“Bothersome Forms, of Course, Were Mechanically Exterminated”: Colonialism, Science, Racial Dysgenia, and Extermination in the Work of H.P. Lovecraft, Intertextually and Beyond
AbstractThe science-fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft is famed for his apocalyptic oeuvre. His work is deeply marked by racialist science and colonial history, linking them as structural constants that produce the outbreaks of horror in his stories. The horror is repeatedly represented as a dysgenic devolution with exterminatory implications. Yet similar treatments of racialized fear are commonly expressed in many non-fiction texts and biopolitical agendas, particularly in colonial contexts, and this conjunction also occurs in real events, including the historical apocalypse of the Holocaust. This paper will discuss Lovecraft’s apocalyptic fiction as a structural elaboration of the consequences of colonialism, racism, and scientific rationalism that reveals, despite its fantastic irrationality, a fundamental truth about extermination and modernity.
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