“Age of Lovecraft”?

Anthropocene Monsters in (New) Weird Narrative


  • Gry Ulstein Ghent University




Anthropocene, ecology, cosmic horror, Lovecraft, new weird


This paper considers whether the twenty-first-century resurgence of H. P. Lovecraft and weird fiction can be read as a conceptual parallel to the Anthropocene epoch, taking Carl H. Sederholm and Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock’s The Age of Lovecraft as a starting-point. The assumption is that the two ‘ages’ are historically and thematically linked through the ‘monsters’ that inhabit them; monsters that include—but are not limited to—extensions, reproductions, and evolutions of Lovecraft’s writings. Preoccupied with environmental issues such as global climate change, the twenty-first-century imaginary has conjured monsters that appear to have much in common with early twentieth-century cosmic horror stories. Considering the renewed interest in Lovecraft and the weird, such developments raise the question: What can (weird) monsters tell us about the Anthropocene moment? This paper maps the ‘monstrous’ in the discourses emerging from the Anthropocene epoch and ‘The Age of Lovecraft’ by considering (new) weird narratives from contemporary literature, graphic novels, film, TV, and video games. Mindful of on-going discussions within ecocriticism, philosophy, and critical theory, the paper discusses a handful of unconventional texts to investigate the potential of the weird for expressing Anthropocene anxieties and for approaching nonhuman realities from new angles.

Author Biography

Gry Ulstein, Ghent University

is a PhD candidate at Ghent University in Belgium where she is a member of the project ‘Narrating the Mesh’ (NARMESH), led by prof. Marco Caracciolo. NARMESH studies the representation of nonhuman realities and environmental issues such as climate change in contemporary literature and oral storytelling. Gry is particularly interested in contemporary weird literature as an expression of ecological anxieties.

Acknowledgements: This article has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant agreement No. 714166).


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How to Cite

Ulstein, Gry. 2019. “‘Age of Lovecraft’? Anthropocene Monsters in (New) Weird Narrative”. Nordlit, no. 42 (November):47–66. https://doi.org/10.7557/13.5004.