Queer Goings-On on Masterpiece Theatre

w h pugmire esq

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#1
What is it about the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, or the aura of ye Eldritch Gent himself, that makes creative people want to continually reference HPL and his works on their projects? This began when Lovecraft yet lived, and it continues to ye present day.

I was watching the new episode of Endeavor on Masterpiece Theatre last night, an episode entitled "Nocturne." There was a sudden oblique mention of an odd American couple visiting England. They were from some place called Kingsport, Massachusetts. My Lovecraftian radar began to tingle. Finding a listing of the episode online, in which all of the characters and players were listed, I saw that the name of the visiting American bloke was "Nahum Gardiner." Blimey!

But why do people do this with Lovecraft and his work? What is the allure that moves another writer to mention, secretly, obscurely, minutely, such references? I'm delighted that it occurs, and yet mystify'd.:confused:
 
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#3
This sort of referencing literary figures or things from their works is by no means new; it goes back a very long time and, in fact, one finds examples of it here and there with the German Romantics (e.g., mention of Chamisso's Peter Schlemihl" in one of Hoffmann's works, if I recall). Lovecraft seems to inspire it a good deal more than most, but that may in part be that same "game" he and his colleagues began back during his lifetime, being carried on today by writers who would have loved to have been a part of that circle. But also, in part, it is simply a loving hommage to a figure the writers have enjoyed, and a tendency to include such allusions for other literarily-inclined people to enjoy as unexpected little treasures within larger works.


You see the same sort of thing happen a lot since the 1960s with rock of various types, from the band called H. P. Lovecraft to one named Titus Groan, not to mention ones which have named themselves after various Tolkienian coinages (e.g., Minas Morgul), or the numerous references to New Wave writings from Hawkwind (the songs "High Rise", "Fahrenheit 451", the entire Chronicle of the Black Sword album, etc.)
 
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