The Foundations of “The King in Yellow” and the “Necronomicon”

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The Foundations of “The King in Yellow” and the “Necronomicon”

I must admit, I’m currently reading “The King in Yellow” by Robert W. Chambers for the first time. The stories are widely considered essential reading for anyone interested in the legacy and origins of SF/H literature. The title story reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft’s Necronomicon, and I wondered if TKiY had influenced HPL. According to this recent article in the Lovecraft eZine, that does not appear to be the case, and that the stories of Lord Dunsany, Ambrose Bierce, and of course Poe had a more direct effect on Lovecraft >

Lovecraft eZine

Article by Rick Lai.

From the zarono etsy store: http://etsy.me/1MRlqqy From the zarono etsy store: http://etsy.me/1MRlqqy

In “History of the Necronomicon,” H. P. Lovecraft remarked that his fictional tome of arcane lore inspired Robert W. Chambers to write The King in Yellow (1895). Of course, Lovecraft was joking. The short story collection by Chambers owed its inception to the supernatural tales of Ambrose Bierce. I suspect a secret meaning in Lovecraft’s jest. The same stories by Bierce that prompted Chambers to invent The King in Yellow spurred Lovecraft to create the Necronomicon. Although Bierce would be the primary influence on the imaginary tome, Lord Dunsany, Edgar Allan Poe, Thomas Moore, and the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica all played significant roles in molding the cornerstone of Lovecraft’s artificial mythology. Similarly, Bierce mixed together with Poe, Moore, Masonic rituals and Breton legends would shape the Carcosa mythology of Chambers.

In Lovecraft: A Look…

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About larissaglasser

Larissa Glasser is an academic librarian, speculative fiction writer and reader. Her work at Harvard University includes Reference, Research, and Monograph/Journals cataloging. Her other activities primarily involve writing, reading, and learning.

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