H. P. Lovecraft was one of the most influential authors of horror stories in this century. The last few decades have seen Lovecraft's rise from a forgotten author of pulp-magazine fiction to a subject of serious academic study, with a second major biography having recently appeared. Lovecraft's influence on other writers in the genre has also been significant.
One of the unusual tendencies of Lovecraft's work was his proclivity for developing background devices that recur from story to story, without ever becoming fully defined. Some of Lovecraft's devices are imaginary Massachusetts towns with names such as Arkham, Innsmouth, and Dunwich. Other Lovecraft stapes include alien, quasi-divine (or demonic) entities with unpronounceable names such as Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, and Azathoth. Most famous are Lovecraft's apocryphal grimoires, dread tomes with titles like the Necronomicon.
Lovecraft's lore never forms a coherent and fully-defined "world" of the type widely invented by fantasy authors since J.R.R. Tolkien, and attempts to develop a coherent theology from his stories have been dubious at best. This is because Lovecraft's approach to atmosphere relied on suggesting things that are never fully explained. It all harks back to the old principle that the scariest things are the ones you imagine yourself, under the stimulus of darkly suggestive circumstances.
Which is not to say that Lovecraft was ever the perfect exemplar of his own aesthetic. Some stories were in fact weakened by the irrelevant introduction of "Mythos" elements. But in all Lovecraft achieved a unique impression, a flavor that is easy to identify and easy to imitate badly. By involving his friends in the process, including references to their stories and encouraging them to include references to his, Lovecraft started a kind of mutant phenomenon of Mythos pastiches that has since infected a multitude of crazed victims.
Fortunately, Lovecraft's friends and correspondents included some of the most talented authors of weird fiction in his day. As a result, a number of the "Cthulhu Mythos" stories (so named by his disciple, August Derleth) are classics, and many others are passable light entertainment or at least have some lingering curiosity value.
This book, in its present form, provides an index to names and concepts in the body of stories known as the Cthulhu Mythos. The items indexed include deities, races, place names, personal names, names of books, and so on.
The scope of the study is limited to those stories contributed by the first generation of Mythos authors: H. P. Lovecraft and his circle of friends and correspondents. Some notes are also included about earlier stories that influenced Lovecraft and his pals.
I should hasten to add that later authors are omitted purely to limit the size of this index. I do not mean to imply any dubious standard of canonicity that enshrines the first generation of writers.
Format of the Entries
The majority of the book presents terms in alphabetical order. The following is a typical entry:
HPL Aeons copies in late 19th century rare 269, suppression of original Dusseldorf edition (1839) and Bridewell translation (1845) 269, expurgated reprint by Golden Goblin Press (1909) 269, resemblance of ideographs in Nameless Cults to scroll of T'yog 271.
HH Guardian 'criminally expurgated later (1909) edition' 288.
REH Black 56; Children 151; Roof 197; Untitled 37.
See also: Black Book, Unaussprechlichen Kulten.
In this entry, Nameless Cults is the term being indexed. HPL, HH, and REH are abbreviations for the authors H. P. Lovecraft, Henry Hasse, and Robert E. Howard. Aeons, Guardian, Black, and so on are abbreviations for story names. To determine the meaning of any particular author abbreviation or story abbreviation, refer to the Bibliography that follows this introduction. In the Bibliography, stories are grouped by author and then listed by their abbreviation.
In the above example, dates are enclosed in parentheses to prevent them from being mistaken for page numbers. If the page number itself is enclosed in parentheses, this indicates a page that refers to the term, but not by name. For example, the page might refer to a particular character simply as "him" instead of by his proper name.
Editions Chosen for Indexing
To make this book as useful as possible, I have attempted to use the most recent, widely available, and authoritative editions of the stories that I could find. This means that the Lovecraft stories are indexed from the corrected hardcover editions recently issued by Arkham House. Other works preferentially used for indexing include publications from Fedogan & Bremer and from Chaosium.
For out of print works, I have tended to use Arkham House editions or the facsimile reprints put out by Neville Spearman in the 1970's.
Even if you do not own the editions that are indexed here, this book can help you by at least identifying the stories that include references to a given item.
The following conventions are used in alphabetizing this work:
Personal names are given in the following order: family name, (title), first name, middle name. For example, Dr. Jean-Francois Charriere is listed as "Charriere, (Dr.) Jean-Francois." The titles are given in parenthesis because they are ignored when determining the alphabetical order of the names.
It is worth mentioning some related works that are available currently:
Each of these works are well done within the scope that their authors defined, and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in this subject.
This book is presented as a work in progress, which will be updated regularly on electronic media. As the years pass, the index promises to grow more detailed, and might eventually evolve into an encyclopedia-type presentation, as in Harms' book. However, I intend to continue to include the precise story and page references.
If you have any comments or corrections, please send them to me.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 1996-2007 by Joseph Morales