H. P. Lovecraft

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Howard Philips Lovecraft (August 20 1890 - March 15 1937).

US author of fantasy and horror fiction, noted for giving horror stories a science-fictional framework. His early fantasies were greatly influenced by the stories of Lord Dunsany, but later took on a much darker tone with the main thrust of his work, the Cthulhu Mythos, which deals with a lurking older pantheon and horrors which live extra-dimensionally. His fiction often mentions the Necronomicon, the secret grimoire purportedly written by the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred.

His prose is somewhat repetitious and tends towards the grand guignol. He was fond of heavy use of unfamiliar adjectives such as "rugose" and "squamous", and of attempts to transcribe dialect speech which have been criticized as inaccurate.

Much of Lovecraft's work was directly inspired by his nightmares, and it is perhaps this direct insight into subconscious fears that helps to account for their continuing popularity.

Many later creators of horror writing and films show influences from Lovecraft, including Clive Barker and H. R. Giger. Others, notably August Derleth and Brian Lumley, have written stories that are explicitly set in the same "universe" as Lovecraft's original stories.

Some stories:

The definitive edition of his work is published by Arkham House, a publisher originally started with the intent of publishing the work of Lovecraft, but since they have published lots of other fantastic literature as well.

Films based (generally very loosely) on Lovecraft's works:

For a biography of Lovecraft, see `Lovecraft, a biography' by L. Sprague de Camp

An extensive web page about Lovecraft, including on-line texts of his complete works can be found at http://www.gizmology.net/lovecraft/