English 177-1 - Winter, 2015

Study of an Individual Author

    Topic: H. P. Lovecraft

Class Information

Instructor: Shershow, Scott
CRN: 72654
Time: TR 3:10-4:30
Location: 176 Chem


    We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and … some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
    — H. P. Lovecraft

    H. P. Lovecraft’s stories, in his lifetime, either went unpublished or appeared in “pulp” magazines such as Weird Tales; and in 1945, just eight years after his death, the critic Edmund Wilson dismissed him as a “hack.” Today, Lovecraft is recognized as one of the great American writers of horror, fantastic, or “weird” fiction. Lovecraft’s stories, some of them joining in what was later called a “Cthulhu Mythos," have inspired literally thousands of imitations, parodies, films, comics, games, graphic novels, and pseudo-histories. In recent years, Lovecraft has even been regarded as an intellectual hero by contemporary philosophers inspired by his nihilistic vision of an indifferent universe.

    In this class we will read the majority of Lovecraft’s stories and novellas, including such masterpieces of weird fiction as “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “At the Mountains of Madness,” and “The Shadow Out of Time.” Evaluation will be based on class participation, midterm and final exams, one shorter and one longer paper.


    First paper = 15%, Midterm = 20%, Second paper = 25%; Final = 25%, attendance and participation = 15%.


    The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin), H. P. Lovecraft
    The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (Penguin), H. P. Lovecraft
    The Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories (Penguin), H. P. Lovecraft