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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


Back CoverText

H. P. Lovecraft’s letters are among the most remarkable literary documents of their time, and they are a major reason why he has become such an icon in contemporary culture.

He wrote tens of thousands of letters, some of them of great length; but more than that, these letters are incredibly revelatory in the depth of detail they provide for all aspects of his life, work, and thought.

This volume, first published in 2000, assembles generous extracts of Lovecraft’s letters covering the entirety of his life, from childhood until his death. He tells of his youthful interests (poetry, Greco-Roman mythology, science), his childhood friends, and the “blank” period of 1908–13, after he dropped out of high school. He emerged from his hermitry in 1914 by joining the amateur journalism movement, where he became a leading figure and was involved in numerous literary and personal controversies.

In 1921 Lovecraft became acquainted with Sonia Greene, whom he would marry in 1924. By that time, he had begun publishing in the pulp magazine Weird Tales. But his marriage was a failure: living in New York, he was unable [to] find a job and found the teeming city so different from the tranquility of his native Providence, R.I. Returning home in 1926, he embarked on a tremendous literary outburst, and over the next ten years wrote many of the stories that have ensured his literary immortality.

Lord of a Visible World is a riveting compilation that not only paints a full portrait of Lovecraft’s life, writings, and philosophical beliefs, but features the piquant and engaging prose characteristic of his letters. In this new edition, the editors have updated all references to current editions of his work and also exhaustively revised their notes and commentary.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations; Sources
[Biographical Notice]
I. Childhood and Adolescence (1890–1914)
Ancestry; Infancy; Youthful Interest; The Loss of His Birthplace; “Blank” Period (1908–1913)
II. 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
III. Expanding Horizons (1921–1924)
Romance with Sonia; Travels; Philosophical Development; Literary Development
IV 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
V. 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
VI. 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
Some Notes on a Nonentity
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. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2019; paperback; ISBN 978-1-61498-279-1; 378 pages.

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in paperback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Hippocampus Press.

Other Editions

Other editions of this book include the Ohio University Press edition.

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