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An American Allegory

By Donald R. Burleson

Dust Jacket Text

For nearly forty years, Donald R. Burleson has been a leading authority on H.P. Lovecraft. Beginning in the late 1970s, he has written article after article that have cumulatively reshaped our understanding of the dreamer from Providence. Among his earlier papers can be found searching analyses of the influence of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ambrose Bierce, and others on Lovecraft; studies of the topographical sources for such major stories as “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in Darkness”; and pioneering studies of mythic elements in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Colour out of Space.”

Later essays by Burleson venture into more challenging territory, as his bold adoption of poststructuralist literary methodologies have led to new ways of looking at Lovecraft’s work. Examining the Providence writer through the lens of deconstruction, Burleson provides innovative interpretations of Lovecraft’s prose style, his use of gender, and his relations to such writers as Herman Melville and Friedrich Nietzsche. As a practicing mathematician, Burleson has also studied Lovecraft’s use of cryptography and higher mathematics.

Burleson is one of the most sensitive students of Lovecraft’s oft-neglected poetry, writing penetrating analyses of such poems as “Nemesis,” “The Ancient Track,” and his touching poem on the death of a cat, “Little Sam Perkins.” In all, this collection is a concentrated distillation of the decades of work by a pioneering scholar.

Donald R. Burleson is the author of H.P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study (1983), Lovecraft: Disturbing the Universe (1990), and other works. He has also written novels and story collections, and is the publisher of Black Mesa Press. With his wife, the writer Mollie L. Burleson, he lives in Roswell, New Mexico.


  • Abbreviations
  • Darkness and Light: Lovecraft’s Impact on My Life
  • Thematic Studies
    • Zen and the Art of Lovecraft
    • A Note on Lovecraft, Mathematics, and the Outer Spheres
    • Lovecraft and Chiasmus, Chiasmus and Lovecraft
    • Lovecraft and the World as Cryptogram
    • Lovecraft and the Death of Tragedy
    • Lovecraft and Romanticism
    • Lovecraft: An American Allegory
    • Lovecraft and Adjectivitis: A Deconstructionist View
    • Lovecraft and Chaos
    • Lovecraft and Interstitiality
    • Lovecraft and Gender
    • H.P. Lovecraft: Textual Keys
  • Sources and Influences
    • H.P. Lovecraft: The Hawthorne Influence
    • Strange High Houses: Lovecraft and Melville
    • Ambrose Bierce and H.P. Lovecraft
    • A Note on Lovecraft and Rupert Brooke
  • Studies of Individual Tales
    • Iranon and Kuranes: An Intertextual Gloss
    • On Lovecraft’s Fragment “Azathoth”
    • Aporia and Paradox in “The Outsider”
    • Is Lovecraft’s “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh . . .” a Cryptogram?
    • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
    • The Mythic Hero Archetype in “The Dunwich Horror”
    • Prismatic Heroes: The Colour out of Dunwich
    • Humour beneath Horror: Some Sources for “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Whisperer in Darkness”
    • The Thing: On the Doorstep
  • Lovecraft’s Poetry
    • Lovecraft’s “The Unknown”: A Sort of Runic Rhyme
    • On Lovecraft’s “Nemesis”
    • On Lovecraft’s “The Ancient Track”
    • Scansion Problems in Lovecraft’s “Mirage”
    • Lovecraft’s Cheshire Cat
    • Lines of Verse Evoking Close Reading: Acrostics-Formulated Text
  • Works Cited
  • Works about Lovecraft by Donald R. Burleson
  • Index

Bibliographic Information

Lovecraft: An American Allegory. By Donald R. Burleson. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2015; ISBN 978-1-61498-138-1; paperback; 260 pages.

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in paperback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Hippocampus Press.

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