Fritz Leiber and H.P. Lovecraft: Writers of the Dark

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Wildside Press LLC, Jan 1, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 323 pages
While Howard Phillips Lovecraft was closing the final chapter of his writing career, Fritz Reuter Leiber was only beginning to open his own. The year was 1936 and Jonquil Leiber, Fritz's first wife, sent a letter on her own initiative to Lovecraft, knowing that her husband had been an avid admirer of his work, ever since his first reading of "The Colour out of Space" and hoping that Lovecraft's presence in Fritz's slow-paced writing career might be the source of inspiration he so dearly needed. Lovecraft replied promptly on November 2 of that year, the seed of an invigorating correspondence, which lasted till Lovecraft's passing. Fritz Leiber and H.P. Lovecraft: Writers of the Dark presents Lovecraft's letters to Leiber, an impressive selection of Leiber's fiction which shows Lovecraft's influence, and a selection of Leiber's essays on Lovecraft and Matters Lovecraftian. Features an introduction by Ben J. S. Szumskyj and an afterword by S.T. Joshi.
 

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Contents

Adepts Gambit
67
The Demons of the Upper Air
127
The Sunken Land
133
Diary in the Snow
146
The Dreams of Albert Moreland
165
The Dead Man
178
A Bit of the Dark World
199
To Arkham and the Stars
225
Some Random Thoughts About Lovecrafts Writings
277
Leiber on Onderdonk
280
A Literary Copernicus
282
My Correspondence with Lovecraft
292
A Symposium
295
The Whisperer Reexamined
300
Through Hyperspace with Brown Jenkin
303
Wondrous and Terrible
313

The Terror from the Depths
233
ESSAYS
271
Suggestions for a Critical Appraisal
273
Lovecraft in My Life
318
AFTERWORD
322
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Fritz Reuter Leiber Jr. was born December 24, 1910, the son of a notable Shakespearean actor. He was a graduate of the University of Chicago where he had majored in psychology and physiology, and also attended Episcopal General Theological Seminary. Leiber was an Episcopal Minister from 1932 to 1933, but was encouraged to join his father's company, and toured with him in 1934, leaving two years later when he married in 1936. Leiber became an Editor with Consolidated Book Publishers in Chicago from 1937 to 1941. He was a Speech and Drama Instructor at Occidental College in Los Angeles from 1941 to 1942, a Precision Inspector at Douglas Air Craft Company, Santa Monica from 1942 to 1944, an Associate Editor for Science Digest Magazine from 1944 to 1956, and a Freelance Writer from 1956 to1992. Leiber's interest in writing came from correspondences with a a close college friend, Harry Fischer. Together they developed alter ego characters: Nordic Fafhrd a tall gangly limbed individual from 'the North' - based on Leiber, and the effervescent Grey Mouser - based on Fischer. Leiber first featured the characters in a story, "Adepts Gambit". The story was rejected, but the two characters reappeared in his first published story "Two Sought Adventure", which was published in Unknown magazine John W Campbell, of Astounding Science Fiction was Leiber's first editor. Leiber's first major work as an SF author came with his novel Gather, Darkness! in 1943, concerning the overthrow of a religious dictatorship. An anthology, Ill Met in Lankhmar, published in 1970, received the Hugo science fiction award. Leiber also received a Life Award for his contribution to his field, presented at the Second World Fantasy Convention. He regularly contributed a column to the SF trade magazine, Locus. Leiber was a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, and a Lecturer for Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshops at Clarion State College and San Francisco State University. In his lifetime, Leiber won 7 Hugo Awards and a Hugo Grandmaster of Fantasy Award , 2 Nebula Awards and a Nebula Grandmaster Award, an August Derleth Award, 3 World Fantasy and one British Fantasy Awards, a Clark Ashton Award, a Balrog Award, a Locus Award, 3 Gigamesh Awards, an Anne Radcliffe Award, a University of Chicago Proffesional Achievemant Citation, and a Bram Stoker Life Achievement Award. He was also nominated for 7 other Nebula Awards, as well as 4 Lovecraft's and one Second Stage Lensman at Moscon. Leiber has appeared in television, film, on radio and in theater, and has written over 40 books. Fritz Leiber died September 5, 1992 at the age of 81.

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, re-emerging 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.

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