Miscellaneous Writings
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Miscellaneous Writings

by H. P. Lovecraft
Release date: 1995
Type: other fiction
Genres: non-fiction

Edited by S. T. Joshi.

In 1913, a reclusive young man from Providence, Rhode Island, wrote a letter to The Argosy magazine. "I may with safety predict that no part of this... will appear in print," the correspondent concluded. But the young man was wrong: not only was his letter published, but a resultant invitation to join the United Amateur Press Association would forever alter the life of one Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

Although Lovecraft today is considered the most significant American horror writer between Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King, the astonishing range of his auctorial endeavors is documented for the first time in this volume, from surviving juvenilia through his aforementioned entree into the world of amateur journalism to a letter written during the final weeks of his life. Literary criticism and philosophical speculation, political jeremiads and inimitably eccentric travelogues – some of this material is of occasional interest, but much of the remainder is absolutely essential for a proper appreciation of Lovecraft the fantasist.

"Notes on Writing Weird Fiction" remains Lovecraft's central statement in illuminating his own creative aesthetic, while his commonplace book – aphoristic entries from the literary sorcerer's personal grimoire – is perhaps as close as we shall ever come to a real-life Necronomicon. The sprightly peregrinations of an unregenerate antiquarian through "His Majesty's Colonies" are detailed in "Observations on Several Parts of America," while "Cats and Dogs" – a tour-de-force fusion of metaphysics, politics, and aesthetics – is simply one of the great American essays.

Most moving is that final 1937 to Nils H. Frome in which Lovecraft, now aware that he is dying, strives nonetheless to disabuse his young correspondent of spurious supernatural and occult delusions. Even as a sojourner in Death's waiting room, listening for the knock on the door, H.P. Lovecraft remained faithful to his scientific beliefs, a seeker-after-truth to the end.

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • 1. Dreams and Fancies
    • The Little Glass Bottle
    • The Secret Cave
    • The Mystery of the Grave-Yard
    • The Mysterious Ship
    • A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson
    • Old Bugs
    • Memory
    • Nyarlathotep
    • Ex Oblivione
    • What the Moon Brings
    • Sweet Ermengarde
    • The Very Old Folk
    • History of the Necronomicon
    • Ibid
    • Discarded Draft of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"
    • The Battle That Ended the Century
    • Collapsing Cosmoses
    • The Challenge from Beyond
  • 2. The Weird Fantasist
    • Commonplace Book
    • Lord Dunsany and His Work
    • Notes on Writing Weird Fiction
    • Some Notes on Interplanetary Fiction
    • In Memoriam: Robert Ervin Howard
  • 3. Mechanistic Materialist
    • Idealism and Materialism – A Reflection
    • Life for Humanity's Sake
    • In Defence of Dagon
    • Nietzscheism and Realism
    • The Materialist Today
    • Some Causes of Self-Immolation
    • Heritage or Modernism: Common Sense in Art Forms
  • 4. Literary Critic
    • Metrical Regularity
    • The Vers Libre Epidemic
    • The Case for Classicism
    • Literary Composition
    • Ars Gratia Artis
    • The Poetry of Lilian Middleton
    • Rudis Indigestaque Moles
    • In the Editor's Study
    • The Professional Incubus
    • The Omnipresent Philistine
    • What Belongs in Verse
  • 5. Political Theorist
    • The Crime of the Century
    • More Chain Lightning
    • Old England and the "Hyphen"
    • Revolutionary Mythology
    • Americanism
    • The League
    • Bolshevism
    • Some Repetitions on the Times
  • 6. Antiquarian Travels
    • Vermont – A First Impression
    • Observations on Several Parts of America
    • Travels in the Provinces of America
    • An Account of Charleston
    • Some Dutch Footprints in New England
    • Homes and Shrines of Poe
  • 7. Amateur Journalist
    • In a Major Key
    • The Dignity of Journalism
    • Symphony and Stress
    • United Amateur Press Association: Exponent of Amateur Journalism
    • A Reply to The Lingerer
    • Les Mouches Fantastiques
    • For What Does the United Stand?
    • Amateur Journalism: Its Possible Needs and Betterment
    • What Amateurdom and I Have Done for Each Other
    • Lucubrations Lovecraftian
    • A Matter of Uniteds
    • Mrs. Miniter – Estimates and Recollections
    • Some Current Motives and Practices
  • 8. Epistolarian
    • Trans-Neptunian Planets
    • The Earth Not Hollow
    • To The All-Story Weekly
    • Science versus Charlatanry
    • The Fall of Astrology
    • To Edwin Baird (c. May 1923)
    • To Edwin Baird (early November 1923)
    • The Old Brick Row
    • To Nils H. Frome
  • 9. Personal
    • A Brief Autobiography of an Inconsequential Scribbler
    • Within the Gates
    • A Confession of Unfaith
    • Commercial Blurbs
    • Cats and Dogs
    • Some Notes on a Nonentity
  • Bibliography
(updated 2017-01-15)

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