of those who have truck with them, butrnrather the discovery by the scholarlyrnbachelors who recount the tales that thernuniverse has no meaning at all, that allrnthe conventions and ideas and values onrnwhich their lives and those of mankindrnrest are but shadows in the ceaseless playrnof impersonal if not actually hostile cosmicrnforces. As Mr. Joshi summarizesrn”Lovecraft’s vision”; “Humanity is not atrncentre stage in the cosmos, and there isrnno one to help us against the entities whornhave from time to time descended uponrnthe earth and wreaked havoc; indeed, thern’gods’ of the Mythos are not really godsrnat all, but merely extraterrestrials who occasionallyrnmanipulate their human followersrnfor their own advantage.”rnMr. Joshi is correct about the cosmicrnlevel of meaning in Lovecraft’s stories,rnbut he largely neglects another, socialrnlevel of meaning. On that level, Lovecraft’srnstories are dramas of modernity inrnwhich the forces of tradition and order inrnsociety and in the universe are confrontedrnby modernity itself—in the form ofrnthe shapeless beings known (ironically)rnas the “Old Ones.” In fact, they are thern”New Ones.” Their appearance to earthlyrnbeings is often attended by allusionsrnto “Einsteinian physics,” “Freudian psychology,”rn”non-Euclidean algebra” (arnmeaningless but suggestive term), modernrnart, and the writing of T.S. Eliot andrnJames Joyce. The conflicts in the storiesrnare typically between some representativernof traditional order (the New Englandrnold stock protagonist) on the onernhand, and the “hordes” of Mongoloids,rnLevantines, Negroes, Caribbeans, andrnAsians that gibber and prance in worshiprnof the Old Ones and invoke their dark,rndestructive, and invincible powers.rnWhat Lovecraft does in his stories,rnthen, is not only to develop the logic ofrnhis “cosmicism” by exposing the futilityrnof human conventions, but to documentrnthe triumph of a formless and monstrousrnmodernity against the civilization tornwhich Lovecraft himself—if almost nornone else in his time—was faithful. In therncourse of his brief existence, he saw therntraditions of his class and his people vanishingrnbefore his eyes, and with them therncivilization they had created, and no onernseemed to care or even grasp the naturernof the forces that were destroying it. Thernmeasures conventionally invoked to preservernit—traditional Christianity, traditionalrnart forms, conventional ethics andrnpolitical theory—were useless againstrnthe ineluctable cosmic sweep of the OldrnOnes and the new anarchic powers theyrnsymbolized.rnLovecraft believed that his orderrncould not be saved, and that in the longrnrun it didn’t matter anyway, so he joggedrnplacidly and cynically on, one of America’srnlast free men, living his life as hernwanted to live it and as he believed a NewrnEngland gentleman should live it: thinkingrnwhat he wanted to think, and writingrnwhat he wanted to write, without concernrnfor conventional opinions, worldlyrnsuccess, or immortality. And yet, despiternthe indifference he affected, HowardrnPhillips Lovecraft has in the end attainedrna kind of immortality, for the classic talesrnof horror he created will be read as longrnas that genre of literature is read at all.rnAnd since man’s horror of the alien cosmosrninto which he has been thrown isrnperhaps the oldest theme of art, thatrnmay be for a very long time to come. <<>rnModern Editions of Classic Works for Today^s ReadersrnEDUCATION m A FREE SOCIETYrnEducationrnin arn1 FreernS SocietyrnEdited by Anne (lusted Burleighrn”Education in a Free Society should be of value to all those concerned with restoring freedomrnto the most important nonfree institution in our society.”rn—The FreemanrnScarcely anyone is happy with public education in the United States today. Yet, if it were possible tornstart afresh with a system of any choosing, what sort of educational arrangements wouldrnrecommend themselves—and what kind of educational institution should parents, educators, andrnpublic officials alike choose? To consider these questions. Liberty Fund—a private operatingrneducational foundation—presents the papers of four distinquished scholars, Gottfried DIetze,rnRussell Kirk, Henry Manne, and Stephen Tonsor, each of whom responded to a position paper,rn”Education in a Free Society,” by Pierre F. Qoodrich and Benjamin A. Rogge. Dorothy L. Sayers’srnsplendid essay, “The Lost Ttools of Learning,” also is included in the collection, and served as thernbasis of recommendations for both primary and secondary schooling. As Anne Husted Burleighrnwrites in her introduction, the contributors “chose to erect as their ideal educational systemrnstrictly private institutions operating in the fi-amework of a state whose only interference would be to monopolize force forrnthe protection of the rights of individual citizens.” In sum, if education is to be renewed in American life, the renewal mustrncome from private and voluntary institutions.rn272 pages. Introduction, biographies of the authors, index.rnHardcover $8.00 0-915966-00-2rnPaperback $4.00 0-913966-45-2rnCall 800-955-8335rnRm 317-579-6060 or write:rnLiberty Fund We pay UPS shippingrnon prepaid orders.rn8335 Allison Pointe TVail, Suite 300, Dept. EFCH, Indianapolis, IN 46250rnExplore Liberty Fund’s catalogue on the World Wide Web at www.Libertyfund.orgrnMAY 1997/27rnrnrn