The Love of Ruins
Letters on Lovecraft
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Explores issues related to race and religion in Lovecraft criticism.
Today, H. P. Lovecraft is both more popular and controversial than ever: the influence of his "Cthulhu mythos" is everywhere in popular culture, his cosmic pessimism has reemerged as a major theme in contemporary philosophy, and his racism continues to spark controversy in the media. The Love of Ruins takes a fresh look at a figure widely acknowledged as the father of modern horror or "weird" fiction. In these pages, Lovecraft emerges not as the atheist and nihilist he is often claimed to be, but as a kind of "psychonaut" and mystic whose stories, through their own imaginative rigor, expose the intellectual bankruptcy of their author's racism. The Love of Ruins is itself written in the form of letters, in order to do homage to Lovecraft's love of the form of the personal letter (he wrote more than 100,000), and to emulate Lovecraft's lifetime practice of thinking-as-corresponding.
Scott Cutler Shershow is Professor of English at the University of California, Davis, and author of Deconstructing Dignity: A Critique of the Right-to-Die Debate Scott Michaelsen is Professor of English at Michigan State University and coauthor (with David E. Johnson) of Anthropology's Wake: Attending to the End of Culture.
"The Love of Ruins is an excellent study of Lovecraft's work and philosophy … Its tone and its method both refresh the reader." — Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts
"This book is aimed at literary scholars or serious readers already familiar with Lovecraft … but will be of interest to scholars of fictional religions or philosophers of religion wishing to explore the constructive possibilities of Lovecraft's cosmic pessimism." — Religious Studies Review
"The Love of Ruins ranks among the small handful of the very best Lovecraftian analyses. Erudite, sophisticated, and insightful, this volume is a pure joy to read. A must have for anyone interested in Lovecraft or the field of dark fantasy." — Gary Hoppenstand, author of Clive Barker's Short Stories: Imagination as Metaphor in the Books of Blood and Other Works