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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We're back with a special episode recorded live with a guest commentator! In this lengthy letter from August 16 of 1932, HPL continues his ongoing discussion with Robert E. Howard about the comparative appeals of civilization and barbarianism. HPL opines about the existence of God and immortality, the use of alcohol by the working classes, excessive use of force in policing, and the difficulties of depicting graphic violence in literature. Please be advised: the audio for this episode was captured from the internet and the quality is not quite as good as usual.
Music by Troy Sterling Nies. Thanks to guest Stephen Fazio for selecting this letter and bringing the goods! Thanks also to Hippocampus Press for their two-volume work A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. This letter appears in volume 1 of that excellent set. Very special thanks to Brian and Gwen Callahan of the H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival. This episode was part of the online programming of the 2020 edition.
We had to edit the letter for time, and one of the parts we cut out discussed the fate of the "Bonus Army" of 1932. You can learn more about that incident here.
You can watch the live video of this episode on YouTube! Thanks to Brian and Gwen for making it available!
There are still Festival Tees and posters available at the Arkham Bazaar! Go get them! And all of the panels and author readings from this year's HPL Film Festival are available to watch on the HPLFF YouTube channel!