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I just watched a documentary on the horror/sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft on SnagFilms. (Trailer can be seen above) He wrote in the early 20th century and essentially pioneered the genre of horror writing. Without an H.P. Lovecraft, there would be no Stephen King of Neil Gaiman.
The story of his life is engaging - he grew up in a troubled home and had many doubts and uncertainties regarding himself - but he found an outlet for expression through writing after growing up reading ghost stories. His writings mirrored his thoughts and sometimes perverse views of the world and himself. At the time he was writing, the genre was not accepted as true "literature". (Even today, it's commonly looked down upon compared to traditional genres) However, this was his passion and he pressed on doing what he loved through years of poverty and eventually was able to sustain himself with his art. Even through the successful years of his life, he was never a best-selling author and only got his books truly published on their own merits after his death.
Those individuals who pioneer new techniques or arts aren't usually understood in their times. This is a wonderful example of that. Lovecraft had many areas in his life that were troublesome. Some were self-inflicted and others were due to his upbringing. In short, he was a man who felt he did not belong with the greater world and struggled to be understood throughout his life.
I've never read any of H.P. Lovecraft's writings, but after watching this documentary he's going right to the top of my to-read list!