Religion suffuses H.P. Lovecraft’s (1890–1937) short stories—the most famous of which, “The Call of Cthulhu,” has led to a literary subculture and a shared mythos employed by Lovecraft’s successors. Despite this presence of religion in Lovecraft’s work, scholars of religion have paid relatively little attention to Lovecraft and the Cthulhu mythos, with a few notable exceptions. This article offers a close analysis of millennialism within Lovecraft’s thought, especially as expressed in three of his “Cthulhu mythos” stories: “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Dunwich Horror,” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth.” This article considers Lovecraft’s formative experiences and non-fiction writings so as to contextualize his approach and millennial outlook. Tied to his nativist views of social decline, I argue that Lovecraft expresses in his fiction a peculiar form of millennialism, “anti-millennialism,” which entails the reversal of traditional millennialism, offering no hope in a collective salvation, but rather expectation that the imminent future would bring only decline.
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