Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Day in the Life of H P Lovecraft (31 August 1934)

[To Barlow] And what a place is Nantucket! Utterly marvellous {sic} - perhaps the most completely preserved bit of the elder world in America today. And to think I never saw it before ... wholde networks of cobblestoned streets with nothing but colonial houses on either side - narrow, garden-bordered lanes - antient belfries - picturessque waterfront - everything that the antiquarian could ask!


I added a few images from post cards of the 1920's and 1930's, slightly before the time that HPL saw Nantucket.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Paul Cook: The Vagrant

From the seller (epegana): THE VAGRANT - September, 1919
edited by W. Paul CookPublished by W. Paul CookW. (Willis) Paul Cook was one of the innermost, important, and influential membersof H. P. Lovecraft's friends & circle. Paul Cook was an early champion of Amateur Journalism and never compromised his high ideals of presentation, printing, and binding - many times not even recovering costs for his troubles; he also printed Lovecraft's first book "The Shunned House". This issue presents part one of Arthur Goodenough's - "Twenty Years ' Recollections of Amateur Journalism", and a poem by Winifred Virginia Jordan (HPL's girlfriend??).A very good copy with moderately tanned pages.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lovecraft Remembered

Lovecraft Remembered Edited by Peter Cannon
Arkham House 1998. ISBN 0870541730
Editor Peter Cannon gathered some of the rarest memoirs and essays ever written on Lovecraft, some of which were never published or had only been published in small amateur press printings, and gave them relative permanence in this hardcover edition. Some fascinating remembrences of the man from his large circle of friends and admirers.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lovecraft Scholarship

H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West by S.T. Joshi
Starmont House, 1990. ISBN 1557422087. Beige pictorial wrappers.
Starmont Studies in Literary Criticism no. 37
The seller states: A rare first edition of this seminal Joshi work. Please note this is the ORIGINAL hardcover print from Starmont press (very rare), NOT the Wildside Press reprint. Joshi expands on a fascinating chapter from his Weird Tales book and delves into the philosophy of Lovecraft - first analyzing themes in Lovecraft's voluminous letters, then examining those same trends as they emerge in his fiction. A very different approach to Lovecraft than what had been done before in the field of Lovecraft studies.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lovecraft Scholarship: 1978 from Milford Series

The Dream Quest of H.P. Lovecraft by Darrell Schweitzer
Borgo Press: CA. 1978.
First edition. Card wrappers. 64 pages.
Milford Series ''Popular Writers of Today'', Volume 12.
The seller states: This is a fantastic yet brief critical study of Lovecraft - one of the rarest yet most seminal in the field of Lovecraft studies. / Long out of print - there have been no reprints of this book!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Antiquarian Doorway on Benefit Street, Providence, R.I.

I saw this and immediately thought of Lovecraft and his love for antiquarian buildings and his book mark. This is from a collection by O.R. Eggers. Other notes:

ITEM: "Door-Way to House on Benefit Street, Providence, R.I.
DATE: 1922
OVERALL SIZE : Aprox. 9 by 12 inches
COMMENTS: The print is taken from "Sketches of Early American Architecture" a portfolio of sketches by Eggers, edited by William H. Crocker, published by The American Architect, The Architectural and Building Press, Inc.

Weird Tales March 1939

March 1939 Weird Tales
The seller states: Description: Virgil Finlay monster cover, Robert E Howard, Houdini, Hugh B Cave, Lovecraft, Eando Binder, Quinn, C A Smith and others in this All-Star issue. {& Derleth's The Return of Hastur. }

Monday, August 25, 2008

Artistic Representation of Mi Go

The seller states: Up for auction is an original illustration by Arkham House cover artist, Herb Arnold. This is one of two Arnolds I have up for auction this week. This one depicts Lovecraft's creation, "The Mi Go"from "Fungi From Yuggoth".This was published in the book "HPL: A Tribute to Howard Phillips Lovecraft" edited by Meade and Penny Frierson. (1972) The book itself was a collection of essays and memoirs by friends and fans of H.P. Lovecraft. It is also illustrated throughout by various artists including Herb Arnold. The piece is approx. 9" x 4 1/2" and is inscribed, on the back, to Stuart (Schiff). It is dated (Dec.1971) and signed in full by Arnold.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Luke Burns in McSweeney's

If Lovecraft was a Whitman's Sampler writer.

Luke Burns' texts are priceless. :)

Selections From H.P. Lovecraft's Brief Tenure as a Whitman's Sampler Copywriter

Nice, Representative Weird Tales of the "Gang"

1939 Weird Tales
Description: Elephant attack cover by Virgil Finlay. CA Smith, Wandrei, Quinn, Kuttner, etc.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Kappa Alpha Tau Report: Four-Eared Cat

Lovecraft loved cats. I think he'd like this cat and this story.


Yoda, a smoke-colored feline whose four ears give him the appearance of a horned devil, became the toast of several high-profile Web sites the week of 17 August 2008. The blogosphere quickly pounced on the story of a 2-year-old cat who had been a barroom oddity before he was adopted by a suburban couple. Ted and Valerie Rock found Yoda in 2006 while watching a Bears game at a (Chicago) Blue Island bar with fellow volunteers from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Patrons were passing the 8-week-old kitten around, mocking his appearance and calling him names such as "Devil Cat" and "Beelzebub." The Rocks took pity on the kitty and offered to adopt him. The establishment's owner, who kept the cat in a cage atop the bar to amuse patrons, agreed.

Artistic Representation of Ithaqua

The seller states: Up for auction is an original illustration by Arkham House cover artist, Herb Arnold. This is one of two Arnolds I have up for auction this week. This one depicts "Ithaqua, the Wind Walker", used by August Derleth in stories. This was published in the book "HPL: A Tribute to Howard Phillips Lovecraft" edited by Meade and Penny Frierson. (1972) The book itself was a collection of essays and memoirs by friends and fans of H.P. Lovecraft. It is also illustrated throughout by various artists including Herb Arnold. The piece is approx. 9 1/4" x 5" and is inscribed, on the back, to Stuart Schiff. It is dated (Dec.1971) and signed in full by Arnold.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another Lovecraft Postcard to Charles Hornig Surfaces (Part Two)

While the seller described the obverse of the postcard, it's image was not shown at auction. Chrispy was able to find another card of very similar description, and perhaps the same image. It shows the same buildings around the same time of the 1930's.
In addition, this appears to be the text of the postcard:

Trust the article will reach you safely, & that you'll find it interesting. Let us know if any of the interpolated paragraphs on the margin are hard to decipher. I'll be glad to give the proofs a reading when the five comes, if that would be conveninet to you.
Shall be very glad to see second issue.
Just read the first issue of Astounding. Not so bad for pulp stuff. but essentially mediocre from a literary point of view.
Best Wishes -

The postcard header reads:

Faneuil Hall, known as the "Cradle of Liberty," was the focus of Revolutionary movemnet in Boston and the colonies. In the background is the tower of the Customs House, the tallest building in Boston.

Another Lovecraft Postcard to Charles Hornig Surfaces

Previously the ebayeum offered a Lovecraft-to-Hornig 1934 postcard. (click here).

Maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones to purchase this?

Details as offered by seller (arkhambooks):

RARE Holographic Postcard H.P. LOVECRAFT to Charles D. Hornig (Editor The Fantasy Fan), Postmarked September 26, 1933 from Providence, Rhode Island, Signed "HPL"

Truly a magnificent H.P. Lovecraft item. For those that know the Old Gent, they understand what a great epistler he was. In fact, one would find it difficult to find someone of any note that wrote as many letters as Lovecraft. Experts believe that he wrote over 100,000 letters during his lifetime, many of great length (a 50,000 word, one-hundred page letter was not out of the ordinary). It is also surmised that fewer than 10,000 of the letters still survive. Of those, a majority are held in Brown University's H.P. Lovecraft collection. In fact, their agressive acquisitions program for Lovecraft's letters and postcards was (and is) so intense, that few remain in the hands of collectors. Some believe that less than two hundred letters and postcards are in still left in private hands, of these, few rarely show up for sale. Considering that writing (postcards and letters) was Lovecraft's favorite form of communication, and that each communication is a thoughtful tome in and of itself, an actual letter or postcard can be considered the cornerstone of a Lovecraft collection. We here at Arkham Books now offer to the public, that very cornerstone. Since letters typically run into the thousands ($4000.00 and up is quite common), a postcard is a more affordable way to own a piece of Lovecraftian history. In the last three years on Ebay and at various Rare Books Shows we have sold two letters and a handful of postcards, and they go quick (moreover, because of Brown University's voracious acquisition program, they are getting much harder to find -- a worn out cliche, but oh so true!) The last postcard we sold (to weird tale author E. Hoffman Price) for $1350.00 just several weeks back at World Horror Con.

ADDRESSED TO: This postcard was written to Fantasy Fan Editor Charles D. Hornig. Hornig started The Fantasy Fan when he was just 17 years of age, in September of 1933. Two of Lovecraft's sotires were first published in the fanzine: "The Other Gods" (the third issue, November 1933) and "From Beyond" (in the tenth issue, June 1934). Moreover, and most significant, is the fanzine/magazine began a serialization of Lovecraft's essay on "Supernatural Horror in Literature," incorporating corrections and slight revisions to the text that appeared in The Recluse. Lovecraft maintained a fairly regular correspondence with Hornig, offering support, ideas, and corrections. Lovecraft's suggestions are frequently taken up with mechanical details concerning literary business, showing Lovecraft as conscientious and sometimes obsessive. Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, in his book "H.P. Lovecraft A Life", wrote this about The Fantasy Fan: "This is, canonically, the first 'fan' magazine in the domain of weird/fantastic fiction, and it inaugurated a very rich, complex, and somehwat unruly tradition--still flourishing today--of fan activity in this realm."

THIS POSTCARD: This postcard is postmarked September 26, 1933. It is postmarked from Providence Rhode Island at 7:30 pm (so one can imagine the old man from Providence out on one of his late night walks in his favorite place on earth, dropping this postcard off). The postcard features Faneuil Hall and Custom House Tower, Boston, Mass. (Lovecraft had stacks of penny postcards that he would pick up while traveling and then use to send to friends). One paragraph features approximately 82 words. The content is unpublished.

CONTENTS INCLUDE: Lovecraft comments that he just read the first issue of the new ASTOUNDING (Science Fiction Pulp Magazine), and "not so bad for pulp stuff, but essentially mediocre from a literary point of view". HPL starts with a comment about the piece he had submitted to Hornig: "trust the article will reach you safely, and that you'll find it interesting." He offers his service as a proof reader. Also that he is looking forward to the second issue. Signed "Best Wishes, HPL".

Lovecraft's Legacy: Now a ghost?

Erik Smetana, my +HL+ writer colleague sent me this article.
Thanks, Erik!!

New York Post
August 14, 2008
In 1927, legendary horror writer H.P. Lovecraft wrote a tale of evil in Brooklyn called "The Horror at Red Hook." It was inspired by his apartment, the soul of which he once described as being "something unwholesome, something furtive, something vast lying subterraneanly in obnoxious slumber."
Nellie Kurtzman knows how he feels.
Kurtzman now lives in that apartment - actually located on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights, not Red Hook - and says that the spirit of the maniacal visionary is both pervasive and not entirely welcome.
"I feel like H.P. Lovecraft is associated with creepiness," says Kurtzman, a children's book marketer. "Everything I know about him is fairly creepy, so every indication he's around is creepy."
These indications began, she says, even before she and a roommate moved in this past April.
"A friend of mine lives on the top floor of this building," she explains, "and I remember her saying, 'There's this huge apartment in our building where the people seem to have disappeared.' "
The ground-floor two-bedroom apartment had been left unlocked by the tenants who left mysteriously, without notice. Kurtzman and several friends checked it out, and when one of them, a Lovecraft fanatic, figured out it had been the writer's apartment, they brought in a Ouija board and held a midnight seance.
"My friend Martin had this friend Jeff, who died about two years ago," says Kurtzman, who was not at the seance but heard about it afterward.
"Before he died, Martin had left his dog under Jeff's care. He came back late, and Jeff was irritated. Well, Jeff died a few weeks later. So they have this seance, and Martin is like, 'Is anyone here? Are you upset about anything?' and the Ouija board spelled out 'Lucy' - the name of Martin's dog."
Another of the seance participants, the Lovecraft fan, had been in the apartment the previous evening and quietly took a brick as a souvenir. When his turn on the board arrived, it spelled out "brick."
Fascinated by the tale but also enamored with the apartment's spaciousness, Kurtzman decided to rent it. (Part of her attraction to the place, she says, is a penchant for the unusual that she got from her father, pioneering Mad magazine animator and founding editor Harvey Kurtzman.)
"When I first moved in, I was sitting on the dining room floor with some friends, and there was this humming noise," Kurtzman says. "It wasn't the fridge. There's nothing in the basement that would be humming. It [still] happens, and I have no idea what it is."
But the real haunting became apparent when things began to move on their own.
Several weeks after moving in, Kurtzman tried to hang a picture. She hammered a nail into the wall, securely hung the picture on it and shortly after, the picture mysteriously leaped off the nail, crashing onto the floor. When she left the room and then returned, the hammer she had used to hang the picture was gone. She never saw it again.
Then the dreams began. Several nights after the incident, she began having unusually vivid dreams about the person who had given her the picture - an ex-boss whom she hadn't seen or thought of in years.
"I have not had such vivid dreams [until] I moved in," Kurtzman says. "That could be just adjusting to the apartment, or, it could be a message from H.P. I don't know what the message is."
Vivid dreams of old acquaintances have now become commonplace, Kurtzman says. And she's noticed other items vanishing as well, including a credit card that disappeared from her wallet. She canceled it, and then it reappeared in her wallet days later.
Could the ghost of H.P. Lovecraft be the cause of these disturbances in his old stomping grounds? The notoriously racist Lovecraft, who, in the Red Hook story, called the area "a maze of hybrid squalor," could be reacting to "having two Jews living here," says Kurtzman.
But there's no way to know if this apartment is just a natural magnet for oddities, or if the ghost of Lovecraft is truly lingering, spewing his resentment on his old home's inhabitants.
"There's no way this is a ghost. I don't believe in ghosts," says Kurtzman, who nonetheless keeps a small shrine to the author in her living room as an "offering to the gods."
"But it's weird, right?"

Lovecraft, an atheist, would be appalled by any sense of the paranormal. He firmly denied it, despised anyone who did believe it. However, his memory and legacy lives on ... and on ...

Chulhu Sex Report

OK, from a fictional point of view, we know that Lovecraft selected oceanic vermin becuase these things totally disgusted him. They were the most nightmarish and unpalatable things he could imagnie, so he cast his extraterrestrial gods into those forms. Kafka had his roach, Lovecraft had his rats, frogs, and octopus.

However all that being said, we can make a leap of fictional faith and begin to discuss why one of those elldritch god-like minions took the form of an octopus, and if so, what biological characteristics would that being have also adopted. To be "in the world" one must necessarily be "of the world. As an analogy, the Christian faith proclaims that God entered the word in human flesh and was subject to death, pain, and temptation. So, too, might a creature made of dark energy take the form of some earthly critter in order to "sleep and dream".

In Science News of 19 July 2008 we read this pericope*: "Male squid inject females with sperm packages that burst out of her skin to fertilize the egg."

OK, fixate on that mental image for a brief moment. That is natural for squid. No problem. However, when an abberant sea-thing tries to impose its biology upon frail humans, one can only imagine the pain and insanity that would ensue. That, I believe, is the essence of what is Lovecraftian. The imposition of the alien upon the human in order to achieve madness and atrocity.

Buy why?

It points out or frailty. It shows how weak a species we truly are, that it is we who are the vermin upon the Earth. However, knowing Mr. Lovecraft as I now do, I also understand that within the madness and terror, there is a gleam of hope. Lovecraft was not a man of despair and darkness. He enjoyed life, he enjoyed friends, and the reparte of keen minds in word-combat. He left an escape clause. To he who was erudite and learned and understood the full mysteries. To he who was initiated and fully grasped the nature of "the Other", then that individual made the transition. He was now a peer of the eldrtich gods, and walked among them invulnerable of the madness that crushed the weaker of the species.

Still, erupting sperm from flesh is a bit icky.

Science News: Magazine for the Society of Science & the Public, 19 July 2008, Vol. 174, No.2, page 31, book review of The Score: How The Quest For Sex Has Shaped The Modern Man., Faye Flam (of the Philadelphia Inquirer), Avery, 2008, 224 pp., $24.95

Thursday, August 21, 2008

George Pal, Virgil Finlay, H P Lovecraft

Martian Heat Ray fires in War Of The Worlds (George Pal, 1953)

From Famous Fantastic Mysteries October 1941 interior Virgil Finlay Illustration


Soo, did Geoge Pal read weird pulp stories?
And was Lovecraft - or Finlay - influenced by War of the Worlds?


Lovecraft: It had flashed there a second, and a clammy and hateful current of vapour had brushed past him - and then poor Nahum had been taken by something of that colour. He had said so at the last - said it was like the globule and the plants. After that had come the runaway in the yard and the splash in the well-and now that well was belching forth to the night a pale insidious beam of the same demoniac tint. ... the light from the well grew stronger and the hitched horses pawed and whinnied in increasing frenzy. It was truly an awful moment; with terror in that ancient and accursed house itself, four monstrous sets of fragments-two from the house and two from the well-in the woodshed behind, and that shaft of unknown and unholy iridescence from the slimy depths in front. ... Then a cloud of darker depth passed over the moon ... All the while the shaft of phosphorescence from the well was getting brighter and brighter, bringing to the minds of the huddled men, a sense of doom ... At this point, as the column of unknown colour flared suddenly stronger and began to weave itself into fantastic suggestions of shape which each spectator described differently ...
Wells: Flutter, flutter, went the flag, first to the right, then to the left. It was too far for me to recognise anyone there, but afterwards I learned that Ogilvy, Stent, and Henderson were with others in this attempt at communication. This little group had in its advance dragged inward, so to speak, the circumference of the now almost complete circle of people, and a number of dim black figures followed it at discreet distances.
Suddenly there was a flash of light, and a quantity of luminous greenish smoke came out of the pit in three distinct puffs, which drove up, one after the other, straight into the still air.
This smoke (or flame, perhaps, would be the better word for it) was so bright that the deep blue sky overhead and the hazy stretches of brown common towards Chertsey, set with black pine trees, seemed to darken abruptly as these puffs arose, and to remain the darker after their dispersal. At the same time a faint hissing sound became audible.
Beyond the pit stood the little wedge of people with the white flag at its apex, arrested by these phenomena, a little knot of small vertical black shapes upon the black ground. As the green smoke arose, their faces flashed out pallid green, and faded again as it vanished. Then slowly the hissing passed into a humming, into a long, loud, droning noise. Slowly a humped shape rose out of the pit, and the ghost of a beam of light seemed to flicker out from it.
Forthwith flashes of actual flame, a bright glare leaping from one to another, sprang from the scattered group of men. It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame. It was as if each man were suddenly and momentarily turned to fire.
Then, by the light of their own destruction, I saw them staggering and falling, and their supporters turning to run.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Robert Weinberg's Art: III

A Famous Fantastic Mysteries reprint that Virgil Finlay did of the Colour Out of Space.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lovecraft, 1914, Appearance in Pinfeather

The seller (epegana) states: edited by Anne V. Tillery / Published by The Pinfeathers, November, 1914 / From Howard Phillips Lovecraft's first year in Amateur Journals "To the Members of the Pinfeathers on the Merits of Their Organization..." This early poetry appearance was also HPL's only appearance within the pages of "The Pinfeather". Nice clean copy would be fine but for two pages with the lower r.h. corners chipped 1" but does not affect any text. Reference: Joshi - I-B-iii-202

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lovecraft on Otis Adelbert Kline

{30 Octobeer 1932 HPL to Barlow] My Dear Mr. Barlow:- ... The history of "The Buccaneers of Venus" is surely amusing. I probably shan't read it - for I never seem able to keep awake over one of Otis Adelbert's laboured, mechanical penny-thrillers - but it can't be much worse than the similar junk of Burroughs. [O Fortunate Floridian.] [Note: In 1932 THE BUCCANEERS OF VENUS was serialized in WEIRD TALES].

Lovecraft had a peculiar and descriminating outlook on storytelling, and often had back biting comments to make about his peers. We wonder if these were aesthetic or motivated by ulterior motives.

(24 October 1931 HPL to D. Wandrei] Thanks for the good word about "Mts. of Madness", but I guess Brother Farnsworth is adamant on that. He has conventional notions of proportioning the stuff in his magazine {Weird Tales}, & never breaks rules except for such favourites as Seabury Quinn & Otis Adelbert Kline. [Mysteries of Time and Spirit]

Sooo, Mr. Lovecraft is steaming over his rejection, and bristling over perceived favoritism when he believes he has a superior story.

E Hoffamn Price tells a little more of the background. [Otis Adelbert Kline: A Memoriam by E Hoffman Price] Mid-summer of 1926, I went to Chicago to meet Farnsworth Wright, who with Weird Tales had but recently moved from Indianapolis, Ind. ... Wright presently phoned Kline saying, "Come down as soon as you can. E. Hoffmann Price is here." // ...Kline was appreciably above my five foot seven plus a fraction. Though seven years and two days my senior - he was born July 1, 1891 and already showing signs of putting on weight ... // {After meeting Kline's family, and imbibing on high quality smuggled liquor - it was prohibition - } Farnsworth Wright and the business manager of Weird Tales, Bill Sprenger, bailed out.

Kline tells a bit of the story from his perspective. [Writing the Fantastic Story By Otis Adelbert Kline From The Writer ~ January 1930] ...When Weird Tales came into being, I tried it {Grandon of Terra, but the name was later changed to The Planet of Peril} on this magazine. Edwin Baird, the editor liked it, but finally, after holding it several months, rejected it because of its length. He suggested that I try Argosy-All Story, but I didn't do it then. I let it lie around for a long time. Every once in a while I would dig it out of the file and read it over...

It's clear that Kline had a cordial working relationship with the editors at Weird Tales. Especially after Henneberger becoming more remote with Weird Tales, Baird and then Farnsworth were tougher on Lovecraft. Farnsworth often rejected Lovecraft, and Lovecraft bristled at this.

Lovecraft may have seemed to be aloof and uncaring about the pulp and fantasy market, but his letters show that he not only was keenly aware of every detail of the writers, fans, editors, and publications, but knew intimate, insider, details.

[5 Spetmebr 1935 HPL to Barlow] ...Meeting {in NY} Tuesday night was rather quiet ... Allan Kline (son of Otis Adelbert - now living in N.Y. as papa's agent ... *

Yes, HPL kept close tabs.

Below is an anedote from Hoffman Price emended with a note by the editor of ERB. It's likely that Lovecraft did NOT know of this anecdote, despite his rancor at Wright's partiality to Kline. **

* {Hoffman Price says - "Buster" -- Allan the son, colored very much like his father}.
** That I {E Hoffman Price} am in mid-1958 asked to write of a man whose fiction career ended in 1933 suggests that during his day as an author, he made a deep impression. Let me give an example: Farnsworth Wright, telling me of one of the many crises which had promised to finish Weird Tales, said that but for the drawing power of several of the steady contributors, the magazine would never have pulled through. He did not give any one of this handful preeminence over the others, knowing how silly such discrimination would have been.

In effect, he said, "This one was not producing at the time, and That One hadn't quite arrived. But Otis had reached a new peak of popularity. We'd been through previous bad stretches, and knew just about how long a circulation slump would last. A six-parter would do it, and Otis gave me a synopsis, then set to work."

"Ordinarily, I will not feature a serial until the entire MSS is in my hands," Wright continued, "but this was an emergency. So, I published several parts before the final installments were done. Pneumonia almost did it! For Otis, and for us."

"The devil you say!"

Wright nodded. "You never heard? He never mentioned it?"

"This is all new."

"In hospital, Otis finished that yarn. How he did it, no one knows, least of all he himself. He was like a zombi, functioning automatically. He lived through it and so did Weird Tales.

"It's a wonder they let him do it."

"They had nothing to say about it. Something drove Otis. He would not be stopped, and he was not stopped."

My best recollection is that the story was The Bride of Osiris.

[{ERB's} Ogden note: Looking through an index of Kline tales, The Bride of Osiris is listed as a 3 part serial. The only 6 part serials featured in Weird Tales were Tam, Son of Tiger and Buccaneers of Venus, both were published at the height of his career; but Buccaneers of Venus is reputed to have been refused by Argosy because they preferred to us Pirates of Venus instead. However, the real reason that Buccaneers of Venus appeared in Weird Tales instead of Argosy with the rest of his Venus novels, is probably due to the account above rendered by Mr. Price. On the other hand, it might have been Tam, Son of Tiger.]

Friday, August 15, 2008

3M Corporate Conspiracy? Cthulhulian Atrocity??

Chemical and Engineering News (11 August 2008) reports that curators at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History have selected 3M's Novec 7100 engineering fluid to preserve two giant squids now held at Saint Ocean Hall. They're set to be displayed in September 2008.

The fluid may be exotic enough to be familiar to an interstellar alien. It's hydrofluoroether which will envelop the squids without permeating their tissues. (It's non-fammable, has low toxicity, and virtually no global warming potential.

Perhaps the great beasts are spawn of Cthulhu and are merely sleeping ... awaiting ... the great and glorious day of ... Aieeee!

Andrew Lang

I've looked many places, but I haven't crossed paths with Andrew Lang's translation of Arabian Nights that so fascinated Lovecraft.

I did just see this illustration for the first time today. "Violet Fairy Book" 1901.

Samuel Loveman Letter

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (ALS) to "Aonian Endymion" [Samuel Loveman] on both sides of letter-size sheet, dated "Woden's-Day" n.y. [1926?], signed "Theobaldus Senex.". // "A pleasant, relaxed letter about minor matters and mutual acquaintances, written in Lovecraft's sardonically inflated style, before the Depression -- and the lessons learned by revising other people's work -- beat leanness and sincerity into his style. // Among the standard Lovecraftian tropes found here (Anglophilia, praising the sights of New England, nostalgia for the Eighteenth century) he encourages Loveman in his new-found employment as a cataloger for rare book dealers Dauber & Pine in New York (thus dating this letter sometime after September 1925); Loveman, a poet of no small ability, continued in this day-job and went on to own and run the Bodley Bookshop in New York for 30 years. Lovecraft wonders how he'd fare in a similar job. 'I envy you - & sincerely wish I had the bibliophilic erudition to land one of those similar posts ...' But one suspects that his narrow, obsessive tastes and apathy about books as objects would have have unsuited him for such a job. // Loveman defended Lovecraft against charges of anti-Semitism by contrasting the pose he struck in his letters with the person 'as he actually was -- a charming companion, a wonderful human being, and a loyal friend.' Nevertheless, Loveman is said to have destroyed all, or almost all, his letters from HPL, and they are consequently very scarce today." -- Robert Eldridge. Faint fold creases, matching 52 mm tears at top and bottom edges (incurred when sheet was folded), 7-mm-square nick at bottom edge (not affecting text), otherwise very good to near fine.
Price: $4,000.00

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lovecraft "Blueprint"


WALL PLAN OF GRANDPA THEOBALD'S STUDY -- MAY 2, 1924. AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT (AMs). Single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 Hotel stationery (The Providence Biltmore, Providence, R.I.) with GROUND PLAN OF GRANDPA THEOBALD'S STUDY REVISED TO MAY 2, 1924 on verso. Two annotated handwritten plans of Lovecraft's study in Sonia's Brooklyn apartment, one drawn on each side of the sheet. Light edge wear, old mailing folds. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114686) Price: $2,000.00

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Walter Coates Letter

Letter signed (ALS) to "Dear Coates [Walter J. Coates] on both sides of single 5 1/2" x 9" sheet, dated "Tuesday" (1926?), signed "HPL". "Coates was an amateur journalist in Vermont, editor of DRIFTWIND, and promoter of regional poetry. He published a good deal of Lovecraft's poetry but is most noted for publishing his essay, 'The Materialist Today,' an impassioned defense of atheism, in the October 1926 DRIFTWIND, following a 15-copy pre-print pamphlet, one of the rarest pieces of Lovecraftiana. // This letter, following a thread of some previous correspondence, is largely a rant about the debased literary taste of contemporary Americans, corrupted by commercialism and decadent intellectuals and, with the influence of Jews and other non-Aryan elements as the root cause of both -- or perhaps all -- problems. // The issue of Lovecraft's anti-Semitism (like most things about him!) is not entirely straightforward. He talked a good anti-Semitic game in theory but when it came down to particulars he married a Jew and maintained warm personal friendships with Jewish writers, including Samuel Loveman and Robert Bloch. // The auctioneer continues: In some ways he is the opposite of radicals who loudly pronounce their love of humanity while beating their wives, disowning their children and cheating their partners, disdaining 'personal morality' as a bourgeois luxury. // Lovecraft's racial views, as obnoxious as they are, were not especially unusual then (or, in some quarters, now). It should also be understood that Lovecraft as an author of letters was no less literary than as an author of stories or poems, being concerned primarily with the creation of character, mood, diction, etc. In many ways, the 'Lovecraft' he fashioned in his letters had no very strict resemblance to the man who lived in the real world and moved about among flesh-and-blood people. He was always eager (or desperate) in his letters, as in all his writing, to strike a memorable pose -- as a bulwark against the howling void of the cosmos. Militating also against one's revulsion at his call for 'literary & aesthetic fumigation' is the Socratic irony of how summarily Lovecraft, like other armchair fascists, would have been dealt with in the (real rather than imagined) Third Reich, where his writings would undoubtedly have been condemned as decadent and where he might well have rubbed shoulders with 'Messrs Cohen & Levi' on the way to the showers." -- Robert Eldridge. The usual mailing creases, fine. (#114494) Price: $3,750.00

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hannes Bok (1960) Letter

The ebay seller (epegana) details this letter: "Dear JEV" - Signed original Letter from Hannes Bok to "JEV" (John E. Vetter) with original illustration Typed letter dated "11/16/61" from "Weird Tales" - Arkham House artist, Hannes Bok to collector John Vetter. I would loved to have known Hannes Bok - he was not only one of the finest artists ever to grace the pages of the pulp magazines, but a humorous, clever, fun-loving and knowledgeable writer, conversationalist and correspondent as evidenced in this letter."I'd rather have liked to start out with, "Chamber of the Ugsome Gugglies, Hour of the Purple Swordfish, Year of the Ten Pickled Viffenriggles", but I'm no good at it - "It's a wonderful chatty fun letter with lots of Lovecraft content from a great artist to a noted collector - just read it! Sweet drawing in ink of his favorite subject (CATS!) and nice signature!
Includes note about Cats of Ulthar - CP.

Very Rare Astronomy Journal

THE ANNUAL REPORT ON THE SCIENCE OF ASTRONOMY 1903 AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT (AMsS) in facsimile of a printed scientific report, with text and drawings by Lovecraft throughout, and signed by him in pencil on the first blank. Touch of wear to wrapper edges, but fine condition overall. Price: $3,500.00

Monday, August 11, 2008


"UNNAMABLE, THE" [short story]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs). 11 pages. Typed (double-spaced) on the rectos of eleven sheets of plain 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper. Carbon copy. "H. P. Lovecraft, / 10 Barnes St, / Providence, R. I." typed at the upper left corner of the first sheet, the street address overwritten to 66 College" in Lovecraft's hand. This typescript, marked "final" in pencil at top right corner of first leaf, was typed sometime after April 1926 and before May 1933. Mailing fold, probably a circulating copy. . Written in 1923; published in WEIRD TALES, July 1925. See Joshi, pp. 302-3. The manuscript is typed on good quality paper watermarked "Broadcast Bond." Rust stains from paperclip on first and last leaves, old mailing folds, extremely good condition overall. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers.Price: $2,500.00

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Joanna Russ' Contribution to The Cthulhu/Lovecraft Mythos

My Boat written by Joanna Russ
Published in Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine of New York, volume 50, number 1, January 1976.

I'd forgotten about this one until I saw the ebay auction for it.

I collected a few on-line comments about her story, which subsequently appeared in Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.

"Joanna Russ' fine tale from the pages of F&SF"
"The perspectives on Lovecraft's works are amazing in their diversity - Joanna Russ's "My Bost" is particularly different and beautiful"
"Science fiction is, supposedly, always looking to the future, yet much of it has a curious nostalgic streak. In stories such as Joanna Russ's "My Boat" (1976) or Harlan Ellison's "Jeffty is Five" (1977), authors pine, not simply for yesteryear, but for the science fiction, fantasy, and adventure stories of yesteryear, for the adventure stories they innocently enjoyed as kids before they, and science fiction, grew up. "

Feel free to comment on Ms. Russ' story below.

I have a hard time choking this out, since I was already in college in 1976, but alas 1976 is now "antiquarian". (32 years ago!).

Lovecraft Drawing and Pickman's Model

"PICKMAN'S MODEL" TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs) on fifteen sheets {Two SHOWN} of letter-size paper, typed on rectos only, with "H. P. Lovecraft / 10 Barnes St. / Providence, R. I." at upper left corner of first leaf. First or second carbon, several handwritten corrections. Undated, but estimated at 1926. Accompanied by a signed original drawing by Lovecraft of Pickman's model dated 28 July 1934. Written in early September 1926; published in WEIRD TALES, October 1927. Some wear and closed tears at edges. old mailing folds. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. $7,500.00

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Lovecraft circulating correc ted copy: History-Necronomicon

"HISTORY OF THE NECRONOMICON" [essay]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs). Two pages on two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper "H. P. Lovecraft / 10 Barnes St. / Providence, R. I." at upper left corner of first leaf. Circulating copy, with several corrections in Lovecraft's hand and "please return" at upper left corner of first leaf. Undated; estimated at circa 1927. Brittle paper frayed at edges; old mailing folds. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114690) $1,000.00

Friday, August 08, 2008

Rare W Paul Cook notes and autograph

Lovecraft, H[oward] P[hillips]. "FUNGI FROM YUGGOTH: THE BOOK, II PURSUIT, III THE KEY" [poems]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs). One page on recto of a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. Circulating copy with manuscript note by W. Paul Cook. Undated, circa 1920s. Some chipping, wear and closed tears at edges, old mailing folds. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114688) Price: $250.00

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Brian Keene, Lovecraft, and Whippoorwills

I'm a big fan of Brian Keene's writing, and I'm in the midst of enjoying Ghost Walk. It's a ride you can't get at Disney World, that's for sure.

In (perhaps) another tip of the the hat to Mr. Lovecraft, Mr. Keene has this passage on page 188, "My grandaddy used to say that if you heard a whip-poor-will, it was waiting to carry away someone's soul." Keene follows this up with, "Now there's a cheerful f**k*ng thought."

Compare this to the many legends of the whippoorwill, including the classic from The Dunwich Horror: Then, too, the natives are mortally afraid of the numerous whippoorwills which grow vocal on warm nights. It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath. If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body, they instantly flutter away chittering in daemoniac laughter; but if they fail, they subside gradually into a disappointed silence.

Now I don't know that Mr. Keene is alluding to Lovecraft's use of "grandmother" in a perjorative manner with his gransdfather term. I think it unlikely. In most of Mr. Keene's other works, "grandfather" tends to be a respectful term. Unlike Lovecraft who would say (as in The Shunned House): To destroy a vampire one must, the grandmothers say, exhume it and burn its heart ...

A Carbon Copy of The Festival circa 1923

"FESTIVAL, THE" [short story]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs). 10 pages. {One page image available} Typed (double-spaced) on the rectos of ten sheets of plain 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper. Carbon copy. "H. P. Lovecraft, / 598 Angell St, / Providence, R. I." typed at the upper left corner of the first sheet, the street address overwritten to 66 College" in Lovecraft's hand (May 1933 or after). Undated, but circa late 1923. A circulating copy with "please return" in pencil at to left corner of first leaf. ... The manuscript is {said to be} typed on cheap pulp paper stock which is frayed at edges, quite age-darkened, and delicate at the folds, several leaves with tape repairs to versos. Fair to good condition. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114691) $2,500.00

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Handwritten Corrections By Lovecraft circa 1918

"EIDOLON, THE" [poem]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs). {Only one page image available} Two pages on rectos of two sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 inch hotel stationery (Hotel Kimball, Springfield, Massachusetts). Says: "H. P. Lovecraft / 10 Barnes St. / Providence, R. I." at upper left corner of first leaf. Circulating copy, with several corrections in Lovecraft's hand. Dated 1919 in ink at conclusion of poem on second sheet. Poem published in THE TRYOUT, October 1918 (volume 4, number 10) as by "Ward Phillips.". ... Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114689) Price: $450.00

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

1918 Poem, autographed

"DESPAIR" [poem]. Single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, mimeographed, printed on recto only. Tearsheet (or offprint) of page 13 of PINE CONES, June 1919 (volume 1, number 4), signed and dated by Lovecraft. From: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114687) $500.00

{Note that the handwritten date says 1918}

Monday, August 04, 2008

Notes on Sonia Greene Letters to Loveman

Here are excerpts of comments about a cache of letters. {and some Chrispy comments too}

(Lovecraft, Howard Phillips) Davis, Sonia Haft Greene Lovecraft. ARCHIVE OF LETTERS, mostly to Sam Loveman. Includes 12 AUTOGRAPH LETTERS SIGNED, 7 TYPED LETTERS SIGNED, 1 TYPED NOTE SIGNED. Written between 1947 and 1968. Addressed "Dear Sam," signed "Sonia." // About 45 pages in all. Also 1 AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED to Alyce Loveman. // ... Samuel Loveman, another writer (and a Jew), came to New York from Cleveland in 1924, the same year Lovecraft moved there to marry Sonia, and he became part of the inner circle of Lovecraft's writer-friends. (He also became a good friend of Hart Crane.) // Loveman opened a rare book store, The Bodley, that became a fixture of New York book life. // The friendship that Sam and Sonia had with HPL (along with their shared ethnic background and interest in books) drew them together after his death in 1937 -- but these letters suggest it was Sonia who pursued the friendship. // She frequently urges him in these letters to write, to come visit, to eat better, to get out and meet some women, to stop being morbid, to take better care of himself, etc. // Most letters are bunched in the period from 1947-1951; a three-year gap follows; then a twelve-year gap, at which point Sonia's handwriting is that of an older woman (she was 83 in 1966). // Aside from her affectionate mother-hen nagging of Sam, the letters mention Lovecraft frequently as well as other writers, including Adolph de Castro Danziger (who also lived in L.A.) and who made a strong impression on her.
{De Castro, despite Lovecraft's derogatory comments was deeply respected and influential in the Jewish community. Letters in Chrispy's possession show many positive comments by luminaries.}

Selected highlights: 26 October 1947: Urges Sam to come visit L.A., but not to fly -- too dangerous. Relates correspondence with August Derleth (publisher of Arkham House) about her writing a memoir of HPL, using his letters to her; Derleth says he owns the copyright to the letters and won't let her use them in print unless she shows them to her first -- at which point (she points out) he could copy them and use them for his own purposes without any compensation or credit to her. Another publisher wanted her to pay for the book and market it by herself.
See elswhere on the blog about notes and letters on this extreme controversy between Sonia and Derleth - CP
18 June 1949: Says her "expose of Howard's anti-Semitism was very mild in comparison to its real force," and, had she known the full extent of it earlier, "I would probably not have permitted myself to fall in love with H. P. I accepted his person because it could not be separated from his personality & intellectuality." Says that Adolph de Castro Danziger "was probably one of the very few Jews whom H. P. admired." // {The auctioneers' notes continue}>>(That's news to anyone reading HPL's letters that mention de Castro, who came to him in the late 1920s with ideas for collaborations ... Sonia ... here relates that "Dr. Danziger" showed him HPL's letters to him, and that the "were the shortest I ever saw.")
21 August 1951: "I have lost all I ever owned. I am still alive and now have nothing more to worry about. My income is just barely enough to keep soul and body together, but this doesn't bother me much."
29 August 1951: "I have about seven books that H. P. inscribed to me .... I've had many requests from some of HP's readers and admirers offering me picayune sums of money .... A day will come when these books with his inscriptions will be worth a great deal of money."
19 July 1968: warns him about Randal Kirsch, a Lovecraft collector who was allegedly unscrupulous in his dealings with her (as he was with others, it seems: see for details on a court case involving Kirsch and Brown University). {See elesewhere on the blog} An unusual and sometimes poignant collection of letters. Sonia remains cheerful and loyal throughout, despite Loveman's apparent lapses as a correspondent.
Even with Derleth, whose hardball business tactics may have dissuaded her from writing a memoir of HPL, she is gracious; when he visits her in a nursing home (after taking his kids to Disneyland), she remarks on how well-behaved his children were and what a good parent he must be.
Both Sonia and Sam eventually burned most of their letters from Lovecraft because of his anti-Semitic sentiments (which no doubt took on a more sinister meaning to them after the Holocaust). Detailed calendar of letters available upon request.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Rare Barlow Diary and Memoir Surfaces

The auctioneer has these notes: (Lovecraft, Howard Phillips). Barlow, Robert H[ayward]. "WIND THAT IS IN THE GRASS: A MEMOIR OF H. P. LOVECRAFT IN FLORIDA, THE" [memoir]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT (TMs), seven leaves of letter-size paper, typed on rectos only, with partial AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT DRAFT (AMs) of same essay on versos of three of these sheets. Together with MANUSCRIPT DIARY, 19 leaves, written on both sides, kept by Barlow to record details of Lovecraft's 1934 visit to Florida. "'The Wind That Is in the Grass' is the reminiscence of Lovecraft that Barlow wrote at the invitation of Arkham House as a contribution to their MARGINALIA (1944). The precocious thirteen-year-old Barlow struck up a correspondence with Lovecraft in 1931 based on their shared interest in weird literature, and the two developed a warm friendship over the last six years of Lovecraft's life. During that time the Providence native (28 years older than Barlow) spent two extended periods of time (six weeks and ten weeks) with Barlow and his family at their home in De Land, Florida. This improbable friendship -- almost impossible to imagine taking place today -- was no more unusual than many other aspects of this most improbable man. It put HPL in that professorial, avuncular role he craved -- though he never treated the boy with condescension. Indeed, Howard himself still felt in some ways like an adolescent whose achievements had not caught up with his dreams. Friendships with youngsters and amateur writers put Lovecraft at ease. But Barlow himself strikes one here as a writer of no small talent. His memories take strength from the mundane details of daily life shared over an extended period with Lovecraft, an experience that may have been unique among Lovecraft's associates (including his wife!). We read about lazy afternoons rowing on the lake, playing with the cats, late nights talking about weird tales or watching HPL maintain his formidable correspondence, listening to Howard relate his dreams over late-morning coffee ('thick with sugar'): '... once of how he was a magician standing on a cliff over the ocean sending balls out into space and guiding them back, some of them returning with the scars and mosses of seas and spaces unknown.' The low-key tone makes Barlow's piece all the more poignant. "Barlow's diary recording events from Lovecraft's first visit in 1934 reads in places like the work of a teenager trying to sound more mature than he is, a Boswell to Lovecraft's Johnson. Elsewhere it is unselfconscious and charming, loaded with gossip about authors and stories. The diary was supposedly reprinted by August Derleth in SOME NOTES ON H. P. LOVECRAFT (1959), but, as Joshi and Schultz point out in their edition of Lovecraft's letters to Barlow (O FORTUNATE FLORIDIAN [2008]), Derleth took considerable liberties with the text. The version reprinted in O FORTUNATE FLORIDIAN includes later additions and slight changes made by Barlow himself (including a somewhat different version of the 'balls' dream mentioned above). The unedited diary itself therefore represents a third text, valuable as a document of the raw first impressions of the sixteen-year-old. "Lovecraft named Barlow his literary executor, but the boy was muscled aside by the Arkham duo of Derleth and Donald Wandrei. Barlow met a tragic end, committing suicide at the age of 33 when he was threatened with exposure of his homosexuality." - Robert Eldridge. The leaves of the essay typescript have some light rumpling and faint rust stains from a old paperclip, but are generally very good or better. The diary is partly disbound, lacks rear cover and has rust marks on front cover from old paperclip. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114492) $3500.00

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Barlow & Lovecraft Corrected Typescript

{1 December 1934 in a letter this brief, tantalizing remark is listed: ...shall be interested to learn more about "The Summons". O Fortunate Floridian, p. 192. - CP)

The auctioneer states the following: (Lovecraft, Howard Phillips) Barlow, Robert H[ayward]. "SUMMONS, THE" [short story]. TYPED MANUSCRIPT with extensive autograph corrections by both Barlow and Lovecraft, on seven leaves, three of which are holograph. Incomplete text comprising folios 7-8, 11-15. "The Summons," written circa 1934, was published in THE CALIFORNIAN (Fall 1935, volume 3, number 2) and reprinted in EYES OF THE GOD: THE WEIRD FICTION AND POETRY OF R. H. BARLOW (2002). It obviously is derivative of Lovecraft and the WEIRD TALES school, but more impressionistic, its vagueness softening whatever impact its imagery might have had. Barlow's large sprawling hand contrasts vividly with Lovecraft's compact and rapid script (which, contrary to his own disparaging remarks, is neither minute nor indecipherable). Most of the edits are in Lovecraft's hand, including the wholesale rewriting of several sentences and paragraphs. Very good. Provenance: Barlow / Derleth Papers. (#114493) $1500.00

Friday, August 01, 2008

Johnathan Hoag & Robert Heinlein


"The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" by John Riverside, pseudonym of Robert Heinlein, is a curiosity. Perhaps it was a coincidence in name choice of the the titled protagonist. The most famous Jonathan Hoag prvevious to this was Lovecraft's elder friend Jonathan E. Hoag?

Anecdotally, Heinlein denied that Lovecraft's Hoag was inspiration. However, both Kuttner and Moore knew Heinelin well. Could it have been subliminal? Or do we chalk it up to just one of those things.

Historically, this item was written when Heinlein's wife (Leslyn) was distressed that family members might be prisoners of war under the Japanese. Nearly at the same time, she had a gall bladder attack. The story goes that they drove cross country through bad weather, stayed with John Campbell, his editor in New Jersey. They needed money. In quick succession, between February and April 1942, Heinlein wrote both two stories, "Hoag" being one of them. Shortly after the operation he got a job as an engineer.


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