The Messed Up Beliefs Of Horror Novelist H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft made his mark on the world of horror fiction with some pretty crazy stories. Whether it was the immortal killer who took his revenge over decades in “The Alchemist” or any number of the strange creatures that define his works — you know a Lovecraft story when you hear it.

Unfortunately, Lovecraft had some pretty messed up beliefs, as well. In particular, the writer was known to be virulently racist, and this racism seeped into his writing. “The organic things … inhabiting that awful cesspool could not by any stretch of the imagination be call’d human,” he wrote of Italian and Jewish people in a letter to his publisher, August Derleth, per Areo Magazine.

Similar descriptions can be found of all manner of immigrants, who he lived alongside in the Lower East Side of New York for a good chunk of his life. Elsewhere, in his letters, Lovecraft’s anti-immigrant view is on full display. “I’m more interested in keeping the present 300-year-old culture-germ in America unharmed, than in trying out any experiments in ‘social justice,'” he wrote in one.

Lovecraft's views (slightly) softened over time

Lovecraft’s documented racist beliefs are indefensible, but they appeared to somewhat fade near the end of his life. In one letter to Natalie H. Wooley, the author appeared to somewhat walk back his racist view of immigrants in America. “As a matter of fact, most of the psychological race-differences which strike us so prominently are cultural rather than biological,” he wrote, per Lovecraft eZine.

Still, his legacy will forever be tainted by some of his controversial beliefs. As Aja Romano argued in Vox, Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel “Lovecraft Country” and its HBO adaptation tried to address Lovecraft’s bigotry. Notably, the story and its television show focus on Black characters and tackle issues of racism that are undoubtedly linked to the horror author and his legacy. The HBO series was notably produced by horror buff Jordan Peele, who directed the critically acclaimed “Get Out.”

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