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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 45
  • Posted August 30, 2020

Greetings From St. Augustine

A letter from June 28, 1934 in which HPL writes to a young friend of Clark Ashton Smith, telling of his travels in St. Augustine, Florida. The travelogue segues into useful advice about dealing with depression and communists.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Our thanks to S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz for their book Letters to Wilfred B. Talman and Helen V. and Genevieve Sully. We also read a bit of Helen Sully's memoir from Lovecraft Remembered, published by Arkham House.

DunkardSilverSpringsAt left is the little sketch HPL made of the strange man who interrupted him while he wrote. You can see this entire handwritten letter, and the envelope it came in, in the Brown University Digital Repository. You will also find there a postcard that HPL sent to Sully about a week before he wrote this letter, at the start of his visit to St. Augustine, showing one of the buildings he mentions.

BurialBelow is a later postcard view of the Timucuan burial site that had just recently been discovered when HPL wrote this letter. The graveyard remained on exhibit as a tourist attraction and grade-school field trip destination until 1991, when the remains were reinterred.

The Silver Springs folder HPL included with this letter does not survive, but there is an orange water stain on all the pages of the letter, so maybe it was a copy of this orange vintage brochure advertising the amazing electric glass-bottom boats that were popular in Silver Springs at the time. One of the original boats from 1934, the Princess Donna, is still in service in Florida, the oldest still-operating tourist boat in the state!