In Los Angeles, Lovecraft Biofuels converts diesel vehicles so that they run on 100% vegetable oil. The owner formerly ran a tattoo shop, which I believe also bore the Lovecraft handle.
“Thingless names and nameless things” and allusions to stories such as “The Unnamable” are some of the content in James Kneale’s “From Beyond: H.P. Lovecraft and the Place of Horror” in Cultural Geographies (2006, 13, 106-126). It passeth my understanding.
The music by three composers for the silent The Call of Cthulhu presents “quite a powerful score.” *** A journalist and blogger of the Kingsport Times-News wonders if the 1962 song “Kingsport Town” by Bob Dylan was alluding to the HPL locale. *** The group High On Fire has an album song based on At the Mountains of Madness. *** The Swedish group Crystal Eyes is to produce an album, Dead City Dreaming, based on “The Call of Cthulhu.” *** A death metal band from Chemnitz, Germany called Philosopher is Lovecraft-influenced. Cuts include “Seven Hundred Steps of Slumber,” “47°9'S 126°43'W” (the coordinates for R’lyeh), and “I Am Providence.” See a review of its album.
A few years ago, it appears, the original Howard Brown cover for “The Shadow out of Time” (Astounding Stories, June 1936) was sold for $49,279 by the auction house MaestroNet. *** Allen Koszowski has several Lovecraft illustrations for sale.
Comic book artist Jim Steranko created a horror story, “At the Stroke of Midnight,” said to have many graphic innovations. Even though the original title was “The Lurking Fear at Shadow House,” it was claimed that he did not know HPL. *** Mike Mignola employs Lovecraft material in his Hellboy, while Richard Corben has adapted several Lovecraft stories in comics and film. The two have combined forces in the latest Hellboy comic, subtitled Makoma. *** Read the interview with the creators of the anthology Cthulhu Tales (Boom! Studios) and their take on HPL. *** Read the online comic “Return to Arkham.” *** Chick Publications, who produce Christian comic books, has a copyright issue with comic book artist Howard Hallis, whose parodying website has youths switching allegiance from Jesus to Cthulhu. See the article “Post and Be Damned” in New Scientist (14 Jan 2006, p. 20).
Cthulhu has an offstage role in the absurdist play Love Stories During the Armageddon of a Citrus Fruit by Daniel Hamilton.
Die Monster Die (1965 adaptation of “The Colour out of Space”) and The Dunwich Horror (1970) have been brought out on a single DVD. The former title was scripted by the late Jerry Sohl who, in addition to episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, also did Curse of the Crimson Altar, a supposed lift from “The Dreams in the Witch-House.” This also would mean that Boris Karloff starred in two Lovecraft adaptations. (For more on “Colour” see the section below on The Invisible Ray.)*** There's a French book out about movie-maker Roger Corman and and his film adaptations (The Haunted Palace, etc.) of HPL. It is Corman, Lovecraft: La Rencontre Fantastique [Corman, Lovecraft: The Fantastic Encounter] by Guillaume Foresti (Dreamland, 2002).
He is one of the writers studied in the 2006 doctoral dissertation The Modernist Undoing of Knowledge: Implications for Student Subjectivity and the Status of Academic Knowledge by James Kincaid, University of Southern California. And he is the subject of a 1996 paper written for partial fulfillment of a Bachelor of Arts, Beyond Human Senses: Describing the Indescribable in the Fiction of Howard Phillips Lovecraft by Anthony Cain. *** Belmont College professor Amy H. Sturgis is giving a talk this July on Tolkien and HPL at a Tolkien convention in Toronto.
I mentioned an article by Jason Colavito, “Atheism’s Mythographer,” in Criticaster 38. Now he has a book, The Cult of Alien Gods: H.P. Lovecraft and Extraterrestrial Pop Culture (Prometheus Books, 2005). It is reviewed at Blogcritics.org. In the same vein you could also read his “From Cthulhu to Cloning.” Unfortunately, the errors that one can recognize—he calls L. Sprague de Camp a “protégé” of HPL, who he later says died in 1936—harms the reliability of assertions one doesn’t know about.
Literature Map has a visual space design that shows if-you-like-this-author-you’ll-like-that-author, though the accuracy is questionable. To get an idea of its accuracy, near the name of HPL there is Aleister Crowley and Leon Trotsky, whereas Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Bloch are out in the boonies. It does look good, with those floating names.
See the movie of “Cthulego.”
The Temple of Dagon has Cthulhoid fiction and other material.
John Gregory Betancourt and one of the magazines that he publishes, Weird Tales, is the subject of an article by The Washington Post (March 14, 2006), “Plato's Cream Pie and Other Horror Delicacies,” by Peter Carlson. In it we learn–based on testimony by U.S. soldiers–that in 2003 artist Rowena Morrill’s covers were found hanging in a palace belonging to Saddam Hussein.
This blog is titled: “Chris Perridas: H. P. Lovecraft & His Legacy,” which has as a subtitle: “A presentation of H. P. Lovecraft, his contemporaries, and his historical significance. A 'blog of references, original mini-essays and Lovecraft's wide reaching influences.”
Rather than to break them into various subjects in my ‘aster, as I normally do, I am gathering together articles about and by HPL in two groups.
The first are selected from a search for “Lovecraft” via OAIster, and can be read online:
“A Functional Lexematic Analysis of a Horror Short Story” by María José Feu Guijarro, in Cuadernos de Investigación Filológica, no. 23-24, 1997-1998, pages 99-114. The article, breaking down “Polaris,” is in English.
“Literatura Fantástica: Un Acercamiento desde Tolkien y Lovecraft” by Jacob Buganza, in Sincronía, nº. 1, 2003. This short article from a Mexican e-journal has little to say about HPL.
“Horreur des Villes Maudites dans l'Oeuvre de H.P. Lovecraft” by Frédéric Sayer, from Belphegor. This 2004 title about “cursed” cities (Innsmouth, Arkham, etc.) is in French.
“Horreur, Hyperbole et Réticence chez Lovecraft” by Stefano Lazzarin, is another 2004 French article from Belphegor.
“Skygger over Tiden: Et Studie i Forfatteren H.P. Lovecraft Som Oversættelsesobjekt” by Oliver Holm, is a 2005 Danish thesis from Roskilde Universitetscenter. It pays particular attention to “The White Ship,” “The Rats in the Walls,” and “The Shadow out of Time.”
From a Canadian database:
Horror and Terror: Lovecraft's Alienated Protagonists (1985) by Anne-Louise Gibbons. I suspect it is a thesis.
Stories of New England: Then & Now (Audio Bookshelf, 1996). One of the stories among this cassette set is “In the Vault.”
Les Extra-Terrestres dans l'Histoire (Editions J'ai Lu, 1970) by old-time Lovecraft fan Jacque Bergier is apparently a non-fiction on the intervention of extra-terrestrials in human history.
Épitaphe (Éditions "C't'un fait, Jim!" (1996)) by Éric Bourguignon appears to be a fanzine, which had a special Lovecraft issue (as well as one for Robert E. Howard &c).
El Libro de los Autores (Ediciones de la Flor, 1967) is an anthology of stories selected by some of the most important figures of Argentine literature. The favorite of M. Mujica Láinez is “El terror de Dunwich.”
Weird Tales (1926-1938) compiled by William Robert Gibson has stories by HPL and his compeers. Perhaps this is the Canadian version of Weird Tales. Gibson, who died in 2001, had numerous private collections.
Nel Tempo del Sogno: Le Forme della Narrativa Fantastica dall'Immaginario Vittoriano all'Utopia Contemporanea [roughly, In the Time of Dream: The Form of the Fantastic Novel from the Victorian Imagination to the Contemporary Utopia] edited by Carlo Pagetti (Longo, 1988). This has papers from a 1986 conference, with HPL one of the subjects.
Antología de Cuentos e Historias Mínimas, Siglos XIX y XX [roughly, Anthology of Short-Short Stories, XIX and XX Centuries] (Espasa Calpe, 2002). Poe, Dunsany, Lovecraft, and Bradbury are among the many.
Lovecraft, Lovecraft! (Edicions 62, 1981) by Ofèlia Dracs is in the Spanish language.
H.P. Lovecrafts Mythologie : "Bricolage" und Intertextualität, Erzählstrategien und ihre Wirkung [i.e., H.P. Lovecraft’s Mythology: "Bricolage" and Intertextuality, Narrative Strategies and Their Effect] (Aisthesis Verlag, 1997) by Susanne Smuda.
Les Monstres Familiers de H. P. Lovecraft: Une Analyse des Images Teratologiques dans la Vie et l'Oeuvre de H. P. Lovecraft [i.e., The Familiar Monsters of H.P. Lovecraft:An Analysis of the Monstrous Images in the Life and Work of H.P. Lovecraft] (1995) is a thesis by William Tobin Schnabel.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (Nuova Italia, 1979) by Gianfranco de Turris and Sebastiano Fusco is in Italian. The former wrote about HPL in a book on horror (see my ‘aster 27).
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937): A Catalog of 187 Items (Carl's Bookstore, 1970). This is 20 pages.
20th Century American Novel: Introduction to H.P. Lovecraft (Everett Edwards, 1975) is a cassette with lecturer Warren G. French, who has written elsewhere about HPL.
Houdini et Sa Légende: Les Secrets du "Roi de l'Évasion" [i.e., Houdini and His Legend: The Secrets of the “King of Escape”] (Editions Techniques du Spectacle, 1982) by Roland Lacourbe is a life of Harry Houdini that includes a translation of “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs.”
The Shadow over Innsmouth (Heavenly Monkey, 2005) has wood engravings by Shinsuke Minegishi, based on drawings by Hieronymus Bosch.
Os Mortos Podem Voltar [roughly, The Dead Can Return] (Livros do Brasil, 19--) by H.P. Lovecraft is in Portuguese. (Part of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward according to H.P. Lovecraft and Lovecraft Criticism, which guesses the year is 1958 (p. 200); but according to the website “H.P. Lovecraft: A Pictorial Bibliography–Works in Translation: 1954-1976" the year is 1955.)
Les Infrequentables : Jacques Benoist-Mechin, Luc Dietrich, John Fante, Jean Lorrain, H.P. Lovecraft, Siouxie Sioux, Edith Sitwell, Vauvenargues, Otto Weininger (Editions du Rocher, 1989) is a French work that appears to be about authors who are recluses.
Among relevant publications are M.P. Shiel and the Lovecraft Circle: A Collection of Primary Documents Including Shiel's Letters to August Derleth, 1929-1946 edited with notes by John D. Squires (Vainglory Press, 2001). Also, Shiel has online an article about Arthur Machen. *** Correspondent Alfred Galpin collected material about Hart Crane and Samuel Loveman. It was left at New York’s Columbia University, where there are also letters from two Crane biographers. *** In Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005) by Lewis M. Dabney, Bowden Broadwater, Harvard aesthete and former copy editor of The New Yorker, “tried to make Wilson interesting and funny rather than fearful, substituting ‘Monstro,’ out of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories, for the Minotaur,” a nickname given him by his wife, Mary McCarthy (p. 296). This was probably in 1943, before Wilson’s notorious New Yorker essay on HPL. *** Until recently I didn’t know of the existence of An August Derleth Reader (Prairie Oak Press, 1992). *** There’s an interesting newspaper account of a genealogical researcher attempting to establish the actual birth place of Ambrose Bierce.
The University at Buffalo (New York) has an archive of poet Robert Kelly—who reviewed Mark Danielewski’s Lovecraft-tinged House of Leaves in the New York Times—with poems mentioning HPL in the title: “With HP Lovecraft the First Time He Makes Love,” which has a variant title; “Shaggy Lovecraft Shadow”; and “The Lovecraft Version.” *** I’ve mentioned Gregory Galloway’s As Simple as Snow, where a Goth girl has an interest in Lovecraft and others. It has won an Alex Award as one of ten adult books that would be of interest to teen readers.
Wilum: To some people, undoubtedly, an overwhelming motivation is monetary, and so this is how they will define human behavior. In their case, August Derleth used the Lovecraft name in order to maximize profits and make money. I say no. While in part it may have been a business decision, it was to keep the Lovecraft name alive before the public and expand his readership. Rightly or wrongly, I suspect that Derleth may have made more money writing if he had not taken up his time “co-authoring” with HPL. *** I wish you had indicated from what source (fanzine?) you reprinted the Mary Elizabeth Counselman reminiscence.
Ben: In Mongolia, while the tents (gers) in which I stayed were comfortable, roomy, and round as circus tents, they had no tv’s, and just a little electricity. Their wooden doors, on hinges, were highly decorated; one I remember had a swastika, though its presence had nothing to do with its infamous incarnation, a result of cultural hijacking. *** You speak of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as a science fiction masterpiece. I note with pride that I read an unabridged version completely through in its original French. Its main fault are its large swaths of textbook-like material about the sea, material you might find in a sixth-grade science book. The non-fictional inserts gave a creaky quality to the story, for whose sake it could be omitted from the reading. However, didn’t Hugo Gernsbach feel science education uplifting should be incorporated in scientifiction?
Ken: In S. Baring-Gould’s John Herring (on which your reported) you apparently were not reminded–by the sections on the “primitives” and the burrows in which they lived–of degenerate humanity from “The Lurking Fear” or “The Rats in the Walls.” *** You don’t have to depend on any of B-G’s titles being in print to read them. There is always inter-library loan to get any of his published works. *** The library at the University of Madison sounds like the proper fit for the amateur journalism collection–I see they already have 8500 British amateur journalism titles. *** HPL has had a number of alternate, might-have-been existences thanks to fiction by yourself, Peter Cannon, and others.
Alan: I enjoyed reading your reviews of Clark Ashton Smith’s juvenilia. However, The New American Cyclopaedia is not, as you call it, “fanciful,” but actual, having been published 1857-1863.
Scott: In reading your informative pieces that you wrote for World Supernatural Literature, I have a question about your entry for Walter de la Mare’s “The Return.” After noting that the physical appearance of the protagonist has changed completely, you say, in your description of the story, “Mr. Bethany, an old friend, assures him that he will soon be better, but takes off his glasses.” Whose glasses are being taken off, and what is the significance of that?
Fred: Cunctator Press is a great name. And you don’t need an excuse if you are delayed in putting something out. *** I believe you are the first member to have a contribution with a Greek title. *** I don’t know what makes a “bona-fide religion.” I suppose a sincere belief system in the supernatural shared by others, plus ceremonial trappings. Maybe such religions are always springing up, but since they lack staying power, they expire. *** I probably disagree that witch persecution significantly involved, for example, Protestants denouncing Catholics. What I’ve read implies that, in addition to heated superstition, denunciation might be prompted by unpopularity, jealousy, covetousness, etc. You seem to use the word “witch” metaphorically rather than in its Hallowe’en sense, the one that most has to do with Lovecraft. *** Could you expand on the definition of “anthropological science fiction” and its relation to HPL? As I understand it, someone like Chad Oliver wrote “anthropological science fiction,” so I don’t know if you have an author like this in mind. *** I had heard of the legendary anecdote about the infiltration of a Necronomicon entry card into a card catalog, and here is someone acquainted with the perpetrator. *** Unless you happen to hit on a hot button issue, the responses that you get to a fanzine submission will likely be none to slight, with the exception of the occasional garrulous codger. You are lucky if a fifth of the current members comment, and those that do will be the same ones, as those that are mum will also be the same. *** Please don’t belittle your own contributions while praising “the professional caliber” of other members. Nobody is that good, and for the twenty years I have been a member, maybe no one has been that inconsequential. *** You make several errors re HPL in issue two. “The Call of Cthulhu” was not published in 1924, the Derleth family still have a connection with Arkham House, and your remarks are actually about “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and not “The Tomb.”
Ben: Would critics like Laura Miller and Daniel Handler receive credence if they published their pap in a fanzine? They have a big platform from which to hurl, and so some of the reading population will take them seriously. I enjoyed your fantasy about a possible punishment for Edmund Wilson, who did have a lot of thoughtful things to say in other writing, so I hope what you suggest–he would be in a place with only Lovecraft and Tolkien to read or view at the movies–remains unfulfilled. On the other hand, that might make a good short story. *** Part of the problem with those, like HPL, who indulge in “anti-Semitic outbursts” is that they fantasize what a Jew is, and then react to that fantasy. Or, to quote at length from Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend, "’For it is not in Christian countries with the Jews as with other peoples," Mr. Riah reflects. "Men say, 'This is a bad Greek, but there are good Greeks. This is a bad Turk, but there are good Turks.' Not so with the Jews. Men find the bad among us easily enough -- among what people are the bad not easily found? -- but they take the worst of us as samples of the best; they take the lowest of us as presentations of the highest; and they say 'All Jews are alike.'"” *** You caught me. I did write “whose more popular”–a typical instance where I know better but don’t do better.
Sean: Missouri–An Illustrated History has not yet appeared. Do you know its publication date?
Jim D.: The source from HPL’s letters refuting that his fiction is based on occult themes is on p. 271, volume IV of Selected Letters. He writes that client and occult-believer William Lumley “is firmly convinced that all our gang ... are genuine agents of unseen Powers in distributing hints too dark and profound for human conception or comprehension. We may think we’re writing fiction, and may even (absurd thought!) disbelieve what we write, but at bottom we are telling the truth in spite of ourselves.” For a related argument, see volume V, p. 285, where Lovecraft states, “As for seriously-written books on dark, occult, and supernatural themes–in all truth they don’t amount to much.” I’ll add that I have no paper on the topic.
Brown Jenkin’s Gender
Watching a Lovecraft adaptation often entices me to read the original. In this instance I keenly watched, “The Dreams in the Witch-House,” where the hyperspace stuff was thrown out, thereby warping the narrative.
When re-reading a Lovecraft story I usually notice something I have previously overlooked, or not thought about. In this instance, there was a line about Brown Jenkin. I preface the line with Fritz Leiber’s offhand comment about “a resourceful little rat-man,” in which Leiber is perhaps thinking how Lovecraft described “its sharp-toothed, bearded face.” The word “bearded” suggests a masculine character, though nonetheless throughout the story Lovecraft calls the rat familiar an “it.” (The television adaptation had a male actor in rather ridiculous-looking rat get-up.)
But in “Dreams” then comes an enriching detail typical of HPL’s fiction. This is where Walter Gilman “saw the fanged, bearded little face in the rat-hole–the accursed little face which he at last realized bore such a shocking, mocking resemblance to old Keziah's.” Since Keziah is a witch, is Brown Jenkin then a “rat-woman”?
In Macbeth, Banquo addresses the witches, “You should be women, / And yet your beards forbid me to interpret / That you are so.” Beyond reminding the audience that men are playing the roles of women (a given when Shakespeare wrote for the stage), there is also the Macbethian theme that the world is topsy-turvy, “foul is fair.” More prosaically, according to Thomas Alfred Spalding in Elizabethan Demonology (Chatto and Windus, 1880), “The beard was in Elizabethan times the recognized characteristic of the witch.”
A possible inference is that the familiar, with a beard and the witch’s face, is neither rat-man nor rat-woman, but androgynous, something that transgresses gender. Maybe Keziah Mason herself participates in a role that goes beyond the female gender.
The pre-name “Brown” is not a gender definite label, which adds to the witch’s identity ambiguity. As to her secret name, “Nahab,”by coincidence or not, it may mean “hidden” in Zoroastrian (see “Mînô nahab”). Or maybe it is a neologism or semi-anagram based on a Biblical name, such as that of bad king (n)Ahab.
In reading the biography of one of my favorite composers, Bernard Herrmann, I came across the following 1931 entry from his diary, when his career was yet to be: “From now on I have decided that my compositions will be governed by the following idea. ‘Art should be an adventure into the unknown’ (Secret Glory of Arthur Macken [sic])” (A Heart at Fire’s Center, p. 26). The sic is missing in the quote, but the author is actually Arthur Machen, natch, whose Secret Glory concerns the quest for the Holy Grail. Machen refers in the text (at horrormasters.com) to a “Celtic Mythos” that is a “Christianity which was not a moral code ... but a great mystical adventure into the unknown sanctity” (p. 65). The work was filmed in 2001 under the premise that an SS officer is on a quest for the Grail, which ties it in a way with Raiders of the Lost Ark and its kith.
Herrmann had other genre affiliations. Several paragraphs in the biography discuss his scoring for the radio dramatization of Dunsany’s Gods of the Mountains, and he also supplied music for Dracula and the notorious broadcast of Wells’ War of the Worlds. Poe was a favorite author.
Relevant to this audience, he did theme music for the radio show, Suspense, which put on “The Dunwich Horror.” Whether he did any for that particular program, I know not.
the photograph section is one with him and
Ray Bradbury, two stories of whom he scored for “The Alfred
“The Life Work of Juan” and “The
Jar,” both of which I recall seeing and
wishing that the latter was weirder; this anthology show was not a home
fantasy, unfortunately. For this same series Herrmann did a score for
Bloch (“A Home Away from Home”). Better known are
Herrmann’s movie scores for
novels by both authors, Fahrenheit 451 and Psycho,
which the Richard Band score for Re-animator is
“too reminiscent” (Leonard
Maltin’s Movie Guide). So in a removed way,
Herrmann did do a Lovecraft
The Invisible Ray
After several decades I finally re-saw this 1936 movie. Half of it is a good story, something that might be appreciated by a Lovecraft fan, especially those who enjoy “The Colour out of Space.” It begins with the written “claimer”(i.e., the opposite of a disclaimer) that scientists credit the theory of what the audience is about the see, something of a dodge used by Lovecraft (as in “Such a thing was surely not a physical or biochemical impossibility in the light of a newer science”).
There’s a cosmic and temporal scope at the beginning when, thanks to an invention by Janos Rukh (Boris Karloff, who would later play another meteor-inflicted victim in the first dramatization of “Colour”), on a screen we are swept past the Moon, then Saturn, and beyond, in order to watch, through the aeon-old light of the Sun as seen from another star, a meteor as it plummets to Earth, striking what looks to be Angola in Africa. (There is both anachronism and inconsistency. The globe shows today’s continental topography; and the search for the meteor, the audience is told, is in Nigeria, though later the search group heads for Lake Nyanza, which is actually in the Congo!). The idea that one could look back in time through ancient star light really piqued my imagination when, perhaps a pre-teen, I first saw the movie on television.
Before the expedition the scientist’s mother warns that man was not meant to know certain things, the closest it may come explicitly to the universe of HPL. Eventually, the Karloff character finds the meteor, then chips rocks from it as he dangles in a pit (perhaps an echo of the well in “Colour”), and is infected by it–so that his touch is lethal. An outward sign of this condition is that in the dark he glows (a “colour” out of space?). The rest of the movie deteriorates into a melodrama of a mad scientist getting revenge. However, (spoiler alert) his demise is memorable, as he jumps through a window and burns up, like a falling meteor consumed by the atmosphere.
(For an astronomical article about “Colour,” see “Meteor Beliefs Project: Meteoric Imagery in SF, Part II - H. P. Lovecraft's The Colour out of Space” by Alastair McBeath and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe in WGN, Journal of the International Meteor Organization (v. 33, no. 6 (Dec 2005), p. 167-170)).
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The first stanza of a poem by 19th-century poet Robert Southey seems that it would be an appropriate epigraph for some of HPL’s work, in particular The Case of Charles Dexter Ward:
“My days among the Dead are passed;
Around me I behold,
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,
The mighty minds of old:
My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.”