For example in Dreams in the Witch-house, the protagonist is a very talented student at Miskatonic university

Does it implicate that only the brightest will learn the truth and as they either go mad or die from contact with these beings, the population will never learn of the truth?

  • 3
    Unlocking unspeakable secrets hitherto secluded from the eyes of mortal man does at least require some fluency in ancient languages. But I still dispute your premises - some protagonists are not especially bright (e.g. the detective in "Red Hook"), and there are a number of cults in the stories where rather ordinary people get in touch with the supernatural (e.g. the whole population of Innsmouth minus one store clerk, if I remember correctly, and in the Dunwhich horror, basically everybody can see the monster). Jan 15, 2022 at 14:16
  • 1
    Welcome novelist, please take our tour and refer to the help center as and when for guidance as to our ways. Enjoy SF&F. Jan 15, 2022 at 14:43
  • @EikePierstorff in the Innsmouth case its true but the population just disregard the place as being just social decay and only the main protagonist who is brave enough to go there to learn the truth yet he is also one of them in the innsmouth Jan 15, 2022 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


As I've written about before, people tend to write horror about what they fear most.

For much of his life, Lovecraft was fixated on the concepts of decline and decadence. — Wikipedia

A lot of Lovecraft's original stories (as opposed to those from the wider Mythos) center around fears of corruption, and to corrupt an intellect it would first need to be pure, brilliant and intellectually strong to show the greatest contrast.

This is in line with Lovecraft's fear of society as a whole being corrupted by non-white people, which are rooted in his racism.

I cannot think of a non-white character in all of his stories that undergoes this intellectual corrupting transition, they're all shown as already degenerate.

Separately, he's a believer in Cosmiscism, and the advent of quantum physics and 'spooky action at a distance' would have definitely led him to look for excuses to discuss those concepts in his stories.

Now all my tales are based on the fundamental premise that common human laws and interests and emotions have no validity or significance in the vast cosmos-at-large. [...] — H. P. Lovecraft, in note to the editor of Weird Tales, on resubmission of "The Call of Cthulhu"

By and large you have the right idea, that only the brightest could be corrupted, but it's not only thing going on with Lovecraft's stories.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.