History with a Twist—H.P. Lovecraft’s “Gods”: Atheism and the Cthulhu Mythos

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As part of Gallery Night Providence, The Rhode Island Historical Society is offering a free lecture on one of our most unusual native-born characters.  H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), who spent most of his life in the capitol city, is celebrated as one of the 20th century’s most influential writers of horror.  His tales stem from a philosophy of “Cosmicism” and present a vast universe indifferent to humanity and beyond its understanding.

Niels S. Hobbs will explore the world-renowned literary mythology created by Providence’s own author of ‘weird fiction.’ This mythology was not one Lovecraft personally believed in, quite the opposite, though many have since tried to present it as reality. However, this mythos was directly born out of his own bleak world-view, itself the product of a long-standing fascination with advances in science, exploration, and cosmological thought that occurred over the course of his life. Lovecraft displayed a remarkable blend of strong beliefs on faith and freedom and humanity’s place in the cosmos—some fascinating, some disagreeable— but his position in our local literary pantheon makes these views worth a closer look. Such contrasting and uniting themes should make for interesting discussion.

Niels S. Hobbs is a local marine biologist and long-time fan of the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.  Niels is an organizer of NecronomiCon-Providence, a conference and festival, August 22-25, dedicated to rooting the worldwide fame of Lovecraft in Providence where it belongs.

2013: Faith & Freedom at the Rhode Island Historical Society
Three hundred and fifty years ago, Rhode Island was formed with a unique charter that spelled out more rights than any other document of its kind.  In 2013, as we mark the issuance of Rhode Island’s charter we ask: how has Rhode Island been shaped by its at once very religious population and its steadfast connection to tolerance?