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Out of the Shadows:
A Structuralist Approach to
Understanding the Fiction of
H.P. Lovecraft

By James Arthur Anderson

Back Cover Text


Although Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890–1937) is generally regarded as one of the world’s finest writers of horror and science fiction, his work has received little critical study by mainstream critics. Professor Anderson’s study takes Lovecraft “out of the shadows” by analyzing fifteen of his stories using structuralist critical theory. This analysis shows that Lovecraft’s fiction, while it may appear fantastic, expresses early twentieth-century naturalism in a cosmic context. His critical approach isolates Lovecraft’s major themes and narrative techniques, defines horror and the weird tale as he saw it, and shows how the writer created a new type of folktale based upon scientific mythology. Anderson explores Lovecraft’s vision of truth, and demonstrates how he employed fantasy as a means of understanding reality. The book concludes with an evaluation of Lovecraft’s place in twentieth-century American literature: much of what are mistakenly perceived as flaws in his work are really essential components of his overall theme and meaning. Out of the Shadows offers both scholars and fans new insight into the work of the premiere writer of horror fiction in the first half of the twentieth century.

As S.T. Joshi states in his preface to this work, “Anderson’s thorough familiarity with Lovecraft’s texts (essays and letters as well as stories), and with the best scholarship on Lovecraft is evident on every page; and the fluidity with which he weaves together critical approaches into a unified commentary is enviable.”

JAMES ARTHUR ANDERSON is an American writer of horror fiction and nonfiction. Many of his books are being published by the Borgo Press Imprint of Wildside Press.


Preface by S.T. Joshi
Chronology of H.P. Lovecraft’s Life

Part One: Interpreting the Shadows
  1. Into the Shadows: “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”
  2. “Pickman’s Model”: Lovecraft’s Model of Terror
  3. “The Call of Cthulhu”: Flagship of the Mythos
  4. Narrative Devices and Meaning: “The Rats in the Walls”
Part Two: Lovecraft’s Vision of Horror
  1. “Dagon”: The Fundamentals of Terror
  2. “The Shunned House”: The Irony of Terror
  3. “The Colour Out of Space”: Cosmic Horror Defined
  4. “The Dunwich Horror”: The Mythology of Fear
  5. “The Unnamable”: The Power of Language
Part Three: Fantasy as a Vision of Truth
  1. Charles Dexter Ward: The Prototype Protagonist
  2. “The Outsider”: The Terror Within
  3. “From Beyond”: Breaking Down the Barriers
  4. “The Haunter in [sic] the Dark”: Cultural Code in the Two Hills of Providence
  5. “The Whisperer in Darkness”: The Seductive Power of Knowledge
  6. “The Shadow Out of Time”: Out of the Shadows
Works Cited
About the Author

Bibliographic Information

Out of the Shadows: A Structuralist Approach to Understanding the Fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. By James Arthur Anderson. Rockville, MD: Borgo Press; 2011; ISBN 978-0-8095-3002-1; paperback; 168 pages.

Purchasing This Book

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

  Return to Literary Criticism This page last revised 31 October 2015.
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