Do you recognize this writer?
It's HP Lovecraft.
In the fantastic Lovecraft Remembered (Arkham House, '98) ...
... those who knew the man (Neighbors, Friends, Confidantes, Colleagues, Critics & Fans) reflect on every aspect of his work and persona. It's like a warm wake of one fondly remembered and treasured, a mind-boggling collection of rich words and wonders.
I unearthed this tome in a dusty, under-the-stairs book nook in San Francisco. It took my breath and hooked my imagination. The bookshop no longer exists.
Why, then, do I insist on visiting the building it once occupied whenever I have business or pleasure in the City on the Bay?
I don't know. Not for sure, anyway. But I think it has something to do with HP himself. Like no other dead writer, his spirit lingers like a welcome, purple bruise on the flesh of dark literature . At least for me, anyway. This book is a solid extension of the man, and a literary autopsy of a rich, troubled inner life that paralleled some of my own, and that of many other devotees, too, I'm sure.
There's a good reason why we all find ourselves bobbing in the same boat.
Upon hearing of HP's passing, the great Robert Bloch penned the following:
HP bruised Mr. Bloch, too.
Whenever I travel, even if I know there will be little time for reading, I take this book with me. Keeping it close maintains some kind of connection. A part of me clearly needs to be connected to HP. To his world. To his spirit of dedication to the word. To his creations.
This piece from August Derleth, who championed the writer like no other, raises the subject of HP's mother, and her obsession with her son's "awful" appearance.
Derleth expands on Mrs. Lovecraft's belief that her son was "hideous", giving us extraordinary insight into Lovecraft's upbringing and reclusive demeanor.
In "Lovecraft As I Know Him", HP's wife, Sonia H. Davis, also writes about HP's image of himself, and how the writer's mother molded that image:
Winfield Townley Scott, in the chapter, "His Own Most Fantastic Creation", wrote of the author's work and dietary habits prior to his journey north to the last Mountains of Madness.
Howard Lovecraft, the man who defined "Weird Tales", left a legacy with a tangible presence that is as strong today as it ever was.