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Classic Horror Works of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe, Available For Free Online

The writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe played a part in laying the groundwork for tales of modern horror. Stephen King called Lovecraft "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." Both Poe and Lovecraft's real life hardships lent to their ability to delve into darkness.

Poe, born in 1809, was a predecessor of Lovecraft, and an influence on his writing. As a child, Poe was abandoned by his father and a year later, his mother died of pulmonary tuberculosis (referred to then as consumption). He was taken in and raised by another couple, John and Frances Allan. His relationship with the former was stormy. Poe enjoyed success from his writing during his lifetime, unlike Lovecraft. An early success was his celebrated poem "The Raven."  Poe married his 13-year-old cousin Virginia when he was 26 years old. She died of tuberculosis at age 26. Poe's already present alcoholism worsened after the death of his wife, at times leading to professional setbacks and failures. Poe died at age 40 of unknown causes, though a number of explanations including complications of alcoholism, heart failure, cholera, syphilis and even rabies have been suggested. 

Lovecraft, born in 1890, was only three years old when his father had a psychotic episode and was committed to a mental asylum for the remainder of his life. Once his father was committed, Lovecraft was raised primarily by his domineering mother, with help from two maternal aunts and his maternal grandfather, all of whom lived with the mother and son. Lovecraft, though a prodigy, was prone to ill health, anxiety and night terrors as a child, and suffered from anixiety and self-imposed isolation at times throughout his life. His mother was eventually committed to the same institution as his father after suffering mental health problems of her own. Like Lovecraft's father, his mother died in the asylum. H.P. Lovecraft died of cancer, nearly penniless, at age 46. Unfortunately, his talent wasn't duly recognized until after he died. 

Today, Lovecraft and Poe are highly acclaimed for their macabre tales of horror, of which there are too many notable titles to name here. Luckily for those interested in becoming more familiar with the works of Poe and Lovecraft, many can be accessed online. These stories are perfect for the time of year when darkness comes early and there's much talk of the horror found upon midnights dreary.

Visit this link for the works of Edgar Allan Poe

Visit this link for the works of H.P. Lovecraft

-Via Open Culture | Image: Made from portraits on Wikipedia

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