English and Spanish Literature

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Independent Funding Available, Potential for UROP Funding

Overview

From Providence to Tlatelolco: H.P. Lovecraft and Mexico

H.P Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) was an American writer of horror fiction. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he is best known for a body of work that became known as the Cthulhu Mythos. In his short stories, Lovecraft intertwines New English lore, scientific ideas and archaeological nightmares against the backdrop of cosmic horror. His fiction and personal letters underscore the importance of ancient civilizations in his work. However, the role of Mexico and its ancient civilizations, which some of his contemporaries described as the “American Egypt”, in Lovecraft’s imagination has been largely overlooked.

The student researcher will help me break new ground by exploring the presence of Mexican archaeology and myth in the “weird fiction” of H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. During the first stage of this project (Fall 2021), we will chart the presence of Mexican and Central American themes in “Weird Tales”, a fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine published in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as in Lovecraft’s voluminous letters of the period. Familiarity with Lovecraft’s work and reading knowledge of Spanish are desirable, but the bulk of the materials to be explored are in English. At the end of the semester, the student researcher will join me for a research day in the Lovecraft Collection at Brown University’s John Hay Library.

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