H. P. Lovecraft, a luminary of speculative fiction, wove a distinctive and enduring tapestry of cosmic horror. His prose, both poetic and macabre, unveiled a universe where humanity's insignificance faced the unrelenting vastness of the cosmos and its ancient, indifferent entities. Lovecraft's stories often featured protagonists grappling with their own fragility as they encountered eldritch horrors that transcended human comprehension. A recluse in his personal life, Lovecraft's impact on the horror genre was profound, fostering a subgenre that melded dread, the unknown, and existential reflection. His creation of the Cthulhu Mythos—a shared universe of cosmic deities—fostered a sense of continuity across his tales, inviting fellow writers to contribute to his mythos. Despite controversies surrounding his personal views, Lovecraft's imagination cast an indelible shadow across literature, inspiring generations of writers to explore the terror of the unknown and the limits of human understanding.
H. P. Lovecraft Quotes
That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die.
I felt myself on the edge of the world; peering over the rim into a fathomless chaos of eternal night.
All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown
If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.
The ignorant and the deluded are, I think, in a strange way to be envied. That which is not known of does not trouble us, while an imagined but insubstantial peril does not harm us. To know the truths behind reality is a far greater burden.
If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.
No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace.
I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents... 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 light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age.
As for the Republicans -- how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, [and] steel their emotions against decent human sympathy.
I do not regard the rise of woman as a bad sign. Rather do I fancy that her traditional subordination was itself an artificial and undesirable condition based on Oriental influences. Our virile Teutonic ancestors did not think their wives unworthy to follow them into battle, or scorn to dream of winged Valkyries bearing them to Valhalla.
I am disillusioned enough to know that no man's opinion on any subject is worth a damn unless backed up with enough genuine information to make him really know what he's talking about.
If I could create an ideal world, it would be an England with the fire of the Elizabethans, the correct taste of the Georgians, and the refinement and pure ideals of the Victorians.
The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.
I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness.
I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men.
Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.
It is an unfortunate fact that every man who seeks to disseminate knowledge must contend not only against ignorance itself, but against false instruction as well. No sooner do we deem ourselves free from a particularly gross superstition, than we are confronted by some enemy to learning who would set aside all the intellectual progress of years, and plunge us back into the darkness of mediaeval disbelief.
Memories and possibilities are even more hideous than realities.
For I have always been a seeker, a dreamer, and a ponderer on seeking and dreaming.
Searchers after horror haunt strange, far places.
I couldn't live a week without a private library - indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.
The process of delving into the black abyss is to me the keenest form of fascination.
The cat is such a perfect symbol of beauty and superiority that is seems scarcely possible for any true aesthete and civilized cynic to do other than to worship it.
I should describe mine own nature as tripartite, my interests consisting of three parallel and dissociated groups - (a) Love of the strange and fantastic. (b) Love of the abstract truth and of scientific logick. (c) Love of the ancient and the permanent. Sundry combinations of these three strains will probably account for all my odd tastes and eccentricities.
Who knows the end? What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise.
Man is an essentially superstitious and fearful animal. Take away the herd's Christian gods and saints and they will without failing come to worship...something else.
I fear my enthusiasm flags when real work is demanded of me.
What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!
Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.
Despite my solitary life, I have found infinite joy in books and writing, and am by far too much interested in the affairs of the world to quit the scene before Nature shall claim me.
Someday our piecing together of knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas we shall either go mad or flee into the safety of a new dark age.
For although nepenthe has calmed me, I know always that I am an outsider; a stranger in this century and among those who are still men. This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.
Never explain anything.
Our brains deliberately make us forget things, to prevent insanity.
The greatest human achievements have never been for profit.
Life is a hideous thing.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
I could not write about "ordinary people" because I am not in the least interested in them.
The human race will disappear. Other races will appear and disappear in turn. The sky will become icy and void, pierced by the feeble light of half-dead stars. Which will also disappear. Everything will disappear. And what human beings do is just as free of sense as the free motion of elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, feelings? Pure 'Victorian fictions'. Only egotism exists.
Nothing matters, but it's perhaps more comfortable to keep calm and not interfere with other people.
I am perfectly confident that I could never adequately convey to any other human being the precise reasons why I continue to refrain from suicide - the reasons, that is, why I still find existence enough of a compensation to atone for its dominantly burthensome quality.
It is because the cosmos is meaningless that we must secure our individual illusions of values, direction, and interest by upholding the artificial streams which give us such worlds of salutary illusion. That is - since nothing means anything in itself, we must preserve the proximate and arbitrary background which makes things around us seem as if they did mean something.
It is good to be a cynic - it is better to be a contented cat - and it is best not to exist at all. Universal suicide is the most logical thing in the world - we reject it only because of our primitive cowardice and childish fear of the dark. If we were sensible we would seek death - the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.
It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth's dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be left alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests.
Wise men have interpreted dreams, and the gods have laughed.
Science, already oppressive with its shocking revelations, will perhaps be the ultimate exterminator of our human species - if separate species we be - for its reserve of unguessed horrors could never be borne by mortal brains if loossed upon the world.
Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane.
With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have.
Do not call up any that you can not put down.
I shall never sleep calmly again when I think of the horrors that lurk ceaselessly behind life in time and in space, and of those unhallowed blasphemies from elder stars which dream beneath the sea, known and favoured by a nightmare cult ready and eager to loose them upon the world whenever another earthquake shall heave their monstrous stone city again to the sun and air.
The cat is cryptic, and close to strange things which men cannot see.
But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.
Bunch together a group of people deliberately chosen for strong religious feelings, and you have a practical guarantee of dark morbidities expressed in crime, perversion, and insanity.
The only saving grace of the present is that it's too damned stupid to question the past very closely.
I have never been able to soothe myself with the sugary delusions of religion; for these things stand convicted of the utmost absurdity in light of modern scientific knowledge.
The sea can bind us to her many moods, whispering to us by the subtle token of a shadow or a gleam upon the waves, and hinting in these ways of her mournfulness or rejoicing. Always she is remembering old things, and these memories, though we may not grasp them, are imparted to us, so that we share her gaiety or remorse.
Blue, green, grey, white, or black; smooth, ruffled, or mountainous; that ocean is not silent.
In theory I am an agnostic, but pending the appearance of rational evidence I must be classed, practically and provisionally, as an atheist. The chance's of theism's truth being to my mind so microscopically small, I would be a pedant and a hypocrite to call myself anything else.
At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour. No one knows whether or not he is a writer unless he has tried writing at night.
We love kitties, gawd bless their little whiskers, and we don't give a damn whether they or we are superior or inferior! They're confounded pretty, and that's all we know and all we need to know!
It is good to be a cynic - it is better to be a contented cat - and it is best not to exist at all.
Religion is still useful among the herd - that it helps their orderly conduct as nothing else could. The crude human animal is in-eradicably superstitious, and there is every biological reason why they should be. Take away his Christian god and saints, and he will worship something else.
An isolated person requires correspondence as a means of seeing his ideas as others see them, and thus guarding against the dogmatisms and extravagances of solitary and uncorrected speculation.
The most merciful thing in the world is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents.
Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large.... To achieve the essence of real externality, whether of time or space or dimension, one must forget that such things as organic life, good and evil, love and hate, and all such local attributes of a negligible and temporary race called mankind, have any existence at all.
Race prejudice is a gift of nature, intended to preserve in purity the various divisions of mankind which the ages have evolved.
In my actual imaginative contact with life, I am vastly more responsive to beauty than to horror - indeed, I never experience real cosmic horror except in infrequent nightmares. However, when I come to record my various imaginative experiences, I generally find that only the horror items have any uniqueness or originality. Others have seen the same beautiful things that I have seen, & have sung them more nobly.
I have seen the dark universe yawning Where the black planets roll without aim, Where they roll in their horror unheeded, Without knowledge, or lustre, or name.
Slowly but inexorably crawling upon my consciousness and rising above every other impression, came a dizzying fear of the unknown; a fear all the greater because I could not analyze it, and seeming to concern a stealthily approaching menace; not death, but some nameless, unheard-of thing inexpressibly more ghastly and abhorrent.
There is no field other than the weird in which I have any aptitude or inclination for fictional composition. Life has never interested me so much as the escape from life.
To be bitter is to attribute intent and personality to the formless, infinite, unchanging and unchangeable void. We drift on a chartless, resistless sea. Let us sing when we can, and forget the rest.
We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight.
The basis of all true cosmic horror is violation of the order of nature, and the profoundest violations are always the least concrete and describable.
Time, space, and natural law hold for me suggestions of intolerable bondage, and I can form no picture of emotional satisfaction which does not involve their defeat - especially the defeat of time, so that one may merge oneself with the whole historic stream and be wholly emancipated from the transient and the ephemeral.
I am writing this under an appreciable mental strain, since by tonight I shall be no more. Penniless, and at the end of my supply of the drug which alone makes life endurable, I can bear the torture no longer; and shall cast myself from this garret window into the squalid street below.
As human beings, our only sensible scale of values is one based on lessening the agony of existence.
But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?
That which we call substance and reality is shadow and illusion, and that which we call shadow and illusion is substance and reality.
Only poetry or madness could do justice to the noises.
Life has never interested me so much as the escape from life.
In its flawless grace and superior self-sufficiency I have seen a symbol of the perfect beauty and bland impersonality of the universe itself, objectively considered, and in its air of silent mystery there resides for me all the wonder and fascination of the unknown.
Non- Euclidean calculus and quantum physics are enough to stretch any brain; and when one mixes them with folklore, and tries to trace a strange background of multi-dimensional reality behind the ghoulish hints of Gothic tales and the wild whispers of the chimney-corner, one can hardly expect to be wholly free from mental tension. (Dreams In The Witch-House)
My opinion of my whole experience varies from time to time. In broad daylight, and at most seasons I am apt to think the greater part of it a mere dream; but sometimes in the autumn, about two in the morning when winds and animals howl dismally, there comes from inconceivable depths below a damnable suggestions of rhythmical throbbing ... and I feel that the transition of Juan Romero was a terrible one indeed.
Memory sometimes makes merciful deletions.
Toil without song is like a weary journey without an end.
It must be remembered that there is no real reason to expect anything in particular from mankind; good and evil are local expedients - or their lack - and not in any sense cosmic truths or laws.
Creative minds are uneven, and the best of fabrics have their dull spots.
Disintegration is quite painless, I assure you.
The appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from everyday life.
In London there is a man who screams when the church bells ring.
All I want is to know things. The black gulph of the infinite is before me.
Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability.
Uncertainty and danger are always closely allied, thus making any kind of an unknown world a world of peril and evil possibilities.
The trees grew too thickly, and their trunks were too big for any healthy New England wood. There was too much silence in the dim alleys between them.
A serious adult story must be true to something in life. Since marvel tales cannot be true to the events of life, they must shift their emphasis towards something to which they can be true; namely, certain wistful or restless moods of the human spirit, wherein it seeks to weave gossamer ladders of escape from the galling tyranny of time, space, and natural law.
A page of Addison or of Irving will teach more of style than a whole manual of rules, whilst a story of Poe's will impress upon the mind a more vivid notion of powerful and correct description and narration than will ten dry chapters of a bulky textbook.
If we were sensible we would seek death - the same blissful blank which we enjoyed before we existed.
There are probably seven persons, in all, who really like my work; and they are enough. I should write even if I were the only patient reader, for my aim is merely self-expression.
Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal
In my dreams I found a little of the beauty I had vainly sought in life, and wandered through old gardens and enchanted woods.
From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.
Since all motives at bottom are selfish and ignoble, we may judge acts and qualities only be their effects.
To the scientist there is the joy in pursuing truth which nearly counteracts the depressing revelations of truth.
Heaven knows where I'll end up - but it's a safe bet that I'll never be at the top of anything! Nor do I particularly care to be.
I am so beastly tired of mankind and the world that nothing can interest me unless it contains a couple of murders on each page or deals with the horrors unnameable and unaccountable that leer down from the external universes.
There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range.
The dog is a peasant and the cat is a gentleman.
Life is not the unique property of Earth. Nor is life in the shape of human beings. Life takes many forms on other planets and far stars, forms that would seem bizarre to humans, as human life is bizarre to other life-forms.
There are black zones of shadow close to our daily paths, and now and then some evil soul breaks a passage through. When that happens, the man who knows must strike before reckoning the consequences.
Man's relations to man do not captivate my fancy. It is man's relation to the cosmos--to the unknown--which alone arouses in me the spark of creative imagination.
Truly, there are terrible primal arcana of earth which had better be left unknown and unevoked; dread secrets which have nothing to do with man, and which man may learn only in exchange for peace and sanity; cryptic truths which make the knower evermore an alien among his kind, and cause him to walk alone on earth.
Unhappy is he to whom the memories of childhood bring only fear and sadness.
I love to dream, but I never try to dream and think at the same time.
Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos.
All my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large.
Vigorous let us be in attaining our ends, and mild in our method of attainment.
Through the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber, Past the wan-mooned abysses of night, I have lived o'er my lives without number, I have sounded all things with my sight.
Maybe, just maybe, I should not have used the word "eldritch" so many times now that I think about it.
Ultimate horror often paralyses memory in a merciful way.
Of what use is it to please the herd? They are simply coarse animals - for all that is admirable in man is the artificial product of special breeding.
There are not many persons who know what wonders are opened to them in the stories and visions of their youth; for when as children we listen and dream, we think but half-formed thoughts, and when as men we try to remember, we are dulled and prosaic with the poison of life.
May the merciful god, if indeed there be such, guard those hours when no power of the will, or drug that the cunning of man devises, can keep me from the chasm of sleep. Death is merciful, for there is no return therefrom, but with him who has come back out of the nethermost chambers of night, haggard and knowing, peace rests nevermore.
Nothing really known can continue to be acutely fascinating.
The moon is dark, and the gods dance in the night; there is terror in the sky, for upon the moon hath sunk an eclipse foretold in no books of men or of earth's gods.
In short, the world abounds with simple delusions which we may call "happiness", if we be but able to entertain them.
I am a student of life, and don't want to miss any experience. There's poetry in this sort of thing, you know--or perhaps you don't know, but it's all the same.
Life is a hideous thing, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.
I was nearly unnerved at my proximity to a nameless thing at the bottom of a pit.
Something like fear chilled me as I sat there in the small hours alone-I say alone, for one who sits by a sleeper is indeed alone; perhaps more alone than he can realise.
― H. P. Lovecraft Quotes
Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.