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Lovecraft Letters Volume 2:
Letters from New York

Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz


From the Introduction

There are few more poignant statements in H.P. Lovecraft’s fiction than the opening passage of “He” (1925):

My coming to New York had been a mistake; for whereas I had looked for poignant wonder and inspiration in the teeming labyrinths of ancient streets that twist endlessly from forgotten courts and squares and waterfronts to courts and squares and waterfronts equally forgotten, and in the Cyclopean modern towers and pinnacles that rose blackly Babylonian under waning moons, I had found instead only a sense of horror and oppression which threatened to master, paralyse, and annihilate me.
. . . Garish daylight shewed only squalor and alienage and the noxious elephantiasis of climbing, spreading stone where the moon had hinted of loveliness and elder magic; and the throngs of people that seethed through the flume-like streets were squat, swarthy strangers with hardened faces and narrow eyes, shrewd strangers without dreams and without kinship to the scenes about them, who could never mean aught to a blue-eyed man of the old folk, with the love of fair green lanes and white New England village steeples in his heart.
This passage could stand as a virtual abstract of the present volume, whose letters provide masses of documentary evidence to support the despairing reflections of Lovecraft’s narrator. And yet, by a bitter irony, it seems that Lovecraft required the anguish of two years in the hated metropolis to make possible the final decade of his life—indeed, of his literary career. Some of the truest words uttered about Lovecraft come from his lifelong friend W. Paul Cook, who knew him both before and after his “New York exile” of 1924–1926: “He came back to Providence a human being—and what a human being! He had been tried in the fire and came out pure gold.”


  • Introduction
  • A Note on This Edition
  • Letters
    • 1922
    • 1924
    • 1925
    • 1926
  • Glossary of Names
  • Index

Bibliographic Information

Lovecraft Letters Volume 2: Letters from New York. Edited by S.T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR: Night Shade Books; 2005; ISBN 1-892389-37-1 (hard cover).

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in hardcover from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Night Shade Books.

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