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The Racial Worldview of H. P. Lovecraft, Part 2

1,786 words

Ed. A. Trumbo

Editor’s Note:

Lovecraft had a rather unbecoming tendency to judge other branches of the Indo-Aryan racial family from a very chauvinist, Imperial, pro-English perspective. Despite his derogatory remarks about Slavs and Celts, if he were alive today there could be little doubt that he would embrace the ideals of Pan-Aryanism. I would also like to state that the many oddly spelled words and incorrect grammar are Mr. Lovecraft’s and not mine: “When I was ten I set to work to delete every modern word from my vocabulary, and adopted an old Walkers Dictionary (1804) which was for some time my sole authority. All the Queen Ann authors combined to form my literary diet.”

Sept. 30, 1919:

No one else in filmland can duplicate his delineation of stark, hideous terror or fiendish malignancy. Hayakawa excels in tragical pathos, and would soar high if he were a white man. I would not at all be surprised if he had a dash of white blood somewhere. Both Walthall and Hayakawa are too good for films–they ought to be known more widely.

. . . Orientals must be kept in their native East till the fall of the white race. Sooner or later a great Japanese war will take place, during which I think the virtual destruction of Japan will have to be effected in the interests of European safety. The more numerous Chinese are a menace of the still more distant future. They will probably be the exterminators of Caucasian civilisation, for their numbers are amazing. But that is all too far ahead for consideration today.

Jan. 23, 1920:

Eroticism belongs to a lower order of instincts, and is an animal rather than nobly human quality. For evolved man — the apex of organic progress on the Earth–what branch of reflection is more fitting than that which occupies only his higher and exclusively human faculties? The primal savage or ape merely looks about his native forest to find a mate; the exalted Aryan should lift his eyes to the worlds of space and consider his relation to infinity!!!!

Oct. 6, 1921:

At heart I despise the aesthete and prefer the warrior–I am essentially a Teuton and barbarian; a Xanthochoric Nordic from the damp forests of Germany or Scandinavia, and kin to the giant chalk-white conquerors of the cursed, effeminate Celts. I am a son of Odin and brother to Hengist and Horsa . . . Grr . . . Give me a drink of hot blood with Celtic foes skull as a beaker! Rule, Britannia . . . GOD SAVE THE KING!

May 18, 1922:

The illumination is unique and extensive, but neither superlatively impressive nor in any sense truly artistic. At the elevated station at 6th Ave. and 42nd St. I lost my fellow Anglo-Saxon, whose home is far to the north in the semi-African jungles of Harlem; . . . Kleiner proceeded to lead us into the slums; with “Chinatown” as an ulterior objective. My gawd what a filthy dump! I thought Providence had slums, and antique Bostonium as well; but damn me if I ever saw anything like the sprawling sty-atmosphere of N.Y.s lower East Side. We walked–at my suggestion–in the middle of the street, for contact with the denizens, spilled out of their bulging brick kennels as if by a spawning beyond the capacity of the places, was not by any means to be sought. At times, though, we struck peculiarly deserted areas these swine have instinctive swarming movements, no doubt, which no ordinary biologist can fathom. Gawd knows what they are . . . a bastard mess of stewing mongrel flesh without intellect, repellent to the eye, nose, and imagination would to heaven a kindly gust of cyanogen could asphyxiate the whole gigantic abortion, end the misery, and clean out the place. The streets, even in the centre, are filthy with old papers and vegetable debris–probably the street-cleaners dislike to soil their white uniforms by visiting such infernos.

Feb. 10, 1923:

Anent the Fascist problem–assuredly we approach it from radically different directions. Galpinius and I have been discussing democracy a lot lately, and we agree that it is a false idol–a mere catchword and an illusion of inferior classes, visionaries, and dying civilisations. Life has no ultimate values, and our proximate values can be little more than what we like to see or posses. “Right” and “Wrong” are primitive conceptions which cannot endure the test of cold science. Now Galpin and I maintain that, logically, man of taste should prefer such things as favour strong and advanced men at the expense of the herd. 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. We advocate the preservation of conditions favourable to the growth of beautiful things–imposing palaces, beautiful cities, elegant literature, resposeful art and music, and a physically select human type such as only luxury and a pure racial strain can produce. Thus we oppose democracy, if only because it would retard the development of a handsome Nordic breed. We realise that all conceptions of justice and ethics are mere prejudices and illusions–there is no earthly reason why the masses should not be kept down for the benefit of the strong, since every man is for himself in the last analysis. We regard the rise of democratic ideas as a sign of cultural old age and decay, and deem it a compliment to such men as Mussolini when they are said to be “XVth century types. We are proud to be definitely reactionary, since only a bold repudiation of the word “liberal” pose and the progress illusion can we get the sort of authoritative social and political control which alone produces things which make life worth living. We admire the old German Empire, for it was a force so strong that it almost conquered all the combined forces of the rest of the world. Personally, my objection to Germany in the late war was that it formed a menace to our English Empire–an empire so lamentably split in 1775-83, and so regrettably by effeminate ideas of liberty. My wish was that we English reunite into one irresistible power and establish an (sic) hegemony of the globe in true Roman fashion. Neither we nor Germany will ever be really strong till we have unified imperial control.

Our modern worship of empty ideals is ludicrous. What does the condition of the rabble matter? All we need do is to keep it as quiet as we can. What is more important, is to perpetuate those things of beauty which are of real value because involving actual sense-impressions rather than vapid theories. “Equality” is a joke–but a great abbey or cathedral, covered with moss, is a poignant reality. If (it) is for us to safeguard and preserve the conditions which produce great abbeys, and palaces, and picturesque walled town, and vivid sky-lines of steeples and domes, and luxurious tapestries, and fascinating books, paintings and statuary, and colossal organs and noble music, and dramatic deeds on embattled fields–these are all there is of life: take them away and we have nothing which a man of taste or spirit would care to live for. Take them away and our poets have nothing to sing–our dreamers have nothing to dream about. The blood of a million men is well shed in producing one glorious legend which thrills posterity and it is not at all important why it was shed. A coat of arms won in a crusade is worth a thousand slavering compliments bandied about amongst a rabble.

Reform? Pish! We do no want reform! What would the world be without its scarlet and purple evil! Drama is born of conflict and violence . . . god! Shall we ever be such women as to prefer the blond-bearded warrior? The one sound power in the world is the power of a hairy muscular right arm!

Yah! How I spit upon this rotten age with its feeble comforts and thwarted energies–its Freuds and Wilsons, Augustines and Heliogabali–rabbles and perversions! What these swine with their scruples and problems, changes and rebellions, need, is a long draught of blood from a foeman’s skull on the battlements of a mountain fortalice! We need fewer harps and viols, and more drums and brasses. The answer to jazz is the wild dance of the war-like conqueror! Don’t complain of the youth’s high-powered motor-car unless you can give him an horse and armour and send him to conquer the domains of the neighborouing kings! Modern life my gawd! I don’t wonder that literature is going to hell or chaos! What is there to write about now? Before we have literature we must have life–bold, colourful, primitive, and picturesque. We must change a George V for a Richard Coeur de Lion–a Platagenet!.

May 3, 1923:

Nothing must disturb my undiluted Englishry–God Save The King! I am naturally a Nordic–a chalk-white, bulky Teuton of the Scandinavian or North-German forests–a Viking, a berserk killer–a predatory rover of Hengist and Horsa–a conqueror of Celts and mongrels and founders of Empires–a son of the thunders and the arctic winds, and brother to the frosts and the auroras–a drinker of foemen’s blood from new picked skulls–a friend of the mountain buzzards and feeder of seacoast vultures–a blond beast of eternal snows and frozen oceans–a prayer to Odin and Thor and Woden and Alfadur, the raucous shouter of Niffelheim–a comrade of the wolves, and rider of nightmares–aye–I speak truly–for was I not born with yellow hair and Blue eyes–the latter not turning dark till I was nearly two, and the former lasting till I was over five? Ho, for the hunting and fishing in Valhalla! Who knows . . . ? The Phillipses come from the borderlands of Wales, that mystic Machenian land. May there not be in them some trace of blood from some Roman prepraetor of Britannia Secunda, whose capital was Isca Silurum with its walls, its noble amphitheatre, its Etruscan-columned Temple of Diana, its Pons Saturni, its tessellated pavements, its inscriptions of the Septimii Severi, its Via Nympharum and Via Julia, . . . Io triumphe! S.P.Q.R.!! . . . Yes, Sonny, the Mediterranean world isn’t so bad when when one goes back to Pelasgic times and takes the Graeco-Roman races! After all, I have dark hair and eyes now, no matter what I used to have; and it is quite as good to be a sanguinary Roman consul as a Norse pirate. Long live the Pantheon! Vivat M. Agrippa! By being a Roman, I can quite logically prove a good grandfather to such as my small boys Belnapius and Alfredus . . . Latins all! But as a classical and ancient Latin, I enjoy cheese, which was a leading feature of the Graeco-Roman diet. Therein our souls are separated by the impassable gulf of the Dark Ages, O Francisco Borgia, Prince of Arsenic-Sharks and Stilletto hounds!

VNN, June 29, 2002

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One Comment

  1. Andy
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Nothing must disturb my undiluted Englishry–God Save The King! I am naturally a Nordic–a chalk–white, bulky Teuton of the Scandinavian or North-German forests–a Viking, a berserk killer–a predatory rover of Hengist and Horsa–a conqueror of Celts and mongrels and founders of Empires–a son of the thunders and the arctic winds, and brother to the frosts and the auroras–a drinker of foemen’s blood from new picked skulls . . .

    “Viking,” “berserk killer,” and “predatory rover” aren’t the first terms that spring to mind when I think of Lovecraft–he always seemed rather [Yiddish term redacted--Ed.] to me. Nevertheless, I do enjoy reading him wax lyrical about his Anglo-Saxon heritage. He’s got a great line about a quasi-mystical experience he had upon visiting Marblehead, Massachusetts for the first time, describing it as, “. . . the most powerful single emotional climax experienced during my nearly forty years of existence. In a flash all the past of New England–all the past of Old England—all the past of Anglo-Saxondom and the Western World—swept over me and identified me with the stupendous totality of all things in such a way as it never did before and never did again. That was the high tide of my life.”

    A very interesting man.

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