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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

H.P. Lovecraft's Worst Horror Stories

In the literature of horror, a handicap has frequently been that of verisimilitude, the creative weakness or flatness of character. H.P. Lovecraft spoke of the "weird" rather than the Gothic, which seems to me, for all my admiration of Lovecraft's masterly work, unnecessarily restricting. To Lovecraft, "phenomena" rather than "persons" are the logical heroes of stories. One consequence of this is two-dimensional, stereotypical characters about whom it is difficult to care. Situations and plots may be formulaic, language merely serviceable, and not a vehicle for the impassioned inwardness of which "weirdness" is one attempt at definition, but only one. The standards for horror fiction should be no less than those for "serious, literary" fiction in which originality of concept, depth of characters, and attentiveness to language are vitally important.

Joyce Carol Oates in On Writing Horror, Mort Castle, editor, 2007 

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