Thursday, June 10, 2010
Lovecraft in the Scientific American (16 July 1906)
Ivan has been so kind (and patient) as I was able to get this posted.
The text from the auction:
August 25, 1906
First Published Letter!
Hello! Up for auction is a copy of the August 25th, 1906 issue of Scientific American, featuring the FIRST PUBLISHED LETTER by the one and only H.P. Lovecraft!
In the letter, a young Lovecraft describes a way in which astronomers might discover planets outside the known solar system -- which, at the time, ended with Neptune. Interestingly, the methods described by the author would be used two years later to discover Pluto. And that same year, Pluto would play an important role in Lovecraft's great short story "A Whisperer in the Darkness."
Lovecraft famously said that the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown. But what I find particularly interesting about this letter is that it shatters the idea that Lovecraft governed his life by this credo. Indeed, a narrator in one of his stories might use the methods described in the letter and then run screaming from his telescope when the search uncovered some nameless horror lurking just behind Neptune. But Lovecraft himself embraced the search for knowledge and welcomed opportunities to expand human understanding of the cosmos. This letter demonstrates that there was more to the man than merely his popular reputation.
As such, this 100-year-old piece of Lovecraftiana is a must-have for serious collectors, and is sure to be a jewel in anyone's collection.
This copy of Scientific American is in excellent condition. The pages are still supple, shiny and bright, with very little discoloration. There are no tears or missing pages. The spine has some wear, as illustrated in the photos. Some of the string originally used to hold together the binding is exposed, but the glue edge -- which provided the binding's real strength -- is uncompromised and maintains its structural integrity. In all, this is one of the nicest copies I've seen in a long time. Remember, it's over 100 years old! It's amazing it survived at all... But to be in this condition, one can only imagine that care taken by the previous owner.
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