Sunday, March 19, 2006

Real biogrpahy amongst the pseudobiography of SooT

In the 1934-1935 Shadow Out of Time, Lovecraft opens up.

He wrote several drafts and there is much literature on this.

His first sly allusion is "After twenty-two years of nightmare and terror..." which would refer to the entry in summer 1913 into the amateur movement.

"...those who recall the newspaper tales of a generation back - or the letters and articles inpsychological journals sx or seven years ago ..." referring to the mid-20's Weird Tales stories.

"The press was filled with the details of my strange amnesia in 1908-1913, and much was made of the traditions of horror, madness, and witchcraft which lurk...". This is the period between Alchemist and Dagon and the intense mystery - even today - of what Lovecraf was doing all that time.

He tells us. "I would have it known that there is nothing whatever of the mad or sinister in my heredity or early life."

"It was on Thursday, May 14, 1908, that queer amnesia came ... sudden ... the collapse came at 10:20 a.m. ... I slumped to unconsciousness in my chair, in a stupor which no one could arouse me ... for five years, four months, and thirteen days." {i.e. Sept. 27, 1913).

"I will not attempt to tell much of my life from 1908 - 1913, since readers will glean all the outward essentials ... from files of old newspapers and scientific journals. I was given charge of my funds {true, C.P.}.

"I spent a month in the Himalayas {1909)..."

In 1909, a big Italian expedition under the leadership of Luigi Amadeo Giuseppe (Duke of Abruzzi) the grandson of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy, reconnoitred K2.

"in 1911 ... a camel trip into the unknown deserts of Arabia..."

This refers to T. E. Lawrence in Arabia of that year.

"during summer of 1912 I ... sailed in the arctic north of Spitzbergen..."

The no-man land of Spizbergen was a hot bed of activity. It had enormous material resources of coal, and was a center of astrophysical research during the summer of 1912 matching Roald Amundsen's measurements at the South Pole - one of Lovecraft's heroes.

"ugly reports concerned my intimacy with leaders of occultist groups ... were doubtless stimulated by the known tenor of my reading ..."

a joke.

"In the summer of 1913 I spoke of returning to memories of my earlier life ... my reabsorption into normal life was a painful and difficult process. The loss of over five years creates more complications than can be imagined... what I heard of my actions since 1908 astonished and disturbed me."

This may be the most we will ever get out of Lovecraft who paced the midnight streets, suffered depression, and watched endless silent "movies". His heartbreak at not becoming an astronomer was devastating, and his second choice as a poet, also never materialized.

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