Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lovecraft Land

As if the Library of America edition of his stories weren't proof enough of the mainstreaming of H.P. Lovecraft, now The Associated Press is pitching his old haunts in Providence, R.I., to tourists: "Visitors can stroll the same streets where Lovecraft imagined stories about dormant gods returning to torment or annihilate mankind."

In his 1995 guest-scholar speech at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, children's-literature expert Peter Hunt deplored the fact that great swaths of his English homeland had been taken over by promoters of literary tourism -- so that what once was the Lake District had become Wordsworth World, Oxford had become Alice-ville, and so forth. What would the civic boosters of Providence, I wonder, think of their town becoming known mainly as Lovecraft Land?

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