Lord of a visible world: an autobiography in letters

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Ohio University Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 385 pages
5 Reviews
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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - RandyStafford - LibraryThing

My reactions to reading this autobiography in 2005. This autobiography of Lovecraft helps explain why he has attained the reputation he has today, why he was not forgotten. He was a charming ... Read full review

Review: Lord of a Visible World: An Autobiography in Letters

User Review  - John Leonard - Goodreads

Someone needs to turn this into a movie if they haven't done so already. It would probably be an art-house flick, but whatever. Read full review

Contents

Childhood and Adolescence 18901914
3
Amateur Journalism 19141921
37
Contents
81
Copyright

9 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2000)

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937 H. P. Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother was Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and his father was Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman for Gorham & Co. Silversmtihs. Lovecraft was reciting poetry at the age of two and when he was three years old, his father suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to Butler Hospital. He spent five years there before dying on July 19, 1898 of paresis, a form of neurosyphillis. During those five years, Lovecraft was told that his father was paralyzed and in a coma, which was not the case. His mother, two aunts and grandfather were now bringing up Lovecraft. He suffered from frequent illnesses as a boy, many of which were psychological. He began writing between the ages of six and seven and, at about the age of eight, he discovered science. He began to produce the hectographed journals, "The Scientific Gazette" (1899-1907) and "The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy" (1903-07). His first appearance in print happened, in 1906, when he wrote a letter on an astronomical matter to The Providence Sunday Journal. A short time later, he began writing a monthly astronomy column for The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner - a rural paper. He also wrote columns for The Providence Tribune (1906-08), The Providence Evening News (1914-18), The Asheville (N.C.) Gazette-News (1915). In 1904, his grandfather died and the family suffered severe financial difficulties, which forced him and his mother to move out of their Victorian home. Devastated by this, he apparently contemplated suicide. In 1908, before graduating from high school, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He didn't receive a diploma and failed to get into Brown University, both of which caused him great shame. Lovecraft was not heard from for five years, reemerging because of a letter he wrote in protest to Fred Jackson's love story in The Argosy. His letter was published in 1913 and caused great controversy, which was noted by Edward F. Daas, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA). Daas invited Lovecraft to join the UAPA, which he did in early 1914. He eventually became President and Official Editor of the UAPA and served briefly as President of the rival National Amateur Press Association (NAPA). He published thirteen issues of his own paper, The Conservative (1915-23) and contributed poetry and essays to other journals. He also wrote some fiction which titles include "The Beast in the Cave" (1905), "The Alchemist" (1908), "The Tomb" and "Dagon" (1917). In 1919, Lovecraft's mother was deteriorating, mentally and physically, and was admitted to Butler Hospital. On May 24, 1921, his mother died from a gall bladder operation. While attending an amateur journalism convention in Boston, Lovecraft met his future wife Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew. They were married on March 3, 1924 and Lovecraft moved to her apartment in Brooklyn. Sonia had a shop on Fifth Avenue that went bankrupt. In 1925, Sonia went to Cleveland for a job and Lovecraft moved to a smaller apartment in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn. In 1926, he decided to move back to Providence. Lovecraft had his aunts bar his wife, Sonia, from going to Providence to start a business because he couldn't have the stigma of a tradeswoman wife. They were divorced in 1929. After his return to Providence, he wrote his greatest fiction, which included the titles "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926), "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931), and "The Shadow Out of Time" (1934-35). In 1932, his aunt, Mrs. Clark, died; and he moved in with his other aunt, Mrs. Gamwell, in 1933. Suffering from cancer of the intestine, Lovecraft was admitted to Jane Brown Memorial Hospital and on March 15, 1937 he died.

DAVID E. SCHULTZ is a technical editor with an environmental engineering firm. He has edited a critical edition of H. P. Lovecraft's Commonplace Book (1987), and with S. T. Joshi has edited various annotated editions of Lovecraft's letters. He and Joshi also compiled Ambrose Bierce: A Bibliography of Primary Sources (Greenwood, 1999).

S. T. JOSHI is an authority on supernatural literature and the author or editor of numerous books, including An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia (Greenwood, 2001), The Modern Weird Tale (2001), H. P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996), and Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination (Greenwood, 1995).