The Dream World of H. P. Lovecraft: His Life, His Demons, His Universe by Donald Tyson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read all of Lovecraft's I am more inclined to call him a sci fi/ horror writer. His tales take you to another world quite literally and you definitely enter into his dream. His works have been an inspiration to occultists, horror writers and others. It is the occultists that Donald Tyson focuses on in this work. Donald Tyson himself is an occultist.
There may be better biographies of H.P. Lovecraft out there so I am not saying that this is the best. Plus I am not sure how much research went into this work. The book does give you a great overview of his life and it does give you glimpse into the mind of HP Lovecraft. For someone like me who is more interested in the occult then HP Lovecraft this book is near perfect.
On August 20,1890 HP Lovecraft was born. Sarah Susan Lovecraft his mother was the daughter of a successful businessman, Whipple Philips. His father Winfield Scott Lovecraft was a knife and kitchen cutlery salesman. Whipple married his first cousin. Such close breeding in the family would fuel Lovecrafts fear of madness.
For a time when HP was really young the family lived in Massachusetts for a spell. It was in Mass. that HP met Louise Imogen Guiney who used to make memorize poetry and then recite in front of other people. Great literary training and memorization techniques. HP was only 2 or three at the time. Lovecraft was reading by three years of age. In the third year of his life his father was struck down with a psychotic episode. He as institutionalized in that hospital until his death 5 years later. The cause of this disease was syphilis. Traveling salesmen were not loyal to their wives I guess. This would cause the family to move back to Providence, New England where they would live with Van Buren, grandmother and two doting aunts. HP lived a very sheltered life.
At the early age of 4 or 5 HP became an avid reader of literature. Devouring Grimm's faery tales, Jules Verne and others. His grandfather would encourage him to read from his vast library. HP would also take on a fantasy alias if Abdul Hazred. He is not sure how this name came to him. HP definitely lived in a fantasy world and his childhood existence was very sheltered. He was also very literate, as he was writing poetry. He was also interested in Greek mythology.
While living in this fantasy world he had relatively few friends maybe three or four at the most. He viewed people as objects and always considered himself an outsider. His lack of connection was cause him to be a loner and most of his friendships were conducted via the US Mail. During his youth he had trouble making friends in school. He could have had something called "Asberger's Syndrome" which causes people to be very antisocial. HP also had many facial grimaces. Something which his mother referred to as being cause by in grown facial hairs.
These grimaces could be caused by a build up of sexual tension or a spirit that was trying to use his body as a conduit. When the body does not get enough sex it tends to open the psychic centers and make someone more sensitive. It may also cause the opening of Kundlaini energy.
HP himself was an agnostic who bordered on being a total atheist. There was no proof of god so he could not subscribe to the concept. He did not believe in past lives yet he felt that he should have been born into an older more ancient time. He was nihilistic and believed that humans were ultimately insignificant and one day we would disappear with out a trace or impact.
Yet his writing came from his dreams. He was oft afraid of night gaunts which haunted him in his sleep. His writing may have been a way to control his dreams. One of his main characters would be lost to the dream world. HP himself was a materialist who did not believe in the other realms.
During his life he was not a successful writer and lived his later years in poverty. Complete contrast to his childhood. HP considered himself a proper English Gentleman and for someone like that it was deemed improper to get paid for writing so he stayed strictly amateur. He was proud of his anglo saxxon heritage and he looked down on other ethnic groups. Yet Sonia Greene, his first and only wife was Jewish. His closest friend Ronald Loveman was also Jewish. He could like individual yet despise the race that they came from.
Many occultist believe that the Necronomicon mythos and all it's characters and tomes originated on the astral plane and came to HP in a vision. This is something HP himself would scoff at. Kenneth Grant believes that Aleister Crowley came in contact with Cthulhu but the name he receive was Watulhu. HP considered the old ones to be advanced aliens who wanted to reconquer the planet and enslave mankind . It was advanced science that allowed them to enter our world not magick.
HP Lovecraft lived a hard life, a life filled with the fear of madness, loneliness and depression.He died at the age of 46 . Fame only came after his death.
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