Paranoid perspectives

Sketch of Arkham’s street plan, by H P Lovecraft

Lovecraft and Landscape‘ (1978)
by Angela Carter,
in The Necronomicon,
edited by George Hay and introduced by Colin Wilson.
Corgi Books, 1980 (1978).

In 1980, at the age of forty, Angela Carter took a year-long teaching post as visiting professor at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island. While there she attempted, together with her friend – Christopher Frayling, an expert on popular culture – to locate the grave of the horror writer H P Lovecraft, though without success.

Her biographer, Edmund Gordon, tells us she was keen on Lovecraft’s fiction, “finding in it ‘an odd stylistic resemblance’ to [Jorge Luís] Borges,” his work doubtless resonating with her own taste for the macabre.¹ Despite the fruitless grave search – unsurprising given that there are some forty thousand interments in the 60-acre cemetery – the pilgrimage was a logical extension to her interest in weird fiction.

Two years earlier that interest had already manifested itself in a collection of fictive studies of Lovecraft’s own concept of an occult volume ascribed to the ‘mad Arab’ Abdul Alhazred, to which she contributed – as had Frayling – a piece about the Providence author. Published by Neville Spearman Ltd, The Necronomicon reflected the publisher’s customary eclectic taste for a range of off-beat topics, and Carter’s piece on Lovecraft’s visionary landscapes obviously suited the brief.²

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