Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Finds At The Used Book Store: 13 February 2007 Part 2

In Great Untold Stories of Fantasy and Horror (1), Sam Moskowitz introduces a story byCount Leigh de Hamng: A Study of Destiny. While this 1897 story is of passing interest as a morality play set in Egypt, there is a close Lovecraft connection.

Moskowitz states, "... In the January 1926 issue of Weird Tales ... Muriel E. Eddy ... commenting on {a story named} Lukundoo by Edward Lucas White which had appeared in the November 1925 issue ... said, 'It calls to my mind a story I read years ago (by a titled Englishman) entitled The Hand of Fate,' {Muriel says, and then Moskowitx continues that she} goes on to give a description of the plot which is close to A Study of Destiny."

Moskowitz - always a keen student of the history of horror - goes on to say that she probably remembered the title of a book titled The Hand of Fate in 1898 and is probably the American edition of this story.

What is interesting for our part is several fold.

1. Despite the concerns scholars have of her 1960's memoir of Lovecraft, in her day she obviously was a student of the genre. Her - and CM Eddy's - credentials as a fan of horror seem in tact and facile.

2. Lovecraft would have met them in 1923 and perceived a family that was interested in the same things as he - though he would have had a higher threshhold of what was horrific.

3. This is one more element of the Eddys being intimately connected to Weird Tales. Baird (or Wright) would immediately noted the letter and published it as insightful, and a bit of a free publicity to fans of the Eddys in Providence.

4. Since this is during Lovecraft's sojourn in New York (November 1925) the Eddys were still explicitly active with Weird Tales independent of HPL. Their controversy from the May, June, July 1924 issues on the Loved Dead would still be fresh in the fans' minds, too.

Lovecraft actually mentions the November issue, and indicates a very intimate knowledge if what is hapening. He says "The Wells tales (2)- so far very mediocre, as I view them - are very early work ... in the 90's {1890's - CP} ... so Wright thought them a good investment {since they were unpublished in the US} ... when Weird Tales London agent brought them to his notice." He mentions the Lukundoo, "The Edward Lucas White tale appears to have been a regular contribution - whether or not through a literary agent I can't say...". (3)

While it seems unlikely Lovecraft and the Eddy's mentioned it to one another but they were obviously in intimate contact ... (4) Lovecraft says, "ever since the Indiana senate took action about poor Eddy's "Loved Dead", he has been in a continual panic about censorship."

Interesting HPL says 'Eddy's Loved Dead', when it was obvious he wrote a good portion of it.

1. 3rd edition 1970, pp.10-11.
2. The Stolen Body was originally in Strand November 1898 and Weird Tales November 1925; and The Valley of Spiders was originally Pearson's magazine March 1903 and Weird Tales December 1925.
3. Letters From New York, p. 242, to Lillian D. Clark on 7 November 1925.
4. Letters From New York, p. 252, to Lillian D Clark on 13 December 1925.

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