- Episode 31
- Posted May 24, 2020
Shea Part 3 — War, Peace, & Justice
In the sometimes uncomfortable finale of our three-part letter to J. Vernon Shea, HPL opines on weightier topics including the looming forces of war and peace, and issues of justice (social and otherwise) surrounding the famed Scottsboro Boys trial. CONTENT WARNING: This episode includes numerous bleeps, racist language, and painfully awkward discussion thereof. Listener discretion advised.
Our thanks again to our friends at Hippocampus Press for their book Letters to J. Vernon Shea, Carl F. Strauch and Lee McBride White, and its helpful footnotes.
HPL mentions Lincoln Steffens in this letter, a famous liberal muckraking journalist who wrote about the corruption of politics in Rhode Island, St. Louis, and other places. If you want to hear more about corrupt Providence politics, we recommend the podcast Crimetown.
Another left-wing radical HPL cites is V.F. Calverton (born George Goetz), who founded Modern Quarterly magazine, published from 1923 to 1940.
The "Coates book" that HPL refers to is The Eater of Darkness by Robert Myron Coates, published in America in 1929 and described as "the first surrealistic novel in English". Coates went on to be a prominent art critic for The New Yorker.
In the section about art, HPL mentions having seen stained glass by noted designer Joseph G. Reynolds. That stained glass was installed at the East Liberty Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh. You can see more photos at their website.
Lovecraft does mention George Bernard Shaw in a number of other letters, but usually in a list with other prominent writers with liberal leanings.
The "nice little Jew" HPL mentions at the very end of the letter was Julius Schwartz, who would go on to become a prominent editor of famous titles at DC comics, including both Superman and Batman. He also helped organize the first World Science Fiction Convention. Schwartz commissioned the collaborative story "The Challenge from Beyond", jointly written by Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Frank Belknap Long, Abraham Merritt and C.L. Moore in 1935.
You can get a copy of The Lady Who Came to Stay from our friends at Hippocampus Press. We did!