Introduction

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:

Nameless Cults

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.

Alphabetization

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.

  • In the case of some multi-part names, particularly those of nonhuman characters, or foreign people, it is difficult to determine whether the last part of the name is really a family name. If not, then the name is not inverted. I have guessed as best I could; thus, Bran Mak Morn is listed under "Mak Morn, Bran" whereas Brown Jenkins and Malik Tous are not inverted. In general, if you don't find a multi-part name where you expect it, try looking up the name under one of its other parts.
  • Most place names are alphabetized under the proper part of the place name; for example, "Everest, Mount" and "Hali, Lake of." However, Capes are listed under "Cape", as in Cape Ann.
  • The sort sequence used in this book begins with commas, followed by each letter in its upper and lower case form (e.g. A, a, B, b...), followed by digits. This system is followed because it tends to group the members of a family together. Thus: Brown, Nicholas; Brown, Walter; Brown family; Brown Jenkins.
  • Any blank spaces or special characters (except for commas) are ignored, thus: Cape Ann, Capella, Cape Verde. This system makes it easy to find names when you are unsure whether they are divided by spaces or punctuation marks.

Related Works

It is worth mentioning some related works that are available currently:

  • Chris Jarocha-Ernst, Glossary of Cthulhu Mythos Terms. Hosted on the Weird Fiction Research Library page of the Necronomicon Press web site.

    I've heard rumors of this work for years, but was only directed to its current location recently through the kindness of Donovan Loucks. In its current form, this is implemented as a massive interactive database. You type in the term that you are interested in. If the term is found, the database returns a list of stories that use that term, along with a summary of the information imparted about that term by the story. All in all, this is a pretty amazing compendium, and a real treasure-trove of information for those interested in researching Mythos lore.

    I haven't been able to completely pin down the scope of what is included in this database. It appears that the information does not extend to really minor characters or references. Nor does it include page numbers-but since the sources are mostly short stories, and new editions are proliferating like rabbits anyway, who cares? And, the database does include several of the major authors who have contributed to the Mythos since the time of the original Lovecraft circle. At this time, the Jarocha-Ernst's glossary is probably the best general Mythos information source available, more so than my own site or the other two references that follow.

  • S. T. Joshi, An Index to the Fiction & Poetry of H. P. Lovecraft, Necronomicon Press, 1992.

    Joshi's work differs from mine in several ways. On the plus side, he indexes all Lovecraft's fiction and poetry, whereas I index only those works that seem somehow Mythos-related. Further, he indexes both the corrected editions and the original editions of the Arkham House omnibuses; I index only the corrected editions.

    On the other hand, the present work goes beyond Joshi's in the following respects: I include stories by other writers, not just Lovecraft; I index some general types of concepts that he does not; and I include a good many cross-references between related items. I should add that my own book is based on original research, and did not use his index as a source; any errors are attributable only to myself.

  • Daniel Harms, Encyclopedia Cthulhuiana, Chaosium, Inc., 1994.

    Rather than being an index, this work is an actual encyclopedia of articles about various Mythos characters, entities, and concepts. It includes information drawn from the most well-known Mythos stories up to the present day, as well as information from a number of game scenarios put out by Chaosium.

    The limitations of Harms' work are: it mentions only the primary stories related to a given topic; it gives no page references; it does not identify which ideas originated in which stories (or from which authors); in some cases, it obscures information by relaying only the most "public" facts related to a topic; and it devotes much of its space to information derived from role-playing games. Of course, all of these points can be considered features instead of limitations; it just depends on what you are looking for in a reference work.

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.

Apologia

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.



Return to Contents Page

Send comments to jfmorales@baharna.com.

Copyright 1996-2007 by Joseph Morales