The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft

  1. KGeo777

    KGeo777 Well-Known Member

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    I have the same reaction. I tended to ignore his fiction for some reason (lack of access being one), but recently read some of his letters as well as his essays (on horror fiction and cats) and was very amused.
    Really interesting stuff, and he wrote in such a way as to explain his views so clearly and passionately.

    "I, in my own senescent mellowness, confess to an inordinate and wholly unphilosophic predilection for tiny coal-black kittens with large yellow eyes, and could no more pass one without petting him than Dr. Johnson could pass a sidewalk post without striking it." Cats And Dogs, H. P. Lovecraft
     
    May 3, 2017
    #21
  2. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, though, the letters are repetitive, especially when it comes to his exposition of his materialist philosophy. It would be interesting to have a selection of his letters, emphasizing his accounts of his own life and of other people, his reading, his historical interests, and his travels. This would be a reader's edition, perhaps 300 and no more than 400 pages; and so if, say, the best accounts of a visit to New Orleans were separated in two letters, it would be better to abridge the two letters and print the best from each, rather than print one or the other (or both in full). The complete texts will be available for those who want them. I have Gittings' thick single-volume edition of Keats's letters (Oxford) and the two hefty hardcovers of the complete letters (Harvard), and it's the former that I use more often. It certainly should not be edited by Mr. Joshi, for whom Lovecraft scholars must have much appreciation, but by someone who has wider interests and a more well-founded taste. Possibly Michael Dirda would be willing to write an introduction. The book should include at least a couple of photo sections on good paper. The book should cost no more than $35. It should be issued by a large university press that advertises outside the narrowly academic world or by a familiar mainstream publisher, not by a small press in a limited edition. The publisher should send review copies to standard American and British periodicals.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
    May 3, 2017
    #22
  3. w h pugmire esq

    w h pugmire esq Well-Known Member

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    I linger within ye shadows of Sesqua Valley, dream
    We have a wonderful edition, Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters, publish'd by Ohio University Press in 2000. It is a fascinating edition of 400 pages, and was publish'd in hardcover and pb editions. The cover illustration is one of my favourites because it makes HPL look really ghastly. Prices can be steep, but I see that Amazon is selling a copy of ye hardcover for $50.
     
    May 4, 2017
    #23
  4. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    I've had a library copy of that book in my hands, Wilum, some years ago. My impression is that it didn't seem to be as strong on the features that I've suggested as it could have been. We may differ about this, but I don't think Mr. Joshi is on firm ground in his high regard for Lovecraft as a philosophical writer -- a regard Mr. Joshi has expended a great deal of effort, for years, to communicate to others. In the hypothetical edition I proposed, I wasn't calling for a complete suppression of this side of Lovecraft's interest, but really I think a few pages would suffice for a presentation of this aspect of his outlook, in his own words. I'm assuming there is a great deal in his complete correspondence that could fill out a substantial volume largely devoted to the topics I suggest instead.

    So I'd put it this way: there's the Arkham five-volume edition of HPL's letters; there are the various more recent volumes devoted to correspondence with particular individuals; and there's the book you mention. These all of their admirers. None of these seems to me to preclude a further book such as I imagined, and which might meet the needs and interests of many readers for whom the existing books don't get it right.

    As I said, people interested in Lovecraft owe Mr. Joshi a debt of gratitude. But there is a possibility that "Joshi's Lovecraft" is a bit too much with us. What if (for example) Michael Dirda were not only to introduce but to do the selection of letters for the edition I imagined? -- someone of rather more catholic tastes and wider literary experience than Mr. Joshi.

    I would be interested in that book. The existing ones have far too much that I simply am not interested in. I "get" Lovecraft's philosophy and related opinions. I've even discussed it at some length in private correspondence with our old friend, now absent from this site, J. D. Worthington. HPL's philosophical outlook is not hard to grasp and his many iterations of it do not, so far as I'm aware from many years of reading in and around Lovecraft, amount to as many years of deepening thought. On the other hand, I expect he would have fresh and interesting things to write as from the more imaginative faculty and as the observer of places and persons. It would be nice to have a handy book highlighting such things.
     
    May 4, 2017
    #24
  5. MiskatonicFiles

    MiskatonicFiles Science fiction fantasy

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    If you're in the Midwest, Northern Illinois University has a modest collection of Lovecraft letters, etc., in its Rare Books and Special Collections, which can be viewed by appointment. Sorry, I'm new to the forum, and am forbidden from posting the link.
     
    Oct 14, 2017
    #25
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  6. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Welcome, MiskatonicFiles!
     
    Oct 15, 2017
    #26
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  7. Ningauble

    Ningauble Lovecraftian

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    I read one of those letters only a couple of days ago, in Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill.
     
    Oct 16, 2017
    #27
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