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August 20: H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday

It’s H.P. Lovecraft’s Birthday. Born in 1890, Lovecraft wouldn’t achieve much fame while alive, but his fantastical, highly-stylized horror fiction would utterly change the DNA of the genre after he’d passed on. In his stories, almost always published in pulp magazines, he conjured up a fictional horror universe, including the Cthulhu Mythos. As you may have noticed, the pop-culture influence of Cthulhu, a century after its creation, seems to grow stronger every year. So, you’re probably wondering, did ol’ H.P. like a drink or two? He most certainly did not. Raised by his mom and maternal aunts, who were fanatical teetotalers, Lovecraft was kept well away from the beguiling effects of booze. I knew he didn’t drink the first time I read one of his stories. While I have an affection for his high-toned style and love the dark alternate reality he fashioned, there is no way a writer with a hangover would let himself get away with some of the more, shall we say, collegiately floral passages. True story: Two writer friends of Lovecraft’s stopped by H.P.’s flat with a six-pack of beer and offered him one. Lovecraft declined, then asked what they were going to do with all those beers. They told him they were going to sit down and drink them. Lovecraft was astounded. It illustrates how naive he was about alcohol. He could not conceive two grown men, writers no less, casually splitting a six-pack. He watched them carefully as they drank and was surprised to find they didn’t die or go mad.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. “Two writer friends of Lovecraft’s stopped by H.P.’s flat with a six-pack of beer and offered him one. ”

    Not sure who’s worse here, Lovecraft or these two morons who show up with only a 6 pack for 3 dudes.

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