“There is a continuum of cosmic consciousness, against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge as into a mother-sea or reservoir. Our "normal" consciousness is circumscribed for adaptation to our external earthly environment, but the fence is weak in spots, and fitful influences from beyond leak in, showing the otherwise unverifiable connection.”—William James, “"A Psychical Researcher."
This quote brought to mind HPL for critic Manfred Malzahn. However, I think of William Hope Hodgson, e.g., The Ghost Pirates, where the “weak fence” represents a link to another dimension.

I got a two-volume anthology of science fiction stories as a result of joining the Science Fiction Book Club. Edited by Anthony Boucher—which will give you some idea of the age—one of its stories, “The Lost Years” by Oscar Lewis, was based on a “what if” premise. What would the life of Abraham Lincoln have been like if he had not been assassinated? French writer Roland C. Wagner was on the same wave length when he wrote the short “H.P.L. (1890-1991)," the “nouvelle” winner in 1997 of the Prix Rosny-Aîné. The title, I deduce, is based on August Derleth’s pamphlet “HPL, A Memoir.” Since it is written in French and therefore inaccessible to a lot of American readers, I will describe it. It's a fictional documentary, heir to “The History of the Necronomicon,” and shows Lovecraft’s life from its beginning until 1991, making him 101 when he died! Footnotes on every page are used as expansions of something mentioned in the text or provide bibliographic citations, usually of some Lovecraft work translated into French or in a French anthology in which it appeared. There are fake quotations from Lovecraft letters and fake testimony from actual people.
Narration of his life from 1890 does not have any noteworthy deviation from accepted facts until the mid-1930’s. At the time of the publication of “The Challenge from Beyond” he is in the hospital having a successful operation for cancer, and in April 1936 he has his only meeting with Robert E. Howard, whose suicide will come just as it did in the real world. “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” is bought by John W. Campbell for Astounding, where HPL publishes 32 works between 1938-1950, when the two quarrel. He attends the first world science fiction convention in 1939, New York and becomes a big hit with the younger generation of sf writers. Nat Schachner lauds him when he publishes one of his best-known stories, “Anxious Color.” (This non-British spelling is a slip-up by Wagner.) He also rethinks or repudiates his former racism.
A 1941 Lovecraft story about the atomic bomb brings an investigation from the OSS, as he later writes Cleve Cartmill, perhaps forestalling the famous episode in which the latter’s story “Deadline” actually did provoke such a visit. One can see that Wagner is familiar with the history of American science fiction and knows how to re-arrange it. In 1947 Derleth founds Arkham House, but his first book of Lovecraft stories fails commercially and their friendship ends because of Derleth’s editorial decisions. HPL lets his critical views of Robert A. Heinlein’s Beyond This Horizon be known through an article in The Fantasy Commentator (no. 3, 1948), and Heinlein replies in the next issue. The publication of L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics: The Evolution of a Science irritates the rational Lovecraft who retorts with Diuretics: The Devolution of a Fiction. This causes a permanent break with Campbell but initiates a long correspondence with Philip K. Dick.
Lovecraft enters into the new markets of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Galaxy. He is haled before Senator’s McCarthy’s committee in 1954 and later writes a story with a grand inquisitor character resembling Heinlein, whose testimony before the McCarthy group (it later turned out) saved HPL from being thrown in jail. Lovecraft gave up going to conventions when Starship Trooper won a Hugo but reconciled with Heinlein after the appearance of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (which I read when it was first serialized in If). In 1967 he is persuaded to give his blessing to the label Dunwich Records owned by Bill Traut, who I believe is still living though the label has died. Later HPL removes his support. However, in a letter he suggests a liking for saxophonist Art Pepper.
In the 1970’s he writes some 15 stories, most of them long, and three substantial novels, one of which is entitled I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night that has Cthulhu and an immense entity fighting a blob that is ravaging New York in an episode similar to King Kong vs. Godzilla.
Upon his death (around midnight on 17 September 1991) he wills his goods to a Joseph Edward of London, coincidentally born the same hour that he dies. The result was that the world press carries headlines referring to metempsychoses and reincarnation.
Census and Genealogy
This is the 1880 American census list for “Lovecraft.” On the page the names are linked to further information.
1. Joshua LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Self Gender: Male Birth: <1845> NY
2. Hallie LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Wife Gender: Female Birth: <1855> NY
3. George E. LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Son Gender: Male Birth: <1867> NY
4. Elisabeth LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Other Gender: Female Birth: <1812> ENG
5. Sidney LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Self Gender: Male Birth: <1837> NY
6. Clida M. LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Wife Gender: Female Birth: <1838> MI
7. Elinor G. LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Mother Gender: Female Birth: <1807> ENG
8. Altha LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Other Gender: Female Birth: <1825> NY
9. Mary G. LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Other Gender: Female Birth: <1856> NY
10. Florence LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Other Gender: Female Birth: <1861> NY
11. William LOVECRAFT - 1880 United States Census / New York
Self Gender: Male Birth: <1808> ENG
Here’s the 1881 British census list for the name
1. Sarah LOVECRAFT - 1881 British Census / Middlesex
Sister: Female Birth: <1801> Broadhampton, Devon, England
2. Elizth. LOVECRAFT - 1881 British Census / Middlesex
Lodger (Head)Gender: Female Birth: <1850> Shoreditch, Middlesex, England
3. Elizabeth LOVECRAFT - 1881 British Census / Devon
HeadGender: Female Birth: <1811> Chudleigh, Devon, England
4. William LOVECRAFT - 1881 British Census / Middlesex
HeadGender: Male Birth: <1804> Broadhempston, Devon, England
5. Elizabeth W. LOVECRAFT - 1881 British Census / Middlesex
Wife Gender: Female Birth: <1810> Deptford, Kent, England
6. John LOVECROFT - 1881 British Census / Devon
ServantGender: Male Birth: <1837> Lydford, Devon, England
*** Lovecrafts travel. Joseph Lovecraft is in the 1870 Federal Illinois census, Cook County, 9 W. Chicago, p. 311. *** George Lovecraft is in the 1860 federal census for Louisiana, Orleans Parish, New Orleans 11th ward, p. 987. *** How is this for suggestiveness? In the Rochester New York Daily Union Annual City Directory for 1859, under I.O.O.F., Mount Hope Encampment, no. 2, there is the name of Joseph Lovecraft followed by the letters H.P. (Now the bathos of it: checking other sources I find that this turns out to be an abbreviation for “High Priest.”) Across from Joseph’s name is “Aaron Lovecraft, Scribe.” Seven Lovecrafts, along with their trades and addresses, are mentioned on p. 185: Aaron, foreman; George, tree agent(?); Joseph, dealer in barrel heading; John F., planing mill; W. & J., manufacturers of barrel heading; William, dealer in cooper’s tools and heading; Sidney J., planing mill. Also for Rochester there’s a W. & J. Lovecraft, Coopers’ tools in the New York State Business Directory, p. 397. John F. Lovecraft is listed under “Planing Mills.” (p.525) An alphabetical listing (p. 271) in the “T’s” has “Taylor, J. Lovecraft, carriage trimmer.” Could there have been a J. Lovecraft Taylor, or is this a mix-up? In an Index to Advertisements is “Lovecraft, William J., Barrel Machinery, &c” On p. 516 there is “Lovecraft, George, trees.”
Under a Mt. Vernon, New York directory (1889-91), George Lovecraft’s occupation is listed as “nursery; sexton”. Shades of George Birch? *** A Celia Lovecraft died at 22 on 13 July 1893, according to New York City Deaths, 1892-98. *** Franklin Chase Clark, his maternal uncle, is listed in the 1913 Harvard University Alumni Directory as living at 38 Barnes Street, Providence, RI., his occupation given as medicine. He was born 26 May 1847 in Rhode Island, his father Edward Taylor Clark and his mother Mary Ann Chase, who all appear in databases of Ancestry.com. *** Also from there: the 1930 United States Federal Census has three Edward Gamwells: Edward L. Gamwell, 16, of the township of Cranston, county of Providence in RI; Edward A. Gamwell, 63 and head (of the household; and also, according to the Pittsfield, Massachusetts Directories, 1889-93, a lawyer) of the township of Pittsfield, county of Berkshire in Massachusetts; and Edward Gamwell, 60 and roomer, of the township of Boston, county of Suffolk in Massachusetts. This last I presume to be the uncle of HPL, since in the Boston, Massachusetts Directory, 1890, an Edward F. is in Boston, where he is a clerk; in the column marked “Location 2” is the mysterious letter “b.” followed by “28 ½Myrtle”. I guess there is a different Edward Gamwell employed by Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts where he boards, 1891 (in Springfield, Massachusetts Directories, 1890-91). Rhode Island Deaths, 1630-1930 lists for the closest kin of Edward F. and Annie E. (given as “Annie E P” in the first instance) the following: daughter Marion R. Gamwell, dead after five days, on 14 Feb 1900; son Phillips Gamwell, dead at 18, 31 Dec 1916; and Estevas J. Ganeto died 2 June 1917 at 24. This last has the word “found” in the “comment” column.
Timothy K. Beal’s Religion and Its Monsters  (Routledge, 2002) includes the Cthulhu Mythos in its scope. *** The Cthulhu Mythos is just one among the pieces of popular culture that has spawned it own religion, according to the 22 page article “Cultural Consumption of History and Popular Culture in Alternative Spiritualities” by A.M. Possamai (Journal of Consumer Culture, July 2002, beginning p.197).
The album Lovecraft and Witch Hearts comes from the group(?) Cradle of Filth. *** A “punk-noir” group from Widnes, England bears the name of Lovecraft. *** In case I wasn’t specific when issues ago I spoke of this Canadian Gemini award winner—it was Best Original Music Score for a Program or Mini-Series: Gaetan Gravel, Serge Laforest for Out of Mind: The Stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
French sculptor Etienne Martin created in 1956 Hommage à Lovecraft, “a large, architectonic, plaster construction pierced by numerous small cells or grottoes.” He said of it that he “had personally felt and lived … in each of its forms.” Both quotes were originally published in World Artists 1950-1980, but I found them on the database WilsonWeb. From the same book and database, an article about American artist Will Ensley calls him an admirer of HPL “and seems to share his macabre imagination.” *** The comic book(?) “"Necronauts" is portentous occult sci-fi which pits Harry Houdini, Arthur Conan Doyle, H. P. Lovecraft and Charles Fort against the forces of the Abyss.” (Irish Times, 19 Feb 2001, p.9, Arts section) *** McManus Galleries in Dundee, Scotland showed a painting by Graeme Todd entitled Lovecraft, which was called “taut” and “imaginative” by The Scotsman (18 September 2001, p.8). *** Jeffrey Johannes' watercolor, "Moon Struck Poet," for The Fungi from Yuggoth has been published by Eureka Productions. *** A photo of his grave is, I suppose, the same one that appears in the collection A Palpable Elysium: Portraits of Genius and Solitude, by Jonathan Williams (David R. Godine, 2002).
The Dunwich Horror (1970 movie) was scripted by Curtis Hanson, who said “It’s not good. And if you’re a Lovecraft fan, it’s especially not good.” (Boston Globe, 3 Nov 2002, p. N11). Among his works as director has been Wonder Boys, based on a novel by Michael Chabon, who also has a Lovecraft connection, as I have pointed out in previous issues. *** In an interview, Night of the Living Dead director George Romero lists him as one of his influences (see Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Oct 2001, p. 397- ). *** His work was a major attraction at the Leeds International Film Festival, held in October. *** Written and directed by Karl Roulston, Creature of the Mist is associated by reviewer Joe Bob Briggs with the “Lovecraftian,” to which he adds, “In case you haven't been paying attention the last decade, "Lovecraftian" is the highest compliment you can pay to an independent low-budget filmmaker.” (20 Nov 2002 in UPI News). *** In case I’ve overlooked mentioning it, Christophe Gans, French director of Brotherhood of the Wolf, did one part of the1993 film Necronomicon. *** Wilbur Whateley’s Sex Drive (directed by H. Turner, 1999?) is a 59 minute film that has the title character believing his sex impulse is an illness. In an early interview the director says it was loosely based on two HPL stories. *** For a couple of critics, Wes Craven Presents: They calls up Lovecraft, with the one from the Village Voice finishing his review with the final two lines from “Night-Gaunts.” *** Dreamworks, the Steven Spielberg company, bought the rights to At the Mountains of Madness in March 2002. The scripters are Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins, according to Spanix.com. *** Wheeler W. Dixon has a chapter about him in The Second Century of Cinema (2000), but his remarks are negligible and trite, in addition to making stylistic and other errors (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward was refilmed in 1992 as The Resurrected, though the author doesn’t know this, wishing for a second filming, after it was adapted in The Haunted Palace).
A Dead Secret sounds like a bit of Lovecraft lost juvenilia, but it was a play by Rodney Ackland with a small part for a character named Sir Arthur Lovecraft, “an eminent counsel” (The Times (London), (31 May 1957, p.5). *** Some of “The Outsider” was soliloquized at Madame Guignol's Fun House and acted by the Hunger Artists in Fullerton, CA. *** In Vancouver the play Scary Stories, which appeared in 1997, had a kinky nurse called Elsa Lovecraft. *** The zoo in Adelaide, Australia was the scene for the enactment of “The Tomb,” apparently part of a 1996 drama festival.
No one else can say that they have played, on different shows, both M.R. James and HPL (in “The Young Man of Providence” on BBC Radio 4), but David March could. The actor died in September 1999.
An American novelist, short story writer, and critic, Robie Macauley (1919-1996) was a correspondent. He was editor of The Kenyon Review and Playboy (not at the same time, I presume). See World Authors 1950-1970 and, for a brief obituary, Locus (Feb 1996), which makes no mention of his correspondence.
“Howard Philipps [sic in citation] Lovecraft and Postmodernity” by P. Chiapus appeared in Societies (Summer 2002, p99-104). *** David Cal Clements got his Ph.D. with Cosmic Psychoanalysis: Lovecraft, Lacan, and Limits from the State University of New York at Buffalo, 1999 (104 leaves). He has edited Pataphysica. Also, an M.A. was received by Peter Gordon Epps for A Knocking at the Door: Christian Hope in the Horror Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft (Baylor University, 2002, 77 pages). The author cites such Christian elements as “revelatory visions, bodily resurrection, radical transformation (conversion and glorification), a body of immortal beings transcending mortal history (the Church), and a longed-for unveiling (apocalypse).” He finds that “Christian hope shines through” the fiction in the end. *** HPL is one of the ten American Horror Writers in a book by David Madison (Enslow, 2001), designed for those in grades seven and up. *** Josef Skvorecky calls The Encyclopedia of the Dead by Danilo Kis “a very beautiful Necronomicon, a book of dead names” though Lovecraft is “that insignificant American scribbler” (The New Republic, April 10, 1989, p.36-39). I interviewed Skvorecky several years ago for a Criticaster. *** In his review of the republished Lovecraft At Last, Tim Parrish (“'The Beating of Black Wings’: H.P. Lovecraft Correspondence Examines Aesthetics, Philosophy,” The Hartford Courant, 27 October 2002) also discusses other matters, such as scaring his boy chums at a campfire by reading to them HPL. Moreover, “Lovecraft was the first writer who made me want to write, but strangely, Lovecraft prepared me to understand Faulkner.” This included, at times, a reminder in Faulkner’s prose of HPL’s, and of course the mythical “lands” of Yoknapatawpha and Arkham. I no longer recall who it was that combined the regions in a short story. Fred Chappell? Peter Cannon?
Satire-flinging webzine The Onion carried in 2001 the mock 1930’s headline “Nation Escapes Depression Through Fanciful Works of HP Lovecraft”.
Per Ahlberg of the Natural History Museum in London is “an expert on lobe-finned fishes and Lovecraft devotee” (The Guardian, 1 Mar 2001). He was also quoted this December in the newspapers on a paleontological matter. *** I have mentioned this before, but not with such detail. This took place at a polyhedra conference in 1984. “Polyhedra can become as complex as the spectacular "yog-sothoth" constructed by publisher George Olshevsky and mathematician Bruce Chilton. A yog-sothoth (named for one of the most powerful demons of science fantasy author H. P. Lovecraft) is the most complicated uniform polyhedron. The model displayed by Olshevesky and Chilton consisted of 3060 pieces and took 11 years to build. It was the most complex of the many polyhedra on display at the conference” (Boston Globe, 29 April 1984, N, Learning). Olshevsky is well-known in dinosaur circles.
For a listing of books that appear in other books, try the Invisible Library.  HPL and related authors are there through the contribution of David Godwin. *** The University of Minnesota, Manuscripts Division has 87 items of HPL, among which is correspondence with E. Hoffman Price, who additionally has a separate archive.
In 2001, Liverpool University Press “has taken massive strides with books on HP Lovecraft, the legendary master of the horror genre, along with a sympathetic biographical look at the works of Ramsey Campbell, the Merseyside-based but
similarly internationally-acclaimed horror writer, by the New York-based author S T Joshi” (Lew Baxter, “A Lesson in Print Success,” Daily Post, 14 Dec 2001). *** The Lurker at the Threshold is scheduled for republication by Carroll & Graf, who also will be bringing out a book about Raymond Chandler.

“The Dunwich Horror”

While it is known that the Moodus noises were incorporated in this story, how many knew that it was written a few years after the following article from The New York Times (1925)? There are several suggestive clues that point to an influence on “The Dunwich Horror.” The short article begins with noting that earth tremor are thought to be “a recurrence of the ‘Moodus Noises’ in the range of hills at Moodus.” This tremor was much heavier than the one on 29 October (two days before Hallowe’en). This is one possible clue. Another, an admittedly weak one, is reference to engineer “F.E. Clark,” which might connect with Franklin C. Clark. A more intriguing one is in the concluding paragraph: “Professor William North Rice of Wesleyan recently explained that Moodus ‘noises’ were caused by earth slips in the range in that village.” Remember Professor Rice in the story? If I had found an Armitage or Morgan in the same article, I’d say “case closed.” However, I will admit that while my search for all three names in a single article did get results, it was only three arbitrarily among a collection of names.See “’Moodus Noises’ Recur” (The New York Times, 15 Nov 1925, p.22).
There’s a second, much earlier article—interestingly, published near Hallowe’en—that refers to the noises as “mysterious subterranean rumblings and boomings… In olden times they used to frighten the Indians, who held that hill [whence the noises supposedly originated] in a kind of sacred awe.” Here are other ingredients that went into that story: mystery, fear, Indians, and a sacred hill (i.e., Sentinel Hill of the story). See “The ‘Moodus Noises’ Renewed” (The New York Times, 23 Oct 1888, p.4). Considering the date, Lovecraft probably did not know the article, but the features may have been incorporated in publications where HPL may later have read about it.
For his gloss on this subject, S.T. quotes from Myths & Legends of Our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner (J.B. Lippincott, 1896). Since there is a complete chapter on the subject (“Moodus Noises,” v. 2, p.43-46), I will use material that is not quoted in the annotation, which had to be brief by necessity. Skinner states “Rev. Mr. Hosmer, in a letter written to a friend in Boston in 1729, says that before white settlers appeared there was a large Indian population, that powwows were frequent, and that the natives ‘drove a prodigious trade at worshipping the devil.’” And in “The Dunwich Horror”

old legends speak of unhallowed rites and conclaves of the Indians, amidst which they called forbidden shapes of shadow out of the great rounded hills, and made wild orgiastic prayers that were answered by loud crackings and rumblings from the ground below. In 1747 the Reverend Abijah Hoadley, newly come to the Congregational Church at Dunwich Village, preached a memorable sermon on the close presence of Satan and his imps.

The Rev. Mr. Hosmer is less superstitious, for he continues in his letter, “Now, whether there be anything diabolical in these things I know not.”
There are non-Dunwich matters covered in this chapter that are not without interest, such as witches fighting beneath a cave in Mount Tom by the light of a great carbuncle, which lured “Doctor Steele, a learned and aged man from England, [who] built a crazy-looking house in a lonely spot on Mount Tom, and was soon as much a mystery as the noises.” Man and house sounds like something out of the Commonplace Book or was the kernel for “The Strange High House in the Mist,” or take your pick.
The author follows a sentence about the Moodus noises and witches fighting with “The noises recurred in 1888, when houses rattled in witch-haunted Salem, eight miles away.” The word “eldritch” is often associated with Lovecraft, but more so should be the adjective “witch-haunted,” which Lovecraft followed with “Arkham.” Perhaps Skinner is the originator of the phrase that HPL adapted.
Finally, while S.T. annotates “Devils’ Hop Yard” as following the Moodus chapter of the Skinner book, I’ll add my own annotation that this place is now a state park in Connecticut and called Devil’s Hopyard.

“The first ‘grown-up’ writer I revered” is what poet Jonathan Williams thought of him. See World Authors 1970-1975. Also, when children’s author and illustrator David Wisniewski was young he read him and other genre writers. *** Mike Mignola’s Hellboy “owes a great deal of debt to Lovecraft, and Mignola would be the first to admit it,” according to Rizal Solomon in Malay Mail, “A Devil of a Ride” (10 April 2002). *** Ben Mallalieu has knowledge of HPL, for in an article about Munich he states of a church, “It could be something imagined by the fantasy writer HP Lovecraft, a phosphorescent temple of Y'ha-nthlei with strange leprous corals and grotesque brachiate efflorescences” (The Guardian, 16 Feb 2002). *** The Brian Lumley Companion is a 400-pager edited by Brian Lumley and Stanley Wiater (Tor, 2002), and among other things discusses Lovecraft’s influence. *** Now I find out. Russell Hoban is a Lovecraft fan, for in Fremder (Jonathan Cape, 1996) he has as one protagonist Caroline Lovecraft who, when asked, states she is not related to H.P. Both she and the character Fremder have a thing for him, since she has language talent in Cthulhuian and he is “a heavy user” of the writer. In the novel there is also some philosophical relationship to the cosmic viewpoint. See the review in the London Sunday Times (17 March 1996, p.9). Then in Amaryllis Night and Day (Bloomsbury, 2001), Amaryllis pulls another character, Peter, into her dream because she saw him reading Lovecraft on the subway (tube, in English English). *** A novel out by the prolific David Bischoff is The H.P. Lovecraft Institute (Wildside Press, 2002), which concerns sex and violence in a small Rhode Island town. This follows other books, such as Philip K. Dick High and J.R.R. Tolkien University. *** Italian science fiction writer Valerio Evangelisti is an HPL enthusiast. *** A reviewer considers the Spanish-language first novel by Albert Sánchez Piñol, La Pell Freda (La Campana) as having elements of Conrad and Lovecraft. *** A poem by Luis Alberto de Cuenca, “Pequeño Amor Mío,” mentions some of the gods, according to a reviewer. *** And a reviewer observes that the author is parodied in Practical Demon-Keeping by Christopher Moore (McClelland and Stewart, 1992).
In a Dictionary of Literary Biography volume, Laurence Manning is profiled by E. Bleiler, who shows no feel for his short story “Caverns of Horror,” a yarn that is whoppingly enjoyable and scary. *** Late “news,” but Juan Perucho produced Amb la tècnica de Lovecraft i altres contes in 1957, while Spanish philosopher and writer Fernando Savater analyzed him and others in La Infancia Recuperada (1976). *** A six-page article about “Conan’s Creator” appeared in the Texas Magazine of The Houston Chronicle (7 March 1999, p. 1-6?). Written by Carlton Stowers, it quotes Glenn Lord and other fans. *** Lord Dunsany has his own site.
Jack Vance
There’s a three volume set entitled An Encyclopedia of Jack Vance, 20th-Century Science Fiction Writer by David G. Mead and published by E. Mellen (2002). It has names, places, and things that Vance has created.
The Pulps
Now available is Pulp Fiction Writers: The Essential Guide to More than 200 Pulp Pioneers and Mass-Market Masters by Lee Server (Checkmark, 2002). Server also wrote Danger Is My Business: An Illustrated History of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines, 1896-1953 (Chronicle, 1993). *** Reading Weird Tales is a treasured recreation of the protagonist in Portrait of a Young Man Drowning by African-American author Charles Perry (Norton, 1996), originally published in 1962.
More on Machen
Arthur Machen and Dr. Johnson were two Lovecraft influences that have come together. See a photograph of Machen, periwigged and in longcoat, portraying Dr. Johnson for a film production (The Times (30 May 1922, p.14)). Incidentally, Machen’s obituary is headlined “Literature of Awe” (The Times (16 December 1947, p.6).
Joshua Lovecraft and Others
The area of Rochester, New York was the home of many Lovecrafts. One was Joshua, a distant relative of HPL’s and probably a bit older than Winfield. The name of the deceased Joshua, his widow Alice D., and their son George E., appear in Rochester court records (57 N.Y.S. 957) for 20 April 1899. The case—which was eventually decided against the son-- concerns a “claim made by John F. Brayer, the accounting committee, for an allowance out of the estate of the deceased incompetent person for counsel fees and expenses incurred in a contest over the account of George E. Lovecraft, a former committee, who was removed from his office by the court, Mr. Brayer being appointed in his place.” George was ordered to file accounts and vouchers, and when he did not do this he was jailed for contempt of court, and later made bail. Meanwhile, “the incompetent person [Joshua] was at that time in the state hospital suffering from paresis” (p.959). Does this mean that he was a second Lovecraft to suffer paresis and wind up in a state hospital, perhaps at the same time as Winfield?
My memory being what it is, I can recall that others have discussed what is meant by paresis, but what was said I cannot. Therefore, I may be covering what has been uncovered when I seek its definition. One definition is an early stage of syphilis, but is that what was meant when the word appeared in the last decade of the nineteenth century in The New York Times and other popular publications? I would think that the word would be tabooed because of what it denoted, unless sexual pathology of Victorian America was discussed more openly than has been represented. “Paresis” could be a euphemism, or its primary meaning was a kind of dementia. However, the Oxford English Dictionary, the authority on the historical usage of words, defines “paresis” as a “paralysis” that is associated with the insane, and among its quotes is one from 1899. To muddy the waters: the magisterial Merriam-Webster dictionary goes back to 1874 to associate “general paresis” with syphilis; but perhaps “general” altered the word’s meaning. Considering the mores of the time, and how the word was used—it appears as part of name-calling in a letter column—signifies that it was intended to be understood as another term for “crazy,” withal more dignified. Therefore, Joshua’s ailment need not have had anything to do with sexual dysfunction.
Ernesto Sábato
Alberto Breccia was an Argentinian “strip-cartoon artist and illustrator” who adapted Lovecraft, and in addition illustrated the following who have a Lovecraft connection: J L Borges, Ernesto Sábato, and Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose). Breccia died in 1993 (his obituary is in The Independent, 20 Nov 1993, p.17 in the Gazette page section).
Argentinean writer Ernesto Sábato is the subject of several essays in a book that has been reviewed in World Literature Today (Spring 2001, p.399). Versiones by Juan Jose Barrientos (Conaculta, 2000) is a collection of critical articles that includes the association of Lovecraft with Borges as well as Sábato. Reviewer Brescia states “The article on Sabato and Lovecraft is the longest, most analytical, and most interesting one.” I’ve discovered that a novel by Sábato is the 1948 El Tunel (The Outsider). I’ll add that Sábato was also a nuclear physicist who was called the “Anti-Borges,” and he chaired a blue-ribbon panel to look into the fate of “the disappeared.” (In a travelogue of mine about 1995 I made a passing reference comparing the horror of “the disappeared” and that of HPL; and here I find a closer link.)
I was piqued enough by the review to take a look at Versiones despite my small grasp of Spanish. Barrientos shows a considerable interest in the author Julio Cortázar, who he suggests has rewritten a story by Donald Wandrei (“El Espejo Pintado” is its Spanish translation). The idea of rewriting will be the same charge that he levels at Sábato in relation to HPL. In an accompanying letter to Barrientos, Sábato denies this statement, because he has never read Lovecraft (“jámas leí a Lovecraft”), but Barrientos still believes the comparison is valid. The essay in question makes reference to “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” among other stories. Another essay, comparing Borges and HPL, is quite shaky, in that the “Lovecraft” story that is centrally featured is “The Lamp of Alhazred,” which may be the best story in its Arkham volume, but using it as a way of looking at Borges is not worthwhile. Judging Versiones overall, I would say that Barrientos should not be given much weight as a Lovecraft critic.
A. Langley has kindly informed me that Frederick A. Lovecraft had no brother George. Also, he has pointed out that The New York Times made an error in a reference to “George A. Lovecraft,” which should have been “George E. Lovecraft.”
This has been the 35th issue of The Criticaster (Winter 2003, mailing 121) by Steve Walker.Published eventually on the Net as The Limbonaut (no. 6).