While researching a question about Lovecraft, I was reading the article Stephen A. Black, "Literary Biography and Psychological Criticism: In the Matter of H. P. Lovecraft", Canadian Review of American Studies 10(2) (1979), pp. 243-250 (DOI 10.3138/CRAS-010-02-11) which cites another article (Barton Levi St. Armand, The Roots of Horror in the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft) which I have been unable to find myself. Discussing St. Armand's work, Black writes:

In tracing out the symbolic or associative meanings of the cat, "Nigger-Man," the following seem to be Lovecraft's thoughts: as a youth, Lovecraft actually owned a black cat called "Nigger-Man" whom he loved very much. It is highly probable that Lovecraft knew thoroughly Poe's grisly tale, "The Black Cat"; however, there seems to be no information about Lovecraft's reactions to parts or all of the Poe tale.

I got curious about this, since Poe and Lovecraft are both well-known authors in the horror genre and I hadn't thought about the connection between them before.

Is there any evidence that Lovecraft was influenced by Poe's story "The Black Cat"?

Can we do better than the researchers cited above and find any explicit reference by Lovecraft to this Poe story? Or, failing that, what is the evidence to support that "highly probable", evidence for the influence of this Poe story on Lovecraft's writings?

  • 1
    Lovecraft wrote an acrostic sonnet, Where Once Poe Walked, praising Edgar Allen Poe, so he certainly knew of him and admired him. Finding evidence that Lovecraft had read the specific story The Black Cat might be harder.
    – Peter Shor
    Jan 26 '20 at 0:28

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