Monday, December 03, 2007

Lovecraft in 1935: A Letter

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (ALS). 2 pages, undated [circa January 1935], to "Dear Bho-Blok" [i.e., Robert Bloch], signed "Yrs for the Grey Ritual of Khif - E'ch-Pi-El." On plain 5 1/2 x 9-inch paper, with "Crypt of Zoth - Hour of the Shadow" written at top.

Description: Lovecraft recounts a recent trip in early January to New York where he "saw all the old gang -. At one meeting -- at [Frank Belknap] Long's place -- we had an attendance of 15." He paints an appealing picture of bohemian New York in the 1930s. "[R. H.] Barlow and I did the museums, bookshops &c - In the realm of book bargains, I found a fine copy of Lewis's 'Monk' for a dollar - but Barlow beat me by finding an early edition of George W. M. Reynolds' 'Wagner the Wehr-Wolf' for 15 [cents]!" The Wandrei brothers, Donald and Howard, had just arrived, from California and Minnesota, respectively, and "have taken an apartment together in Greenwich Village." Responding evidently to an item in a letter from Bloch, Lovecraft writes, "Interested to learn that I figured in a dream of yours -. as a sinister ogre, no doubt. About that time -- Jan. 3 at midnight (1:00 a.m. Jan. 4 E.S.T.) -- Long, Barlow, a chap named Phillips, & I were in the Automat at Broadway & 103d St. N.Y.C. No doubt some malign overtone of our hellish discourse rode the ether through all the long leagues to Milwaukee!" Lovecraft comments on some Bloch stories he had recently read in print, and explains that he has not had time to write any weird fiction himself, being swamped with other work. Says he "hopes to see the new Vampire book [a manuscript by Bloch?] sooner or later. Just now I have several borrowed books to read -- including the famous 'Malleus Maleficarum' & Hugh Walpole's 'Portrait of a Man with Red Hair.'" He adds, in a postscript, that Derleth has just informed him of the existence of a new weird magazine, called SENSATIONS, and passes along its New York address. (There is no listing for a magazine of this name in Cottrill's Bookery's Guide to Pulps.) Two tightly written pages, with excellent content, much of which has not been summarized here. See Joshi, H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, p. 558 for an account of Lovecraft's visit to New York City (described here in some detail). Faint creases where folded for mailing, else fine. (#102768). Bookseller Inventory # 102768

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