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In addition to his classics of horror fiction, it is estimated that Lovecraft wrote 100,000 letters — or roughly 15 every day of his adult life — ranging from one-page diaries to seventy-page diatribes. Perhaps 20,000 of those letters have survived, in the hands of private collectors and at the John Hay Library in Providence.

In each episode of this podcast, we'll read one of these letters (or part of it) and then discuss it. In his letters HPL reveals an amazing breadth of knowledge of philosophy, science, history, literature, art and many other subjects, and forcefully asserts some highly considered opinions (some of which can be upsetting).

And of course his letters offer a fascinating window into his personal life and times. Although we've been working with Lovecraftian material for over 30 years, we still find interesting new things in his letters, and while we don't claim to be experts we look forward to sharing them with a wider audience.

  • Episode 8
  • Posted December 15, 2019

Those Meddling Kids

High school admirers Robert Bloch and Willis Conover both wrote fan letters to Lovecraft. Here we see HPL writing back to these two young writers who will go on to correspond with HPL and have fascinating lives after Lovecraft's death.

Thanks to Hippocampus Press and to Carrollton-Clark Publishing. Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

Here's a little sample of the voice of Willis Conover.

  • Episode 7
  • Posted December 8, 2019

Grief and Other Lugubrious Demonstrations

In which Lovecraft delivers some unexpected bad news. Intellect collides with emotion in this letter to poet Ann Tillery Renshaw.

Thanks to Hippocampus Press for their book H.P. Lovecraft: Letters to Elizabeth Toldridge and Anne Tillery Renshaw. Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

  • Episode 6
  • Posted December 1, 2019

Howard Swears a Blue Streak

In which HPL deploys shocking language in a feisty letter to his friend, Wisconsin schoolteacher Maurice Moe.

Thanks to Arkham House. You can read a much less abridged version of this letter in the book H.P. Lovecraft: Letters to Maurice W. Moe and Others from Hippocampus Press. Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

PitkinNIAPictured at left is the cover of the Walter B. Pitkin book which is apparently still available on eBay to anyone with $1250.00. Although we didn't manage to score this volume, the HPLHS library does contain a vintage copy of the handbook from the Newspaper Institute of America, which HPL also mentions in this letter. One of their ads is pictured on the right. You can learn a bit more about John Ronane here. In addition to Maurice Moe and Harry Houdini, a couple of other notable people from Appleton, Wisconsin were HPL's friend Alfred Galpin and acclaimed actor Willem Dafoe!

  • Episode 5
  • Posted November 24, 2019

The Clark Ashton Smythos

In which Lovecraft writes his friend and fellow author of fantastic tales, Clark Ashton Smith. As wildfire threatens Smith's California home we're reminded how nothing ever really changes.... The LA Times has a good interactive map of California fires and you can see the current status of things here.

Special thanks to Clark Ashton Smith guru Scott Connors, and to Hippocampus Press.

We are thankful also to all who have been listening, and wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

  • Episode 4
  • Posted November 17, 2019

My Dearest Mother

In which HPL writes to his mother about his delightful visit to a gathering of amateur press friends for St. Patrick's Day, 1921. Sent a few weeks before her death, it's Howard's final extant letter to his mother.

Special thanks to our friends at the Brown University Digital Repository where they keep and digitally share with the public many of HPL's original manuscripts. You can see a thrilling ad for David Van Bush with Lovecraft's commentary here.

If you want to read some of Bush's books, you can find the one Lovecraft himself worked on here. And click here to read Practical Psychology and Sex Life.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

  • Episode 3
  • Posted November 10, 2019

Dipping Our Toes in August Derleth

In which we read a letter from HPL to August Derleth from November 7, 1926. We discuss unique qualities of HPL's correspondence with Derleth, and his essential role in sharing Lovecraft's works with the public.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

Our sincere thanks to the helpful team at Hippocampus Press.

  • Episode 2
  • Posted November 3, 2019

Sex, Drugs and Marketing

A set of three shorter letters written one hundred years ago, in which 29-year-old HPL dispenses relationship and life advice to one of his earliest correspondents, Rheinhart Kleiner.

Special thanks to Arkham House. The text of the letters came from their book Selected Letters of H.P. Lovecraft, Volume I.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies.

  • Episode 1
  • Posted October 31, 2019

Dear Mr. Barlow

In his first letter to Robert H. Barlow, written on June 25, 1931, HPL very kindly answers a few important questions of a young fan, and begins what will prove to be a very important relationship.

Special thanks to S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. The text of the letter came from their book O Fortunate Floridian, published by the University of Tampa Press.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Our thanks to Dan Viafore for his audio expertise. Thanks also to Chris Lackey and Chad Fifer of The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast for their encouragement and suggestions.