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Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 04:51PM
I am one-third through the book, and I find it excellent--nay, I find it enthralling. I disagree with much, and at times you take a scolding tone (or so it seems) toward HPL that reminds me of de Camp. But, unlike Donald Tyson's THE DREAM WORLD OF H. P. LOVECRAFT, which has some very weird misunderstandings of Lovecraft's tales, and emphasizes Lovecraft's freakishness, his being a complete Outsider from the rest of humanity, you have carefully, intimately studied Lovecraft and know your facts; and your intelligent critiques of Lovecraft have no false note, as we find in Tyson or in the completely absurd and ignorant book by Bob Curran, A HAUNTED MIND (wherein the author made up lies and myths so as to paint Lovecraft as a grotesque freak).

Your tone toward Lovecraft as a person turns me off exceedingly, but it is also a fascinating display of one man's reaction to Lovecraft, as artist and human. What I mostly disagree with is that you seem to want to paint Lovecraft as a man who did not like women, or who had "issues" with women; and this is nonsense because Lovecraft was genuinely fond of women, admired women and had many female friends with whom he met or corresponded.

Then there are things like the Shoggoths as representation of HPL's racism or as emblems of excrement; and this reminds me of a book I read on THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE wherein the brown fog mentioned in the story, coupled with the fact that Hyde enters and exists the laboratory through a back door, is emblematic of the book's "sodomitic" obsession. To which I sneer and say "Nay."

Okay, back to reading.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 05:29PM
Boy, you read fast. Amazing.

The idea that Stevenson's Mr. Hyde cloaked some unnamable horror or vice was widely recognized, even at the time his story was first published. Gerard Manley Hopkins, for example, in his letters, rightly points out that Hyde's trampling of a little girl in the street was intended as a gloss over some parallel, but unprintable crime (presumably one with sadistic and pedophilic overtones), consistent with Hyde's brute sensuality and animality. I doubt that Hopkins had any sort of critical agenda. Douglas Shant-Tucci, too (who is an unabashedly pro-gay writer) mentions both Stevenson and Mr. Hyde in his discussion of gay symbolism in Victorian literature. (See Boston Bohemia, Vol. 1). HPL's works continue this Victorian tradition of using horror to outwardly convey inward psychological states.

The connection between shoggoths and excremental imagery was first pointed out by Robert Waugh, in his essay "The Subway and the Shoggoth" (1997?), so I didn't think it was in any way controversial. The parallels between shoggoths, who are both black slaves and slime creatures, and HPL's own pro-slavery and blacks-as-slime comments, are really very obvious.

If HPL didn't have issues with women, his marriage would have been a huge success (it wasn't); his relationship with his mother would have been normal (it wasn't). Loveman once commented that HPL seemed ill-at-ease and overly formal with women.

Hope you survive reading it; am curious to know what you will think of the whole---



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 15 Jun 13 | 05:45PM by Gavin Callaghan.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 05:46PM
The failure of HPL's marriage had nothing to do with his "issues" with women but absolutely with his lack of being able to find employment and his racism. Sonia wrote to Loveman that is was Lovecraft's constant "harping" about Jews that effectively ended their marriage and caused her to leave him.

The point about shoggoths being black slaves seems obvious to us now, but I cannot imagine Lovecraft intended it to have any such meaning. J. Vernon Shea used to delight in telling me that Shub-Niggurath actually meant "sh-t-nigger-ass." I think we need to be cautious about saying what Lovecraft "meant" to be saying or suggesting with his imagery and word choice. It makes for at-times fascinating speculation, but most such commentary seem to reveal aspects of the commentator's agenda rather than any concrete proof of what Lovecraft was aiming at in his fiction. His intentions as artist, as author, were solidly defined by him in essays and correspondence.

The book is wonderful. I shall give it a five-star review on Amazon.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 05:55PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The book is wonderful. I shall give it a
> five-star review on Amazon.

After what you said earlier, I'm worried! I hope this isn't a "pity five-star review"!!!!!! Only give it if you think it deserves it!!!!!!

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 06:12PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The book is wonderful. I shall give it a
> five-star review on Amazon.

Thank you. I will deposit the agreed-upon amount, in unmarked bills, in the specified location--------


wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>>>The failure of HPL's marriage had nothing to do with his "issues" with women but absolutely with his lack of being able to find employment and his racism. Sonia wrote to Loveman that is was Lovecraft's constant "harping" about Jews that effectively ended their marriage and caused her to leave him.


Psychologically, marriage represents emancipation from the parent. Replacement of the mother or father with a new sexual symbol, as part of the transition from childhood to adulthood. But HPL refused to resume sexual relations with his wife Sonia after their separation, even after she asked him to make love to her. No economic factors applied to HPL's refusal -but psychological factors did. This, in conjunction with HPL's repeated invocations of the Terrible Mother archetype throughout his weird fiction (most importantly the Magna Mater), suggests an overt devotion to the maternal which wrecked his belated attempts at adult sexual emancipation. (Hence Derby's horror at Asenath's attempt to "control his body", etc. -the wife's sexual role being usurped by the all-powerful Mother.) There are plenty of other female archetypes to choose from: Celestial Goddesses of Wisdom (Sophia, Norea), the pretty young witch; the literature of the fantastic is filled with them. But HPL's fiction is centered upon the all-devouring and aged mother of the inner earth. How could Sonia compete with that?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 Jun 13 | 06:59PM by Gavin Callaghan.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 07:28PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The failure of HPL's marriage had nothing to do
> with his "issues" with women but absolutely with
> his lack of being able to find employment and his
> racism. Sonia wrote to Loveman that is was
> Lovecraft's constant "harping" about Jews that
> effectively ended their marriage and caused her to
> leave him.

One also needs to recall an early letter of HPL's to his mother (I think it's preserved in Selected Letters I), in which he makes an anti-Semitic joke with his mother. (Some Jewish tailors made HPL a new suit for an after-dinner speaking event; HPL jokes to his mother: "To think I owe my post-prandial triumph to a bunch of Jews!" [paraphrase from my memory].) Clearly, HPL's issues with Jews were something he shared with his mother. One could extrapolate, and say it was part of his closeness with her and his connection with her. And if HPL's divorce from Sonia was in some way related to his anti-Semitism, it may also have been related to his mother as well.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 15 June, 2013 11:56PM
My review is up on Amazon.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 17 June, 2013 06:28PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> My review is up on Amazon.

I read it WP, and am very thankful. I realize we don't see eye-to-eye on every issue, but you've been more than generous in your review---

sincerely,

GDC

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 17 June, 2013 06:33PM
Thanks also to Phillip A. Ellis. Your gift should be arriving soon!

Ron Fortier also said he would write a review for his pulp reviews blog, but he hasn't posted it yet. Robin Snyder also gave the book a brief plug in The Comics newsletter.

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 18 June, 2013 04:04AM
Thankee, Gavin!

There is evidence that the racism of Lovecraft was shared with his family. Re: "On the Creation of Niggers", it was preserved as a copy, not an autograph ms, so that it is very likely HPL shared it around his family. Its lack of publication until recently can be read as evidence that it was disavowed, yet it was preserved. It is possible that one of HPL's aunts preserved the remaining copy; it is equally possible HPL did--there is a lack of evidence either way. Re: the sharing with the family--that's a speculation Joshi makes independently.

Phillip

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Michaeljohn (IP Logged)
Date: 24 June, 2013 03:55AM
I know. But I begged and begged and Waugh relented. I'm kind of the opposite of an intellectual bully. An intellectual whiner?





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Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2013 03:42AM
G'day!

Gavin: a certain book arrived, holding the hands of two others in tow. Thank you! :)

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2013 05:14PM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> G'day!
>
> Gavin: a certain book arrived, holding the hands
> of two others in tow. Thank you! :)

Hi there--- glad it arrived safely. That took quite a while. It's hard to imagine how far away Australia is from here. A world away!

Re: HPL book by myself
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2013 01:40AM
It doesn't help that the post can be so damned variable at times.

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