Forthcoming Lovecraftian Items

Discussion in 'H P Lovecraft' started by j d worthington, Jan 23, 2010.

  1.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    Well, the Old Gent's influence continues to be felt, and it seems nearly everyday news comes out of new books being planned or released bearing his name.

    In this thread, I'd like to focus primarily on those which are writings by or about HPL himself, rather than fictional additions to the Mythos, etc.; and to kick things off, there is now a listing at Hippocampus Press of a book of early criticism of Lovecraft, A Weird Writer In Our Midst: Early Criticism Of H. P. Lovecraft to be edited by S. T. Joshi, listed as forthcoming in October. I am assuming this will include both early general essays as well as those published during his lifetime (the title of the book comes from one such article written by his friend Vrest Orton, published in a Vermont newspaper); and I am very interested in seeing a lot of this earlier material brought back into print. Some of it, of course, that I've seen is rather fannish, some harshly critical (such as Edmund Wilson's essay), yet I think having this sort of thing back in print would help to put into perspective the vicissitudes Lovecraft has gone through before reaching the status he has today.

    And, of course, I am still awaiting further news of the volume of Lovecraft on religion (with a foreword by Christopher Hitchens, no less....)
  2.  
    Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    621
    Me too.

    David Schultz, in the latest EOD mailing, was expressing a hope to have Lovecraft's letters to James F. Morton and Clark Ashton Smith out this year too.
  3.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    Oh, that would be marvelous! While the letters to Smith would be of great value to those interested in the WT group, weird fiction, and fantasy (not to mention Lovecraft's aesthetics of the latter two), I must admit that even more than those, I really want to see his letters to Morton. What of those has been included in the Selected Letters volumes, or in notes I've seen elsewhere over the years, has really whetted my appetite to read as much of that correspondence as possible....

    Incidentally, I haven't heard anything about this in ages, but... is there any further news on a forthcoming reprint of Schultz' edition of HPL's Commonplace Book? I've never been able to lay my hands on the Necronomicon Press edition, and it would be of tremendous help to me... not to mention just fascinating, with all his annotations. And, for that matter, any news of his annotated edition of the Fungi from Yuggoth....?
  4.  
    Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    621
    No, nothing at that, at least not this time.

    Yes, he did remark that 2010 marks, more or less, the 35th anniversary of his starting work on that book. He writes: "I know one fellow-acolyte remains keen on seeing the thing in print, so I think it may be a project to wrap up in the coming year."
  5.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    Again, that would be great! A good annotated edition of Lovecraft's verse in general would be well worth having -- even with his very minor works, there's so much going on there on different levels, that such would be a real boon to both students and casual readers alike; and the Fungi is an excellent place to start!
  6.  
    Lobolover

    Lobolover New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2008
    Messages:
    1,173
    That could be very interesting to read .
  7.  
    w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    331
    That fellow acolyte is me. I've been hounding him to complete this project. I think it is also to be illustrated by a horde of artists. As for the new one volume edition of the Commonplace Book, I had read that Hippocampus was thinking of doing this; but when I asked Derrick, he said that Necronomicon Press still plans to bring it out. This rather disheartened me -- as much as I love Necronomicon Press and wish to see it completely reanimated -- I don't have much confidence in this happening. Those two original volumes of the Commonplace Book are items to which I constantly return, and I now wish I had ordered additional sets! My gawd, they are wonderful. Last year, I wrote a 15,000 word prose poem sequence, "Uncommon Places," with each segment inspir'd in some way by entries in the Commonplace Book, and that was the edition to which I constantly referred. It is amazing!
  8.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    Yes, so I gathered; and, having seen some of Schultz's work, I would not be at all surprised. Which, of course, is why I want very much to get my hands on the bloody thing!!!!!!

    As for your "hounding" him (ouch!)... for pity's sake, keep it up! An annotated edition with the level of expertise he would bring to it is something which should not die aborning!
  9.  
    Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    621
    What j.d. said. :)
  10.  
    w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    331
    I was rather annoy'd with a review of one of my books at AmazonUK -- but I couldn't respond because I had yet to order anything from there. But then I thought, Hey! If it's the UK they probably have rare Boy George stuff that one cannot find in Amerika. Sure enough, I found a cd of Tense, Nervous Headache, so I ordered it, and now I can do reviews there! Hooray! Two of my reviews have already been posted, of Ellen Datlow's excellent Lovecraft Unbound and S. T.'s third volume in ye Penguin HPL series. Doing a search on Lovecraft, I found mention of a forthcoming book of which I have heard nothing:
    The Dream World of H. P. Lovecraft: His Life, His Demons, His Universe, by Donald Tyson. I have Tyson's novel, Alhazred, whut S. T. found magnificent, but I have yet to begin it. I believe that Tyson has also written a version of the Necronomicon, yes? Now I really want to read this study of his on Lovecraft, yet I am slightly disturb'd by the title -- it sounds like, mayhaps, an expose, and such books on Lovecraft can be rather brutal. Still, it may prove to be a fascinating study of Grandpa, and a unique one to boot.
  11.  
    Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    621
    Yup. I have it nut haven't read it yet.

    I'm more disturbed by the fact that Tyson is a practising occultist -- an occult study of Grandpa might be entertaining, but would be more fiction than nonfiction. But I'm worrying in advance, so I'm hopefully wrong.
  12.  
    w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    331
    From the Llewellyn write-up of Tyson's book:
    "Occult scholar Donald Tyson plumbs the depths of H. P. Lovecraft's cosmic vision and horrific dream world to examine, warts and all, the strange life of the man who created the Necronomicon and the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft expressed disdain for magic and religion, and most of his biographers have dismissed the mystical side of his nature. Tyson concludes that Lovecraft was a man in fundamental conflict with himself, and reveals Lovecraft for what he truly was--a dreamer, an astral traveler, and the prophet of a new age."

    Now this sounds utterly bogus to me, yet I'm certain it will be fascinating. This approach to Lovecraft's writing tends to ignore what Lovecraft really was -- a Master of the Weird Tale, a Literary Artist. To suggest that Lovecraft didn't understand himself or his so carefully produced art is nonsense. So this book may be an example of created God in One's Own Image. Still, it will examine the fiction from an occult viewpoint, and that should fire my imagination and give me ideas for future Sesqua Valley stories. But if it's an example of, "Lovecraft was writing the truth and just didn't know it" -- sorry, that's just absurd.

    Also, Lovecraft didn't live a "strange" life. He led a rather dull, normal life for a writer. Now me, I live a flipping strange life, children! But HPL? What in his life was "strange"? So much of what people say was strange about his life is myth, not fact. Give me the real Lovecraft, not some ruddy fairy tale based on myth and lies and stupidity.
  13.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    It... will be interesting to see where Tyson goes with this; though I've a feeling there are going to be times I'd like to hit the man upside the head with a 4-pound sledge-hammer. Such was the case with his version of the Necronomicon. At times, it was genuinely effective: eerie, cosmic in vision, disturbing, fascinatingly imaginative and true to the spirit (and much of the letter) of HPL's work. But then the "professional occultism" would seep in, and it would begin to sound like every other occult tome I've come across in the past 40 or so years, and I found myself wanting to slap the man into the middle of the next millennium. (And don't even get the Cat started on the thing. I think she still wants to hunt him down and feed him to a shoggoth....)

    And yes, that "strange life of H. P. Lovecraft" tripe... my gawd, what a hoary old chestnut! While I wouldn't exactly say HPL's life was boring (his letters and the memoirs of others quickly put that one to rest), aside from those few years between 1908-1913, Lovecraft's life was generally anything but strange for a man of letters. You want a strange life, look at Harlan Ellison. Now, there's a writer who has led a truly bizarre life at times! (Makes for darn fascinating reading, though....) Eccentric recluse? Um... J. D. Salinger, anyone?

    Und so weiter.

    As for HPL and the occult... this was a man who found himself relying heavily on the Encyclopædia Britannica article on "Magic" for information for "The Horror at Red Hook" because he knew so little about the subject. (He did correct that after this point, but this was the state of things until twelve years before his death.) Hardly a likely candidate for a hierophant of the elder mysteries.... Nor was he, according to either his testimony or that of those who knew him, at all conflicted on the subject. Purely and simply he thought it was balderdash... and generally poorly-constructed balderdash at that! Attempts have been made before to explore the "occult" side of Lovecraft, but (save for the pieces deconstructing his comments on that chant from "Red Hook"), most of them have been so gratingly off-the-mark in understanding HPL that one would expect far, far better from a drunk Lin Carter!

    Still... it might be an interesting piece, if Tyson doesn't try to stretch things too far; sticks with the facts and some reasonable speculation based on such, and avoids trying to co-opt Lovecraft (about as hardened a rationalist as one is likely to find) posthumously for the other side....

    And speaking of his rationalism... I should have posted a note on the publication of H. P. Lovecraft: Against Religion when it came out, but I wasn't even aware of its release until little more than a week ago... thanks to you and the interview with S.T., Wilum....
  14.  
    Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

    Joined:
    May 15, 2007
    Messages:
    621
    As I mentioned in another thread, I've just proofed the annotated edition of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward that is due from University of Tampa Press fairly soon.
  15.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    I need to make sure to pick that one up when it comes out. A really thorough annotated job on that novel would be a treasure for the avid fan and the scholar as well....
  16.  
    w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    331
    That novel is my favorite of Lovecraft's fictions, and I really want to do an intense, slow study of it next year when I return to trying to write my Pickman novel. S. T. mention'd in our vlog that the design will be especially charming. My, what a great time this is to be an obsess'd Lovecraftian!
  17.  
    J-WO

    J-WO Pretentious Avatar Alert.

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2008
    Messages:
    2,198
    I can't stand this HPL-as-occultist nonsense. My old university was awash with people trying to tell me (and anyone else who'd listen) that Grandpa was a bloody closet wizard and that the Necronomican was real.

    After much discussion, I'd typically discover that these occult pundits hadn't actually read any Lovecraft. At best they had a copy of that faux-necronomican (You know- the one that rips off loads of Sumerian texts and swaps the names of gods for Old Ones) and had maybe, maybe, seen Reanimator.
  18.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,601
    "[T]hat faux-necronomican (You know- the one that rips off loads of Sumerian texts and swaps the names of gods for Old Ones)"... That would be the "Simon Necronomicon", put together by someone who is a bona-fide occultist. There are also horrendous goofs in that book in light of Sumerian mythology, as well as countless other areas. And, frankly, it is simply boring as hell... completely unforgivable for something that purports to be the Necronomicon! (They could at least have asked someone like Anton LaVey -- who could, when he wished, actually have a rather good prose style for capturing such things -- to write the bloody thing......)
  19.  
    w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Messages:
    331
    I just deleted one of my MrWilum vlogs concerning ye Necronomicon because some idiot kept posting ignorant non-literary comments and accused me of being "a non-practitioner" or some such thing. The only magick I practice is the alchemy of Literary Art!
  20.  
    J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Messages:
    2,107
    Yes, if HPL were alive he'd have to go around denying the whole thing, or be like Houdini, offering big$$ to anyone who could prove existence of the spirit world.
    Surprised there isn't a 'Necronomicon for Dummies' yet. )

Share This Page