You don't know what you are missing. You must go to Amazon.com now. The stories are short, most of them don't take an hour to read. Some of the longer ones might take 2 hours of intense reading. They're like Pringles though. Once you pop, you can't stop.
The Morrison Co.'s freighter Vigilant, bound from Valparaiso, arrived this morning at its wharf in Darling Harbour, having in tow the battled and disabled but heavily armed steam yacht Alert of Dunedin, N.Z., which was sighted April 12th in S. Latitude 34°21', W. Longitude 152°17', with one living and one dead man aboard.
Lovecraft, throughout most of his career, was by modern standards, a horrible racist. During his early years, like many of his era - see Jack London, sports writer for The San Fransisco Chronical, and his infamous "Whip the Nigger" campaign against pugilist Jack Johnson, and THIS guy was an avowed Socialist - HPL promoted the racial theories born of eugenicists and social Darwinists prominent of his day. He kept up with the latest in theory, and molded his stories around it. If you read his collected letters, you can see that he started off as a fire-and-brimstone racist. He talks about his hatred of African-Americans and Jews, Eastern Europeans, Levantines, and the like quite viciously and extensively. Remember that his father died in an insane asylum of advanced syphilis-dementia when he was a young boy, and then his mother died in a mad house herself, and she was a cloying, controlling race-baiting bitch.
The rest of his family were bitter, old, spinster aunts who belonged to the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.), which at this time was locked into keeping America WASPy.
Being a dork, these were the only people he knew. Of course he shared their racism.
In the mid-20s, he married Sonja Green, a Jewish girl, and later, the marriage failed after a couple years and he returned to Providence, although they remained amicable.
He was already writing to his colleagues that he decided that Antisemitism was stupid based upon his choice of wife, literary agent, and many of his own writer friends.
When his German-born housekeeper returned from Germany following Hitler's elevation to Chancellor, telling him all kinds of personally-witnessed horror stories, he went from thinking that maybe Hitler wasn't just this comical-looking little man he admired for saving his own country, but might be a power-mad monster, and denounced Nazism.
Later in the 30s, he publicly regretted the racial messages of earlier writing, said he wished that he could go back and burn it all, became an FDR supporter, and by his death a Socialist.
To be fair to my own research, there were still racially-charged questions about African-Americans to the end in his personal writings,
but he didn't feel his own racial reservations should be acted upon, not holding much water.
Here's a guy who didn't live long, being brought down in 1937 by a combination of stomach cancer and Brights Disease, but he was able to outgrow the crummy philosophies of the early-Twentieth Century.
I'll still always remain a fan of his, just as I am of the unapologetic writings of Jack London. For all their faults, two American greats.
I'm just glad HPL lived long enough to recognize his own earlier folly.
But read his collected letters if you want to see evidence of his extreme racism. It's all there. Too bad it was only his final decade that made him see his mistake.
However, his work made 20th Century horror writing. He's become immortal and I do highly recommend it to any student of the genre.
Oh, incidentally, to answer some literary questions from earlier in this thread, the underwater city from "The Temple" is most probably Atlantis, as it is in the Atlantic Ocean, and the people are humanoid. The events of both "Dagon" and "The Call of Cthulhu" take place in the South Pacific, so, no. Not Rl'yeh.
Certainly a valid discussion, and I am glad it was brought up. I love HPL's work, but can see the vanity and the insanity in it too.
Animal Mother is correct, the stories are addictive...even more so when you read the modern versions by Stephen King and others. The Lovecraft universe, or better : "multiverse", is alive and well...in all of its odd horror.
In other not-related-to-original-question news, the reason all the stories are online, as I understand it, is that HPL's heirs didn't file for a copyright extension (or, by some accounts, did, but no one can find any substantiation of it.) Although AM suggests going to Amazon for books, I am uncertain which book publishers give any money back to anyone I care about... Arkham House was rumored to be the only approved publisher in the U.S. back in the 80s, despite a number of publishers producing paperback versions. I don't know the current state of affairs, but (partially because I already bought a full set of the Arkham House versions, which walked away when I was in college) I have seen a great deal of circumstantial evidence that, unlike pirating video games and Neil Diamond mp3s, reading "the collected works of HPL" on the web is not in any way piracy, and that buying books from publishers that make a profit is arguably more directly supporting pirates.
IIRC, HPL had no children, and as Erich points out, his family was largely made up of jerks... so I don't know who "his heirs" really are and if I should feel sorry that they forgot to renew their copyright anyway.