HP Lovecraft and Coffee

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Any respectable H.P. Lovecraft biography mentions the Providence author's fondness for coffee. It's very possible the caffeinated brew fueled his daemonic muse to satisfaction, or rattled HPL's already deranged nightmares up another notch. He made no secret about his affinity (or addiction?). S.T. Joshi discusses Lovecraft's diet at length in H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (and again in I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft), and the horror writer's gushing over sugar loaded cups of coffee is well documented. In a 1931 letter to J. Vernon Shea, he confesses, "I like coffee exceedingly, but relish its imitation Postum just as much."

The connections between Lovecraft and coffee run deeper, though, and perhaps breach the boundaries between life and death. Today, he can stake a legit claim to being one of the few authors who has inspired notable coffee related endeavors. The most interesting experiment is the now defunct Cthulhu Coffee. For a couple years, this enterprising group served up their own Cthulhuvian coffee beverages at various conventions, and attempted to launch a short lived direct order coffee. Alas, the project never really got off the ground.

While a truly Lovecraftian coffee remains elusive, there are more eldritch logos and parodies than lesser wordsmiths could ever hope to inspire. Looking on any search engine for Lovecraft related coffee cups will bring up a glut of products. Coffee turns up again in the Role Playing Gamer community. The Propnomicon Blog posted this design for a Lovecraft brand coffee container a couple years ago:

Even Chaosium managed to get in on the action with their own horrifying logo, which also carries the "Cthulhu Coffee" title:

Finally, there's the bizarre synchronicity recently unveiled by a traveler to Providence. It seems a Starbucks now rests on the old site of Lovecraft's childhood home, the Angell Street Mansion he never really got over losing, after his family was forced to abandon it due to financial duress.

Coincidence or the result of certain stars aligning? You decide. Maybe over an afternoon cup in one of the better Lovecraftian mugs.

-Grim Blogger

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