Archive for August 17, 2012

The Racism of H.P. Lovecraft

Posted in Poetry with tags , , , on August 17, 2012 by telescoper

From time to time I’ve posted bits of poetry on this blog by H.P. Lovecraft, an author of fantasy, horror and science fiction stories that I discovered as a teenager and which made a big and lasting impression on me.

I never thought Lovecraft was a great writer, actually. At times his prose style is truly excruciating. But he was clearly a person with a remarkable imagination and he did write some genuinely frightening stories. He also had a big influence on many subsequent horror writers and film-makers.

It was only in later life that I started to read collections of his poetry, which is also uneven in quality but among which there are many gems. They’ve proved quite popular when I’ve posted them on here too, perhaps because quite a few of the followers of this blog also know Lovecraft’s stories.

But last night I came across this revolting poem, which reveals a side of H.P. Lovecraft’s character of which I was previously unaware.  Its charming title is On the Creation of Niggers:

When, long ago, the gods created Earth
In Jove’s fair image Man was shaped at birth.
The beasts for lesser parts were next designed;
Yet were they too remote from humankind.
To fill the gap, and join the rest to Man,
Th’Olympian host conceiv’d a clever plan.
A beast they wrought, in semi-human figure,
Filled it with vice, and called the thing a Nigger.

I don’t think any further comment is necessary.