The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki
🔀 For a full article on the literary history of the Mythos, see Cthulhu Mythos

Venn diagramm (Larger rings accept information of the rings they enclose, but not the other way around)

This subject is written on a topic in the real world and reflects factual information. Canon is a fan-based idea that exists in a unique way within the Cthulhu Mythos fandom. In theory, it means a body of work that an established body of literature that can draw upon, but it is more commonly thought as what a fan considers what forms part of the Mythos, or what "really happened." This is often a personal choice, one which is endlessly discussed and argued about in just about every Cthulhu-related forum or message board that has existed on the internet.

Unlike the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, H.P. Lovecraft never had the occasion to publish a statement about what is or is not canon for the Cthulhu Mythos.

A large issue when attempting to construct a definition of canon for the Mythos is that it is never finished; Cthulhu Mythos have been more or less constantly written for by Lovecraft Circles or Arkham House's publications since Lovecraft's death in 1937. Some fans want a complete narrative, but the Mythos can never be complete.

This site's policy

For the purposes of an encyclopedic approach to the complete extended Lovecraft cosmos-at-large, or Cthulhu Mythos, a certain organizing principle is necessary. This order while perhaps complicated at first glance is based on the examinations of Lovecraft scholar Robert Price in "Higher Criticism and the Necronomicon" (Lovecraft Studies #6; Spring 1982) and a further analysis of the current total works in the Mythos and those surrounding the mythos. It may be understood by the accompanying diagram:

  • "The Greater Cthulhu Mythos" encloses every other categories.
  • The "Expanded Cthulhu Mythos" builds on stories and facts from The Derleth "Cthulhu Mythos", The "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles and The Lovecraft Myth Cycle and The Weird Tales, while The Derleth "Cthulhu Mythos" excludes the Extended Mythos, and so on as one approaches the "Core".
  • "Mythos Adjacent Works" include stories, films, et al that include elements lifted in part or in total from the Mythos, but were not by their creators intended to be a part of the Cthulhu Mythos. This would include works like the Hyborean Tales of Robert E. Howard, which share book titles and certain creatures, and the Army of Darkness film in which the Necronomicon is a central plot element. It also includes works that Lovecraft directly referenced in his works like Chambers' The King in Yellow.
  • "Mythos Influenced Works" include stories, films, et al that include clear or subtle reference to Lovecraftian themes, creatures, etc. The creators of these works generally acknowledge their debt to Lovecraft and the way in which it has influenced their work. This would include the Hellboy comic book stories that include strong cosmic horror themes, and of which Mike Mignola has given great credit to Lovecraft for inspiration. This also includes television shows like The X-Files that bear similar themes and structure to Lovecraft's works.

It is the philosophy of this wiki to be as inclusive as possible, and the following categories represent an attempt of finding an overall harmony by which to organize the works of the Mythos.

It may well be argued that all works in the "Greater Cthulhu Mythos" may be universally reconciled, if not harmonized, by virtue of the first-person and third person limited perspectives in which the majority of the works in the Greater Cthulhu Mythos are written.

If we are to take all accounts of every narrator as gospel, then there can be no reconciliation of the facts. However, if one begins with the idea that the observations and accounts made by all of the narrators are merely grasping at the straws of the incomprehensible universe Lovecraft originally envisions, there is at the very least a cohesive whole. This is to say, each main character/narrator (many of which assert their unreliability) is at best partially correct, and the information they acquire in the course of their uncanny experiences is of even lesser reliability.

Lovecraft reminds us that we cannot understand the universe as it is, and perhaps gives us the key to the "harmony" of the Mythos: it is only discord. However, it is the opinion of most current Lovecraft scholars, and of this wiki, that the closer one comes to the original Lovecraft Myth Cycle, the closer to the "truth" one gets.

There can never be a true accounting or authoritative canon, but one can gather the facts as they are presented and organize them in a coherent way. The following is an attempt to do so.

Greater Cthulhu Mythos

The term "Greater Cthulhu Mythos" is an attempt by this wiki to create a big tent under which all Mythos related works might be collected.

There can be no debate that the Mythos has expanded rapidly since its birth, and that the works subsequent to Lovecraft's death contain material that has become problematic when compared to the vision Lovecraft laid out not only in his stories, but in his essays concerning his philosophy of horror writing.

This said, the enduring value of Lovecrafts vision, and the abundance of works written in the Mythos demand that there be some larger category in which all such works can find a home, regardless of accepted quality or adherence to a "canon".

Lovecraft Myth Cycle

The Lovecraft Myth Cycle specifically refers to works with H.P. Lovecraft's direct involvement, were completed before his death in 1937 and published during his lifetime or soon thereafter. These are generally believed to be the most distilled heart of the Mythos. This is not in any way to suggest that these works were not influenced or heavily edited by others, rather that they may be understood as "most true" to Lovecraft's individual vision.

There are discussion about what was intended as being part of the Mythos or not since he did not make a list for a collection publication while alive. In his letters,he referred to a story of this kind as a "Yog-Sothothery" and to refer to the whole as the "Arkham cycle" (specifically stating "The Colour Out of Space" and "The Dunwich Horror" to be part of it). This terms are hard to use since the first would exclude stories which don't have the Great Elder themselves and the second one would exclude stories which don't take place in Arkham (such as "The Call of Cthulhu") but would include stories that could seem unrelated (such as "Herbert West--Reanimator").

Some notable opinions are:

August Derleth Lin Carter S. T. Joshi

A broader view about what constitutes the Mythos would be:

Solo writings

Dream cycle

Dunsanian cycle Randolph Carter cycle

Juvenile works

Written when a child or an adolescent, before the Mythos conception.

Other Works

The inclusion in the Mythos is debatable.


Some of them are considered as integral parts of the Mythos.

  • "Providence" (May 1927)
  • "On a Grecian Colonnade in a Park" (August 1920)
  • "Old Christmas"
  • "New-England Fallen" (April 1912)
  • "On a New-England Village Seen by Moonlight" (7 September 1913)
  • "Astrophobos" (21 November 1917)
  • "Sunset"
  • "To Pan" (Septembre 1902)
  • "The Bride of the Sea"
  • "Clouds"
  • "Mother Earth"
  • "Oceanus"
  • "Bells"
  • "A Summer Sunset and Evening"
  • "To Mistress Sophia Simple, Queen of the Cinema" (August 1917)
  • "A Year Off" (24 July 1925)
  • "Sir Thomas Tryout" (died on 15 November 1921)
  • "Phaeton"
  • "August"
  • "Death"
  • "To the American Flag" (1918)
  • "To a Youth"
  • "My Favourite Character"
  • "To Templeton and Mount Monadnok"
  • "The Poe-et’s Nightmare"
  • "Lament for the Vanished Spider"
  • "Regnar Lodbrug’s Epicedium"
  • "Little Sam Perkins"
  • "The Ancient Track"
  • "The Eidolon"
  • "The Nightmare Lake"
  • "The Outpost"
  • "The Rutted Road"
  • "The Wood"
  • "The House"
  • "The City"
  • "Hallowe’en in a Suburb"
  • "Primavera"
  • "October"
  • "To a Dreamer"
  • "Despair"
  • "Nemesis"
  • "Yule Horror"
  • "To Mr. Finlay, upon his Drawning for Mr. Bloch’s Tale"
  • "Where Once Poe Walked"
  • "Christmas Greeting to Mrs. Phillips Gamwell-1925"
  • "Brick Row" (7 December 1929)
  • "The Messenger"
  • "To Klarkash-Ton, Lord of Averoigne"
  • "Psychopompos"
  • "Drinking Song from The Tomb"
  • Fungi from Yuggoth (27 December 1929 – 4 January 1930)


Lost and unfinished works

General views

All this considered, the solo fictional works that are generally considered Mythos works are:

Plus these poetry works:

Lovecraft collaborations

Lovecraft was credited as co-author of a few stories:

Furthermore, Derleth posthumously credited Lovecraft for stories he wrote using the latter's storylines or unfinished stories from his "Commonplace Book". This stories are listed in the "Derleth Mythos" section below.

However, it would seem appropriate to expand that circle to include his other contemporary collborators, and those whose writings he revised and expanded upon: Zealia Bishop, Hazel Heald, Adolphe de Castro, and the numerous other writers he worked with over his lifetime. Indeed, Lovecraft was known for helping other writers and even ghostwriting stories while remaining uncredited, although his involvement is sometimes chronicled in his letters. Thus, some of his stories may still be found to this day.

His uncredited involvement could tentatively be classified into three categories.

Revision works

Those for which he only revised the story without adding new elements (except some names from the Mythos such as "Azathoth" or "Cthulhu"):

Uncredited Co-authored works

Those for which he was involved enough to be considered an uncredited co-author.


Those for which he changed and wrote so much of the story that he could be considered the sole author.

General Views

Co-written stories that are often consider in the Mythos:

Co-written stories that may or may not be considered to be in the Mythos:

Weird Tales

This category contains the handful of stories from his friends that were "acquired" by Lovecraft for his Myth Cycle.

From "The Call of Cthulhu" (February 1928) to "The Thing on the Doorstep" (January 1937), the Weird Tales magazine published 8 stories by Lovecraft and 30 others set in the Mythos (those all mentioning the Necronomicon by Abdul Alhazred).

Among the concepts from others' works, close relations or not, that Lovecraft reused are:

"Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles

Lovecraft circle Seal

The "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles composes the rest of the "core" stories of the Mythos Proper. These are the stories written by Lovecraft's contemporaries, either co-authored with him or under his supervision and in concordance with his vision. Many were written in part or entirely before Lovecraft's death in 1937, and are generally regarded as being accepted by Lovecraft as adhering with his vision. Other writings by this writers cohort constitute the rest of the stories in this category.

Posthumous completion of those writers works such as Lin Carter did with Smith and Howard are considered.

This category includes the stories mentioned in the Weird Tales section above.

Traditionally, the "Lovecraft Circle" members and their direct contributions are limited to:

The Circle could also be extended to others friends or correspondents of Lovecraft: James Blish, Hugh B. Cave, Henry Hasse, Carl Jacobi, Henry Kuttner, Fritz Leiber, Robert A. W. Lowndes, C. L. Moore, E. Hoffmann Price, Duane W. Rimel, Richard F. Searight, J. Vernon Shea, Donald Wandrei and Manly Wade Wellman are sometimes considered although some wrote Mythos stories only long after Lovecraft's death.

While he was in New York, the Kalem Club was composed of some of his writing friends. The club included George Willard Kirk, Rheinhart Kleiner, Herman Charles Koenig, Frank Belknap Long, H. P. Lovecraft, Samuel Loveman, Henry Everett McNeil, and James Ferdinand Morton, Jr.

By Derleth's death in 1972 and by also including authors outside of the cycle, over one hundred stories were written.

In his parody story "The Battle that Ended the Century", Lovecraft uses nicknames for most of his writings collaborators as a private joke, which can be used as another source on what constitutes his circle:

The Battle that Ended the Century nickname Real world reference
Two-Gun Bob Robert E. Howard
Knockout Bernie, the Wild Wolf of West Shokan Bernard Austin Dwyer, of West Shokan, N.Y.
Bill Lum Li William Lumley
Wladislaw Brenryk H. Warner Munn
D. H. Killer David H. Keller
M. Gin Brewery Miles G. Breuer
A. Hijacked Barrell A. Hyatt Verrill
G. A. Scotland George Allan England
Frank Chimesleep Short, Jr Frank Belknap Long, Jr.
The Effjoy of Akkamin Forrest J. Ackerman
Mrs. M. Blunderage Margaret Brundage (artist for Weird Tales)
Mr. C. Half-Cent C. C. Senf (artist for Weird Tales)
Mr. Goofy Hooey Hugh Rankin (artist for Weird Tales)
W. Lablache Talcum Wilfred Blanch Talman
Horse Power Hateart Howard Phillips Lovecraft
M. le Comte d’Erlette August Derleth (author of Evening in Spring)
J. Caesar Warts Julius Schwartz
H. Kanebrake H. C. Koenig (employed by the Electrical Testing Laboratories)
H. Wanderer Howard Wandrei
Robertieff Essovitch Karovsky Robert S. Carr
Teaberry Quince Seabury Quinn
Malik Taus, the Peacock Sultan E. Hoffmann Price
Sing Lee Bawledout F. Lee Baldwin
Ivor K. Rodent Hugo Gernsback
Rev. D. Vest Wind Unknown
Klarkash-Ton Clark Ashton Smith
Windy City Grab-Bag Weird Tales
W. Peter Chef W. Paul Cook
Smearum & Weep Dauber & Pine
Samuelus Philanthropus Samuel Loveman
Mr. De Merit A. Merritt (author of The Dwellers in the Mirage)
Wurst’s Weekly Americana Hearst’s American Weekly

Some notable anthologies of the Mythos are:

August Derleth (1969) Lin Carter (1971)
  • "The Call of Cthulhu" (by H. P. Lovecraft; 1926)
  • "The Return of the Sorcerer" (by Clark Ashton Smith; 1931)
  • "Ubbo-Sathla" (by Clark Ashton Smith; 1933)
  • "The Black Stone" (by Robert E. Howard; 1931)
  • "The Hounds of Tindalos" (by Frank Belknap Long; 1929)
  • "The Space-Eaters" (by Frank Belknap Long; July 1928)
  • "The Dweller in Darkness" (by August Derleth; 1944)
  • "Beyond the Threshold" (by August Derleth; 1941)
  • "The Shambler from the Stars" (by Robert Bloch; 1935)
  • "The Haunter of the Dark" (by H. P. Lovecraft; 1935)
  • "The Shadow from the Steeple" (by Robert Bloch; 1950)
  • "Notebook Found in a Deserted House" (by Robert Bloch: 1951)
  • "The Salem Horror" (by Henry Kuttner; 1937)
  • "The Haunter of the Graveyard" (by J. Vernon Shea; 1969)
  • "Cold Print" (by J. Ramsey Campbell; 1969)
  • "The Sister City" (by Brian Lumley; 1969)
  • "Cement Surroundings" (by Brian Lumley; 1969)
  • "The Deep Ones" (by James Wade; 1969)
  • "The Return of the Lloigor" (by Colin Wilson; 1969)
  • "The Whisperer in Darkness" (by H. P. Lovecraft; 1930)
  • "An Inhabitant of Carcosa" (by Ambrose Bierce; 1886)
  • "The Yellow Sign" (The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers; 1895)
  • "Cordelia’s Song from The King in Yellow" (by Vincent Starrett; 1938)
  • "The Return of Hastur" (by August Derleth; March 1939)
  • "Litany to Hastur" (by Lin Carter; March 1965)
  • "The Children of the Night" (by Robert E. Howard; 1931)
  • "K’n-yan" (by Walter C. DeBill, Jr.; 1971)
  • "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" (by Clark Ashton Smith; 1929)
  • "The Hounds of Tindalos" (by Frank Belknap Long; 1929)
  • "The Curse of Yig" (by Zealia Bishop; actually Lovecraft uncredited; 1928-29)
  • "The Mine on Yuggoth" (by Ramsey Campbell; 1964)

Derleth Cthulhu Mythos

Derleth Elder Sign Seal

The Derleth Mythos category includes all of August Derleth's work following Lovecraft passing in 1937, and has been separated from the rest of the Mythos writings due to its unique and sometimes divergent vision from the previous categories.

After Lovecraft's death, August Derleth began to shape the existing Myth cycles of Lovecraft and the "Lovecraft Circle" into something he would call the "Cthulhu Mythos", which is the term which persists to this date. During his tenure as the one of the leading voices of Lovecraft's legacy, he was an extremely prolific writer to rival Lovecraft himself. Some of those stories are based on concepts and storylines found in Lovecraft writings and thus, he is posthumously credited as co-author.

However, during that time he introduced certain concepts and themes into the Mythos that would become problematic for fans of the Lovecraft Myth Cycle and of the Lovecraft Circle Myth Cycles. Among these, were a concept of cosmic good and evil, a set of benevolent Elder Gods, and an elemental categorization of the existing Mythos deities. These ideas have been carried in some form the present Expanded Mythos, but many authors and creators have cherry-picked from Derleth's creations and some of the more troubling and divergent ideas have been ignored.

A complete list of these works can be found in his Mythos Bibliography.

Lovecraft posthumous collaborations

Derleth used storylines or fragments by Lovecraft, usually from his Commonplace Book, as the basis of one novel and 15 short stories. The were compiled in the The Watchers Out of Time and Others anthology of 1974.

Other Derleth stories

Derleth also published 16 stories which are not based on Lovecraft storylines but on concepts that Lovecraft approved of, notably the fictional book "An Investigation into Myth Patterns of Latter Day Primitives with Especial Reference to the R'lyeh Text by Professor Laban Shrewsbury".


As story editor and co-founder of Arkham House, all Mythos stories from his edited anthologies are considered to be part of the Derleth Mythos since they were published under his authority.

Expanded Cthulhu Mythos

Extended universe sigil

This category includes all works of fiction, film and additional media not previously defined which are set in the Mythos. This is by far the broadest and most diverse category.

After Lovecraft's death, his friends and admirers continued to write in his shared universe. Many imitators good and bad have come and gone, and a great number of popular authors from Neil Gaiman to Stephen King have contributed their voices to the Mythos.

Additionally, there has been a myriad of content produced for video games, board games, and RPGs. Most notably the Call of Cthulhu series by Chaosium gave its own definition of and popularised the Mythos to broad audience. All of these have grown the Cthulhu Mythos to what it is today.

Occult works are also considered when they are based on Lovecraft's Mythos, such as Kenneth Grant or the Church of the SubGenius.

Mythos Adjacent Works

Mythos adjacent Seal

This category contains all works that have either cross-pollinated with the Mythos (i.e. their ideas have been acquired by it) or use some ideas from the Mythos without being directly set in the Mythos proper.

Some of the most important works of this category are the Hyborean Tales by Robert E. Howard which share some concepts he used in his Mythos Tales (and those were fully accepted by Lovecraft).

Works reused in the Mythos

Lovecraft himself reappropriated some concepts for his own stories:

When Derleth wrote The Ancestor, he based it on a story note left by Lovecraft which he mistakenly considered to be an original idea but it was actually a condensed version of The Dark Chamber by Leonard Cline (1927).

Lovecraft was influenced by many writers, notably Hawthorne, some of Arthur Machen's short stories ("The Black Seal", "The White Powder") as well as Opar city from The Return of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana also was a big influence.

Lovecraft also mentioned many real occultism books along with the ones invented by his circle:

  • Ars Magna and Ultima (Raymond Lulle)
  • Grand Albert (Peter Jamm)
  • Zoha (Jewish Kabbalah)
  • Clavis Alchimiae (Robert Fludd)
  • The God of the Witches (Margaret Murray)
  • The Golden Bough (James Frazer)
  • Magnolia Christi Americane and The Wonders of the Invisible World (Cotton Mather)
  • Hermès Trismegiste (Louis Ménard)
  • The Book of Dzyan is a reference to the Stanzas of Dzyan

Mythos-Inspired Works

Main article: Cthulhu Mythos in popular culture
Mi-go (Avatar Press)

H.R. Giger's Mythos inspired aesthetics reused on professional Mythos work

This category includes works that draw upon themes and concepts that originated with the Mythos, but are not intended to be set within the same continuity or share the same characters, locations, etc.

For instance, Charles Stross referenced the Mythos in The Jennifer Morgue but clearly stated that they take place within. Clive Barker, creator of the Hellraiser franchise, despite being a significant author of Weird Fiction stated that he hated Lovecraft fiction. H.R. Giger published artbooks named after the Necronomicon due the imagery it evoked to him rather than its supposed narrative content, the aesthetics becoming influencial enough to be mimicked in licensed Mythos stories such as some covers of Providence.

Chaosium explained in their Malleus Monstrorum source book that many the following creatures could easily be adapted into a Mythos settings: