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Old 05-11-2015   #1
Cnev
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Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

Spoilers ahead, but oh well. I guess I just haven't been paying attention, but I had no idea Bloodborne was so Lovecraft heavy.

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Old 05-12-2015   #2
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

I think it was less a matter of the boat driving through Cthulhu (because "the scattered plasticity of that nameless sky-spawn was nebulously recombining in its hateful original form") and more a matter of R'lyeh sinking again (by sheer coincidence).
Maybe "The Dunwich Horror" is the closest Lovecraft comes to this traditional narrative that the good guys can defeat evil by chanting and casting spells.
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Old 05-12-2015   #3
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

I've always thought that Lovecraft was going for something much more sophisticated in "fighting" "evil". That standing against evil requires enormous sacrifice and extensive practice. Gilman had the technical know how to go up against some of the eldritch things but it was like a 5 year old trying to shoot a .45. On the other hand, Randolph Carter stood toe to toe with Nyarlathotep and lived to tell about it. Knowledge plus immense sacrifice equates to a fighting chance. But like actual fighting it's not about "winning" but surviving. You cook you get burned. You garden a torn pricks you. You go against the Old Ones you lose a piece of yourself. You're not the same and you are forever separate from the rest of humanity.
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Old 05-12-2015   #4
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

I think the Derleth Mythos and the Chaosium RPG have helped propagate an image of Lovecraft in which most stories feature the Great Old Ones driving somebody to death or insanity, when in actuality they are key to a minimum of stories, and most Lovecraft protagonists escape alive, whilst being traumatised yet sane.

The key to his cosmic vision was much subtler than what our cultural approximation now is, though this goes for Poe as well, and any artist of complexity. Cthulhu may have been defeated, but his cult is out there, and as the reveal at the beginning that this document was from a deceased man tells us – this game was rigged from the start.

When I think of what culture tells me are the traits of a HPL story, I think The Call of Cthulhu and The Haunter of the Dark are the only one that tick most of the boxes. I'm aware this is a minority view, but it's one I've come to from extensive reading/study of HPL's fiction. I think if I were to hand a newbie my other favourite HPL stories: such as The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Music of Eric Zann, The Festival, Pickman's Model or The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, they'd be surprised at how little they resembled the HPL of internet pop culture, which is based entirely on his story The Call of Cthulhu, which is a masterpiece, but only showcases one strain of his cosmic vision.

The 'Great Old Ones' as pop culture has come to define them only even figure in to The Call of Cthulhu and The Dunwich Horror on any meaningful level, with the plan to unleash them being thwarted halfway through the latter story, and the heroes win out unambiguously.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay

Last edited by James; 05-12-2015 at 08:44 PM..
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Old 05-12-2015   #5
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

The way I view it, Lovecraft created the Cthulhu mythos pretty much the way Derleth saw it--but only in certain stories as well as the main revisions. Read The Dream Quest (esp. the ending) and The Dunwich Horror back to back: Good vs. Evil plain as the day. In the revisions--Out of the Aeons, The Horror in the Museum--we find elements right out of a Derleth story: In the former we're told that Yig may be on the side of Mankind; while the museum tale could easily pass for one of Brian Lumley's Mythos tales--except it's written far better.
Besides

Also, in major works like Mountains and The Whisperer, Lovecraft shows war and conflict between the Old Ones. Put all this together and you have all the ingredients of Derleth's reading.

Derleth used the Mythos as brilliant marketing but he didn't invent it. Nope. Lovecraft always had more than one side.
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Old 05-12-2015   #6
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

The farther away from Lovecraft, the better as far as Derleth's weird tales go. The man was a fine poet (his erotic and nature poems are quite wonderful to read) and he was a serious regional novelist. When it came to the Weird, his major models were overwhelmingly British--M. R. James in particular, but Blackwood, Le Fanu and others as well. His best stories were little gems: "Ghost Lake," "The Lonely Place" "The Place in the Woods," all excellent tales.
The 'collaborations' aren't very good not because of his reading of the Mythos but because he was a very different writer than Lovecraft.
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Old 05-12-2015   #7
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

I've only read Derleth's Mythos tales, which are such pure pastiche they're impossible for me to even rate as stories, but I do trust that he's written good stuff elsewhere, and it's slightly unfair that the haphazard stuff he churned out is essentially his only widely known literary legacy. I still consider the 'Cthulhu Mythos' to be his invention. It was an often deceitful exercise in marketing, and didn't fit in with the truth of HPL's writing. He would invent connections or backstories and attribute them to HPL, despite there being zero evidence, which strikes me as morally duious.

I'm a bit negative when it comes to Derleth, but Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos was one of the books that made me want to become a writer. I wanted to do what the writers in it were doing (not Mythos fiction, but horror short stories), and it felt right to me as something that fit my obsessions. I'll always be thankful for that, salvaging HPL from dead obscurity, and launching the career of the venerable Ramsey Campbell.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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Old 05-12-2015   #8
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

Actually, James, in my view, it was only Derleth's marketing that saved Lovecraft from the common fate of most weird writers. And if Lovecraft hadn't survived, Machen and Blackwood would be entirely forgotten, at least in contemporary America. Lovecraft's essay saved them and many others. And it all goes back to Derleth's inexhaustible efforts to get Lovecraft the audience he deserved.

(As Tom Disch once remarked, excellence can count against you. Intrinsic excellence alone just isn't always enough to save a work from oblivion.)

Derleth pushed Lovecraft for many years as well as keeping AH going; that last, no easy task. In the early fifties only a loan from David Keller kept Arkham alive. Clearly, Derleth wasn't in it for the money. It wasn't until the sixties, two decades after the publishing house was born, that money began to come in from films (three of 'em in that decade, four if you count "The Shuttered Room") and pb reprints.

The public needs to identify a writer; A writer looking for success usually needs a peg to hang his hat. Doyle will always be Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft will be the Cthulhu Mythos. Derleth made some smart moves and if he hadn't, I really doubt we'd be having this pleasant exchange!

btw, I see nothing deceitful in Derleth's actions. But it's true enough that Deceit is every writer's middle name. You really don't think they make up things only in their fiction lol

Last edited by Druidic; 05-14-2015 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 05-13-2015   #9
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

I'm not so sure. I don't reject the idea that Derleth made him more famous and deserves lots of credit for that but being genuinely completely forgotten is something else altogether. Extremely obscure is not what I would call "forgotten".

In another thread I said something about "how far forgotten?" because I don't think these writers would have fallen into being completely unknown even by scholars. Lovecraft had too many disciples and fans for his work to totally die. Bloch, Leiber or someone else probably would have mentioned him, and more reason to do so often if there wasn't a Derleth to do that.

I've seen similar discussions about Poe and I think he also was too famous and influential to be totally forgotten even if he hadn't been in print after his death.

But I guess perhaps if it weren't for Derleth then some writers mentioned by Lovecraft may have never been in print again.

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Old 07-16-2016   #10
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Re: Bloodborne and H.P. Lovecraft

This game is an incredible piece of work. And unlike many other games that draw from Lovecraft, it doesn't just pull deities from the mythos and place them into their game. The aesthetic and backstory and lore is incredibly original, and Lovecraft's cosmic horror is a big influence on it, but still one of many.

It is pretty much a combination of the dark fantasy aesthetic of Dark Souls with Victorian/Gothic horror (the architecture, and the major theme of werewolves and transformations) and Lovecraft's trademark cosmic horror (alien gods, birthing abominations to humans, etc)
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