Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lovecraftiana: Robert H. Waugh

Hurrah! I just got my copy of "The Monster: Looking for H. P. Lovecraft". [1]

In scanning the book, here is a new voice to merge the fractious perspectives of Robert Price, L Sprague de Camp, August Derleth and S T Joshi. Waugh also takes the brave perspective of creating a new look at Lovecraft's atheist but evangelical philosophy.

It is interesting that clergy such as Dan Clore and Robert Price (and the Catholic Derleth) see the religious aspect of Lovecraft's fiction, while Joshi focuses on the letters which convey a much more secular presentation of his personality.

Later, I will quote from Waugh's book, but Chrispy must weigh in too.

I see Lovecraft's fiction and letters as presenting himslef as the Scientist-Adventurer. No less a Professor Challenger, or a hero of H G Wells or Jules Verne, Lovecraft explores horror terrain and like a good Edwardian. If the protagonist is well-heeled, learned, bookish, and of the right genetic stock, he undergoes a purging through horror fire and is translated no less that Elijah.

Lovecraft was clearly capable - as all good scholarly Edwardians - of being a spin doctor. This comes out clearest with the Gallomo and Kleicomo letters. Kleiner (b. 1892 and whose perceived genius daunted Howard) often gets much more detail, and a much grittier HPL comes across, while the younger Galpin (b. 1902) gets a glossier version of HPL.

1 isbn 0976159279, The Monster In the Mirror: Looking For HP Lovecraft, Robert H. Waugh, Hippocampus Press, 2005, 2006. Much of this is reworked from numerous articles in Lovecraft Studies (17, 25, 32, 34, 35, 36, 38, 39, 40) and The HP Lovecraft Centennial Conference Proceedings of 1991.

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