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130 years of HP Lovecraft: 6 stories to immerse yourself in the work of the "dark prince of horror" Author of novels, stories and essays of horror and science fiction, Howard Phillips Lovecraft is one of the most original American writers of the 20th century, creator of the famous Cthulhu Mythos. In his literature, Stephen King wrote, there are "shadowy forces capable of destroying us all just by growling in our sleep."
The clock read nine in the morning when Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born. And the calendar: August 20, 1890. His mother gave birth to her only child in the family home in Providence, the capital of the state of Rhode Island, in the United States. They were great parents for the time: Winfield Scott Lovecraft was 37 and Sarah Susan Phillips 33. There he lived with his aunts, also, in the bosom of a traditional family. As a child he was curious, lonely and a prodigy: at the age of three he was already reading and at six he began to write. He had a great imagination and a reading voracity. In a way, those were the keys to survival.
When he was three years old, his father suffered a nervous breakdown for which he ended up being admitted to a hospital and he remained there until his death, five years later. His mother, who was very overprotective, believed herself superior to the rest of the families that lived in the city, so she decided that her son should not go to school to hang out with other boys. She died when he was 31. She was hospitalized for several days in the same place as her husband: Butler Hospital.
That loneliness that he lived through as a boy and a teenager shaped his personality. He began writing stories in magazines of the time, thus cultivating a large number of readers and weaving a network of authors who admired his narrative and imaginative skills. With no family fortune to allow him to be a comfortable hermit, he began working as a ghostwriter and proofreader for many of the authors he knew.
Two months after his mother's death, he met Sonia H. Greene, a seven-year older Jewish Ukrainian who also wrote and owned a hat factory. They moved to New York, but it didn't work out. They separated due to financial problems and he began to feel a great dislike for New York life, with so many immigrants. Racism inoculated as a child grew stronger, so he returned to Providence to live with his aunts. And there he stayed to write as if there was no tomorrow. The economic situation was terrible and it was increasing. He died almost in poverty from intestinal cancer in 1937.
¿Y qué fue lo que escribió durante su vida? Muchísimo de eso que llaman horror cósmico, una filosofía dentro del terror que él mismo creó y que lo trascendió por completo. A continuación, un breve punteo: seis cuentos inquietantes para sumergirse en la gran obra de H. P. Lovecraft, un autor que, Stepehen King en su ensayo de 1981 Danza macabra, es “el príncipe oscuro y barroco de la historia del horror del siglo xx” que introduce en su literatura “fuerzas sombrías capaces de destruirnos a todos solo con gruñir en sueños”.
La llamada de Cthulhu
Una de las grandes invenciones de Lovecraft son los Mitos de Cthulhu, un ciclo de textos que escribió entre 1921 y 1935, donde aparecen seres monstruosos, casi dioses, que habitan en una dimensión paralela e ingresan a esta en un manto lleno de misterio y error. Son, de aqlguna manera, criaturas de otros mundos, que vivieron en nuestro planeta en épocas remotas y ahora vuelven para reconquistarlo. Luego, muchos autores pertenecientes al llamado Círculo de Lovecraft siguieron escribiendo y agigantando este universo literario.
“La llamada de Cthulhu” es un relato corto escrito en el año 1926 y publicado en febrero de 1928 por la revista de pulp Weird Tales. El monstruo Cthulhu hace su primera aparición en este cuento. Para muchos, el mejor. Cuando Michel Houellebecq descubrió a Lovecraft, quedó fascinado. “No sabía que la literatura podía hacer eso. Y, además, todavía no estoy seguro de que pueda. Hay algo en Lovecraft que no es del todo literario”, dijo.
Los gatos de Ulthar
“Se dice que en Ulthar, que se encuentra más allá del río Skai, ningún hombre puede matar a un gato; y ciertamente lo puedo creer mientras contemplo a aquel que descansa ronroneando frente al fuego”, comienza “Los gatos de Ulthar”, escrito y publicado en 1920. Es la historia detrás de esa norma, del caso que llevó a ese lugar a prohibir la matanza de gatos. Una historia siniestra, muy del estilo de Edgard Allan Poe y de Lord Dunsany, dos grandes influencias literarias de Lovecraft.
Revista Weird Tales de febrero de 1928 donde se publicó “La llamada de Cthulhu” de H. P. Lovecraft
La llave de plata
Los cuentos de H. P. Lovecraft no son sólo de terror. Hay mucha ciencia ficción y fantástico. Por ejemplo, “La llave de plata”, escrito en enero de 1926 y publicado en enero de 1929 en la Weird Tales, pertenece a un conjunto de textos que se agrupan en las Tierras del sueño. “Cuando Randolph Carter cumplió los treinta años, perdió la llave de la puerta de los sueños”, comienza el relato. A partir de entonces, sueño y realidad se empiezan a entrecruzar y aparece la figura del abuelo del protagonista, que le habló de la importancia de la llave y que debía encontrarla como sea. And what did he write during his life? A lot of what they call cosmic horror, a philosophy within the terror that he himself created and that completely transcended him. Here's a brief scoop: six haunting tales to dive into the great work of HP Lovecraft, an author who, Stepehen King in his 1981 essay Dance Macabre, is "the dark and baroque prince of 20th century horror story" that introduces in his literature "dark forces capable of destroying us all just by grunting in dreams."
Call of Cthulhu
One of Lovecraft's great inventions are the Cthulhu Myths, a cycle of texts he wrote between 1921 and 1935, where monstrous beings, almost gods, appear that inhabit a parallel dimension and enter it in a cloak full of mystery and error. . They are, in some way, creatures from other worlds, who lived on our planet in remote times and now return to reconquer it. Later, many authors belonging to the so-called Circle of Lovecraft continued to write and enlarge this literary universe.
"The Call of Cthulhu" is a short story written in 1926 and published in February 1928 by the pulp magazine Weird Tales. The monster Cthulhu makes his first appearance in this tale. For many, the best. When Michel Houellebecq discovered Lovecraft, he was fascinated. “I didn't know that literature could do that. And besides, I'm still not sure I can. There is something about Lovecraft that is not entirely literary, ”he said.
“It is said that in Ulthar, which lies beyond the Skai River, no man can kill a cat; and I certainly can believe it while I contemplate the one who rests purring in front of the fire ", begins" The cats of Ulthar ", written and published in 1920. It is the story behind that rule, of the case that led that place to prohibit the slaughter of cats. A sinister story, very much in the style of Edgard Allan Poe and Lord Dunsany, two great literary influences of Lovecraft.
Weird Tales magazine from February 1928 where "The Call of Cthulhu" by H. P. Lovecraft was published the Dunwich Horror.
Another talem that belongs to the Cthulhu Mythos is "The Dunwich Horror." For starters, Dunwich is a town invented by Lovecraft where several of his stories take place. In this 1928 tale first published in the April 1929 Weird Tales, Yog-Sothoth, one of his lurid creatures, appears for the first time. The protagonist is Wilbur Whateley, a deformed boy who has all the neighbors terrified. He hates them and that is why, after learning black magic and witchcraft thanks to his grandfather, he decides to open a portal to bring Yog-Sothoth back and take revenge on the world that afflicts him so much.
It had its film adaptation in 1970: a film directed by Daniel Haller and starring Dean Stockwell, Sandra Dee, Ed Begley and Lloyd Bochner. In January this year, Richard Stanley (after releasing the movie The Color That Fell from the Sky, based on a Lovecraft story) will bring his version of "The Dunwich Horror" to the big screen.
Dagón, written in 1919 and published in November of that year in the magazine in The Vagrant, "Dagon" is one of Lovecraft's first stories in the so-called "adult stage." It tells the memories of an old sailor addicted to morphine who tries to commit suicide because everything that he lived in World War I does not leave him alone. But one day he wakes up adrift in the sea and comes to an island, which is a rotten fish. There he finds hieroglyphs related to sea creatures and, suddenly, a gigantic monster appears to him that he will never forget.
The Dweller of Darkness
The last story by H. P. Lovecraft was written between November 5 and 9, 1935 and is entitled "The Dweller in Darkness." It was published in the December 1936 issue of Weird Tales and was later reissued by Arkham House in the 1939 anthology The Outsider and Others. It is part of the Cthulhu Mythos. It is the story of a writer named Robert Blake who is interested in the occult of a church in Providence, the city where the author of this tale was born.
t begins like this: “Prudent people will hesitate before challenging the widely held view that Robert Blake was killed by lightning, or a nervous shock produced by an electric shock. It is true that the window before which he stood remained intact, but nature has often manifested itself capable of even more capricious feats”.
* The stories reviewed here were published in different magazines of the time. After Lovecraft's death they have been published in various anthologies. Many of them are found on the internet.
Jorge Luis Borges, the great Argentinean writer, was the introducer of all the work of Lovecraft in Argentina.They were really contemporary. Borges life was much longer, of course.