The impact of the eldritch city: Classical and alien urbanism in H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos

02 Feb 2018

In the world of the Cthulhu Mythos ancient ruins and old towns (both human and alien) usually form an essential part of stories. These ancient constructions are usually depicted and explained by Lovecraft at length, and they give not only ambience to the narration but a background to the locations in which the story is set. Through the descriptions of these cities, various conclusions regarding Lovecraft’s use of classical urbanism and monumentality can be drawn. By looking at his descriptions of human and alien cities alike, it will be possible to see how the ideal of an ancient, classical Graeco-Roman city emerges constantly as an indicator of civilization either by inclusion of classical elements or by purposely altering and making them more alien.