Call for Papers: Theology and H.P. Lovecraft

Cosmic horror writer H.P. Lovecraft is the paragon of atheistic nihilism in fiction. For many, Lovecraft is diametrically opposed to everything most fundamental to Christianity, and the only way we might fruitfully engage with Lovecraft’s thought would be to categorically reject it. What hath Arkham to do with Jerusalem? But this volume will explore Lovecraft’s fiction and philosophy from the perspective of Christian faith, exploring ways in which Lovecraft’s extreme positions can helpfully illuminate the distinctives of Christian theology, through both agreement and disagreement. Even if Lovecraft’s sombre vision of the universe cannot be aligned with Christianity, Christian scholars may still value his contributions as those of a Hume or a Nietzsche–a respectable opponent who can sharpen thought and cast new light upon doctrine by way of polemical debate. And if, as is possible, Lovecraft represents a uniquely American, 20th-Century perspective on life and society, then it is even more incumbent upon theologians to attend to him.

The overarching task of the volume will be to show how Lovecraft can sharpen theological discourse, and to explain what so many theologians find appealing in Lovecraft’s corpus. The editor is looking for chapter contributions that deal directly with Lovecraft and the themes he broaches in some specific and circumscribed way. General or diffuse proposals will not be considered. The theological element need not be Christian, but the majority of the chapters will approach the subject from this angle. This is a scholarly project and all writers are expected to engage with the secondary literature as well as the primary texts.

 Possible topics include:

  • Lovecraft and Apologetics

  • Lovecraft’s Anti-theological Aesthetics and the Argument from Ugliness

  • Lovecraft, Nietzsche, the New Science, and the Death of God

  • Lovecraft and the Bible

  • Lovecraft and a Theology of Race

  • Depictions of Cult and cultus

  • Lovecraft and the Transcendentals

  • Lovecraft’s Appropriation of the ANE

  • Lovecraft and Theological Anthropology–The Value of the Human Person

  • August Derleth and the Christian Reinvention of the Cthulhu Mythos

  • Lovecraft and the Puritans

Please send a 1-2 page chapter proposal and CV to theologyandlovecraft@gmail.com.

Proposals will be evaluated and approved beginning March 1, 2020.

If your chapter is selected, be prepared to submit your draft by September 1, 2020. Chapters should be approximately 20 pages (5-6,000 words).

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