Orbis Alterius


by (TGSM/ DECEMBER 2017)

In the Spanish-speaking world, the knowledge of H.P. Lovecraft (Providence, 1890-1937) is somehow mediated by Jorge Luis Borges’ contradictory appraisal of the New Englander and his literary work. When asked by Rita Guibert whether Lovecraft deserved a place in an anthology of stories published in Buenos Aires, Borges disdainfully replied that there was no reason why anyone should read him. Well, he obviously did since one of the short stories included in The Book of Sand (El libro de arena) is dedicated to this allegedly minor writer and clearly inspired by him in both style and content. Was it an homage paid by virtue to vice inadvertently? or just one of those playfully ironic puns the Argentinian bard used to perpetrate against foes and friends alike? Be that as it may now we have a good reason to set aside Borges’ thoughtful prejudices and capricious judgments and to return to the gentleman of Providence and his abyssal worlds rooted in ancient mythologies revived by a (deranged?) Puritan imagination.

The alluded reason for revisiting Lovecraft is the re-edition and enlargement of an essay by David Hernández de la Fuente on the author who came to be considered, posthumously and despite Borges’ ambivalence, as the unequivocal master of Supernatural horror in fiction. It is reasonably safe to say that there is no faithful adept to the fantastic and extraordinary who is not familiar with the Myths of Cthulhu or has not visited the dilapidated town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, at least once in a reading life. Largely neglected during his lifetime, Lovecraft is one of the few writers who have created a modern cult with its own myths, rituals and sacrifices. In fact, as David Hernández de la Fuente pointedly notes in his essay, Lovecraft was both the high priest and the propitiatory victim offered to the very same Gods invoked from those cosmic depths he was so fond of exploring. A native of New England, since his early childhood Lovecraft had at hand in his family mansion the well endowed library bequeathed by his grandfather, an avid reader of ancient history, Celtic legends and gothic novels. As Professor de la Fuente explains, from these primordial sources emerged the three poetic pillars sustaining Lovecraft´s literary world: the Dionysian, the Gothic and the Mystic. In most anthologies, Lovecraft is just conveniently labeled as odd and put aside standing on his own solitary pedestal, so it is precisely de la Fuente´s successful attempt at inserting him into several undercurrents of Western literature and thought the main attraction of this timely, elegantly written and well edited essay.

To know more: Hernández de la Fuente, David: Lovecraft. Una mitología. Materia Oscura Editores, Segovia, 2017.

And also, on line: www.hplovecraft.com / www.cthulhulives.com