Mr. Anderson’s H.P. Lovecraft Seminar: A Fan Favorite

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Mr. Anderson’s H.P. Lovecraft Seminar: A Fan Favorite

Photo courtesy of Syfy Wire

Photo courtesy of Syfy Wire

Photo courtesy of Syfy Wire

Photo courtesy of Syfy Wire

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“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” Here at Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance (KM Perform), students and teachers alike participate in classes of all varieties. Recently, Mr. Anderson, a KM Perform administrator, led a two-part seminar about the works of H.P. Lovecraft, where students read and discussed Lovecraft’s works in a literary circle.

Though he is one of the most significant 20th century horror and weird fiction authors, Lovecraft was virtually unknown and only achieved fame only after he died. His personal life was rather troubled; his father was admitted to and died in an insane asylum, and Lovecraft claims that his mother avoided all physical contact with him after early childhood. Once he began writing, his works were published in pulp magazines, but he was never able to support himself. Some of his most celebrated stories now include “The Rats in the Wall” and “The Call of Cthulhu.”

Each night, students in the seminar were assigned a new Lovecraft story to read. In addition, students had to keep a reflection log, and take notes after reading. Then, in class the following day, they would participate in a student-led discussion about the previous day’s story. “Since Lovecraft’s works are so open to interpretation, our discussions in class [were] diverse too. We [talked] about the motives of the characters in his works, the meanings and symbolism behind the stories we read . . . and other views on these subjects,” said Jennifer Brueggeman, senior Art Focus who participated in the seminars. She said that the discussions “[made] it a fun class to be a part of.”

In addition to being a great place to earn English credit, this seminar provided a relaxing and fun environment for those involved. Many students found a new love for Lovecraft’s works, or rekindled an old enjoyment. “I have a deep love for literature, and especially older literature, so this seminar just gives me an opportunity to do something. Being able to just sit and read also helps to give me time to relax during the day and just enjoy the work I am doing with no stress,” said Asher Schleich, senior Writing Focus. “I really enjoy Lovecraft’s works. He was so influential in the horror genre, so it’s . . . fun to read [the works of] one of the ‘founders’ of such a brilliant genre.”

Mr. Anderson’s H.P. Lovecraft-centered seminar was a big hit with students, sparking deep, thought-provoking discussions and helping students earn much-needed English credit. While it’s not certain whether or not he will continue this seminar in the coming years, it’s clear that students of all ages and focus areas would enjoy it.