"It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing."
In which the notes of a dead professor, a strange sculpture and a collection of odd newspaper clippings hint at an awesome truth that we are all better off not knowing.
"The Call of Cthulhu" was written in 1926 and first published in Weird Tales in 1928. The story is divided into three parts and boasts a complex structure of a nested stories within stories, at times several layers deep. Down in these depths lurks Great Cthulhu, Lovercraft's most well known creation. A loathsome abomination whose existence mocks that which humankind holds sacred and renders our noblest aspirations meaningless. Cthulhu is also a humorous Internet meme and a bunch of cuddly plush toys. A rather good silent film adaption was made in 2005. There is also a 2007 film titled Cthulhu loosely based on Lovecraft's work, but having more in common with Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth.
It occurred to me that the opening paragraph, divorced from the rest of the text, could be read as a passionate anti science rant delivered by a preacher or demagogue and sound really cool. I didn't do this (well I did but it didn't end up here) but somebody should approriate it in this manner for another work sometime.