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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In which HPL writes to Edwin Baird, the founding editor at Weird Tales. Lovecraft talks a bit of business before launching into his autobiography. Yes, we have no bananas!
Lovecraft mentions the name of his childhood cat in this letter, and after wrestling with very mixed feelings Andrew chose to bleep it.
Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Our thanks to Arkham House for their Selected Letters of H.P. Lovecraft.
Baird was not persuaded by HPL's arguments, and his story "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" did indeed get published in Weird Tales as "The White Ape" in April of 1924, with an illustration by William Heitman.
Lovecraft cites a book that changed his life when he was a little boy: "The Story of the Odyssey in the Harper's Half-Hour Series." We've been looking for a copy of this very rare book (HPL may be misremembering the title), published some time in the 1870s, but in the meantime Andrew was reminded of a book that changed his life in a similar way: McCall's Giant Golden Make-It Book. We spent a couple of minutes talking about it and Lovecraft's childhood books, but decided to cut this audio out of the episode. But you can listen to it above!