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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

About the author:

Elmira V. Vasileva, PhD in Philology, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Foreign Languages, Saint-Petersburg State Forest Technical University named after S.M. Kirov, Institutsky lane, 5, 194021 St. Petersburg, Russia.

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H.P. Lovecraft’s Supernatural Horror in Literature is not only considered to be the author’s crowning achievement in the domain of literary criticism, but also the most important overview of horror literature in history. In the current article Lovecraft’s opus is approached from two perspectives — as an enlightening academic study as well as the writer’s manifesto. Lovecraft the critic’s principal attainment is his concept of “supernatural horror,” which significantly adds to the previous theory of the genre based on only two opposed categories — terror, which “expands the soul,” and horror, which, according to A. Radcliffe, “annihilates the faculties.” The main drawback of Lovecraft’s academic approach is his shortage of material and imperfection of his terminology, which eventually led him and his research into an epistemological dead-end. As the manifesto of Lovecraft the “horror prince,” Supernatural Horror can be viewed as the crucial source: Lovecraft scrutinizes the pragmatics of the texts he studies and thus works out the main principles of his own poetics.

  • Keywords: dark fantasy, gothic novel, Lovecraft, aesthetic categories, historical poetics.


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