The Corner

A Lovecraft Reservation

John: I’m a fan of H. P.; my favorite story is the first I ever read, “The Shadow Over Innsmouth.” (I wonder how many Lovecraftians like best the first story they ever read. A large number, I suspect, since he wrote one story over and over.)

One way to think of Lovecraft is as a demented anticipation of Russell Kirk. Kirk praised the permanent things. The permanent things in Lovecraft are revolting monsters from outer space or undersea who, it turns out, have been here for eons, and sometimes have interbred with us. Connecting with the past in Kirk guides and inspires us. Connecting with the past in Lovecraft makes us lose our minds. Lovecraft is a good read, but would you go up the sea beach at Tarawa for that conservative position? Neither would I.

Richard Brookhiser — Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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