Sunday, January 21, 2007

Lovecraft's Legacy: 1949

OK Bibliophiles, this blog post is for you. Details and Lovecraftiana meet.

^HPL as a boy^

Amazingly, on 20 January 2007 there were three copies of this rare book for sale on ebay at the same time !!!

Just 12 years after HPL's death, this was issued from Arkham Press. The war years had built a cult following driven by Lovecraft's friends and colleagues, the frequent publication by Farnsworth Wright of Mythos stoires in Weird Tales, and a general buzz about "the nest, now deceased Poe".

Gleaned from the notes by sellers here is a detailed description of this landmark publication.

Arkham House (Sauk City, Wisconsin) publication of SOMETHING ABOUT CATS AND OTHER PIECES by H.P. Lovecraft, was publised as a First Edition in 1949, Limited Edition (2995 copies). Another seller suggests it is 3,000 copies. 306 (one says 307 pp) pages. The original price was $3.00.

More details: It is declared to be printed from Intertype Garamond by the Collegiate Press, George Banta Publishing Company, Menasha, Wisconsin. The paper is Winnebago Eggshell. The binding cloth is Holliston Black Novelex." (Inscription found on page 307.)

The photo above shows it with dust jacket. Jacket art is the work of Ronald Clyne. The text of the dust jacket reads ... The final collection of the miscellaneous writings of the late great H.P. Lovecraft before the Selected Letters, yet to come, contains over a dozen poems, the provocative and controversial title essay, pieces from Lovecraft's little-known magazine The Conservative, the burlesque, The Battle that Ended the Century, and notes for such famous stories as The Shadow Over Innsmouth, At The Mountains of Madness, and The Shadow Out of Time. In addition, a round half dozen stories by other hands, in which Lovecraft took part, either by revision or suggestion, are included. Among them are The Invisible Monster, by Sonia H. Greene; Satan's Servants by Robert Bloch; The Last Test and The Electric Executioner, by Adolphe de Castro; and The Horror in the Burying-Ground, by Hazel Heald. Finally, friends of Lovecraft have contributed to this volume certain studies and appreciations, such as the memoirs by Rheinhart Kleiner and Samuel Loveman; the remembrance by Sonia H. Davis, who was for some years the wife of H.P. Lovecraft; the addenda to H.P.L.: A Memoir, by August Derleth; a portrait of Lovecraft as few people knew him, by E. Hoffmann Price; Fritz Leiber, Jr.'s study of Lovecraft's work; and poems in tribute by Vincent Starrett and August Derleth.

After nearly 60 years, even in the hands of colectors, the three editions are described:

1. Book is Near Fine Plus, just yellowing to pages, and minor board and shelf wear (very minor). Complete, no tears, no writing, no chipping. Tight, bright and square. Dust Jacket is Near Fine Plus (most booksellers would call this Fine -- we grade conservatively and extensively). Dust jacket has the typical yellowing/toning to edges. Some minor edge wear, primarily to heel of spine. Front panel is bright with little to no fading. Flaps are also in very nice shape with just the yellowing to edges. Truly a remarkable and very collectible copy.

2. Excellent Condition; virtually no fading to pages throughout; one faint stain in lower left corner of Contents pageBook Cover = faint smudges (fingerprints?) on outside of front and back covers; lower right corner on front cover is slightly bent; lower left corner on back cover is slightly bent Dust Cover somewhat stained and discolored paper cover with small rips at stress pointsOwner's name written in ink on first page of end papers (prior to frontispiece); bookshop sticker on same page Another bookshop sticker on inside back cover

3. A Very Good copy with bumps at top and base of spine, fingering to black Novelex cloth, name (science fiction publisher and author Jack L. Chalker) and address stamped on inside front board, light stain on fore edge of free front endpaper, bump with short tear on fore edge of portion of text block, top corner turn to two interior pages in a Near Fine dust jacket reflecting this bump at base of spine.


*A dozen poems (one seller says 13 poems)
*Seven Essays by H.P.Lovecraft (various topics)
*Note by August Derleth on Something About Cats
*Something About Cats
*Extracts from The Conservative
*The Battle that Ended the Century
*Notes by HPL for The Shadow Over Innsmouth, {Mispelled as Shadows}, At The Mountains of Madness, and The Shadow Out of Time.
*The Invisible Monster, by Sonia H. Greene
*Satan's Servants by Robert Bloch*
*The Last Test and The Electric Executioner, by Adolphe de Castro
*The Horror in the Burying-Ground, by Hazel Heald.
*Memoirs by Rheinhart Kleiner, Samuel Loveman, by Sonia H. Davis
*addenda to H.P.L.: A Memoir, by August Derleth
*Memoir by E. Hoffmann Price
*Fritz Leiber, Jr.'s study of Lovecraft's work
*Poems in tribute by Vincent Starrett and August Derleth.
*Illustrated with several rare photographs, including Lovecraft as a child, a photo of Mrs. Sonia H. Davis, Lovecraft's wife, and a Lovecraft satirical design for his own gravestone sketched on an envelope.

Currently, it is stated, that Leon Nielsen in his book Arkham House Books: A Collector's Guide (2004) lists the books value at $250.00 (on the various book sites it often sells for more than that, very desirable, especially in this condition).

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