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Old 20th October 2008, 11:22 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Lovecraft's letters

This was touched upon briefly in another thread, with valuable replies I won't reproduce here. I only wanted to raise the issue again, separately. I've been reading the excellent Collected Essays volumes, and Joshi's constant references to Lovecraft's letters make one want to find out more. Now, Ningauble, when replying in that previous thread mentioned that "Hippocampus Press has plans for a complete series of HPL's letters, in 20-25 volumes" - although I can't find anything regarding this anywhere else. This would indeed be quite a mammoth undertaking. One wonders how long such a project would take to completion.

So, my question from that old thread still stands: how feasible is it to collect all of Lovecraft's extant letters? It would be quite wonderful, should Hippocampus Press go through with this series to the end, because there are so many different volumes of letters already released by various publishes, and abridges, as has been stated.
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Old 21st October 2008, 05:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

How feasible? Difficult to say. It would be a massive undertaking, as what still exists would fill close to 100 volumes (unless I'm badly mistaken). There's also the fact of the legal questions about publishing some of this material, as the Lovecraft estate has been a tangled legal question for a very long time. Though finally settled some years ago, getting the rights to publish all of these might also be a massive (not to say expensive) undertaking, as well. However, a goodly percentage might still make it into print during my (or your) lifetime....

In the meantime, it seems that a fairly large-sized collection of such is published at least once a year, sometimes more (O, Fortunate Floridian and the Lovecraft/Derleth correspondence came out, iirc, within a year of each other, for instance, and both of those contain quite respectable amounts -- between the three volumes, they are almost as long again as the Selected Letters series....)
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Old 21st October 2008, 05:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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Originally Posted by pablo View Post
This was touched upon briefly in another thread, with valuable replies I won't reproduce here. I only wanted to raise the issue again, separately. I've been reading the excellent Collected Essays volumes, and Joshi's constant references to Lovecraft's letters make one want to find out more. Now, Ningauble, when replying in that previous thread mentioned that "Hippocampus Press has plans for a complete series of HPL's letters, in 20-25 volumes" - although I can't find anything regarding this anywhere else.
It has been announced only in the EODapa. That's the plan or wish, anyway -- we shall have to wait and see whether it is doable.

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This would indeed be quite a mammoth undertaking. One wonders how long such a project would take to completion.
Quite some time, I guess. If the CAS/HPL correspondence is published when planned, six volumes will have been released by 2010. But I'm a patient man. I've been waiting for Tierney's Drums of Chaos since 1994.
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Old 21st October 2008, 05:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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How feasible? Difficult to say. It would be a massive undertaking, as what still exists would fill close to 100 volumes (unless I'm badly mistaken).
In Yog Radio #29, STJ says that the total of the extant letters is about 4,000,000 words, so 20-25 volumes isn't impossible (it's probably "25" rather than "20", since the projected Hippocampus Press series includes replies wherever those are available).

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There's also the fact of the legal questions about publishing some of this material, as the Lovecraft estate has been a tangled legal question for a very long time. Though finally settled some years ago, getting the rights to publish all of these might also be a massive (not to say expensive) undertaking, as well. However, a goodly percentage might still make it into print during my (or your) lifetime....
Since this is previously unpublished material, I think other rules apply.

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In the meantime, it seems that a fairly large-sized collection of such is published at least once a year, sometimes more (O, Fortunate Floridian and the Lovecraft/Derleth correspondence came out, iirc, within a year of each other, for instance, and both of those contain quite respectable amounts -- between the three volumes, they are almost as long again as the Selected Letters series....)
The REH/HPL correspondence is slated for next year, and Messrs. Joshi & Schultz are hoping to have the CAS/HPL correspondence ready for 2010.
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Old 21st October 2008, 05:44 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

What gives me pause is lack of any volume designation on these books, like for the essays. So, in my understanding, there are only three principal publications, right?

Essential Solitude: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth
The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (forthcoming)
O Fortunate Floridian: H.P. Lovecraft’s Letters to R.H. Barlow
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Old 21st October 2008, 07:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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What gives me pause is lack of any volume designation on these books, like for the essays.
As I said, it's a wish -- we'll have to see if it materialises.

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So, in my understanding, there are only three principal publications, right?

Essential Solitude: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth
The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard (forthcoming)
O Fortunate Floridian: H.P. Lovecraft’s Letters to R.H. Barlow
Night Shade Books has Mysteries of Time and Spirit: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei and Letters from New York too. Hippocampus Press already has Letters to Rheinhart Kleiner and Letters to Alfred Galpin from a few years back. Ohio State University released a very nice "autobiography" of Lovecraft consisting of bits and pieces of letters pasted together, called Lord of a Visible World. And Wildside Press has Fritz Leiber and H. P. Lovecraft: Writers of the Dark, which among other things contains Lovecraft's letters to Leiber.

Those are the ones I think are in print.
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Old 21st October 2008, 08:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

It would be a bit difficult to divide these up with the same sort of system you have with the Collected Essays, as those are done thematically; whereas most of the volumes of letters will be to individual correspondents and span several years to as much as two decades or more. Therefore, they couldn't be published chronologically nor thematically, and giving a numerical title to collections of letters to a particular correspondent is more likely to cause confusion than simply mentioning the particular correspondent in the title (or subtitle).
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Old 21st October 2008, 09:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

Another that you may not have noticed, and may be interested in, Pablo, is this:

Lovecraft's New York Circle: The Kalem Club, 1924-1927 - Hippocampus Press

While this does not hold HPL's letters, it does contain those of another member of the Kalems, and makes a very good companion piece to HPL's Letters from New York....

And, if you're interested in further seeing the workings of this and the Weird Tales circle, you might also look into the Selected Letters of Clark Ashton Smith and the Collected Letters of Robert E. Howard (3 volumes)....
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Old 21st October 2008, 10:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

Well-just think what HPL would think about us,trying to publish his private corrspondence.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 04:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

Considering he also read several collections of correspondence by people he admired, I doubt he'd have too much trouble with it (though he might want some particular personal things edited a bit). His few comments (that I can recall) on what posterity might make of him -- if it considered him at all -- was more one of amusement than anything else... though he did express dismay at what an ass (he felt) he made of himself in his early letter to Farnsworth Wright....
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Old 22nd October 2008, 05:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

My gosh I only came across this thread now. Just thinking of the task of putting all of Lovecraft's correspondence into a single collection makes my head reel. That would be some kind of achievement.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 10:21 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

and didnt he make himself said animal in said lettr?Ive never read it/heard of it,so I dont know.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 03:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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His few comments (that I can recall) on what posterity might make of him -- if it considered him at all -- was more one of amusement than anything else...
What did he write about that?
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Old 22nd October 2008, 04:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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and didnt he make himself said animal in said lettr?Ive never read it/heard of it,so I dont know.
I wouldn't quite say that. It was a bit stiff and formal, and a bit pompous and callow; but it also had quite a bit of interest to it. The entire text (plus his reaction to seeing it again after so many years) can be found in Lovecraft at Last, by HPL and Willis Connover.

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What did he write about that?
I don't recall the exact quotes at the moment, and am going into work shortly (so don't have the time to look them up), but there were only one or two comments which might apply here, and in general it seemed more a doubt that anyone would ever consider him worth the bother and a somewhat amused speculation as to what they might make of it all if they did. Nothing particularly specific, just vague wondering with a tone of amusement at the prospect....
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Old 22nd October 2008, 07:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Lovecraft's letters

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though he did express dismay at what an ass (he felt) he made of himself in his early letter to Farnsworth Wright....
... Edwin Baird.
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