture.

The world that Lovecraft created is known as The Cthulhu Myhthos, presided over by a gigantic godlike creature called Cthulhu. Lovecraft developed his alternative universe in short stories published in pulp magazines beginning in the late 1920s.

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Lovecraft aficionados nave fleshed out th Mythos in novels and stories based on his concepts and internal cohesion. He also influenced many horror and fantasy writers such as Clive Barker, Stephen King, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and Colin Wilson.

Lovecraft was born and lived most of his life in Providence, Rhode Island. He had been in frail health from his childhood and was known to be reclusive, although he kept up lively letter writing conversations with other horror writers, who helped popularize his work after his death.

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Most of his stories were published in pulp magazines like Weird Tales and Lovecraft never really earned much money or attention. Stephen King, an avowed fan, has written “Now that time has given us some perspective on his work, I think it is beyond doubt that H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”

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