Howard Phillips "H. P." Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 - March 15, 1937) 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 3 years old. His grandfather, a wealthy businessman, enjoyed storytelling and was an early influence. Intellectually precocious but sensitive, Lovecraft had begun composing rudimentary horror tales and had begun to be overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety by the age of 8. He encountered problems with peers 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 found his contemporaries were accepting and he formed friendships. He also involved neighborhood children in elaborate make-believe projects, only regretfully ceasing the activity at 17 years old. Despite leaving school in 1908 without graduating-he found mathematics particularly difficult-Lovecraft's knowledge of subjects that interested him was formidable.