As seems to have been the case with many of his admirers, I devoured Lovecraft’s work most recently as an adolescent. I went a little overboard; I have first editions of most of his books, and they are virtually the only first editions I have ever collected. It sometimes takes hyperbole to inspire a jaded modern sensibility with the delicious experience of the weird and the horrible. I much prefer Lovecraft’s way of doing it than, say, the Halloweens and Friday the 13ths that pass for horror these days. They play very differently on the emotion of disgust, and with absolutely no irony. Besides, the adjective eldritch seems to have been made specifically for him.
“‘From the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent,’ reads the first line of the H.P. Lovecraft story ‘The Shunned House,’ but chances are Lovecraft, who died in 1937, wouldn’t have appreciated the irony of his present position as American literature’s greatest bad writer. There are two camps on the subject of the haunted bard of Providence, R.I., and his strange tales of cosmic terror. One, led by the late genre skeptic Edmund Wilson, dismisses him as an overwriting ‘hack’ who purveyed ‘bad taste and bad art.’ The other, led by Lovecraft scholar and biographer S.T. Joshi, hotly rises to Lovecraft’s defense as an artist of ‘philosophical and literary substance.'” (Salon )