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Altar Call of Cthulhu: Religion and Millennialism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos

Department of Religion, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, IL 60045, USA
Religions 2020, 11(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010018
Received: 11 October 2019 / Revised: 11 December 2019 / Accepted: 23 December 2019 / Published: 30 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue This and Other Worlds: Religion and Science Fiction)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: H.P. Lovecraft; millennialism; declension; nativism; Cthulhu mythos; weird fiction; horror; religion and literature; religion and science fiction H.P. Lovecraft; millennialism; declension; nativism; Cthulhu mythos; weird fiction; horror; religion and literature; religion and science fiction
MDPI and ACS Style

Zeller, B.E. Altar Call of Cthulhu: Religion and Millennialism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Religions 2020, 11, 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010018

AMA Style

Zeller BE. Altar Call of Cthulhu: Religion and Millennialism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Religions. 2020; 11(1):18. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010018

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zeller, Benjamin E. 2020. "Altar Call of Cthulhu: Religion and Millennialism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos" Religions 11, no. 1: 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010018

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