Of course, life has no meaning. But neither does death. And this is another thing that curdles the blood when one discovers Lovecraft’s universe. The deaths of his heroes have no meaning. Death brings no appeasement. It in no way allows the story to conclude. Implacably, HPL destroys his characters, evoking only the dismemberment of marionettes. Indifferent to these pitiful vicissitudes, cosmic fear continues to expand. It swells and takes form. Great Cthulhu emerges from his slumber.
I feel like too many people are obsessed with Lovecraft’s monsters, tentacles and polyps and shuggoths. Whatever. Frankly, I think they’re missing the point. At least, I can say they’re missing the part that has played the greatest influence on me, and those elements would be the importance of atmosphere, the found manuscript as a narrative device, and his appreciation of what paleontologists and geologists call deep time. Deep time is critical to his cosmicism, the existential shock a reader brings away from his stories. Our smallness and insignificance in the universe at large. In all possible universes. Within the concept of infinity. No one and nothing cares for us. No one’s watching out for us. To me, that’s Lovecraft.
To an extent [Lovecraft’s] reputation is the victim of his mythos. It was conceived as an antidote to conventional Victorian occultism — as an attempt to reclaim the imaginative appeal of the unknown — and is only one of many ways his tales suggest worse, or greater, than they show. It is also just one of his means of reaching for a sense of wonder, the aim that produces the visionary horror of his finest work (by no means all of it belonging to the mythos). His stories represent a search for the perfect form for the weird tale, a process in which he tried out all the forms and all the styles of prose he could.
The underlying spirit of American short story publishing was this wonderful can-do, we will work it out, people are smart, we will conquer things—it’s all about beating things, and winning. Lovecraft is all about going, “Even if we beat this one thing, we are but tiny specks doomed in an incomprehensible universe which hates us.” Which is sort of out of keeping with the can-do spirit of America.
Everything I loved had been dead for two centuries … I am never a part of anything around me—in everything I am an outsider.
All rationalism tends to minimalise the value and the importance of life, and to decrease the sum total of human happiness. In some cases the truth may cause suicidal or nearly suicidal depression
I am so beastly tired of mankind and the world that nothing can interest me unless it contains a couple of murders on each page or deals with the horrors unnameable and unaccountable that leer down from the external universes.