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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CONTENT WARNING: This letter covers some intense issues and contains explicitly and intensely racist language. Writing in 1933, HPL speaks candidly to his young friend Robert Bloch about the recently-elected Chancellor of Germany: Adolf Hitler. Lovecraft carefully explains his opinions about the ongoing rise of the Nazi party.
Robert Bloch drew this sketch of Shub Niggurath in 1933, the same year HPL wrote this letter. You can find a high-resolution version of it, along with a few other Bloch sketches, in the Brown University Library Digital Repository.
At right is the iconic Margaret Brundage cover painting from the Weird Tales issue of October, 1933, in which Lovecraft's tale "The Festival" was reprinted.
Our brother podcaster Chris Lackey recently posted a link to Your Heroes Were Monsters, an essay by D. G. Valdron that seems highly apropos this week.
It might bear repeating this week that the HPLHS unequivocally believes that Black lives matter. We can’t change Lovecraft, but we can help change our world. We must evaluate the past unflinchingly, see the present honestly, and embrace changes to create a future that brings justice and equality to everyone. To pursue that change, the HPLHS donates to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.