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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

H.P. Lovecraft

One of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, Howard Phillips Lovecraft learned to read at the age of two and was writing complex poetry by the age of six (we'd be especially impressed if he found a rhyme for "Cthulhu"). When not reading or writing, Lovecraft spent his childhood amassing enough crushing trauma that writing stories about the incomprehensible alien horror of the universe probably felt like a lighthearted escape.

Young Lovecraft was sickly and spent much of his childhood in bed, being told horror stories by his eccentric grandfather Whipple (whose ridiculous name was about as funny as Lovecraft's childhood got). Lovecraft's parents were proof lunatics attract, as his father was a syphilitic psychotic and his mother was a chronically depressed, frail, ghostly pale woman (she was likely being slowly poisoned by arsenic-based syphilis treatments).

His father would die paralyzed in an asylum, his grandfather would follow leaving the family destitute and then his mother would go, passing away in the same hospital Lovecraft's father died in to complete the tragedy trifecta.

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