O’Brien, Edward J[oseph Harrington] (1890–1941).Anthologist and literary critic. HPL admired his annual series, The Best Short Stories…(1915f), believing it to be superior to another series, Blanche Colton Williams’s O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories (1919f), which HPL felt reflected commercial rather than literary values. O’Brien cited HPL in the volumes for 1924 (“The Picture in the House” [one star]), 1928 (“The Colour out of Space” [three stars]), and 1929 (“The Dunwich Horror” [three stars], “The Silver Key” [one star]); he published HPL’s “Biographical Notice” in the 1928 volume (it was not repeated in 1929, as such biographies were published only for first-time recipients of three-star ratings). HPL admired O’Brien’s The Dance of the Machines: The American Short Story and the Industrial Age (1929), which HPL deemed “a splendid expose of the vulgar shallowness, insincerity, and worthlessness of American commercial fiction under the false-standarded conditions of the present” (SL 4.91).
O’Brien, “Kid.” In “Herbert West—Reanimator,” a semi-professional boxer (presumably Irish but with “a most un-Hibernian hooked nose,” suggesting that he may actually be Jewish) who inadvertently kills Buck Robinson, an African American, in an informal bout in Bolton, Mass.
“Observations on Several Parts of America.” Essay (9,700 words); probably written in the fall of 1928. First published in Marginalia (as “Observations on Several Parts of North America”); rpt. MW.
The first of HPL’s several travelogues, which cover his annual spring and summer voyages; written in the form of an open letter to Maurice W.Moe and meant to be circulated to HPL’s other colleagues (hence it exists as a typescript rather than as an autograph ms.). It deals with HPL’s arrival in Brooklyn in the spring of 1928, progressing through his travels to the Hudson River region, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, Vt. (Vrest Orton’s home near Brattleboro), Athol (W.