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1981
Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2040-3275
  • E-ISSN: 2040-3283

Abstract

Abstract

The early twentieth-century weird writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft is today best remembered for his genre defining style of academic noir pulp fiction. Yet in focusing on certain tropes of his work, such as the many memorable monsters he created to populate his stories, from the infinite effervescence named Yog-Sothoth to the dreaded cephalopod Cthulhu, scholars have overlooked a deeper terror structuring practically all of his writings, the chillingly resonant fear that, amidst the chaos of globalization, miscegenation, and economic decline, ‘Anglo-Saxon’ civilization would surrender to lesser races. Fundamental to this fear was his understanding of atavism – of evolutionary throwbacks, survivals and regressions – in modern industrial society, and his extraordinary stories were only one expression of a contemporary culture involving eugenicists, political economists, and prominent authors of the Gothic and ‘weird’ traditions between the 1890s and the 1930s. Lovecraft himself in effect penned a number of economic manuscripts on the crisis of the Great Depression, and this article contextualizes his ideas in relation to his wider writings as well as to contemporary traditions of economics and eugenics, drawing a new picture of one of the greatest horror writers of all time.

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/content/journals/10.1386/host.6.2.255_3
2015-10-01
2024-05-29
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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Cthulhu; eugenics; Great Depression; H. P. Lovecraft; history of economics
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