H. P. Lovecraft (Providence, Rhode Island; 20 August 1890-ibidem; 15 March 1937) was an American author, famous for his works of terror, science fiction and dystopias.
His career as a writer marked the following generations of the genre, as he innovated in different areas of literature.
Phrases of H. P. Lovecraft, and large fragments of his work
In his works, Lovecraft mixed terror with the supernatural, science fiction, futurism and more elements that made him totally recognizable to the general public. He also cultivated works of poetry, essays and missives.
Today we are going to know the best phrases of H. P. Lovecraft , as well as some of the fragments of his books that his readers remember the most.
1. (…) The only thing it asks of life is not to think. For some reason, thinking is frightening to him, and he runs away like a plague from anything that might stimulate his imagination. He is a very thin, grey and wrinkled fellow, although some say he is not as old as he looks. Fear has got its truculent claws into him, and every sound makes him jump up and down, his eyes wide open and his brow covered with sweat.
Describing a gray man.
2. What followed was an exhaustive comparison of details and a moment of dreadful silence when the detective and the scientist came to the conclusion of the practical identity of the phrase common to those two diabolic rituals belonging to worlds so different and distant from each other.
Excerpt from “The Strange House Raised in the Mist”.
3. These people are so silent and hurtful that one has the impression of being faced with a hidden enigma of which it is better not to try to find out anything. And this feeling of strange uneasiness is intensified when, from a stop along the way, one can see the mountains that rise above the dense forests that cover the region.
Another small fragment of the same book: “The strange house raised in the fog”.
4. I already knew and imagined a lot about tombs and graves, although my peculiar character had kept me away from all contact with cemeteries and graves. The strange stone house on the hillside represented for me a source of interest and speculation; and its cold and damp interior, within which I vainly tried to peer through the opening so incitingly arranged, had no connotations of death or decay for me.
A few lines from his play “The Grave”.
5. The terms which can best suggest the general character of our experiences are those of diving or ascension; for in each revelation a part of our mind was separated from that which is real and present, and they plunged ethereally into frightful, dark, and overpowering abysses, sometimes passing through certain definite and characteristic obstacles which I could only describe as viscous and gross clouds of vapor.
From his play “Hypnos”.
6. To the west of Arkham, the hills stand forested, and there are valleys with deep forests in which the sound of an axe has never resounded. There are narrow, dark glens where the trees slope fantastically, and where narrow streams run that have never caught the reflection of sunlight. (…) But all of them are now empty, with the wide chimneys crumbling and the walls sagging under the Dutch-style roofs.
Describing the landscape of one of his most famous works.
7. (…) It was not the result of the planets and suns that shine in the telescopes and on the photographic plates of our observatories. It was not a breath of the heavens whose movements and dimensions our astronomers measure or consider too vast to be measured. It was but a colour from space… A dreadful messenger from kingdoms of infinity beyond the Nature we know; from kingdoms whose very existence stuns the brain with the immense extra-cosmic possibilities it offers to our imagination.
Another excerpt from “The Strange House Raised in the Mist”.
8. The most broad-minded men know that there is no clear distinction between the real and the unreal; that all things appear what they appear only by virtue of the delicate psychic and mental instruments of each individual, thanks to which we come to know them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of clairvoyance that pierce the common veil of clear empiricism.
About the mentality of the winning people.
9. Death is merciful, for from it there is no return; but for him who returns from the deepest chambers of the night, lost and conscious, there is no more peace.
The bad life always follows you.
10. May the merciful gods, if they exist indeed, protect those hours in which no power of the will, nor drugs invented by the ingenuity of man, can keep me away from the abyss of sleep!
A request to the top.
11. On a slab, inside a niche, he discovered an old but empty coffin, on whose tarnished plaque reads this simple word: “Jervas”. In that coffin and in that crypt he has promised me that I will be buried.
Fragment to shake.
12. The majestic ships of the seven seas have paraded before this lighthouse for a century. In my grandfather’s time they were a multitude; in my father’s they were not so many, and now they are so few that I sometimes feel strangely alone, as if I were the last man on our planet.
Reflection on the immensity of life.
13. There was no doubt that the descriptions of dreams and the clippings compiled by the professor came to corroborate the facts, but the rationality of my mind and the extravagance of this whole subject led me to adopt what I considered to be the most sensible conclusions.
About dreams and how they influence our thinking.
14. The oldest and most intense emotion of humanity is fear, and the oldest and most intense of fears is the fear of the unknown.
Certainly, fear is an atavistic feeling.
15. Neither death, nor fatality, nor anxiety can produce the unbearable despair that results from losing one’s identity.
Above all, be yourself.
16. Men of science suspect something about that world, but they ignore almost everything. The wise interpret dreams, and the gods laugh.
Great line by Lovecraft.
17. Journalism is an easy trade. It’s a matter of writing down what others say.
Don’t believe, they only explain what is created.
18. The satisfaction of one moment is the ruin of the next.
Hedonism usually has no good future.
19. The man who knows the truth is beyond good and evil. The man who knows the truth has understood that illusion is the only reality and that substance is the great impostor.
A phrase Nietzsche might have uttered.
20. It is a pity that most of humanity has such limited mental vision when it comes to calmly and intelligently weighing those isolated phenomena, seen and felt by only a few psychically sensitive people, which occur beyond common experience.
About the paranormal.
21. Who knows the end? What has emerged can sink and what has sunk can emerge. The satanic awaits, dreaming at the bottom of the sea, and the apocalypse navigates over the undulating human cities.
22. I refuse to follow the mechanical conventions of popular literature or to fill my stories with common characters and situations, but I insist on reproducing true impressions and feelings as best I can. The result may be poor, but I prefer to continue to aspire to serious literary expression rather than accept the artificial standards of cheap romance.
About finding your own style.
23. We were not aware of the passage of time, because time had become for us a mere illusion.
Sometimes, time loses its validity.
24. Among the anguish of the days that followed is the greatest of all tortures: ineffability. I will never be able to explain what I saw and knew during those hours of ungodly exploration, for lack of symbols and capacity of suggestion of languages.
A world of phenomena that occur beyond human understanding.
25. They were sensations; but within them there were incredible elements of time and space… Things that at the bottom possess a clear and defined existence.
One of the ambiguous explanations for the incomprehensible events that occur on the cosmic scale of the Lovecraft beasts.
26. But more wonderful than the wisdom of the elders and the wisdom of the books is the secret wisdom of the ocean.
One more of Lovecraft’s phrases that refer to the arcane to talk about what happens in their stories.
27. The logical place to find a voice from another time is a cemetery from another time.
Another piece that shows the construction of fictional worlds of this writer.
28. As long as the stars were in position, they could jump from one world to another across the heavens; but when the stars were not propitious, they could not live. But even if they could not live, they would not really die.
The extraterrestrial origin of the Lovecraftian monsters is expressed in a cursory way, because the logic in which they operate cannot be understood.
29. Their voices make the wind tremble and their consciences tremble the earth. They bend entire forests and crush cities, but no forest or city has ever seen the destructive hand.
This indirectly expresses the gigantic scale of the horrors spoken of in this writer’s stories.
30. Our ability to avoid prolonged sleep was surprising, for we rarely succumbed for more than an hour or two to that darkness which had now become a dreadful threat.
The tension of the situations experienced in Lovecraft’s pages goes hand in hand with constant alertness.
31. Did destiny preserve my reason only to drag me irresistibly to a more horrible and unthinkable end than anyone could have dreamed of?
The feeling that humans are helpless in the face of cosmic forces is another constant in his work.
32. No known school of art had encouraged the creation of this terrible object, but hundreds or even thousands of years seemed to be marked on its dark greenish surface of stone, which was impossible to identify.
The impossibility of understanding the products coming from the world of the Lovecraftian beasts is one of the characteristics of the universe that the writer from Providence created.
33. A strange impulse led me to climb onto the wide slab, blow out the candle and lie inside the unoccupied box.
Fragment of one of his texts.
34. Something terrible reached the hills and valleys with that meteor, and something terrible, although I do not know to what extent, is still there.
In this way, Lovecraft creates an atmosphere of terror.
35. There are those who say that things and places have a soul, and there are those who say that they do not; for my part, I do not dare to pronounce myself, but I want to talk about the Street.
An appreciation of dualism applied to spaces.
36. It must have been a natural disease… although it was impossible to guess what kind of disease produced those terrible results.
The mixture of the unnatural and the natural is one of the ingredients that Lovecraft used to create ambiguous situations.
37. Nobody dances sober unless they’re completely crazy.
Funny thing about this writer.
38. The ocean is older than the mountains and is loaded with the memories and dreams of time.
A mythical perspective on the sea and oceans.
39. The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
About our most primal emotional side.
40. The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents… someday the splicing of dissociated knowledge will open up such frightening perspectives of reality, and of our frightening position in it, that we will either go mad with revelation or flee from the light into the peace and security of a new Dark Age.
Knowledge can be frightening.
41. No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the everyday.
The weariness that sometimes produces the familiar can be, for this writer, a torment.
42. I felt myself at the edge of the world; looking over the edge in the unfathomable chaos of the eternal night.
At the limits of reason, there is a feeling of vertigo.
43. Who knows the end? What has gone up may sink, and what has gone down may increase. Destruction waits and dreams in the depths, and decay spreads over the shaky cities of men.
The collapse of what we cherish can come at any time.
44. I have taken advantage of the shadows that pass from one world to another to sow death and madness.
One of the most poetic (and sinister) phrases of Lovecraft.
45. The ignorant and the deceived are, I think, in a strange way to be envied. What is unknown does not bother us, whereas an imagined but insubstantial danger does not harm us. Knowing the truths behind reality is a much greater burden.
Remaining detached from reality, according to this writer, takes the pressure off.
46. I am afraid that my enthusiasm will call when I am required to do real work.
The desire to experiment can come at the most inopportune time.
47. With strange eons even death can die.
An apparent paradox.
48. All life is only a set of images in the brain, among which there is no difference between those born of real things and those born of inner dreams, and there is no reason to value one over the other.
Interesting reflection on the value of memories.
49. Our brains deliberately make us forget things, to prevent madness.
An explanation for the fact that memory does not preserve everything.
50. If I am angry, it is Mercy; may the gods have mercy on the man who, in his insensitivity, may remain sane to the horrible end!
Another of his views on the concept of insanity.
51. If religion were true, its followers would not attempt to strike their offspring with artificial conformity; they would simply insist on their uncompromising pursuit of truth, regardless of artificial background or practical consequences.
Lovecraft sees religion as an artificial imposed belief system.
52. All I want is to know things. The black gulph of infinity is in front of me.
A hunger for knowledge.
53. The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that it seems hardly possible for any true and cynical civilized aesthete to do anything but worship it.
A curious reflection on these cats.
54. Creative minds are uneven, and the best fabrics have their opaque points.
In talent there are imbalances.
55. The memories and possibilities are even more horrible than the realities.
What is not in the present carries a greater emotional weight than what takes place in the now.
56. The process of deepening the black abyss is for me the most acute form of fascination.
The idea of seeing beyond what can be known is something that hypnotizes us.
57. The world is really funny, but the joke is about humanity.
The subject who suffers from the frivolity of existence is, for Lovecraft, the whole human species.
58. Man is an essentially superstitious and fearful animal. Remove the Christian gods and saints from the herd, and they will without fail come to worship… something else.
A deterministic view of religions.
59. I never ask a man what his business is, because I am never interested. What I ask him is his thoughts and dreams.
Beyond our initiatives made to survive is what makes us live.
60. Only poetry or madness could do justice to noise.
Chaos is the rule, not the exception.
61. The greatest human achievements have never been for profit.
About the motivations that drive progress.
62. I like coffee too much.
A curiosity about the writer’s personal preferences.
63. I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer in seeking and dreaming.
This is one of Lovecraft’s phrases that reflects its tendency to evade reality.
64. Life is a horrible thing.
This way of feeling is embodied in his literary work.
65. Life has never interested me as much as escaping from life.
A philosophy of life opposed to vitalism.
66. The basis of all true cosmic horror is the violation of the order of nature, and the most profound violations are always the least concrete and describable.
Lovecraft describes the foundation of the genre he created.
67. I always know that I am a stranger; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
It has been said that Lovecraft was one of the last products of the Victorian era.
68. What a man does for payment is of little consequence. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responding to the beauty of the world, is everything!
A logic beyond mercantilism.