Lovecraft and Poe: The Fathers of Horror


Among the numerous writers of horror, Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe are believed to have built substantial grounds in the fields of poetry and short stories. Poe was born in 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. He expressed his feelings through writing. When John Allan, his foster father, disowned him, Poe faced financial difficulties. During those days, one could not make much money out of poetry, a condition that pushed Poe to edit pages of magazines. Later, he began to write for magazines and prospered. Poe was entitled to the financial support of his aunt on top of marrying his 13-year old cousin. His demands for money increased motivating him to write, which was the only way he could get money. He could handle his financial problems when he became an expert in the literary field. Poe was 26 when he published his first story called “The Manuscript Found in a Bottle”. 

Like Poe, Lovecraft struggled with life before becoming a writer. Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island in the US in August 1890. He liked devouring the texts of various authors including Edgar Allan Poe. It is through this that he developed a special interest in writing. His motivation to write goes back to the time when he left school after suffering from a nervous breakdown. He spent most of his time reading, writing, and studying. He was also able to publish some articles from newspapers. Lovecraft always wanted to become a journalist and, therefore, joined the United Amateur Press Association where he learnt to self-publish magazines. Lovecraft was also motivated by the writings of Lord Dunsany. His passion for writing grew in 1917 when he was 27 years. It is during this time that he began writing.

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Writing Styles

All writers have their own way of writing. Poe used certain devices in the world of literature. His well-known poems, short stories, and critical theories were established through a highly influential rationale in which both fiction and poetry is used in its short form. Many of his literary works focused on criticism and symbolism. For example, in the “Cask of Amontillado”, Poe criticizes his expertise in drinking wine, which he compared to the proficiency of Fortunato.   Poe also showed his brilliant use of techniques and language along with an original and inspired imagination.

The best-known works of Poe such as “The Cask of Amontillado”, “The Black Cat”, and “The Tell-Tale Heart” comprise of the voice that reveals the psyche of the characters. The author successfully employed the technique of foreshadowing whereby the psychological explorations were figured by the wealth of realism. The works also encompass the literary devices of symbolism as well as the use of the allegorical method which links the symbolical works to realism. 

During his early years in poetry, Poe used short fiction to express his love for poetry. He referred to English romantics such as John Keats at the beginnings of his literary career, which were foreshadowed by his later poetry which demonstrated both a subjective surreal outlook as well as a mystic vision. After gaining expertise, Poe was regarded as the most influenced successor of the famous authors and an ancestor of surrealism and symbolism.

The combinations of rhythm and sound were reflected in the literary works of Poe. For instance, he used the words like sickly reasoning, violence of colors, driveling terror, and fever of ideas, among others to make poetry more terrible. Each of his poems had literary devices such as parallelism, repetition, alliteration, internal rhyme, and assonance. This helped to produce unique poetry in American literature. For example, the repetition of “bells” in poem “The Bells” is used in various structures to accentuate a unique tonality. In each of his works, Poe uses self-consciousness and complex forms to represent the artistic nature of the 20th century movements. 

On the other hand, Lovecraft uses a variety of literary devices which are reflected by the artful writing. His devices are melodramatic. Lovecraft thinks about rhythm, sound, and the meaning of words to ensure that no syllable is wasted. Paragraphs that are encompassed in his poems and short stories are packed with devices that enrich the meaning and enhance the reader’s enjoyment. For instance, internal rhythm is reflected in the poem “The Call of Cthulhu”. Here, assonance and consonance are used in a sentence which claimed that “the sun was young…”.

The literary devices of Lovecraft are somehow different from those of Poe who had a wide variety of techniques as noted in the above context. In fact, Lovecraft derived his interest in writing from Poe. Lovecraft, who began writing after reading and studying while at home, could have lacked the necessary ideas of literature. However, the devices of Poe have a deep meaning and are well-structured. Poe also wrote using deep concepts which made his works appreciated by thousands. Even though the works of Lovecraft may not be as poor as many may think, little needs to be added to make his writings of significant weight. 

Lovecraft often used alliteration. For instance, in “The Call of Cthulhu”, he shows his skills of mastering alliteration by analyzing the sounds: “whilst, within; world, would, and fright, frenzy. The device of rhyming is also used in this figurative literature. In addition, the device of imagery is employed to give the meaning to the alliteration. For instance, words such as “pray” are used to mean “ask” while religious connotation could be replaced by the word “hope”. All these forms are applied in different forms to complete the literary roles of Lovecraft. 

Poe resorts to the most commonly used devices in literature. A number of them are often met in short stories. The works of Lovecraft are commonly shaped as poems. In addition, the device of foreshadowing used by Poe has the aim to reflect the works of poetry, which are later used in short stories. Therefore, the two authors who are commonly known as the “fathers of horror” have used various literary devices to express their expertise in the field. 

The Influence of the Horror Genre

The above-mentioned heroes have greatly influenced the world of literature. Each of them has made significant contribution to the horror genre. Whenever the word “horror” is mentioned, Poe is the man to think of. He is referred to as “that guy” especially when some of his works are criticized. For instance, Poe is believed to make people laugh. Yes, he is the guy who has written about “premature burials” and “the talking raven”. The issue of “black cats” remains the talk of the community. Due to his horror, Poe has become the perfect example to many generations. Many people are obsessed with his works becoming the center of mystery. Others are encoded in his cultural DNA to ensure that they produce similar literature as affirmed by Zimmerman.

Poe’s innovation has had a significant weight before the eyes of the communities. His tales are not supernatural but often encompass the psychological approach required to change the community. For instance, the stories of tragedy and crime are taught throughout his works. “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat” are both told by psychotic killers. In this, hallucinations of guilt drive the narrators to destroy themselves. In another poem, “The Oval Portrait,” the artist makes a beautiful model and becomes so fixated finishing the painting when he notices that his wife is dead. Therefore, the works of Poe have a significant impact on the literary community because they brought changes to a number of literary styles. Poe is believed to be one of the first authors to develop the genre of detective horror and fiction. 

Lovecraft influenced the horror genre and had a significant impact on the literary community as well. He is believed to transform the American horror being recognized as one of the masters of the horror fiction. Actually, his contribution to the field of horror stemmed from the desire of being unknown. In short, many Americans thought that horror was supernatural. Lovecraft’s work that made a major contribution to the literary community. The work identified the monstrous and strange beings and creatures which were not simply alien. Through the literary works of Lovecraft, Americans were able to understand the meaning of horror, as reflected in most of his poems and short stories. The people’s view on was also shattered. However, Lovecraft continued to use words which are associated with the supernatural to describe the approach and research which had magic implications.


The American society encompasses thousands of literary works by many different writers. Among them, Lovecraft and Poe are believed to be the founders of horror in literature. As such, they became “the fathers of horror” after producing excellent works in this field. Each of these writers has a background that pushed them to begin writing. In each case, poverty was the motivating force, and they struggled to succeed in writing in order to get money. The different writing styles employed by these writers helped to enhance the American literature. The understanding of the horror genre was also improved through their works. 

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