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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 47
  • Posted September 13, 2020

Oh Mighty Ar-Ech-Bei

In a letter from 1934, HPL tells his future literary executor that typing the manuscripts of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath is not worth the trouble. This letter shines a light on why Lovecraft might have selected him for the job, as young Mr. Barlow is already at work protecting HPL's legacy. We also learn of some other very interesting fantasy fans and aspiring publishers of the time.

Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Our thanks to listener @RossbyrneW, who recommended this letter via Twitter, and to S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz for their book O Fortunate Floridian: H.P. Lovecraft's Letters to R.H. Barlow, published by The University of Tampa Press.

Ninth SealHPL signed this letter using this very strange and slightly disturbing sigil. This letter is preserved in digital form and you can view the whole thing in the Brown Digital Repository.

Barlow never actually completed typing The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, but click here to see how much he did accomplish.