Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tracking the Elusive Lovecraft

Since I began to read about Lovecraft's life sometime in late 2001, I read of "his hidden years".

I used to think, like BigFoot, the elusve Lovecraft would never be found, or perhaps only glimpsed through a glass darkly. Just a whisper from a friend of a friend who once almost saw him.

Most of this year I have been tracking down every shred of data on Lovecraft between 1890 and 1910. I've read old Providence city documents, checked ot the backs of a thousand Ebayeum postcards, looked through hundreds of old weather maps, squinted at postage stamp sized auction images of yesteryear Rhode Island, poured through every Hippocampus and Necronomicon book I could afford, beg, or borrow. I've read ancient fanzines, old paperback book introductions, and some days I fell behind on the blog because I would doze off at the computer after doing Google searches at 2 AM.

I am now convinced.

Those years can (and will) be fully exposited if we apply more diligence and hard work.

The evidence is out there, it just has to be found and connected.

If I may use a mixed-metaphor: Like panning for gold after 1896, all the low hanging fruit has been found. We now need to be extremely creative and use skills that have been given to us by postmodern sociologists, anthropologists, textual critics, and literary scholars.

Kudos to those who came before, those who have worked fatiguing hours, sacrificed family, spent vacations, and even small fortunes, to give us the data we now have. They did what they could do with libraries, museums, crumbling letters, oral histories, and what not. Bless them!

Now onward!

We are tantalizingly close to uncovering the rest of his teenaged and young adult years. And not only that, we are on the verge of a scholarship revolution. I've seen glimpses of it as I have done my own research. In mere months, I personally have uncovered colorful items that have not yet seen print. Some I've even posted (like some of Whipple Phillips' vast business activities). Take today; I found where Annie Gamwell donated children's items to charity in November 1904.

What else is there to find?

I think that more textual analysis of the stories - whcih was pioneered notably by Donald Burleson - will no doubt offer much more for us in the future.

More people need to go read over those old Providence and other documents.

I saw where Mr. Livesay recently found a partial refernce to HPL in an astronomical magazine in early 1906. It was there!

I truly believe there is more. So much more.

I encourage YOU who are the true-blue, completely-addicted-and-without-hope Lovecraftians - Search!

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