I Am Providence: The H.P. Lovecraft Thread
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239 posts in this topic

On 4/22/2021 at 11:04 AM, OtherEric said:

Another Lovecraft book from 1929, this features the second publication of "The Call of Cthulhu" ever.  It is also, I believe, only the second time a Lovecraft story was anthologized in the US, after "The Horror at Red Hook" in the US edition of "Not at Night!"

Given how much "The Call of Cthulhu" is considered, if not Lovecraft's best story, his signature work, it's surprising that this is the only time it was reprinted in anything other than a Lovecraft or Mythos specific collection in English until the 70's, as near as I can tell.  Unlike most of Lovecraft's better known works and quite a few of his lesser ones, it was never reprinted in Weird Tales, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Avon Fantasy Reader, or any other magazine that I know of.

 

Good observation! I guess "Cthulhu" didn't climb to the top of the Lovecraft oeuvre until the paperback reprints of the '60s.

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2 minutes ago, Sarg said:

Good observation! I guess "Cthulhu" didn't climb to the top of the Lovecraft oeuvre until the paperback reprints of the '60s.

To be fair, it did appear in a lot of Lovecraft collections over that period.  But it didn't show up places where somebody not specifically looking for Lovecraft would find it for a surprisingly long time.

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16 hours ago, 50YrsCollctngCmcs said:

Does anyone know if recognition of Lovecraft declined substantially in the forties and fifties. I became aware of his work in high school in the mid seventies and remember reading one of his tales on the school bus; they proved an apt metaphor for a nerd surrounded by hormone fueled adolescents! As I recall they were never very accessible and I must have read a tale in some anthology and probably became aware of his tales reading the Comics Buyer's Guide.

I can't recall any films based on his work that are memorable though I know there are some out there.

Just curious about this most unusual author.

Actually, Lovecraft's reputation improved substantially in the 1940s. His first mass market hardcover collection Best Supernatural Stories (World Publishing) went through four printings from 1945-1950 and sold over 73,000 copies. He also began appearing in widely-distributed anthologies in the US such as Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural (Modern Library, 1944). In the 1950s, he was translated into French and Spanish. The rest is history. 

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2 hours ago, Surfing Alien said:

I almost forgot this non-specialty hardback when I was enumerating Lovecraft's popular editions from the 1940's. This one by World Publishing was the only affordable hardback collection I found as a young collector and it had quite a lineup. It's not super valuable like the Arkhams but it is the "good paper" version. I've seen the cheap paper version and they get pretty brittle.

 

I've got the first and the paper is pretty fragile, that's for sure.  Not so bad that I'm scared to read it, but it's not a book I'll loan out.  I think the good paper edition is probably more desirable than the 2nd and 3rd printings, not sure how it compares to the first.

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1 hour ago, OtherEric said:

I've got the first and the paper is pretty fragile, that's for sure.  Not so bad that I'm scared to read it, but it's not a book I'll loan out.  I think the good paper edition is probably more desirable than the 2nd and 3rd printings, not sure how it compares to the first.

So, is the "good paper" the 4th print? I have no idea which it is but i've always seen it go for a premium over the brittle paged editions

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2 hours ago, Surfing Alien said:

So, is the "good paper" the 4th print? I have no idea which it is but i've always seen it go for a premium over the brittle paged editions

Yes, the good paper is the 4th and final print. It's not stated but has WP 9-50 on the copyright page according to ISFDB.  The first 3 were done under wartime paper restrictions.  I wouldn't automatically call the first 3 editions "brittle paged", though.  Cheap, Fragile, and Wartime would all be acceptable, but my 1st isn't particularly brittle.

According to ISFDB, the 2nd printing is also mislabeled as a 1st printing, but the publication date is September, not April.  Does anybody have a copy of the 2nd edition to verify?

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7 hours ago, OtherEric said:

I wouldn't automatically call the first 3 editions "brittle paged", though.  Cheap, Fragile, and Wartime would all be acceptable, but my 1st isn't particularly brittle.

Sorry, didn't mean to get down on your paper lol It makes sense that the Wartime editions had lower grade paper. Mine does have the WP 9-50 - So the 4th is actually from 1950. That's pretty interesting. 73K copies is pretty good for a hard back in those days.

 

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On 4/24/2021 at 7:40 PM, Surfing Alien said:

That's very cool. Although I played on Parkside, I lived just around the corner from the church and it was a landmark of my young life. I went in the cemetary a few times but only later, we were way to spooked to go in there as children! I am sure Lovecraft visited the church as he mentions it in "The Horror at Red Hook". Flatbush Avenue, where the church stands, is only a block away from Martense Street. Here's a view of the church from the graveyard, for old times sake...

 

Read the Horror at Red Hook over the weekend! Very interesting and fun to read about the old Dutch Church in the text!

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On 4/30/2021 at 1:07 PM, RedFury said:

Here's a book from Lovecraft's personal library, with his name and address written inside the front cover in his own hand.  The book is The Works of Virgil, and is mentioned in his letters. 

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That is a fantastic artifact! Did he always sign his personal effects and letters as "H.P."?

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1 hour ago, 50YrsCollctngCmcs said:

That is a fantastic artifact! Did he always sign his personal effects and letters as "H.P."?

Yes, when it was a serious signature, it was always "H.P. Lovecraft".  But informally he would sign his eldritch name "Ech Pi El" to friends like Clark Ashton Smith, who was "Klarkash-ton".  Or other times he's sign "Grandpa" or "Grandpa Theobald".  He had nicknames for all his friends, and he would refer to them by those nicknames in letters to others.  One common thing he would do is Latinize their names...Frank Belknap Long became "Belknapius".  Or he would make a pun of their name...Donald Wandrei became "Melmoth the Wandrei", and pun on Melmoth the Wanderer.  He liked to joke around quite a bit. 

Edited by RedFury
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