Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in English Composition



First Reader/Committee Chair

Chad Luck


The purpose of this thesis project is to affix the attention of Lovecraftian scholarship on the oft ignored racism that pervades many of H.P. Lovecraft’s better known short stories. Existing scholarship revolves around an inordinate focus on the cosmic aesthetic of Lovecraftian horror and Lovecraft’s professed nihilism. The consequence of such criticism is that similar critical readings are produced, contributing to a rhetorical atrophy that prohibits the possible depth of scholarly inquiry. Indeed this limitation is made apparent by the small pool of scholars that produce the majority of Lovecraft scholarship.

I seek to broaden the current discourse, and thus invite additional scholarly voices, by introducing a critical lens that allows readers to rethink Lovecraftian horror from a new perspective. Whereas most Lovecraftian scholarship relies on a biographical lens with which to interpret Lovecraft’s works, I will be combining biographical insight with historical context to create a new framework from which readers can address the racism found in Lovecraft’s works in relations to external influences and paradigms.

My methodology consists of historicizing Lovecraft and his works within the White racist power structure that defined not only the interaction of Whites and non-Whites, but the collective mindset of contemporaneous White American culture. Specifically, I will introduce three of Lovecraft’s stories as part of a broader social discourse on race and ontology. The stories in question are “The Call of Cthulhu”, “Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn” and “Hebert West: Re-Animator”.

Additional Files

Thesis Final Format.doc (149 kB)