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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.

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  • Episode 20
  • Posted March 8, 2020

A Comedy of Vain Desire

In a refreshing break from recent difficult conversations, we turn to a kinder, gentler letter to HPL's old friend Rheinhart Kleiner.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Our thanks to Arkham House.

Lovecraft addresses Kleiner as "Bolingbroke" in his salutation. Another of HPL's nicknames for Kleiner was "St. John". English politician and political philosopher Henry St. John (1678-1751) was the 1st Viscount Bolingbroke.

Jason Thompson, who created the feature-length animated film version of The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath, also created an RPG based on the never-written story HPL mentions in this letter, The Club of the Seven Dreamers.

If you don't already subscribe to the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast, you should start! Among their hundreds of episodes they have a very fun one about the August Derleth story The Dark Brotherhood, which may or may not have anything to do with the Club of the Seven Dreamers....

Here is a clip from the outstanding 1998 Canadian film Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft in which some lines from this very letter are quoted. Christopher Heyerdahl plays Lovecraft quite brilliantly.