"Dagon" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in July 1917, one of the first stories he wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant (issue #11).
After reading Lovecraft's juvenilia in 1917, W. Paul Cook, editor of the amateur press journal The Vagrant, encouraged Lovecraft to resume writing fiction. That summer, Lovecraft wrote two stories: "The Tomb" and "Dagon".
The story was inspired in part by a dream he had. "I dreamed that whole hideous crawl, and can yet feel the ooze sucking me down!" he later wrote.
Critic William Fulwiler indicates that Lovecraft may have been influenced by Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead", a story about a strange fish-like human. Fulwiler has also suggested that Lovecraft took the story's theme of "an ancient prehuman race that will someday rise to conquer humanity" from Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core (1914).
The story mentions Piltdown Man, which had not been exposed by the scientific community as a fraud and hoax at the time of writing.
As to the name of the story, Lovercraft seems to be referring to the ancient Sumerian god named Dagon who is the fertility god of grains and fish, because in the story, the main character make inquiries "....regarding the ancient Philistine legend of Dagon, the Fish-God." The Sumerian deity is sometimes depicted as being part fish, or simply wearing a fish. Since Lovecraft was fond of references to actual archaeological discoveries in his writings from time to time, he may have come across this ancient god and decided to use it for some vague inspiration.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) - known as H.P. Lovecraft - was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and only published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre.
Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. His father was confined to a mental institution when Lovecraft was three years old. His grandfather, a wealthy businessman, enjoyed storytelling and was an early influence. Intellectually precocious but sensitive, Lovecraft began composing rudimentary horror tales by the age of eight, but suffered from overwhelming feelings of anxiety. He encountered problems with classmates in school, and was kept at home by his highly strung and overbearing mother for illnesses that may have been psychosomatic. In high school, Lovecraft was able to better connect with his peers and form friendships. He also involved neighborhood children in elaborate make-believe projects, only regretfully ceasing the activity at seventeen years old. Despite leaving school in 1908 without graduating - he found mathematics particularly difficult - Lovecraft had developed a formidable knowledge of his favored subjects, such as history, linguistics, chemistry, and astronomy.
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