Listen for free to H P Lovecraft’s The Hound on the Classic Ghost Stories Podcast.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft
HP Lovecraft was perhaps the most influential writer of horror and weird tales of his generation. That may not have been evident during his life or even for a while after his death, but his work continues to be made into movies The Colour Out of Space was recently released, starring Nicholas Cage which is a based on Lovecraft’s weird tale of the same name.
Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island and died in the same city in 1937 aged only 46 of untreated stomach cancer.
His family was originally wealthy but the fortune was tied to his grandfather and after his death, the money dried up. He was almost a pauper at the time of his death.
Lovecraft’s father was a travelling salesman but it appears that his mother’s family had the money ,
In 1913 he began to get involved in pulp fiction and most of his stories were published in pulp magazines. He was a mentor to younger writers and perhaps the thing which ensured his later fame was his encouraging of other writers to develop his Mythos.
It appears that Lovecraft suffered from mental illness during most of his life, most probably depression.
Lovecraft was very conservative and an Anglophile in his writing. He did not like Americanisms and he uses some deliberately British stylings in his writing.
The Hound is Lovecraft’s most clearly Gothic tale, and that’s saying something. When he talks of his hero’s taste for the macabre, we can’t help but feel that Lovecraft is speaking through him. The Hound is like a story by Edgar Allen Poe channeled through Lovecraft’s pen. He never uses a normal word when he can use an outlandish one, and where one adjective would do, he piles on three or four and makes sure they are outlandish and obscure. This makes his style relatively easy to parody with its unspeakable cults and squamous monstrosities not to mention countless eldritch blasphemies on every page.
The story is pretty simple. It concerns two post Baudelaire decadents going grave robbing for kicks. As often happens in Lovecraft’s stories they find an ancient arcane item (a McGuffin in screenwriting terms) and as is often the case it is made of jade. Somehow them moving the token gets the hound to haunt them all the way back to their horrible house in England and when our man ventures back to Holland to put it back (though it is robbed from him before he can do so), there he finds the monstrous hound waiting for him. Or at least that is the sense I made of it, with the addition of a good number of oversized vampire bats for good measure.
In any case, a fun gothic romp, overdone and vulgar no doubt, but great fun to read out.
Beginning music ‘Some Come Back’ is by the marvellous Heartwood Institute . The end music is by MYUU Bad Encounter
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