Friday, October 05, 2007

Three Lovecraft Letters Listed at Auction House

These letters appear and disappear into collectors hands all the time. It seems they gain in value everyday. Here is a listing at David Schulson Autographs House.

LOVECRAFT, H(OWARD) P(HILLIPS) (1890-1937). American writer, known for fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. // Autograph Letter Signed, two pages on one 8vo sheet, included is a signed holograph envelope postmarked Providence, Rhode Island, Aug. 32, 1931. // He writes to Charles Ashton Smith (1893-19061), the American writer recognized for his science fiction and fantasy or “weird” stories. Both were most prolific from 1930 to 1936. In the upper right corner, Lovecraft begins, “Vortex of Slth-Kgnr on the liquid planet Nrun in the central galaxy of the sixth dimension beyond the City of Singing Flame. Moment of the up-surge to meet the rising of the black satellite.” He formally begins the letter but addresses the letter to, “Klarkash-ton, Still trying fountain pens…Thanks again for the nameless heads – which I shall see in many a malign dream. Your opinion of Wandrei’s tale is more intelligent and analytical than the one I expressed & I agree that a single haunting horror, repeatedly coming up in different lives & finally confronted through retracting, would give the tale more…dramatic interest than it now has. No-I shan’t let your gargoyle tale cut mine off any more that I shall let Whitehead’s ‘Cassius’ suppress my future tale of the amputated Siamese twin…I have now read ‘Beyond the Singing flame’ with the most poignant admiration…which reminds me that I re-read the original ‘Singing Flame’…with undiminished pleasure….” He continues discussing stories and then writes about Dashiell Hammet. “I think I mentioned…that the forthcoming Dashiell Hammet anthology is going to use my ‘Eric Zann.’ Belknap now infamous…that his ‘Visitor from Egypt’ is likewise to appear….” He lists other stories he wishes would be included and continues about being “swamped with revision….” He signs, “Yrs. Ffr the infra-red rite of Nephren-Ka- – E’ch-Pi-El..” He signs in full with his address on the return address leaf of the envelope, “HP Lovecraft.” He add in a postscript at the top left of the first side, “Saw an interesting black snake in the woods today….” /// His reference to Dashiell Hammett, (1894-1961), American novelist and screenwriter best known for his detective stories which include, The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man stories, makes this letter especially desirable and significant. $4500.00

LOVECRAFT, H(OWARD) P(HILLIPS) (1890-1937). American writer, known for fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. // Autograph Letter Signed, 4to, two pages, Providence, Rhode Island, Feb. 2, 1933. // He writes to Charles {sic. Clark, -CP} Ashton Smith, beginning with the following in the upper right corner, “Memory-Vortex of Zith – Opening of the Bronze Gate in the unscalable basalt cliff of Gnaa.” He begins the letter, “Dear Klarkas-ton,” and continues that he is thankful for a copy of “The Worm Ouroboros…My library is certainly growing – despite its…weakness in the field of weird….” Referring to an anthology by Bohen Lynch, he writes, “Best Ghost Stories…the best thing about this lot is that the Lynch volume contains Blackwood’s ‘Willows’… and goes on to mention “a new tale by Derleth…’the Return of Hastur’…’Dark Eidolon’ [by his correspondent Smith]…confound Wright for rejecting the Vathek episode…hope you can put the pamphlet across – count on me as subscriber #1. I wish you could include ‘a Night in Malneant”& other items not likely to find professional berths….” He continues with a philosophic comment on the passing of time. “One of the things which compensates for the tragically swift sense of time-passing inherent in advancing years is the brevity which winter acquires….” He mentions his interest in collaborating with E. Hoffman Price and mentions “that Silver Key sequel which Price has tentatively outlined….” He ends with reference to T.S. Eliot. “Heard a good poetry reading by Robert Hillyer…One by Leonard Bacon and after that one by the celebrated T.S. Eliot.” He ends the letter, “Yrs. For the Black Heptagon of Yaroth – E’ch-Pi-El.” He signs in full on the return address leaf of the envelope, “HP Lovecraft.” // Charles {sic. Clark, CP} Ashton Smith (1893-19061) was an American writer also recognized for his science fiction and fantasy or “weird” stories. His most prolific period when he produced almost one story a month occurred between 1930 to 1936, and Lovecraft was also most prolific during this same period. A fine letter rich in literary content. $4500.00 /// "Have finished the novel in 110 pages. Am giving it (atleast provisionally) the title of, ‘the Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath"

LOVECRAFT, H(OWARD) P(HILLIPS) (1890-1937). American writer, known for fantasy, science fiction and horror stories. // Autograph Letter Signed, 2 pages on one folio sheet, with the signed holograph envelope with Autograph Note (unsigned), Providence, Rhode Island, January 21, 1927. // He writes to Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961), the American writer recognized for his science fiction and fantasy or “weird” stories. Both authors were most prolific from 1930 to 1936. He begins noting that Smith’s letter arrived and commenting, “you no doubt have my postal commenting on Wandrei’s work. I was really immensely taken with it, & believe that he has a more truly cosmic & fantastic vision than anyone else I know with the solitary exception of yourself. There is a quality of genuine bizarrerie in his perspective…I noticed the tense & convincing atmosphere of nightmare in ‘the Door of the Room’…That piece more than any other made me think of your landscapes. ‘The Messengers’ is indeed very much like your ‘Envoys’ & illustrates the essential parallellism[sic] of the fantastic imagination in different individuals- a circumstance strongly arguing the existence of a natural…mental world of the weird with a common background & fixed laws, out of which…spring a literature as authentic in its way as the realistic literature which springs form mundane experience…When my younger aunt gets home from Atlantic City – I’m going to see if she doesn't know someone who could get me in touch with the contemporary powers of the art club or school of design…Your new poems seem to me very powerful…My novelette or semi-novel is nearing its conclusion…I don’t think much of it…the short tale is the best form for fantasy….” He signs with initials, “HPL.” // On the back of the envelope, he adds his postscript. “Have finished the novel in 110 pages. Am giving it (at least provisionally) the title of, ‘the Dream-quest of Unknown Kadath.” He signs in full in the return address, “H. P. Lovecraft.” The novella he refers to on the envelope, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, was adapted for an animated film in 2003. Like most of his letters, this one contains rich insight into his perspective on fantasy and the weird. A remarkable, visual document of great significance. $4750.00

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