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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


H. P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft at Last by H. P. Lovecraft, Willis Conover (Cooper Square Press) Fantasy‑horror writer HOWARD PHILLIPS LOVECRAFT (1890-­1937) was a true American original. His macabre tales spanned the gap between those of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. Typical Lovecraftian themes--evident in The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories and The Doom That Came to Sarnath and Other Stories‑deal with the powerlessness of the human race in a malevolent, godless universe; a fear of madness; and the downfall of civiliza­tion. His gods were cosmic entities that could, with a wave of their tentacles, enslave mankind or drive everyone insane.

Yet, while his writing could be categorized, Lovecraft the man remained a mystery. Some viewed him as an obscure pulp‑magazine writer and neurotic misanthrope, while others encountered a gifted author, witty conversa­tionalist, and generous friend and mentor. Here, in Lovecraft at Last, emerges a man who belies the former to reveal the latter. In 1936, fifteen‑year‑old Willis Conover began corre­sponding with Lovecraft‑about art, culture, ethics, architecture, religion‑and their friendship continued until the end of the author's life. Conover collected and edited the letters, producing this rare book (only 3,000 copies of the original edition were ever printed) that illuminates the writer in a new light. And through Conover's eyes, we see Lovecraft whole.

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