An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia

By S. T. Joshi; David E. Schultz | Go to book overview
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Preface

During the past three decades, scholarly work on H.P.Lovecraft (1890–1937) has expanded exponentially in every phase of research. Building upon the early efforts of George T.Wetzel, Matthew H.Onderdonk, and Fritz Leiber, such scholars as Kenneth W.Faig, Jr., and R.Alain Everts revolutionized the understanding of Lovecraft’s life, while Dirk W.Mosig, Donald R.Burleson, and many others examined his tales, poems, essays, and letters with perspicuity and precision. It was inevitable that these endeavors—resulting in numerous capable general studies of Lovecraft, 1 the first comprehensive Lovecraft bibliography, 2 the foundation of the journal Lovecraft Studies as a forum for scholarly research, the preparation of textually accurate editions of Lovecraft’s stories, and, as a culmination, the publication of an exhaustive biography and an equally exhaustive collection of memoirs of Lovecraft 3 —would result in a marked rise in Lovecraft’s literary recognition as a writer, thinker, and man of letters.

And yet, much of this research is scattered heterogeneously in small-press or academic publications, many out of print and inaccessible. It is in the hope that a gathering of widely dispersed information on Lovecraft will engender even more penetrating scholarship and also provide Lovecraft’s many devotees with the tools for a more informed appreciation of his work that the present volume has been assembled.

In a compilation of this kind, the chief focus must be upon Lovecraft’s literary work. For every such item, we have supplied (1) the word count; (2) the date of writing, as well as can be ascertained; and information on (3) its first publication; (4) its first appearance in a volume by Lovecraft; and (5) its appearance in textually corrected or annotated editions. Lovecraft is best known for his tales of horror and the supernatural; accordingly, the compilers have provided detailed plot synopses of every fictional work—stories, sketches, collaborative works, “revisions” or ghostwritten tales—written by Lovecraft from the age of seven until his death. Only brief critical commentary is supplied, since we feel it is not

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