Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos
H.P. Lovecraft was one of the most asexual beings in history—at least by his own admission. Whether we accept this view of his own sexual instincts or not, there is no denying that sexuality—normal and aberrant—underlies a number of significant tales in the Lovecraft oeuvre. The impregnation of a human woman by Yog-Sothoth in “The Dunwich Horror” and the mating of humans with strange creatures from the sea in “The Shadow over Innsmouth” are only two such examples.
In this pioneering study, Bobby Derie has presented an objective and scholarly analysis of the significant uses of love, sex, and gender in the work of H.P. Lovecraft and some of his leading disciples. Along the way, Derie treats such matters as Lovecraft’s relations with his wife, portrayals of women in his work, and the question of homosexuality in his life and work. Many Lovecraft stories are subject to detailed examination for their sexual implications.
Derie then examines the work of such significant writers of the Lovecraft tradition as Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Ramsey Campbell, W.H. Pugmire, and Caitlín R. Kiernan, whose work features far more explicit sexuality than anything Lovecraft could have imagined. Derie goes on to study sexual themes in other venues, such as Lovecraftian occultism, Japanese manga and anime, and even Lovecraftian fan fiction. The result is a comprehensive and incisive examination of a delicate subject—but one whose significance in Lovecraftian writing can hardly be denied.
Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos. By Bobby Derie. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2014; ISBN 978-1-61498-088-9; softcover; 314 pages.
|Return to Literary Criticism