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H.P. Lovecraft:
A Critical Study

By Donald R. Burleson


From the Preface

     The present volume is an attempt to bring serious critical scrutiny to bear on an author whose works in the field of fantasy horror, though they have enjoyed various kinds of popularity, have heretofore been afforded relatively little attention in the realm of literary criticism. H.P. Lovecraft was not only a writer of highly worthy and unique stories, novels, and poems; he was a philosopher of genuinely incisive perception, an essayist of much persuasive power, a literary critic, and an epistolarian whose equal is scarcely to be found. However, the present study shall, of necessity, focus on Lovecraft the writer of fiction as illuminated by his works, his self-criticism in his many letters, and the literary influences that helped shape him as a fantaisiste of the first water. Like Poe, Lovecraft is a deserving writer whose emergence as an accepted and admired artist has been slow in coming; but come it must.


1.  Howard Phillips Lovecraft
    His Life in Brief; His Philosophy as an Artist
2.  Stirrings: Emergence of a Dark Talent (1917-1919)
    “The Tomb” and “Dagon”; First “Dunsanian” Tales; Other Writings
3.  Early Years: Beginnings and Foreshadowings (1920-1923)
    “The Terrible Old Man” and “The Picture in the House”; Dunsanian Tales; “The Outsider” and “The Rats in the Walls”; “The Music of Erich Zann”; Other Writings
4.  New York: Writing in Exile (1924-1926)
    “The Shunned House”; “The Horror at Red Hook” and “He”; “In the Vault” and “Cool Air”; Other Writings
5.  Homecoming Burst of Creativity: The Lovecraft Mythos (1926-1928)
    “The Call of Cthulhu”; The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward; “The Colour Out of Space”; “The Dunwich Horror”; Other Writings
6.  Sporadic Inspiration: Growth of the Mythos (1929-1933)
    “The Whisperer in Darkness”, At the Mountains of Madness; “The Shadow over Innsmouth”; “The Dreams in the Witch House” and “The Thing on the Doorstep”; Other Writings
7.  Final Years: Powers Undiminished (1934-1937)
    “The Shadow out of Time”; “The Haunter of the Dark”; Other Writings
8.  Major Literary Influences on Lovecraft
    Poe and Hawthorne; Dunsany and Machen
    Epilogue: General Conclusions
    Selected Bibliography

Bibliographic Information

H.P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study. By Donald R. Burleson. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press; 1983; ISBN 0-313-23255-5 (library binding).

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