S.T. Joshi – Fright and Freethought

May 28, 2010

S. T. Joshi is a leading authority on H. P. Lovecraft, Ambrose Bierce, H. L. Mencken, and other writers, mostly in the realms of supernatural and fantasy fiction. He has edited corrected editions of the works of Lovecraft, several annotated editions of Bierce and Mencken, and has written such critical studies as The Weird Tale and The Modern Weird Tale. His award-winning biography, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, has already become a collector’s item.

But critical, biographical, and editorial work on weird fiction is only one aspect of Joshi’s multifaceted output. A prominent atheist, Joshi has published the anthology Atheism: A Reader and the anti-religious polemic, God’s Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong. He has also compiled an important anthology on race relations, Documents of American Prejudice.

In this episode of Point of Inquiry, Robert M. Price talks with Joshi about Lovecraft and how his writings were an impetus toward Joshi’s atheism. Along with discussing Lovecraft’s views on religion, Joshi shares his own views on the subject. He reveals his thoughts on religious writers as well as the “new atheism.” He explains what horror and fantasy literature have to offer the non-religious, and how it can in some ways take the place of religious writings.