American author (1890-1937)
It is good to be a cynic -- it is better to be a contented cat -- and it is best not to exist at all.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Nietzscheism and Realism"
Religion itself is an absurdity and an anomaly, and paganism is acceptable only because it represents that purely orgiastic phase of religion farthest from reality.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft
In my dreams I found a little of the beauty I had vainly sought in life, and wandered through old gardens and enchanted woods.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Ex Oblivione"
All I say is that I think it is damned unlikely that anything like a central cosmic will, a spirit world, or an eternal survival of personality exist. They are the most preposterous and unjustified of all the guesses which can be made about the universe, and I am not enough of a hair-splitter to pretend that I don't regard them as arrant and negligible moonshine. In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of radical evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to Robert E. Howard, August 16, 1932
I love to dream, but I never try to dream and think at the same time.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to Woodburn Harris, February/March 1929
That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons even death may die.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Call of Cthulhu"
As for the Republicans -- how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, [and] steel their emotions against decent human sympathy.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to C. L. Moore, August 1936
It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Tomb"
Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "From Beyond", The Fantasy Fan, June 1934
The only saving grace of the present is that it's too damned stupid to question the past very closely.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Pickman's Model"
If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Temple"
The very fact that religions are not content to stand on their own feet, but insist on crippling or warping the flexible minds of children in their favour, forms a sufficient proof that there is no truth in them. If there were any truth in religion, it would be even more acceptable to a mature mind than to an infant mind--yet no mature mind ever accepts religion unless it has been crippled in infancy.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to Natalie H. Wooley, May 2, 1936
Slowly but inexorably crawling upon my consciousness and rising above every other impression, came a dizzying fear of the unknown; a fear all the greater because I could not analyse it, and seeming to concern a stealthily approaching menace; not death, but some nameless, unheard-of thing inexpressibly more ghastly and abhorrent.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Crawling Chaos"
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Supernatural Horror in Literature
Mid-summer ... when the alchemy of Nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green; when the senses are well-nigh intoxicated with the surging seas of moist verdure and the subtly indefinable odours of the soil and the vegetation. In such surroundings the mind loses its perspective; time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness.
H. P. Lovecraft, "The Tomb"
You see them? You see the things that float and flop about you and through you ever moment of your life? You see the creatures that form what men call the pure air and the blue sky? Have I not succeeded in breaking down the barrier; have I not shown you worlds that no other living men have seen?
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "From Beyond"
To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void. We drift on a chartless, resistless sea. Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, Selected Letters
Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber,
Past the wan-mooned abysses of night,
I have lived o'er my lives without number,
I have sounded all things with my sight.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "Nemesis"
In my actual imaginative contact with life, I am vastly more responsive to beauty than to horror--indeed, I never experience real cosmic horror except in infrequent nightmares. However, when I come to record my various imaginative experiences, I generally find that only the horror items have any uniqueness or originality. Others have seen the same beautiful things that I have seen, & have sung them more nobly.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, letter to Elizabeth Toldridge, March 8, 1929
There are probably seven persons, in all, who really like my work; and they are enough. I should write even if I were the only patient reader, for my aim is merely self-expression.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Defence Remains Open!"