By H.P. Lovecraft
Edited by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei
Dust Jacket Text
Back at the Barnes Street house in his native Providence, H.P.
Lovecraft lived comfortably with his aunts, Mrs. F.C. Clark and Mrs. A.E.
Phillips Gamwell, his mother’s sisters, during the period of his life
covered by the letters in this third volume – July, 1929 through 1931. Here
he steadily improved as a writer of the macabre, enlarging his literary
horizons, while at the same time, paradoxically, he began to doubt himself
with an unhappy effect on his creative activity.
Yet this was the period of some of his most notable
tales – The Dunwich Horror, The Shadow over Innsmouth, The
Whisperer in Darkness, and At the Mountains of Madness – as well
as of his best poems, the The Fungi from Yuggoth, the
crystallization of ideas or themes he hoped to develop later in fiction.
It was also a time of many difficulties with editors of the few magazines
regularly publishing tales of the macabre.
His revision work included more and more tales that were
eventually to be looked upon as his own, such as The Curse of Yig
and The Mound, and his increasing correspondence delineates his
interest in manuscripts that merged into the range of his own creative
His letters – the windows to the world for him – were sometimes
voluminous indeed; in this volume a letter to Woodburn Harris, and another
to Frank Belknap Long, are the longest ever written, each setting down
significant facts of his background and genealogy, as well as of his life
as writer and man. In these letters Lovecraft sets forth how
inexpensively he lived, his views on marriage as a doomed social
institution, on the inevitable decline of art and literature, and explored
many other subjects with an easy erudition unknown to any of his
correspondents – Long, James F. Morton, Maurice W. Moe, Clark Ashton Smith,
Elizabeth Toldridge, August Derleth and such newcomers as Robert E.
Howard, Harris, and J. Vernon Shea.
He defined himself repeatedly as a “truth-seeker,” a rational
materialist in his philosophy, an “indifferentist” in his view of human
history, and a “cosmicist” in his overall conception of the known,
observable universe. The depth and variety of his insight have seldom
been equalled by the letter-writers of his time.
Selected Letters III (1929-1931). By H.P. Lovecraft, Edited by August Derleth and Donald
Wandrei. Sauk City, WI: Arkham House Publishers, Inc.; 1998; Hardcover.
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