Lovecraft didn't like winter

  1. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Sep 28, 2014
    #1
  2. dask

    dask dark and stormy knight

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    Great photos. Makes me wish I was there even though every year my appreciation for winter diminishes exponentially.
     
    Sep 28, 2014
    #2
  3. Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

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    It wasn't a mere dislike; apparently HPL had physiological problems with cold: stiffening joints, sluggishness, etc. The warmer, the better. What is amazing is that he still soldiered on in Providence during winter in spite of this. (I don't think any of his travels south took place in winter, for example.)
     
    Sep 29, 2014
    #3
  4. Deep Space Nina

    Deep Space Nina Well-Known Member

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    I read in a book that he even had a breakdown due to the cold and was mistaken for a drunkard. - Well, tea helped him. With lemon and loads and loads of sugar.
     
    Jan 14, 2015
    #4
  5. Michael Colton

    Michael Colton Well-Known Member

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    Given how incredibly sickly he was for most of his life, it is certainly understandable.
     
    Jan 14, 2015
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  6. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    I seem to recall, decades ago, reading that he had a condition that made it difficult to regulate his own temperature. Cannot recall the name, or even if it was mere speculation.
     
    Jan 15, 2015
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  7. Deep Space Nina

    Deep Space Nina Well-Known Member

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    I guess it was rather a mental issue which did not make it any better. (Of course it is an illness, just like any other!) I can also imagine that his eating habits with very often not eating anything at all may have worsen the situation.
     
    Jan 15, 2015
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  8. Michael Colton

    Michael Colton Well-Known Member

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    I seem to remember him having an obsession with eating jam with sugar sprinkled on it when he did eat. One wonders how many of these stories about him are myths or if he really did personify half of the neurosis and odd habits known to humankind.
     
    Jan 15, 2015
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  9. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

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    There are so many myths, moft of which are untrue. It had been reported (perhaps even in DeCamp's biography) that Lovecraft was a prude so offended by the "sexy" covers of WEIRD TALES that he tore those covers from his copies--yet his entire collection of WT was donated to ye John Hay Library and all copies have their covers intact. People insist that Lovecraft was an odd recluse who shunned human contact, and this is proven false by a study of his correspondence, which records his many journeys and visits with numerous friends; and is also belied by the collections of memoirs his friends wrote after his death. Lovecraft was not the misfit so many insist on making him, but a rather ordinary fellow with an extraordinary imagination--and an excellent writer who was the master of his various prose styles.
     
    Jan 15, 2015
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    Brian G Turner likes this.
  10. Michael Colton

    Michael Colton Well-Known Member

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    I think the 'master' part has fueled many of the myths. People love the image of an eccentric genius and are willing to believe all sorts of stories about them. A similar thing has happened to Poe over the years.
     
    Jan 15, 2015
    #10
  11. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    As Wilum says, there are any number of myths about HPL, and any number of stories which are of this nature, some few of which are true (at least partially), while most are not. As for the bit about de Camp mentioning the stories about Lovecraft tearing off the WT covers... yes, he mentions it, only to debunk it, if memory serves. At any rate, Lovecraft's collection of issues of Weird Tales can be consulted at the John Hay Library, and they are intact, so....

    Brian, it was also de Camp who put a label on this "illness" he was supposed to have which made it difficult for him to regulate his body temperature, using the term "poikilothermism", which is simply a descriptive label for animals (such as reptiles) which have this quality; it isn't an actual disease. Joshi has posited the most likely explanation by tracking down a fall Lovecraft had when young, from quite a height apparently, causing a severe injury to his head. This may have in turn damaged that portion of the brain which regulates body temperature, something which is likely to grow worse with age... which his condition certainly did (he could -- barely -- tolerate extreme cold when younger, but by his later years even a dip into the thirties or twenties could render him unconscious and cause problems with his breathing as well as causing severe edema). There are other factors which may have been involved, as well....

    He did have a passion for sweets, though I don't recall him sprinkling sugar on jam... he did, however, use copious amounts of sugar in his coffee, so much so that a sludge was left at the bottom of the cup. His health problems, however, may not have been so much organic as tied to his nervous system, particularly the fact that he had nervous disabilities which caused him a great deal of trouble at various points. Much of this, interestingly, calmed down quite a bit following the death of his mother, when he began to emerge from the hothouse atmosphere of their joint residence on Angell Street. It never went away, but (sad to say) her death may well have allowed him to live the much healthier life he did in the ensuing years, when he was anything but an "eccentric recluse", traveling quite extensively up and down the eastern seaboard, from Quebec to Saint Augustine, Florida. The interesting thing about this is that, despite the fact that he himself largely shared the image of himself as a reclusive individual, he seemed to make friends wherever he went, no matter what their socioeconomic status or "class", and the numerous accounts by people who met him are almost glowing with accounts of his goodfellowship and kindness toward others -- quite a contrast to the curmudgeonly caricature so often depicted.
     
    Jan 16, 2015
    #11
    Brian G Turner likes this.
  12. Michael Colton

    Michael Colton Well-Known Member

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    While we are on the subject, does anyone more knowledgeable than me (not difficult) on the subject of Lovecraft have any opinion of the biographical work as well as editing work of S. T. Joshi on the topic? I had heard of him for other reasons and then found out he has done quite a bit of work on Lovecraft and I was considering looking into some of his publications.
     
    Jan 16, 2015
    #12
  13. Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

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    S. T. does good work. I Am Providence is currently THE biography of Lovecraft, and his various editions of Lovecraft's texts are based on manuscripts and first publications as far as is possible. He has done much valuable work on other writers as well; I'd single out Unutterable Horror, his history of supernatural literature, as especially interesting (but scathing, in a few cases such as Stephen King and Brian Lumley).
     
    Jan 16, 2015
    #13
  14. Michael Colton

    Michael Colton Well-Known Member

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    It was his dislike of King that made me first notice him, actually. Someone used him as an example of a critic that hated King. Thanks for the response.
     
    Jan 16, 2015
    #14
  15. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    Martin has already answered, but I'll second him on this. Though I occasionally have a disagreement with some of S.T.'s opinions or judgments, he has done more to bring Lovecraft out of the shadows (or slums) of genre fandom than perhaps any other person, and what he has done with the textual state of Lovecraftian publications has been nothing short of astounding. There are, of course, those who are opposed to the sort of critical textual approach he has taken, but the result is something which really does read much closer to the Lovecraft one sees in the bulk of his work: an extremely careful craftsman with a much wider range than is generally perceived.

    If you'd be interested in seeing a fairly representative selection of Joshi's essays on the subject, his Lovecraft and a World in Transition: Collected Essays on H. P. Lovecraft would be an excellent choice....
     
    Jan 17, 2015
    #15
  16. logan_run

    logan_run Well-Known Member

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    I like hockey that's the only reason I like winter. I enjoy love craft regardless of his likes and dislikes
     
    Feb 6, 2015
    #16
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