One of the masters of 'weird fiction', H. P. Lovecraft expanded the vast boundaries of the horror genre with his vividly imagined stories of exotic and fantastical otherworlds, nightmarish dreamscapes or the supernatural terrors lurking beneath the surface of small-town America.
The shadow of New England's witch-hunting past hangs over many of the tales, as in 'The Shunned House' and 'The Dreams in the Witch House', in which malevolent spectres return to haunt the region. Others, such as 'From Beyond' and 'The Shadow Out of Time', depict the catastrophic results when cosmic channels of time and space are opened, while stories such as 'Polaris' and 'The Doom that Came to Sarnath' portray the downfall of mythical civilizations.
Horror master Lovecraft (1890-1937) frequently used dreams in his tales of the supernatural to evoke fantastic worlds inconceivable to the conscious mind. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focussed on the writing of horror stories.
S.T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. Among his critical and biographical studies are The Weird Tale (1990), and H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996). He has also edited Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories for Penguin.