"Old Bugs" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, probably written shortly before July 1919.[1] It was first published in the Arkham House book The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces (1959).

The piece was written after Lovecraft's friend Alfred Galpin's suggestion that he wanted to try alcohol before Prohibition went into effect. In response, Lovecraft, a teetotaler, wrote a tale of an old derelict known as Old Bugs, who turns out to be Galpin himself, brought low by "evil habits, dating from a first drink taken years before in woodland seclusion." At the bottom of the manuscript, Lovecraft had written, "Now will you be good?"[1]

The woman whose engagement to Old Bugs is canceled due to his drinking, Eleanor Wing, was a fellow student in Galpin's high school press club.[1]


An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia says of the piece, "It is not nearly as ponderous as it sounds, and is in fact a little masterpiece of comic deflation and self-parody."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Joshi and Schultz, p. 193.


  • S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia.

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