The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Dr, Bob Curran's Lovecraft Exegesis


Copyright 2012, InterAmerica, Inc.

lovecraft.jpg

I had just unpacked several H.P. Lovecraft books (from our office move) – Fungi from Yuggoth & Other Poems, The Colour Out of Space, The Dunwich Horror – and L. Sprague De Camp’s Biography along with an exegesis of The Cthulhu Mythos by Lin Carter – when I received Dr. Bob Curran’s A Haunted Mind: Inside the Dark Twisted World of H.P. Lovecraft (pictured above), published by New Page Books, a Division of Career Press, Inc., Pompton Plains, NJ, 2012….351 pages, selling for $19.99 at online booksellers (Amazon, Powells, maybe Anomalist, et cetera) and brick and mortar bookstores such as Barnes and Noble (also online), among others.

I’ve reviewed other books by Dr. Curran – The World’s Creepiest Places – and like his thorough writing approach; he is not niggardly with details that are obscure but pertinent, and he hasn’t given short shrift to Lovecraft – although I wish he had.

As it is, Dr. Curran’s Introduction (Pages 5 to 27) killed Lovecraft for me.

Lovecraft was an anti-Semite slacker who may have had homosexual proclivities and pedophiliac tendencies. He used people and was a nasty son-of-a-bitch (my words) apparently.

But as Paul Johnson wrote, in his book, Intellectuals, the great persons were rarely pure souls, devoid of malfeasance and obloquy.

Their ideas and work should be looked at rather than their sometimes warped personalities and behavior.

One has to do that with Lovecraft.

Dr. Curran takes readers through the Lovecraft oeuvre, from the Necronomicon to the eldritch dark writing that “However we may think of him….he, like no other, could see some of the dreadful things and some of the fearful places that lurked out there in the eldritch gloom, just beyond the furthest edges of the rational human mind.” [Page 340]

Readers here can appreciate that.

But the “Mythos” is a creative, imaginary wonderland in the true sense of wonder and awe; a creation that is as complete as that of any other, including the “real creation” as outlined in various religious theologies.

Dr. Curran makes connections with histories and mythologies such as Lovecraft’s Hyperborea, an island that factored in Greek geography and myth. {Page 71]

The interconnection of real books and places found in Lovecraft and others is provided for a real edification of Lovecraft’s “academically” inclined writings; e.g., Jules Michelet’s 1862 La Sorciere.

I can’t do justic to Dr. Curran’s erudition. You have to get the book and immerse yourself in the vast and convoluted world – nay, ultimate universal creation – of Lovecraft. Dr. Curran offers all that there is to offer about the Lovecraftian mythos. Nothing is left out.

How Lovecraft's life and events/places he experienced shaped his writings are recounted in toto by Dr. Curran: no stone is left unturned.

I can drone and on with passages and pastiches from the book, but as I noted, that would do an injustice to Bob Curran’s magnificent gathering of everything there is to know about Lovecraft and Lovecraft’s gods and worlds.

The book is divided into sections:

Introduction

The Forbidden Library (Necronomicon, De Vermis Mysteriis, Book of Eibon, et al.)

Shadows Beyond the Stars (Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Father Yig, Azathoth, et al.)

Where Human Pathways End (Arkham, Dunwich, Irem,  Leng, et al.)

The book concludes with a Behind the Pallid Mask (and a useful Index)

Get the book if you are a Lovecraft fan or like wildly imaginative creations that have a logic and reality that is as complete as the one you’re living in.

For more about the book and the author, you can access http://www.careerpress.com or http://www.newpagebooks.com

RR

13 Comments:

  • "Lovecraft was an anti-Semite slacker who may have had homosexual proclivities and pedophiliac tendencies. He used people and was a nasty son-of-a-bitch (my words) apparently.

    But as Paul Johnson wrote, in his book, Intellectuals, the great persons were rarely pure souls, devoid of malfeasance and obloquy.

    Their ideas and work should be looked at rather than their sometimes warped personalities and behavior."

    Really? You lumped homosexuality in with pedophilia, describing it as "warped...behavior"?

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • Cullan, you're really off your game tonight.

    The homosexual preference is one thing; the pedophilic tendencies another.

    The warped behavior refers to what Johnson wrote about Intellectuals.

    You're more discerning, usually.

    No coffee today? A bad day? Bad weather?

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • I guess. It just read like it was getting all lumped together: You describe him as anti-Semitic (a bad thing), a homosexual, and then a pedophile (another very bad thing). This was then followed up with he's a user (again, bad) and "a nasty son-of-a-bitch". This is then supported by the statement that his (or any intellectual's) ideas and not his (or anyone else's) "warped personalities and behavior" should be examined.

    That may not have been your intent, but that's how it reads. Maybe I am off my game, but (IMHO) it seemed unwarranted to include this in a litany of negatives.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • Curran writes as have others that Lovecraft had homosexual proclivities.

    He used those to further his ends.

    It's not that he was homosexual, but that he used that preference to weasel things from others for his own ends.

    But that said, I'm from the school that thinks homosexuality is, as Freud told us, siding with Thomas Aquinas, that such a tendency is outside the natural law and beyond the norm, as Kinsey found out.

    This comes from me, a guy thought to be gay by many, and maybe is.

    If my statements offend some gays who visit here, I'm sorry. But that's my view.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • That aside, I have to concur with the overall sentiment here. I try not to know too much about writers, actors, etc... It can ruin your appreciation of their art. But that's a double-edged sword. It can also enhance their work, if you understand the motivations in their lives that lead them to make the choices they did or the influences that shaped their particular worldview.

    By Blogger Cullan Hudson, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • That is Paul Johnson's view also, pretty much.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Sunday, August 05, 2012  

  • I know where you are coming from, Rich.

    Lovecraft may have been a pain as human being (and I'll wager Poe was no walk in the park, either) but it's the IDEA of Lovecraft--that is what I love.

    Lance

    By Blogger Lance, at Monday, August 06, 2012  

  • Exactly Lance...

    The worlds of Lovecraft (his mythos) offset his egregious flaws perhaps.

    But he was a reprobate, that's for sure.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 06, 2012  

  • Lovecraft excelled at set and setting and I am glad you shared this series of examinations for us to pursue, which brings to mind the forgotten Ambrose Bierce, another wickedly pointed finger at the darker aspects of humanity, both of which seemed to emanate from personal experience leading toward a delightfully rancid cynicism toward it in their metaphorical journeys.
    Thanks.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, August 08, 2012  

  • Bruce:

    My Ambrose Bierce collection is rather large, gathered after seeing the award winning film An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, shown on the Twilight Zone, which I have on VHS tape.

    Bierce's disappearance, like Earhart's and Judge Crater's, has always fascinated me.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, August 08, 2012  

  • Looks like someone only read L. Sprague de Camp's biography and decided to use it as the sole basis of their polemic.

    Such a shame. It's much simpler to demonize someone, moreso when they've been dead 75 years.

    By OpenID raisinbottom, at Saturday, August 11, 2012  

  • "Lovecraft was an anti-Semite slacker who may have had homosexual proclivities and pedophiliac tendencies. He used people and was a nasty son-of-a-bitch (my words) apparently."

    Anti-Semite? Unfortunately.
    Slacker. Definitely.
    Homosexual? Not at all.
    Pedophiliac? Certainly not!
    Used people? No.
    Nasty son-of-a-bitch. Hardly.

    If this is indicative of the "scholarship" of Curran's book, I hope it has few sales.

    Donovan K. Loucks
    Webmasters, The H.P. Lovecraft Archive
    http://www.hplovecraft.com

    By Blogger The H.P. Lovecraft Archive, at Saturday, August 11, 2012  

  • Donovan..

    Those are my interpretations or take-aways from Dr. Curran's astute study.

    The views may not be his exactly.

    He is more circumspect.

    RR

    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, August 11, 2012  

Post a Comment

<< Home