S.T. Joshi: a fanciful vision

  1. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Pugmire's photo of S.T. Joshi in a Ctuhlhu-esque mood reminded me of this.

    I still remember the excitement (and envy!) my friends and I felt when the Penguin editions of H.P. Lovecraft's stories were released and we discovered that the world's leading Lovecraft scholar was someone from our own neck of the woods.

    The Joshi bio in the Penguin books is fantastically uninformative about the man himself; photos and information about Joshi were impossible to find online at the time - or even if they were somewhere out there, none of us had acquired sufficient net smarts to find the damned things.

    As one does, I conceived a rather fanciful image of Joshi in my mind, drawing on stereotyped images of the Indian intellectual and the Western academic. I imagined a lean, spare man with a broad high forehead, well-oiled, neatly combed hair worn down to the shoulders, thick glasses with black frames, a snow-white french beard depending down from his chin to abut on his shirt-front, garbed in an aging tweed jacket, indifferently patched here and there, sweater-vest, corduroy trousers and, for some reason, brandishing a big black umbrella.

    What a workshop an idle mind is!

    As it turns out, the only detail I got right was the forehead, which is indeed rather broad and high.
     
    Mar 8, 2010
    #1
  2. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

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    I don't know anything about S.T. Joshi yet but I'm very new here. It was interesting to see a photo of H.P. Lovecraft. He doesn't appear to be in the WWF vein, but obviously of a strong mind. What was actually odd was the biography of Bram Stoker the athlete. He even had a good looking wife apparently. Not to get too far off topic, but basically these people are all different. What you described there sounds more like what it should be like if there was a photo, otherwise just his writing is sufficient.
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  3. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Mar 8, 2010
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  4. Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    That's what he looks like??? :eek: No no. He's not at all like I imagined him to be at all.
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  5. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    What did you imagine, Nesacat? :)
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  6. Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    Tall and very lean. Sharp cheekbones. Definitely a high forehead. Dressed in sombre colours in an old fashioned way. Dark skin, like polished wood.

    Waistcoat. Watch on a chain. Blacks, greys. Maybe some rust. Definitely a long scarf.

    Longish hair, but very well groomed. wavy perhaps but definitely not curly. Sometimes tied back with a leather strip. Sometimes slicked back. No beard. Long fingers with well-cut nails. Spectacles so he'd look at you over them with gun-metal grey eyes.

    And a cane. There was always a cane when I imagined him. Cats too.

    I always saw him striding through the twilight along long narrow streets with high buildings on both sides that leant into the street. cane tapping on the stones.
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  7. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    This is all rather odd to me... I suppose because when I first read his Four Decades of Criticism back in the early 1980s, the jacket featured a photo of a very young STJ (he is actually about three months younger than myself, which would have made him in his mid-twenties at the time) on the back flap. I've seen several pictures of him since, though it was quite some time between that photo and the next, and his appearance had changed quite a bit. Always wanted to mee the man, though, and have a good conversation with him....

    Nesa... there are definitely cats. He and his wife have three (there were four, but one died in 2002... whether they have another since then, I do not know). You can find more photos here:

    S. T. Joshi - The Official Website
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  8. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

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    He loves watching football games on telly. He used to sing in a gospel choir here in Seattle a few years ago -- when I first learned this he assured me that he's atheist. That silly photo of him is not really representative, but it beautifully shews his racial features. I cannot express deeply enough what a miracle it is having him live here in Seattle, having him as a friend and now as my editor. I worshiped him for all that he has done for Lovecraft's reputation, restoring the texts, giving us the collected essays, now the collected letters, and soon his definitive biography of Lovecraft in two volumes. When I learned that he had married a Seattle woman and was living here I almost swooned in true Lovecraftian fashion. But I didn't seek him out for almost a year, because I didn't want to be a drooling fan-thing on his doorstep. Then when Derrick at Hippocampus expressed interest in publishing a collection of my weird fiction and S. T. pointed out that he would be my editor -- !!! The little fanboy in me couldn't believe it. He has been so generous to me, as a friend, as an editor. I'll be in three of his books this year, one of which will be an anthology of weird verse, and that so pleases me. He is an amazing man, a magnificent chum. Thanks, J. D., for the link to his web site, which has just, after five years of dormancy, been upgraded by another miracle man here in Seattle, the amazing Greg Lowney.
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  9. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

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    For some reason the website that came up is the OLD website! This has been an annoying problem. The website that link takes you to is not the new one. I'll see if I can supply a link, although I'm very computer clueless about such things. Martin -- you're good at this kind of thing.

    Try
    http://stjoshi.org/
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  10. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    Ooops! You're quite correct... I have the new one as well, but accidentally posted the old.:eek: Ah, well... the photos are available at either site, which was what I was aiming for... especially the photos of the cats for the Cat....

    Wilum... you posted elsewhere about his comments about being "the little brown boy" and that you ended a friendship with someone who expressed a negative reaction to the leading Lovecraft scholar not being white.... I must admit that I'm saddened to hear STJ had such experiences growing up, and I certainly agree with you that the reaction of that former friend is... insular, to say the least.

    I recently had some very brief contact with STJ for the first time since the 1980s, and he still seems as generous and welcoming as ever... something he shares with most of the other Lovecraftians I've encountered (and very much in line with the spirit of Grandpa Theobald, it seems to me). And, while I agree with some that he does stretch himself a bit thin at times, he is nonetheless an amazing scholar who has done miracles when it comes to HPL's work (as well as several other subjects). I simply can't understand anyone objecting to someone like Joshi on such a flimsy count as the nonsensical "race"....

    And, for those who have not read any of Joshi's work, either on Lovecraft, the weird tale in general, or any of the other topics on which he has written, I highly recommend checking them out. When it comes to his work on weird fiction, it is always intelligent, informative, and fascinating; and when it comes to some of his more controversial subjects (such as atheism), his no-holds-barred expression of his well-researched views and opinions is, to use the old phrase, like an explosion from a fresh-air factory... stimulating, invigorating, at times infuriating, but always worth reading....

    http://stjoshi.org/bibliography.html
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  11. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

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    He looks okay. That is how I would envision him. I didn't know that he was from India, but actually his name is unusual.

    So someone edited the works of Lovecraft. That is what happened?
     
    Mar 8, 2010
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  12. Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy Knivesout no more

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    Heh, I like the image of Joshi confronted by drooling fan-things on the doorstep!

    As I've said, for my few fellow Lovecraft fans and I in Bangalore, who'd had to get by on tattered old second-hand Panther paperbacks, and on things printed out from the HPLA site, the Penguin editions were bolt from the blue and manna from heaven.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2010
    Mar 9, 2010
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  13. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    Any time a work is published, an editor is involved. In the case of Lovecraft's works, magazine editors did sometimes (albeit infrequently) alter things -- At the Mountains of Madness, though, was hideously butchered for its original magazine publication... to the point where Lovecraft refused to accept it as having actually been published. Derleth either maintained these corrupt texts or, in some cases, mucked about with the material himself when publishing Lovecraft in various editions, resulting at times in some drastic diversions from the original material. This resulted in the "standard" edition containing upwards of 1,500 errors or divergences from the text, including nearly 1,000 words excised.

    Joshi, on the other hand, spent well over a decade going back to Lovecraft's original manuscripts or, where these are no longer in existence, to the closest thing to a final "author's approved version" of a publication during HPL's lifetime, attempting to come as close as possible to editions exactly as HPL envisioned them. So, with At the Mountains of Madness, for example, the typographical, spelling, and stylistic divergences have been removed and replaced with Lovecraft's original usages, and the missing text has been reinserted in its proper places. This is for the fiction. He spent even longer reestablishing the corrected texts for the poetry and essays, and the ongoing project to publish all the extant correspondence looks like it may take another 20 years or so (though with volumes being released periodically throughout that period)....
     
    Mar 9, 2010
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  14. Nesacat

    Nesacat The Cat

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    ... and yes there are cats. thank you.
     
    Mar 9, 2010
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  15. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

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    I see your point. That is a large job. It sounds like it would be difficult to get the original material if the Arkham House was created in order to preserve Lovecraft's work, but I don't know the story at all beyond what I read in a short biography.

    I noticed that there is a book called the definitive edition of "The Mountains of Madness", but the Penguin edition has that story I think.

    Yes, well that makes more sense anyway, thanks.
     
    Mar 9, 2010
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  16. Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

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    You are correct, except I managed to convince S. T. that "Daniels" on p. 253 is actually an error for "Danforth", carried over from an early version of the manuscript. After having seen Lovecraft's notes for the novel, I'm even more convinced than ever of this, since "Daniels" is not listed among the members of the expedition (in fact, the name occurs nowhere in Lovecraft's fiction). S. T. agreed with me, so both the version in Tales and the one in the Fiction have "Danforth" in this place.
     
    Mar 9, 2010
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  17. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

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    Well as long as the name Lovecraft isn't replaced, than I should be in luck to have this set by the sound of it, although if they were smart they wouldn't have messed up the texts in the first place, putting secret codes in them and whatnot.
     
    Mar 9, 2010
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  18. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    "Secret codes"?:confused:
     
    Mar 10, 2010
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  19. Tinsel

    Tinsel Science fiction fantasy

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    Now the world could crumble without all of that insulation he put in there in order to create a balance.
     
    Mar 10, 2010
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  20. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    I'm sorry, Tinsel, but you have completely lost me on that one....:confused::confused::confused:
     
    Mar 10, 2010
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