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Lord of a Visible World:
An Autobiography in Letters

By H.P. Lovecraft
Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz


Dust Jacket Text

A prolific and fascinating letter writer, the renowned science fiction author H. P. Lovecraft chronicled the most minute particulars of his life in his correspondence. Whether he is describing the antics of his favorite cats, evaluating baked beans or cheese, or debating the purchase of a suit, Lovecraft’s remarkable letters reveal much about him as a writer and as a man. They also outline his views on history, aesthetics, society, politics, and economics—among a myriad of subjects that engaged his wide-ranging intellect. This selection of Lovecraft letters and essays, some of which have never been published, bring to light much about the era, the circle in which he worked, and his candid and sometimes surprising reactions to the circumstances of his life.

H. P. LOVECRAFT (1890-1937) has achieved renown as the leading author of supernatural fiction in the twentieth century. His novels have been translated into a dozen languages, and his work has inspired many contemporary authors in the fields of horror and science fiction, including Stephen King, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, and Philip K. Dick.
     In Lord of a Visible World, the editors have amassed and arranged the letters of this prolific writer into the story of his life. The volume traces Lovecraft’s upbringing in Providence, Rhode Island, his involvement with the pulp magazine Weird Tales, his short-lived marriage, and his later status as the preeminent man of letters in his field.
     In addition to conveying the candid details of his life, the volume also traces the evolution of his wide-ranging opinions. Lovecraft shows himself to be deeply engaged in the social, political, and cultural milieu of his time.
     The editors, two of the leading Lovecraft scholars, have meticulously edited the text, transcribing the letters from manuscript sources and supplying explanatory annotations throughout. Lord of a Visible World is of interest to both the general reader and the scholar, presenting for the first time a well-rounded portrait, in his own words, of a writer whose work has fascinated millions of readers.

S.T. Joshi is the author of H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West, and other studies. David E. Schultz, a technical editor for an environmental engineering firm in Milwaukee, has prepared several editions of works by Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce.

Table of Contents

1. Childhood and Adolescence (1890–1914)
Ancestry; Infancy; Youthful Interest; The Loss of His Birthplace; “Blank” Period
2. Amateur Journalism (1914–1921)
A Permanent Amateur; The Providence Amateur Press Club; The Conservative; Amateur Controversies; Attempted Enlistment; Early Philosophical Views; Aryan Supremacy; Metrical Mechanic; Early Writings: Fiction; Discovery of Lord Dunsany; Dreams; Amatory Phenomena; Illness and Death of Lovecraft’s Mother
3. Expanding Horizons (1921–1924)
Romance with Sonia; Travels; Philosophical Development; Literary Development
4. Marriage and Exile (1924–1926)
Elopement; Job Prospects; Dieting; The Kalem Club; Robbed!; Clinton Street and Red Hook; Travels; Writings; Jews and Foreigners; Impending Return
5. Homecoming (1926–1930)
Paradise Regain’d; Reflections on Marriage; Reflections on New England; A Torrent of Fiction; Theories of Literature and the Weird; Further Philosophical Ruminations; Travels; Colleagues
6. The Old Gentleman (1931–1937)
Weird Fiction: Theory and Practice; Literary and Personal Setbacks; The Move to 66 College Street; Daily Life; Cats!; Travels; Revisionist; Continuing Philosophical Discussions; Literature versus Hackwork; Problems of Politics and Economics; Supporting Hitler; Late Work; Lovecraft as Mentor; The End
   Appendix: Some Notes on a Nonentity (1933)
   Glossary of Names
   Further Reading

Bibliographic Information

Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters. By H.P. Lovecraft, Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press; 2000.
Hardback: ISBN 0-8214-1332-5, 1.42" × 9.49" × 6.46", 424 pages.
Paperback: ISBN 0-8214-1333-3, 1.14" × 9.23" × 6.08", 424 pages.

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in hardback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or in paperback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

Other Editions

Other editions of this book include the Hippocampus Press edition.

  Return to Biographies This page last revised 4 September 2019.
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