A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time

A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time

A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time

A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time


H. P. Lovecraft has come to be recognized as the leading author of supernatural fiction in the twentieth century. But how did a man who died in poverty, with no book of his stories published in his lifetime, become such an icon in horror literature? S. T. Joshi, the leading authority on Lovecraft, traces in detail the course of Lovecraft’s life and shows how Lovecraft was engaged in the political, economic, social and intellectual currents of his time.


I do not believe that much needs to be said here regarding the scope and overall purpose of this volume. I have sought to trace, in some detail, the life of Howard Phillips Lovecraft, to supply some account of his major writings, and to give at least an outline of the philosophical thought that structures his work and in accordance with which he led his life. All these features have been treated in more detail elsewhere, but readers may find their fusion in this work of some benefit.

I have been involved in the study of Lovecraft for two and a half decades, and in that interim have incurred more debts of gratitude from colleagues than I could possibly repay or even record. When I first began to take a scholarly interest in Lovecraft, I was guided by Dirk W. Mosig, J. Vernon Shea, and George T. Wetzel; other colleagues such as R. Boerem, Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, Richard L. Tierney, Scott Connors, Matthew H. Onderdonk, Peter Cannon, and David E. Schultz also helped me considerably. Marc A. Michaud's Necronomicon Press offered me abundant opportunities to expand my interests into realms I might otherwise not have pursued.

Much of my work on Lovecraft has of course been done at the John Hay Library of Brown University, the largest repository of Lovecraft material in the world. Its assistant librarian, John H. Stanley, has been of invaluable assistance in countless ways, as have such other librarians there as Jennifer B. Lee and Jean Rainwater. I have also done much work at the Rhode Island Historical Society, the Providence Public Library, the New York Public Library, the New York University Library, the Columbia University Library, and elsewhere.

The entire manuscript of this book has been read by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, and Steven J. Mariconda, both of whom (but Faig in particular) offered a great many useful suggestions. Other facts, large and small, have been supplied by Donald R. Burleson, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Perry M. Grayson, T. E. D. Klein, Dan Lorraine . . .

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