CFP: The Popular and the Weird: H.P. Lovecraft and 21st Century Media Cultures — special issue

Call for Articles for a special issue of Studies in Gothic Fiction on H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Chloé Germaine Buckley (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Kerry Dodd (Lancaster University).

In his seminal essay on the Gothic, titled “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” H. P. Lovecraft claims that “[t]he appeal of the spectrally macabre is generally narrow because it demands from the reader a certain degree of imagination and a capacity for detachment from every-day life.” The author’s interest in Gothic tales that aim to produce ontological and epistemological terror – tales set against a cosmic landscape in which humanity is an infinitesimal part – has subsequently distilled into a specific and often self-conscious style: the Lovecraftian Weird. Yet the draw of the Lovecraftian seemingly refutes its perceived “narrow” allure; indeed, contemporary examples capitalize upon, and often negotiate with, this estrangement. The Lovecraftian in popular culture finds varied and wide expression, ranging from dedicated fan-inspired adaptations, such as the work of The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society, to the more disparate “chibithulhu” aesthetic. Popular culture continues to find inspiration in Lovecraft’s work, manifest in examples ranging from 2010 children’s television animation, Scooby Doo Mystery Incorporated to the 2015 “video game of the year” Bloodborne. This call for papers invites discussion on this proliferation of Lovecraftian tropes in 21st century popular culture, disseminated between niche, or fan, sub-cultures and mainstream media to access the presence, function, and relevance of this form as the affirmation or contestation of the perceived detachment from cultural conventionality.

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