“The Age of Lovecraft”, a collection of essays on Lovecraft, his work, and his themes

The Age of Lovecraft is a recent collection of essays edited by Jeffrey Weinstock and Carl Sederholm. The foreword is by Ramsey Campbell, and it’s really more essay than foreword — which is just fine with me. It’s fascinating reading.

As is the rest of the book. In addition to Ramsey’s introduction, there are eleven essays total, plus an interview with China Miéville (as well as an introduction by editors Carl H. Sederholm and Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock):

  • “Ghoulish dialogues”: H.P. Lovecraft’s weird geographies, by James Kneale
  • Lovecraft’s things: sinister souvenirs from other worlds, by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock
  • Hyper-cacophony: Lovecraft, speculative realism, and sonic materialism, by Isabella van Elferen
  • Prehistories of posthumanism: cosmic indifferentism, alien genesis, and ecology from H.P. Lovecraft to Ridley Scott, by Brian Johnson
  • Race, species, and others: H.P. Lovecraft and the animal, by Jed Mayer
  • H.P. Lovecraft’s reluctant sexuality: abjection and the monstrous feminine in “The Dunwich horror”, by Carl H. Sederholm
  • H.P. Lovecraft and real person fiction: the pulp author as subcultural avatar, by David Simmons
  • A polychrome study: Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” and Lovecraft’s literary afterlives, by Jessica George
  • Lovecraft: suspicion, pattern recognition, paranoia, by David Punter
  • Lovecraft’s cosmic ethics, by Patricia MacCormack
  • Lovecraft, witch cults, and philosophers, by W. Scott Poole

There are arguments made in the book that some Lovecraft fans will agree with, while others disagree — which is to be expected. Case in point, from the introduction:

Although Joshi is not suggesting Lovecraft’s racism is simply a matter of context, he nevertheless wants to avoid it as a focal point for critical approaches to Lovecraft or his work. In our view, Lovecraft and the problem of racial differences cannot and should not be so easily divided…

It’s a well written and intriguing book. My favorite nonfiction book on Lovecraft is Michel Houellebecq’s H.P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life, and this collection of essays may have just surpassed it. I’m speaking personally, of course; your mileage will vary.

The Age of Lovecraft belongs on the shelf of any Lovecraft and/or cosmic horror fan; the China Miéville interview and the Ramsey Campbell foreword are worth the price of admission by themselves. Add eleven well-written essays, and it’s a no-brainer.

I also want to draw your attention to A Polychrome Study: Neil Gaiman’s “A Study in Emerald” and Lovecraft’s literary afterlives, by Jessica George, and to possibly my favorite essay, Prehistories of posthumanism: cosmic indifferentism, alien genesis, and ecology from H.P. Lovecraft to Ridley Scott, by Brian Johnson.

For those interested, editor Carl Sederholm will be my guest on the Lovecraft eZine podcast on November 20, 2016.

The Age of Lovecraft is available in print and for Kindle.

2 responses to ““The Age of Lovecraft”, a collection of essays on Lovecraft, his work, and his themes

  1. Thanks for the review, Mike! I always enjoy the zine and am glad to hear you found something to get you teeth (tentacles?) into in the book.

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