Lovecraft’s Longing: Article for Art Throb
A few months ago I wrote a post about the launch of Art Throb, a Web-based arts initiative headed by my Salem-based sister that chronicles the creative life of the Massachusetts North Shore. Now I have become one of the writers for this venture.
Dinah, my sister, invited me a couple of months ago to contribute a post about Lovecraft, since she knew that 1) I’m a devoted fan, or perhaps a fanatical devotee, of the man and his work, and 2) the entire North Shore is the proverbial Lovecraft Country that HPL seized upon to create the gothicized New England geography of his fictional universe, both by referring to real-world buildings and town names in his stories and by fictionalizing the whole region in a series of made-up towns that have become the stuff of modern myth: Arkham, Kingsport, Dunwich, et al., referring to Salem, Marblehead, and others.
Then there’s 3) the fact that Halloween is Salem’s Mardi Gras (an observation that’s almost clichéd at this point), so it’s a perfect time for talking about Lovecraft on such a site.
I ended up writing a two-parter titled “Lovecraft’s Longing.” Part One was published today. Part Two will follow sometime between now and Halloween. The first part explains a little about who HPL was and why he’s significant to the North Shore. The second part will present my argument that Lovecraft is very much misinterpreted by much of mainstream literary opinion, and that his famous reaction of aesthetic bliss to the architecture and general atmosphere of the North Shore counts among the factors that demonstrates this. Anybody familiar with my paper “The Master’s Eyes Shining with Secrets: The Influence of H.P. Lovecraft on Thomas Ligotti,” and also my blog post about Lovecraft’s experience of sehnsucht or “autumn longing,” might know where I’m going with this.