Was Lovecraft an Agoraphobe?

H.P. Lovecraft, 1915
H.P. Lovecraft, 1915

I was sitting on my sofa just now, contemplating various matters, one of which reminded me of Lovecraft’s “Shadow over Innsmouth”.  I started thinking about how Lovecraft describe it and all his locations eerily.   It occurred to me that he lived almost his entire life in Providence and seldom went out of its vicinity.  In fact, most of the settings for his stories occur relatively near to Rhode Island.  Apparently, he did not travel or often from his home.  I started thinking that if he traveled little and only to nearby areas and if he saw the few places he went as spooky or eerie (which would explain why he could describe places so eerily), then maybe he was uncomfortable or had a fear of going outside his physical comfort zone.  From what little I know of his day-to-day life, I have the impression that he probably did not leave his home very often and probably spent his time in his room writing or editing stories and writing tons of correspondence to his friends and colleagues.

This makes me wonder if Lovecraft had at least a touch of agoraphobia, a fear of public places.

He seems to have been fascinated with architecture and is very descriptive of it, but I have to wonder if that isn’t because if he was fascinated with it because it frightened him.  If something frightens me, I watch it very closely and find out what I can about it in order to alleviate my fears.

I have never read anything about Lovecraft having agoraphobia and I am no psychologist.  If anyone knows of an article on this subject, please let me know.  I would also love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic.

Author: phil795

Aspiring writer. Founder of the Farmington (NM) Writers Circle and the Arkansas Country Writers Circle. Currently, I have two novelettes, a poetry collection, and a few collections of short stories published on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback. Visit my Amazon author's page at amazon.com/author/philslattery for my latest works. Others are in the works.

One thought on “Was Lovecraft an Agoraphobe?”

  1. Interesting. I think the worst time of his life may have been when he was in New York, possibly due to the financial difficulty. Here’s a passage from his story “He” that I think your theory is perfect for:

    “I saw him on a sleepless night when I was walking desperately to save my soul and my vision. My coming to New York had been a mistake; for whereas I had looked for poignant wonder and inspiration in the teeming labyrinths of ancient streets that twist endlessly from forgotten courts and squares and waterfronts to courts and squares and waterfronts equally forgotten, and in the Cyclopean modern towers and pinnacles that rise blackly Babylonian under waning moons, I had found instead only a sense of horror and oppression which threatened to master, paralyse, and annihilate me.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: