’. Though the cosmos’s ‘blind drift from nowhere to nowhere’ made it ‘impossible’ to ‘speak of the absolute importanceof anything’, evolu-tion suggested ‘a quasi-absolute standard of quality and importance’ (Lovecraft 2009: 731–32, 735, original emphasis). Again, Lovecraft’s choice of words is telling: ‘Art certainly is more intrinsically removed from the unevolved proto-plasmic stage of organic reaction than any other human manifestation except pure reason’ (Lovecraft 1965–1976: 223, Volume 4). Nordic embodiments of art were bulwarks against atavism in Lovecraft’s universe, against the proto-plasmic evil he wove into his tales: ‘what I admire is human development away from the unicellular stage … what I detest is human degradation or retardation’ (Lovecraft 1965–1976: 13, Volume 5).This is why, late in his short life, Lovecraft came to formulate what amounts to a political economy, a theory about the most appropriate mate-rial administration of a civilization which, besieged by atavism and economic crisis in a meaningless universe, fleetingly gave existence value. The Nordic aesthetic necessitated political nurture. New York had taught Lovecraft the limits of ‘laissez-faire’, for trusting a non-existent providence meant succumb-ing to gibbering chaos, in Lovecraft’s vision allowing crucial institutional, social and racial structures to be eradicated. Tradition, he argued on the other hand, could ground art and defend it from protoplasmic shapelessness, just as the purity of the Nordic type alone could uphold civilization (Lovecraft 1965–1976: 131, Volume 2).40Not surprisingly, he found that his own biologi-cal and cultural breed of Nordic New Englanders was best suited to the task of defending civilization, since even though the universe was insensitive to human concerns Lovecraft remained certain that the ‘Anglo-Saxon code’ was ‘admirably suited to natural wants’ (Lovecraft 2004–2006: 38–45, Volume 5).Lovecraft felt that the ‘American Dream’ had become a consummate night-mare by the 1920s (Lovecraft 1965–1976: 19–20, Volume 4). It was simply mad to consider ‘America as a composite nation of whose civilization is a compound of all existing cultures’, for this had turned the country into ‘a melting pot of mongrelism’ (Lovecraft 2004–2006: 21–23, Volume 5). Only ‘an ancient seat-ing of a race upon its terrestrial environment’ could ‘produce a genuine and endurable civilisation’, what Lovecraft in a poem called ‘that fixt masswhose sides the ages are’, as opposed to ‘parodies’ and ‘immigrant huddles’ like ‘New-York’, now fallen ‘from the world of Western civilisation and Aryan thought and feeling!’ (Lovecraft 2004–2006: 35, Volume 4; 2001a: 78–79,
27241. On which see Evans (2005: 128).42. On the Great Depression and intellectual life, see, among endless others, Foner (1998: 196).