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New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 01:38PM
I had this volume on pre-order at AmazonUSA, but then I read S. T.'s blog, which was a response to a review of the book by Jess Nevins, that appeared in LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS and was reprinted at Salon.com. S. T.'s response to the review is that is "has more than a few remarks that are either bizarre, wrongheaded, or plainly false." Joshi then points out that, for the texts of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS and "The Shadow out of Time," the book's editor, Roger Luckhurst, has returned to using the mutilated texts as they appeared in ASTOUNDING STORIES, where HPL's lengthy paragraphs were stupidly divided into shorter paragraphs. In his Note on the Text, Luckhurst writes: "I have chosen to reprint the original pulp versions of the tales with regard to paragraphing, in order to retain some of the pulp energy that ASTOUNDING STORIES wanted to inject into Lovecraft's tales." Peter Cannon, in his review of the book at Publishers Weekly, suggests "that the magazine's columnar format dictated the re-paragraphing." What the hell is "pulp energy"? Lovecraft abhorred the treatment of his work by ASTOUNDING. So, reluctantly, I cancelled my pre-order of ye book on Amazon, where it is due to be available next month. But there is an allure to new editions of Lovecraft's tales that is like a drug to me. I went to AmazonUK to see if there were reviews of the book, and saw that the book had already been published in the UK and could be order's there--and so I order'd it. I also wrote a wee review based on what could read from the book on Amazon's "Look Inside" feature.

An Oxford hardcover edition of Lovecraft's tales is one more important component to HPL's rising importance as an important American author. It is a beautiful book, solidly made, with lovely gold end papers and a gold sewn-in book ribbon. Luckhurst's Introduction is very good indeed, and his notes seem excellent (although he seems a bit snide toward S. T. at times; at one point, in a note for "At the Mountains of Madness," we have: "at this point, STJ adds a 'lost' paragraph..."--hmm...) Handsome as the book is, I cannot recommend it, and will probably give my copy to S. T. if he doesn't get the review copy that he has requested from Oxford. After he has examined the book, S. T. will come to my pad to discuss it on a YouTube vlog. The texts seems mostly sound, but there are some errors, including the notorious "silent stutter in darkness" in "The Horror at Red Hook," which should be "silent strutter" (one cannot stutter silently, hello?). The inclusion of "Red Hook" as opening story is also a very poor editorial choice, as the story is little more than a boring poor man's version of THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD. Better he should have used "The Music of Erich Zann" or "The Outsider," or both.

So, it's nice to see an Oxford edition of H. P. Lovecraft, but one wishes they could have found a more qualified editor for such an important book.

Contents:
Introduction &c
The Horror at Red Hook
The Call of Cthulhu
The Colour out of Space
The Dunwich Horror
The Whisperer in Darkness
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dreams in the Witch House
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Shadow out of Time
Appendix: Introduction from "Supernatural Horror in Literature"
Explanatory Notes

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 02:21PM
Yes, well, god forbid that somebody other than Joshi should be allowed to edit a Lovecraft book.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 04:09PM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yes, well, god forbid that somebody other than
> Joshi should be allowed to edit a Lovecraft book.


I hardly think that's the problem; many an editor has done quite well on that front. The problem here is the return to mangled and poorly edited texts, texts that HPL himself repudiated -- to the point with At the Mountains of Madness of saying that he viewed it as not having been published at all -- and the snide tone of doubt implied by that "'lost'", when what has been restored to the text was taken from HPL's own manuscripts backed by his restorations (not entirely complete) he penciled in on the copies of Astounding. While there may be valid reasons for the choice of text, given Oxford's tendency to attempt to represent a writer's final preferences, and that rather oddball swipe at the restorations STJ brought about, I'd say there's some valid criticism of the editing job here.

It reminds me very much of the Penguin editions of Poe (The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket), where the editor, Harold Beaver, had some extremely quirky views of Poe and his work, continuing to lean heavily on the Freudian interpretations, as well as subtly (and at times not so subtly) deriding Poe and, for that matter, anyone who saw in the man anything but a rather perfervid hack.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 04:17PM
I feel I own enough collections of HPL at this point... but thanks for the heads up, WP! "Pulp energy," my arse! The only one that beckons is one day I'd like to get The Outsider and Others... one day...

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 07:39PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:

> The inclusion of "Red Hook" as opening story is
> also a very poor editorial choice, as the story is
> little more than a boring poor man's version of
> THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD. Better he should
> have used "The Music of Erich Zann" or "The
> Outsider," or both.

Wilum: I fail to see much resemblance between "The Horror at Red Hook" and THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD. Care to elaborate?

Thanks,

Jim

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 29 May, 2013 07:51PM
I am presently trying to write a new portion of my next book's novella, but later on I'll try to comment. The resemblances are abundant: the links to a kind of satanism, Robert Suydam as early version of Joseph Curwen (practicing daemonology, his seduction and fatal marriage to an innocent young woman, his underground lair where he resurrects ye dead, &c &c). See also Joshi's Notes to "Red Hook" in ye Penguin Classics edition, THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH HOUSE AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 09:57AM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> the book's editor, Roger Luckhurst, has returned to using the mutilated texts as they
> appeared in ASTOUNDING STORIES, where HPL's lengthy paragraphs were stupidly divided into shorter paragraphs.

I think the re-paragraphing is not even the major problem of these pulp versions, but the various cuts and other alterations. The proper place to retain their "pulp energy" would be in a facsimile reprint of the Astounding appearances.

The inclusion of "Red Hook" strikes me as a pretty idiosyncratic choice, too... (EDIT: and wouldn't "CoC" be a much more fitting start for the book?)

JM



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 30 May 13 | 10:02AM by walrus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 11:25AM
Luckhurst knows so much about Lovecraft, judging from his notes and Introduction, so some of his editorial choices seem quite beyond comprehension. His snide attitude toward Joshi's texts (he uses quotations again when he describes the restored text for "The Shadow out of Time" as "corrected," as if to suggest that a corrected text is a laughable idea) is very queer. The web is filled with impotent anti-Joshi trolls who richly display their intellectual density--such fools are easily laughed at, easily ignored--but to find a trace of this kind of ignorance in the editor of such an important Oxford edition---well, maybe I'm just being over-sensitive because Sunand is a beloved amigo. I am giving S. T. my copy of the book to-day, as it is not an edition one need add to their library, and Joshi feels that he will have "plenty to say" about the volume.

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



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 30 May 13 | 11:27AM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 11:35AM
This is such a pity, as I would generally highly recommend Oxford University books. Their editions of the classic Gothic novels -- save for a rather quirky introduction here and there -- are excellent; well-researched, thoughtfully edited with informative but not overwhelming notes and, as I noted above, strive to give the most accurate representation of the author's intentions. They are also quite handsome books as well. But to revert to the pulp versions of Lovecraft's stories, especially with ones which he himself so bitterly rejected, simply strikes me as very bizarre.

As for the "pulp energy" bit... that is, again, precisely what Lovecraft strove to avoid being "tainted" with, complaining loudly about how his own style had been corrupted by such heavy exposure to these influences and the editorial nagging of Wright. He always felt very much at odds with the general pulp atmosphere, which was (as he noted) given to "snappy ection [sic]" and telegraphic stylisms as opposed to, as he put it, his own "old-fashioned leisurely prose". Such a pulpish description would certainly fit some of his confreres, such as Derleth or (in many cases) Long, etc., but were completely against the grain of what HPL was doing, with (perhaps) the sole exception of the chase sequence in "Innsmouth"....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 02:45PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> he uses
> quotations again when he describes the restored
> text for "The Shadow out of Time" as "corrected,"
> as if to suggest that a corrected text is a
> laughable idea

Well, the idea of "restored" texts having special significance is a fan notion, apparently based on the concept of the infallibility of one's favorite author or authors. In academia it is typically the published text that is of interest, for reasons that are either obvious or not worth bothering to explain.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 04:30PM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, the idea of "restored" texts having special
> significance is a fan notion, apparently based on
> the concept of the infallibility of one's favorite
> author or authors. In academia it is typically the
> published text that is of interest, for reasons
> that are either obvious or not worth bothering to
> explain.

An incompetently edited text -- and the AS text of AtMoM was incompetently edited -- is not particularly interesting when it has been superseded by another, more coherent text. HPL wasn't infallible, but he certainly was a better editor of his own work than whatever hack on the AS staff mangled AtMoM.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 04:57PM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
>
> Well, the idea of "restored" texts having special
> significance is a fan notion, apparently based on
> the concept of the infallibility of one's favorite
> author or authors. In academia it is typically the
> published text that is of interest, for reasons
> that are either obvious or not worth bothering to
> explain.

Um, no, this is by no means the case, as any number of critical editions throughout literary history, from the Bible to Mallory onward, will show. It has little to do with "infallibility", but it does have to do with presenting a writer's work as they wrote it, rather than as any of a number of editors (no few, as Martinus has indicated, being less than competent) thought it should be....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 30 May, 2013 05:18PM
walrus Wrote:
>
> The inclusion of "Red Hook" strikes me as a pretty
> idiosyncratic choice, too... (EDIT: and wouldn't
> "CoC" be a much more fitting start for the book?)
>
> JM

I'm guessing that the strange popularity of Dennis Wheatley in England (discussed elsewhere in this Forum) has some force in this connection.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 31 May, 2013 12:39AM
Gavin Callaghan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm guessing that the strange popularity of Dennis
> Wheatley in England (discussed elsewhere in this
> Forum) has some force in this connection.

Though it is quite unlikely, it may also be possible that it was picked partly based on the enthusiastic response to the tale by such as Edmond Hamilton, one of the mainstays of the pulps, including WT....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 2 June, 2013 03:33AM
Regarding the principle of latest appearances during an author's lifetime serving as the basis of a text, the pulp appearances aren't strictly speaking the latest appearances. We know that Lovecraft circulated copies of the pulps with textual amendments afterwards, so these amendments must form the basis of such publications.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 28 June, 2013 09:23AM
STJ now has a review of the book linked from his blog: [stjoshi.org]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 June, 2013 03:16PM
walrus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> STJ now has a review of the book linked from his
> blog: [stjoshi.org]

Ouch! :)

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 30 June, 2013 09:29PM
In the main, this is very much Joshi's often acerbic approach to bumbling scholarship and editing. Generally, though, he tends to find at least something to praise, however faintly. Here we are given nothing but a lightly toned comment on the artwork; nothing on the book itself. And the points he makes are entirely on-point. As noted, there are valid reasons for returning to the pulp texts, but they are few and quite limited. Here, though, we don't even have that, but a bastard mixture of the pulp texts, the semi-corrected (yet still massively corrupt) Arkham House texts, and a few corrections from Joshi's established texts... a mishmash if ever there was one. And the mistakes made in the introduction and notes are the sorts of things it would take at most a few hours to check on and correct. In all, a thoroughly bad job of editing.

That such would come from such a prestigious press, with a long history of presenting definitive texts and scholarly research, is disheartening, to say the least. And there is simply no reason for such a botched job, with all the qualified editors/scholars out there who are interested in Lovecraft and could do a truly fine job.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 2 July, 2013 05:22PM
If STJ ever plans to review my book, someone let me know, so I can have time to find a high bridge to jump off of---------

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2013 11:55AM
Hey Gavin, I'm spending Saturday with him, so I'll loam him my copy, cool? But, yes--the idea of what he may say in a review can cause one to tremble with nameless adventurous expectancy; so you can imagine how I felt when he told me that he is writing a review of my last THREE books for the next issue of LOVECRAFT ANNUAL. One of the books, ENCOUNTERS WITH ENOCH COFFIN, came about because of Joshi's harsh words concerning the Mythos writing of Jeffrey Thomas, which had Jeff so upset that he said he would never again write another Lovecraftian tale. I said bollocks to that and invited him to collaborate with me on a new book of such stories. We really should have dedicated the book to Joshi, the man who inspired its creation--but I wanted to dedicate it to J. D. instead. But Joshi is FULLY aware of why the book exists. It will be amusing to see if that "colors" his remarks concerning it.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2013 05:35PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ENCOUNTERS WITH ENOCH COFFIN, came about because
> of Joshi's harsh words concerning the Mythos
> writing of Jeffrey Thomas, which had Jeff so upset
> that he said he would never again write another
> Lovecraftian tale. I said bollocks to that and
> invited him to collaborate with me on a new book
> of such stories. We really should have dedicated
> the book to Joshi, the man who inspired its
> creation--but I wanted to dedicate it to J. D.
> instead.

Yes, with STJ's critical opinions, one never knows what to expect. I seem to recall reading, in one of my back-issues of a certain Lovecraftian journal (I can't remember exactly which one), an essay by STJ (at least I think it was by Joshi?) in which he claimed he refused to ever watch a horror comedy [like Beetlejuice, etc.], because he claimed humor insults/denigrates the horror genre by making fun of it. Which is just silly. Can you imagine missing out on classics like Beetljuice, Frankenhooker, Re-Animator, etc.? But perhaps STJ has mellowed out since then!

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 3 July, 2013 09:57PM
The combination of humor with horror is a very interesting one. You wouldn't think it would work, but often it does. Films such as Evil Dead II and Mr. Vampire are both funny and scary (at least I find them to be). Perhaps to pull off the combination successfully you have to be serious about both parts of the equation--as well as being humorous you must also be willing to be as frightening as possible.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 4 July, 2013 12:13AM
To name just one example, "The Traveling Grave" simply would not work at all without the humor. If anything, the very careful use of humor there not only does not take away from, but enhances the horror tremendously. Ramsey Campbell has managed this as well, on various occasions, such as Needing Ghosts....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 4 July, 2013 05:04PM
I also love all those weird/cool Mickey Mouse/Walt Disney cartoons with the dancing skeletons, haunted houses, etc. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as "Spookbusters." There's also a Flip the Frog cartoon by Ub Iwerks, with Flip in a haunted house. Plus all those old dark haunted house comedies, like Cat & the Canary, Abbott & Costello's Hold that Ghost. Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, & the Ritz Brothers all mined the "old dark house" comedy vein to good effect -as did the 1980s Ghostbusters. Horror and humor can go together. Perhaps it all derives from the idea of gallows humor, the danse macabre, Death's Jest Book, etc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 4 Jul 13 | 05:05PM by Gavin Callaghan.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 April, 2014 04:58PM
Wilum Pugmire wrote:
> Lovecraft abhorred the treatment of his work by ASTOUNDING.

Irrelevant. Luckhurst's texts follow HPL's hand-corrected copies of the ASTOUNDING texts (probably indirectly, via Derleth's 1939 editions, which do this). If the ASTOUNDING texts are unsatisfactory as first published, then we should obviously follow HPL's instructions on how to fix the problem. We should do this, at least, if our goal is to respect HPL's wishes.

> His snide attitude toward Joshi's texts (he uses quotations again when he describes the restored text for
> "The Shadow out of Time" as "corrected," as if to suggest that a corrected text is a laughable idea) is very
> queer.

He's right, especially in this case. Joshi has a very funny standard of "correctness" which has nothing to do with respecting the wishes of the author or following the author's instructions. His "corrected" version of "The Shadow out of Time" ignores the author's final instructions (his corrected copy of ASTOUNDING) in favor of a hand penciled draft that HPL abandoned in favor of a working typescript about 18 months prior to publication. The inspiration for this gimmick is that, here in the USA, unpublished texts can (sometimes) be used a basis for new copyright.

> I think the re-paragraphing is not even the major problem of these pulp versions, but the various cuts and
> other alterations.

There are no cuts or alterations, if the standard is HPL's final instructions. Yes, Joshi got some additional material from raiding early drafts for variant and additional readings, but found nothing of value. HPL cut this material from the text for a reason. Joshi likes to speculate that these cuts and changes were all made by typists or editors, and not by HPL. In most cases this is mere speculation, but even if true, cannot change the fact that HPL reviewed and okayed the result. Who are we to trust? The author? Or the posthumous editor who wants to generate a newly-copyrighted version of a public-domain text?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 25 April, 2014 05:26PM
We are very lucky that amateurs such as Platypus, who have no understanding of Lovecraft's texts, will never be allow'd by respectable publishers to edit an edition of H. P. Lovecraft.

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



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 25 Apr 14 | 05:33PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 April, 2014 05:37PM
Wilum Pugmire wrote:
> We are very lucky that amateurs such as Platypus, who have no understanding of
> Lovecraft's texts, will never be allow'd by respectable publishers to edit an
> edition of H. P. Lovecraft.

I am merely a member of the public comparing two different editions. And the fact is that Luckhurst's texts of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS and THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME, do indeed follow HPL's final instructions as to the text. The newly copyrighted Joshi texts of these stories distinguish themselves by failing to do so. Even Joshi does not deny these facts. Insults and lies will not change this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 25 Apr 14 | 05:40PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 April, 2014 06:06PM
walrus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> STJ now has a review of the book linked from his
> blog: [stjoshi.org]

If you read the review carefully, and sift out all the indignation, you can see that Joshi actually admits that Luckhurst's text follow (via Derleth's editions) HPL's final instructions, while his own texts include material from early drafts that HPL never even submitted for publication.

An more-extended analysis of Joshi's review is posted here on google groups:
[groups.google.com]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 25 April, 2014 06:59PM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Regarding the principle of latest appearances
> during an author's lifetime serving as the basis
> of a text, the pulp appearances aren't strictly
> speaking the latest appearances. We know that
> Lovecraft circulated copies of the pulps with
> textual amendments afterwards, so these amendments
> must form the basis of such publications.

If you mean Luckhurst's texts of the old Arkham House texts, you are correct. These are based (when available) on HPL's hand-corrected copies. The Joshi texts, however, usually ignore the author's final amendments in favor of variants drawn from early drafts.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 26 April, 2014 01:41AM
The difficulty here is that Lovecraft himself did not have his manuscript to hand for referral, nor was he a particularly good proofreader; hence even obvious misprints would not be corrected, while at other times he was particularly keen on searching them out. He was certainly intensely angry about what happened to "Mountains" in Astounding, calling poor Tremaine (who really wasn't behind the problem) all sorts of names; he also made it quite clear that his own typescript was his preferred text, one which he spent infinite pains on. The major differences between that and his later corrections which he does make clear were intentional alterations involved revising the portions of the novelette concerning his theory about the Antarctic landmass; these were corrections based on the scientific data which had arisen since... things which Joshi also included in his corrected editions.

As for "Shadow"... he didn't abandon the original manuscript; it was a gift to Barlow in thanks for his typing it up... yet HPL also remarked on the problems with that typescript. He didn't find Astounding's handling of it as bad, certainly not enough to go into extreme detail as he did with the earlier story, but it was more a matter of degree, not kind, of reaction.

So yes, any edition which uses the original pulp versions of these without taking all this into consideration, is something to be viewed with caution (to say the least), as Lovecraft was certainly not at all happy with either of them as they appeared there.

However, all this should be quite easy to decide in the near future, as a variorum edition of Lovecraft is to begin publication from HP within a year or two, as I recall.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 26 April, 2014 02:14AM
I thought S. T. told me that The Variorum Lovecraft will be publish'd in three volumes this summer, but he may have meant next summer, at which time we celebrate the 125th anniversary of Grandpa's birth. From Hippocampus:

"In the multi-volume edition of THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT, wjich will be published in celebration of the 125th anniversary of H. P. Lovecraft's birth, editor S. T. Joshi presents all the relevent textual variants from all the stories that Lovecraft wrote over his short literary career. One phase of that project includes the printing of passages from handwritten or typed manuscripts (chiefly the former) that were excised, either as Lovecraft was writing the story or as he performed a subsequent revision of it."

I saw the amazing files for this in S. T.'s office, and he has since sent me a pdf of one volume, and it is an extremely fascinating, impressive and authoritative work of research.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 April, 2014 06:01PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The difficulty here is that Lovecraft himself did
> not have his manuscript to hand for referral,

That's not a difficulty at all. HPL is the author, and is in charge of the creative process. He chose to create the situation by giving away the manuscript. He decided he did not need it any more. That was his choice! It was actually HPL's practice many times to DESTROY early drafts when they were superceded. It was his RIGHT as author to do this. But in this case decided to give the old draft away as a gift to the fan/friend who had typed the latest draft for him. If he ever changed his mind, he could have asked to borrow it back, and I am sure Barlow would have complied. But HPL never did ask for it back. That was his right and choice as well. HPL has no obligation to feel bound by his first-draft scribblings; he can trust his own judgment in the here and now.

You seem to have some bizarre idea that an author has no authority to say how he wants a story to read, unless he carefully checks all earlier drafts to make sure they are absolutely consistent. But why on earth should HPL feel bound by his first-draft scribblings? It all came from his own brain anyway, the brain he still has! It is obviously more important to HPL that he have a LEGIBLE draft so he could more easily read it, revise it, and assess its flaws.

> nor was he a particularly good proofreader; hence even
> obvious misprints would not be corrected, while at
> other times he was particularly keen on searching
> them out.

Are there any such "obvious misprints" in the Luckhurst texts? If so, what are they? If not, then how is this even remotely relevant?

Pro-Joshi advocates are hilarious. Their first line of attack is to try to convince the public that Joshi is a knight in shining armor come to save the purity of HPL's texts from the interfering arrogance of obnoxious editors. But when you push them to defend the texts, they end up arguing that HPL cannot be trusted either. If we cannot trust HPL the bad proofreader, and we cannot trust the editors who he worked with when alive, then obviously our only choice is to trust the newly-copyrighted text of ST Joshi. What a crock! But if HPL needs an editor because he was such a bad proofreader, then who has more authority? The editors he chose to work with while alive? Or the editor he never chose to work with, who tinkers with texts after he is in his grave and can no longer object?

> He was certainly intensely angry about
> what happened to "Mountains" in Astounding,
> calling poor Tremaine (who really wasn't behind
> the problem) all sorts of names;

This is beside the point, because Luckhurst does not follow the ASTOUNDING text; rather, he follow HPL's extensively hand-corrected copies of the ASTOUNDING text (probably via Derleth).

> he also made it
> quite clear that his own typescript was his
> preferred text, one which he spent infinite pains
> on.

Do you have a source for this, or did you make it up? I believe that what you are saying is not true. HPL made quite clear that his hand-corrected copy of ASTOUNDING was his preferred text. He made this clear by the infinite pains he spent hand-correcting it; a pointless operation if he did not intend it for his latest draft.

As for the typescript, even Joshi acknowledges (in his essay, "Textual Problems in Lovecraft") that it does NOT reflect HPL's final wishes; since there are revisions in the published ASTOUNDING text, not reflected in the surviving typescript, that Joshi feels MUST have come from HPL. In essence, Joshi admits he does not actually have a typescript that reflects the text that HPL authorized it for publication; and cannot possibly know for certain which changes were originally authorized and which were not.

Faced with such uncertainty (or even without such uncertainty), the only honest solution is to follow the author's final instructions. Joshi instead decides to create his own unique text, by combining elements from (1) the hand-scribbled manuscript; (2) the surviving typescript; (3) the ASTOUNDING STORIES text. He may even have given some small weight to (4) HPL's final wishes as reflected in the corrected copy -- I forget now if he says he did.

> The major differences between that and his
> later corrections which he does make clear were
> intentional alterations involved revising the
> portions of the novelette concerning his theory
> about the Antarctic landmass; these were
> corrections based on the scientific data which had
> arisen since... things which Joshi also included
> in his corrected editions.

These are not new to his corrected copy. They were present in the ASTOUNDING STORIES text. They were NOT present the surviving typescript. And they presumably come from HPL. According to Joshi, anyway,

> As for "Shadow"... he didn't abandon the original
> manuscript; it was a gift to Barlow in thanks for
> his typing it up...

What's your point? He decided to give it away, because he decided he did not need it any more. And there is no evidence he ever regretted that decision.

> yet HPL also remarked on the
> problems with that typescript.

So what? It was typos, wasn't it? He presumably fixed them to his satisfaction.

> He didn't find
> Astounding's handling of it as bad, certainly not
> enough to go into extreme detail as he did with
> the earlier story, but it was more a matter of
> degree, not kind, of reaction.

It was a matter of both degree and kind. HPL declared outright that the ASTOUNDING text of "Shadow..." had not been "intentionally" butchered, unlike "... Mountains". In short, he believed its errors were unintentional, and that ASTOUNDING had at least tried to honor his wishes this time. He also objected to its "crazy style sheet": He did not object to them having a style sheet, but he thought that some of their rules, like the capitalization of "Moon" and "Moonlight" were a little crazy; and fixed them in his hand-corrected copy.

Since the typescript HPL submitted for publication does not survive, HPL is obviously in a better position than any of us (including Joshi) to know that no intentional excisions were made.

> So yes, any edition which uses the original pulp
> versions of these without taking all this into
> consideration, is something to be viewed with
> caution (to say the least), as Lovecraft was
> certainly not at all happy with either of them as
> they appeared there.

Are you accusing Luckhurst of using the "original pulp editions" without applying HPL's corrections? Isn't that a lie? Can you name a single example of a textual variant that is contrary to HPL's final wishes? If you could name a specific example, perhaps we could discuss it.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 26 Apr 14 | 06:13PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 01:33AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That's not a difficulty at all. HPL is the
> author, and is in charge of the creative process.
> He chose to create the situation by giving away
> the manuscript. He decided he did not need it any
> more. That was his choice! It was actually HPL's
> practice many times to DESTROY early drafts when
> they were superceded. It was his RIGHT as author
> to do this. But in this case decided to give the
> old draft away as a gift to the fan/friend who had
> typed the latest draft for him. If he ever changed
> his mind, he could have asked to borrow it back,
> and I am sure Barlow would have complied. But HPL
> never did ask for it back. That was his right and
> choice as well. HPL has no obligation to feel
> bound by his first-draft scribblings; he can trust
> his own judgment in the here and now.

To begin: I'm afraid that, with time constraints (and the fact I've just come off a 17 hour work day and am frankly bushed), my reply to your post will likely be in more than one installment; so bear with me.

I would not disagree that HPL, as author, should have final say. What I am saying is that here it is not such a simple matter to decide which was actually the final say. You question my statement later about him remarking on the manuscript being the preferred text -- I should have specified typescript rather than the holographic manuscript, just for clarity's sake. It's fine to ask, but your manner here is deliberately insulting, which is neither necessary nor helpful. Kindly rein that in, and a more fruitful discussion is likely to result.

Now... I would have to look up my source on that as it has been some time since I last read the letter(s) in question, but as I recall, this was something he did refer to on more than one occasion. Changes he made to the copies of Astounding, therefore, have to be taken with that consideration in mind. Nor did Lovecraft destroy that many of his manuscripts; many of them continued to be used, passed around, etc., until they literally fell apart, at which time he would recopy. At other times, he did make alterations, as with "The Picture in the House" -- which Joshi's texts, by the way, incorporate. I'd like to continue the discussion a bit later, when I've had some rest and am a bit more clear-headed; but for the moment I would caution drawing such simplistic views of the matter as expressed above.

Speaking of which -- there is some confusion here. I was referring to the "Mountains" manuscript, not "Shadow". The latter he felt so discouraged about that he came close to destroying that text altogether; and when it comes to the alterations in Astounding, they were much less, save for the choppy paragraphing -- something which he did complain about with the pulps in general, because he despised the way that broke up the text. And yes, I'll have to look up that citation as well, though if memory serves, it was in a letter to Barlow. He simply did not like such short paragraphs because they interfered with the creation of a particular impression which he was attempting, something which, as he put it, required "old fashioned, leisurely prose" rather than "eckshun"-oriented writing (including the breaking up of paragraphs).
>
> You seem to have some bizarre idea that an author
> has no authority to say how he wants a story to
> read, unless he carefully checks all earlier
> drafts to make sure they are absolutely
> consistent. But why on earth should HPL feel
> bound by his first-draft scribblings? It all came
> from his own brain anyway, the brain he still has!
> It is obviously more important to HPL that he
> have a LEGIBLE draft so he could more easily read
> it, revise it, and assess its flaws.
>
> > nor was he a particularly good proofreader;
> hence even
> > obvious misprints would not be corrected, while
> at
> > other times he was particularly keen on
> searching
> > them out.
>
> Are there any such "obvious misprints" in the
> Luckhurst texts? If so, what are they? If not,
> then how is this even remotely relevant?

It becomes relevant because it serves as an indication -- one of long standing with his proofreading from the teens on at least -- that he often overlooked things which, had he been a bit more cautious, were the very sorts of things which he complained about, things which changed the sense and altered a reading in such a manner that it sometimes becomes self-contradictory on subtle grounds; one such being "inhuman" rather than the original "unhuman" in describing the Old Ones -- an important alteration, as "inhuman" carries with it a tone of moral censure, something quite at odds with the intent of the text otherwise at that point, where HPL is "reforming" the Old Ones from apparent monsters to beings with which we can sympathize. "Unhuman", on the other hand, indicates alienness, but there is no moral obloquy involved.
>
> Pro-Joshi advocates are hilarious. Their first
> line of attack is to try to convince the public
> that Joshi is a knight in shining armor come to
> save the purity of HPL's texts from the
> interfering arrogance of obnoxious editors. But
> when you push them to defend the texts, they end
> up arguing that HPL cannot be trusted either. If
> we cannot trust HPL the bad proofreader, and we
> cannot trust the editors who he worked with when
> alive, then obviously our only choice is to trust
> the newly-copyrighted text of ST Joshi. What a
> crock! But if HPL needs an editor because he was
> such a bad proofreader, then who has more
> authority? The editors he chose to work with
> while alive? Or the editor he never chose to work
> with, who tinkers with texts after he is in his
> grave and can no longer object?

You've quite badly distorted the facts here. For myself, while I am, I suppose, largely a "Joshi-supporter", I by no means agree with him all the time; I frequently disagree. But this is a case where I do not, in that he has conscientiously taken all the various factors into consideration when making choices. This is a difficult thing to do, and here he deserves kudos for the effort as well as the result. HPL the "bad proofreader" I address briefly above. As far as the editors he "chose" to work with -- it was sure as hell not that simple. He worked with editors who were available; but he bitched about them almost incessantly. It was a matter of necessity, not choice. He didn't "work with" Wright; much of what he wrote about him should really have been written on asbestos paper given its incendiary nature. Ditto with the Astounding editors, and his distaste for Harry Bates he makes abundantly clear, even though here his manuscript was turned down. Joshi, at the very least, has been kinder to the intent Lovecraft describes in his letters than any of the editors he was forced to work with during his lifetime.
>
> > He was certainly intensely angry about
> > what happened to "Mountains" in Astounding,
> > calling poor Tremaine (who really wasn't behind
> > the problem) all sorts of names;
>
> This is beside the point, because Luckhurst does
> not follow the ASTOUNDING text; rather, he follow
> HPL's extensively hand-corrected copies of the
> ASTOUNDING text (probably via Derleth).

I would call to your attention Derleth's notoriously lax editorial approach, given his frequent misreading of Lovecraft's manuscripts (typescript as well as AMS), something which at times made hash out of the text, whether stories, essays, or letters.

I'll try to get back to this tomorrow. At the moment, I'm falling asleep here at the table; time to get some rest....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 04:49AM
So then, all in all, if you will forgive my unacademic ignorance, which are the preferred Arkham House versions to read? The three volumes Arkham House printed in the 1960's? Or the 'corrected' volumes printed in the 1980's?

I can only say that I deeply regret selling my original volumes, simply because I miss Lee Brown Coye's old covers. The new harshly colored covers completely missed the spirit of Lovecraft's atmosphere (I had to get rid of them, and use the books without dust wrappers, or have a nervous breakdown). The title typography is awful. And the photograph of Lovecraft in the first volume is no longer sharp, but fuzzy, as if taken from a second generation xerox. Such things matter, to me at least.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 04:54AM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What I am saying is that here it
> is not such a simple matter to decide which was
> actually the final say.

In the case of MOUNTAINS and SHADOW, it is very simple. HPL's final say is his hand-corrected copies of the ASTOUNDING texts. However, that text was published by Derleth in 1939, and has already entered public domain as a result of the failure of heirs to renew the copyright. Hence, that text is, from the perspective of the "Newly-copyrighted definitive Joshi texts Project", completely unusuable.

> You question my statement
> later about him remarking on the manuscript being
> the preferred text -- I should have specified
> typescript rather than the holographic manuscript,
> just for clarity's sake.

You DID refer to the typescript. However, there is (according to Joshi) no surviving typescript that adequately reflects HPL's wishes for "...Mountains". Joshi's solution is "reconstruct" HPL's wishes using a combination of the written manuscript, the (non-final) typescript and the ASTOUNDING text, which Joshi believes butchers a different typescript (non-extant) which DOES (Joshi presumes) reflect HPL's final wishes, but unfortunately does not survive. Please see his essay "Textual Problems in Lovecraft".

Joshi nonetheless regrets that "In the end there shall always remain doubt as to what Lovecraft's final wishes were for the novel were ...."

Joshi faces this dilemma, of course, because he has chosen to ignore HPL's final wishes, as reflected in his hand-corrected copy of the ASTOUNDING text. Because that would result in a text no different from Derleth's, which may already be public domain. AND WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!

> "Shadow". The latter he felt so discouraged about
> that he came close to destroying that text
> altogether; and when it comes to the alterations
> in Astounding, they were much less, save for the
> choppy paragraphing --

HPL eliminated a grand total of one (1) paragraph break on his hand-corrected copy of the ASTOUNDING STORIES text of "Shadow". I interpret this as an instruction to rejoin only that paragraph. Is this paragraph not rejoined in Luckhurst's text?

> something which he did
> complain about with the pulps in general, because
> he despised the way that broke up the text.And
> yes, I'll have to look up that citation as well,

Please do. Sorry, but I'm not willing to trust your memory on this.

> > Are there any such "obvious misprints" in the
> > Luckhurst texts? If so, what are they? If not,
> > then how is this even remotely relevant?
>
> It becomes relevant because

I noticed you skipped to the "If not..." question. But let's move on.

> it serves as an
> indication -- one of long standing with his
> proofreading from the teens on at least -- that he
> often overlooked things which, had he been a bit
> more cautious, were the very sorts of things which
> he complained about, things which changed the
> sense and altered a reading in such a manner that
> it sometimes becomes self-contradictory on subtle
> grounds; one such being "inhuman" rather than the
> original "unhuman" in describing the Old Ones --
> an important alteration, as "inhuman" carries with
> it a tone of moral censure, something quite at
> odds with the intent of the text otherwise at that
> point, where HPL is "reforming" the Old Ones from
> apparent monsters to beings with which we can
> sympathize. "Unhuman", on the other hand,
> indicates alienness, but there is no moral obloquy
> involved.

That's an "obvious misprint"?? HPL's own hand-corrected copy says "inhuman", and you don't want me to trust this based on some theory of what he WOULD have wanted? This is why Luckhurst's texts are "butchered" because they follow HPL's final draft?

Anyhow, you have forgotten, or are misrepresenting the context. If "inhuman" does vaguely imply moral censure, then it is not reasonably appropriate in the context I think you are referring to. The narrator says he seeks to prevent human explorers from "prying too deeply beneath the surface of that ultimate waste of forbidden secrets and inhuman, aeon-cursed desolation" and that if his warning are ignored, "the responsibility for unnamable and perhaps immeasurable evils will not be mine." The word does not specifically refer to the Old Ones (who are essentially gone) but to the land itself, a land that humans should not visit. Note however that the Old Ones were described as "hellish Achaean organisms" only a few paragraphs earlier. But of course the Shoggoths are even worse, and whatever Danforth glimpsed immeasureably worse still.

Or is there another inhuman/unhuman variant you have in mind?

Here's a radical idea for you. If HPL minded when busybody editors changed unhuman to inhuman, or vice versa, perhaps he would not like Joshi doing it either.

Or perhaps I just have no idea what your point is.

> You've quite badly distorted the facts here. For
> myself, while I am, I suppose, largely a
> "Joshi-supporter", I by no means agree with him
> all the time; I frequently disagree.

I am not interested in discussing whether you sometimes disagree with Mr. Joshi. I am interested in whether anything in Luckhurst's texts can be shown to be contrary to Lovecraft's withes, as you have charged.

> HPL the "bad proofreader" I address briefly above.

It does not seem to me you have shown any errors in Luckhurst's text.

> As far as
> the editors he "chose" to work with -- it was sure
> as hell not that simple. He worked with editors
> who were available; but he bitched about them
> almost incessantly.

If you allege an error in Luckhurst's texts is the result of interference by an editor, identify the error, and otherwise explain your case.

> I would call to your attention Derleth's
> notoriously lax editorial approach, given his
> frequent misreading of Lovecraft's manuscripts
> (typescript as well as AMS), something which at
> times made hash out of the text, whether stories,
> essays, or letters.

Please say where such an error resulting from Derleth's laxness was incorporated into Luckhurst's texts.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 01:48PM
There is nothing to stop Platypus or any other exotic animal from publishing his own definitive Lovecraft edition. If he insists on using the last pulp appearance in HPL's lifetime, with chopped-up micro-paragraphs due to the columns of the magazines and amusing spellings like "surprize" due to WT's style sheet, it should be good for a few laughs.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 06:35PM
Martinus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is nothing to stop Platypus or any other
> exotic animal from publishing his own definitive
> Lovecraft edition.

An odd distraction. The discussion is about Luckhurst's texts. Joshi supporters, in this thread and elsewhere, a are (falsely) claiming that Luckhurst's texts use the "original pulp texts" and contain the same errors. This is a lie. If it is not a lie, Joshi and his supporters who are spreading this tale can defend their collective honor by showing an actual error.

> If he insists on using the last
> pulp appearance in HPL's lifetime,

I do not insist on this. If I did, I would hardly defend the Luckhurst texts, which do not do this either. Why the straw man? The issue is to respect the author's final wishes, which might or might not be the last pulp appearance, depending on circumstances.

> with chopped-up
> micro-paragraphs due to the columns of the
> magazines and amusing spellings like "surprize"
> due to WT's style sheet, it should be good for a
> few laughs.

We were discussing Luckhurt's texts. Is Martinus trying to insinuate that Luckhurst's texts use the spelling "surprize"? Isn't that dishonest?

I don't agree that WT uses "microparagraphs". The only place "microparagraphs" were used was in the newspaper article. That was clearly an artistic decision for purposes of verisimilitude (an attempt to mimic the look of a real newspaper article), and probably approved, and perhaps even originated, by HPL.

The paragraphs in ASTOUNDING tended to be a little shorter, and HPL did indeed rejoin some of them in his hand-corrected copies. Luckhurst's texts seem to follow these corrections. This is the same paragraph scheme used by Derleth for decades, and I don't recall anyone finding that particularly laughable.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 27 Apr 14 | 06:42PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 07:38PM
Thank you, J. D. for your extremely patient and informed replies to Whelan. I consider him an anti-Joshi troll and thus have as my rule to try and never read or reply to what I see as his lunatic ravings. Yet, although I consider him a fool, I know that he is a sincere fool. The discussion of Lovecraft's texts is important. S. T.'s work, magnificent as it is, is not the final word, and especially with THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT, S. T. is paving the way for the authentic textual scholars who will come after him, and who may establish definitive texts of H. P. Lovecraft that differ from S. T.'s.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2014 08:04PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So then, all in all, if you will forgive my
> unacademic ignorance, which are the preferred
> Arkham House versions to read?

Probably the originals, from the 30s and early 40s. But you'll need $2,000 to $3,000 per volume. The only one I have is MARGINALIA (1944).

> The three volumes
> Arkham House printed in the 1960's? Or the
> 'corrected' volumes printed in the 1980's?

In my opinion, the 60s versions are usually better than the 'corrected' volumes. However, there are a few tales for which Joshi's versions are, on balance, slightly better.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2014 08:27PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I thought S. T. told me that The Variorum
> Lovecraft will be publish'd in three volumes this
> summer, but he may have meant next summer, at
> which time we celebrate the 125th anniversary of
> Grandpa's birth.

He definitely had announced that it would be this summer, perhaps with later volumes appearing next summer (in time for the 125th anniversary). There has evidently been a change of plans.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 12:28AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Probably the originals, from the 30s and early
> 40s. But you'll need $2,000 to $3,000 per volume.
> The only one I have is MARGINALIA (1944).
>

Um, no. These were riddled with errors. Not as bad as the first printings of the B&N edition, but still full of misreadings, typos, and reliant on flawed WT printings -- things which HPL himself mentioned as being wrong, such as the infamous "Akley"/"Akeley" bit.

Don't get me wrong... they're beautiful books in many ways, and I'd love to own them. I had the pleasure to at least read The Outsider and Others in the original (rather than a "books for libraries" Xerox print) some years ago, and it was an interesting experience. Had it not been for the textual problems, this and Beyond the Wall of Sleep would have been thoroughly admirable, given the broad amount of his material included.

On another matter: For what it's worth, I'm working on that reply to you, but yesterday (to put it mildly) did not go well at all here; and that was my only day off, so given the necessary length of the reply, it may take a day or two longer to get it all together.

Wilum: Thank you for the kind words. Whether or not this is the case, I think it is a subject worth discussing and at least attempting to thrash out, as a lot of misconceptions are about concerning this, and they really do need to be addressed; if not for his benefit, then perhaps for the benefit of others who are curious what all the fuss is about, and what is entailed in putting together a "definitive" or "authoritative" set of texts....
> > The three volumes
> > Arkham House printed in the 1960's? Or the
> > 'corrected' volumes printed in the 1980's?
>
> In my opinion, the 60s versions are usually better
> than the 'corrected' volumes. However, there are
> a few tales for which Joshi's versions are, on
> balance, slightly better.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 12:42AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So then, all in all, if you will forgive my
> unacademic ignorance, which are the preferred
> Arkham House versions to read? The three volumes
> Arkham House printed in the 1960's? Or the
> 'corrected' volumes printed in the 1980's?

Contra Platypus, I would most definitely go for the 1980s volumes, if you're going for the AH edition. While I, too, have a great fondness for those odd Coye jackets, the texts were often, as with the earlier Arkham House volumes, riddled with errors; in fact, each generation tended to add new ones, rather than simply setting the type from the old (in most, not all, cases). Which makes for some very peculiar things creeping in here and there, as well as older errors not being corrected, and sometimes making nonsense of the text.

Whatever one may think of Joshi's texts, they at least are much more conscientious about following Lovecraft's actual manuscripts (or, where such are not available, the best source during his lifetime). However, odd as it seems, the new printing of the B&N Complete Fiction is (so far) the closest to a textually sound edition one is likely to find -- in some ways, better than the Penguin editions; still has typos and occasional small elisions, but a darned sight better than almost any other edition of Lovecraft... which is a sad comment on the state of the textual transmission of his works....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 06:51AM
Surely the 'corrected' texts in the 1980's volumes have mended many errors and restored missing sections. (I prefer not to ue the name of the editor, since it is my firm belief that an editor, in that specific role, should always work backstage and not step out in the limelight alongside the author.)

The decision to sell my 1960's copies, and get the 1980's instead, was solely based on the reviews I read back then in Crypt of Cthulhu. Those reviews were overall positive, written in a non-affected, detached, objective tone. This was before Joshi had developed into a super megastar editor, . . . and some people started developing emotional attachment to his name, making objective viewpoints (of something that should be free from emotions) nearly impossible.

My interpretation of why the debate has become so infected, is that it basically is a political one. Those who are liberals and multiculturalists, tend to be drawn towards Joshi's person and his opinions, and those who share Lovecraft's more culturally conservative views, tend to be provoked and oppose.

As to the 'corrected' texts, some readers say that they "leave them cold". I have not experienced this myself. I believe it may be that they feel so because the corrections and added lines have disturbed the rythm they have grown accustomed to in the corrupted texts. I wouldn't want to be without the elements that have been added, even if it bumps the old rythm sometimes.
Neither does it seem that Joshi, based on his own political opinions, in any way has censored Lovecraft's texts, which I am very thankful for.

One thing can be said about the publication of the 'corrected' editions. That they follow a very academic scholarly path, that has continued to this day. Derleth created his Arkham House books from the sensitive poet's and artist's perspective. And I think this difference also inevitably becomes reflected in the designs of the books.

Lastly, let me quote some interesting thoughts about Lee Brown Coye and the contrasting newer designs, by Druidic over at the Ligotti.net website:

"The Coye illustration of The Dunwich Horror was my favorite. In my mind, that animalistic giant is Wilbur. And the lashed sticks and congeries of spheres floating like balloons attached to Wilbur...what a wonderful cover!

The new ones are technically good but sterile and generic, and they leave me cold...

. . . there is a good collection of Coye’s work in the Metropolitan Museum, hardly a warehouse for hacks! And since we just had an exchange regarding Michael Shea’s brilliant story “The Autopsy,” it’s probably appropriate to point out that Coye was also a medical illustrator and attended many autopsies to enhance his knowledge of human anatomy. In the ‘80’s I drove to Syracuse University to view their collection of Coye’s art. He worked in many mediums and Wiki has a good albeit brief entry that mentions all this plus the fascinating stick figures that haunt some of his work. (If you’ve read Wagner’s “Sticks” the basic story told of how the artist found these things is quite true.) The new covers are fine for what they are but face it: there are dozens, if not hundreds of equally good illustrations of Cthulhu and Friends on the ‘net alone. Coye’s work was stripped down to the essentials; it was primitive and unsettling and it caught the dark and unique soul of Lovecraft’s fictions like some wonderful and sinister folk art. The new books are pretty though, I’ll certainly give them that LOL. (Actually, The Bayless illo of "The Lurking Fear" which provides the cover for the latest AH Dagon isn't half-bad, even if seemingly more reminiscent of Machen's horrors, but the others miss the mark completely... for me at least.)"


Once again, please excuse my non-academic approach.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 29 Apr 14 | 07:06AM by Knygatin.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 11:33AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Surely the 'corrected' texts in the 1980's volumes
> have mended many errors and restored missing
> sections.

Overall, yes, they did. But there are some unintentional problems which entered in with the actual production of the volumes (as has increasingly become the case with publishing over the past 40 years), and some things have had to be corrected from that.

On the subject of Joshi... I'd agree that his personality has contributed to his anomalous position. Editors vary in their impact; Groff Conklin, for instance, largely effaced himself, yet his anthologies still bear the mark of his personality. Harlan Ellison, on the other hand, practically dominates that which he edits (with the possible exception of something such as Nightshade and Other Damnations). Both have their value. My problem with Joshi is that he can come off as dogmatic at times, and I often disagree with his critical opinion on things (e.g., Le Fanu's non-ghost stories).

You may be right that the problem is political but, frankly, I think that's a stupid approach to judging a writer's or editor's work. That says more against the critic lodging complaints than it does about the actual value of the supposed subject.

As for Coye: I've always enjoyed his blending of bizarre humor and genuinely chilling effects. He walked a fine line, and managed to pull off work which is, if not unique, certainly quite extraordinary....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 04:07PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You may be right that the problem is political
> but, frankly, I think that's a stupid approach to
> judging a writer's or editor's work. That says
> more against the critic lodging complaints than it
> does about the actual value of the supposed
> subject.

Naturally.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 06:10PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Um, no. These were riddled with errors. Not as bad
> as the first printings of the B&N edition, but
> still full of misreadings, typos, and reliant on
> flawed WT printings -- [...]

I have acknowledged the early Arkham House editions contained errors (though usually not for the most important tales, such as those being discussed here, which were treated more carefully). However, if it is really true that they were "riddled" with errors, and that Luckhurst relied to a significant extent on the 1939 text (as Luckhurst admits, and both Joshi and I agree), then why are you guys so unsuccessful in identifying a single significant error in Luckhurst's texts. Or Derleth's for that matter.

I have found some errors in Luckhurst. But so far, none of them seem to derive from following Derleth. The ones I have found arise from erroneously diverging from Derleth. He ought to have followed Derleth's paragraphing, which follows HPL's explicit final instructions. Unfortunately, Joshi cannot throw stones here, since he also ignores these instructions.

> things which HPL himself
> mentioned as being wrong, such as the infamous
> "Akley"/"Akeley" bit.

Some comments.
[1] You should clearly identify the error you are talking about, and state what editions it appears in, rather than pretending it is infamous (it isn't).

[2] Since you force me to guess, I am guessing that you are referring to Akeley's name being printed correctly (rather than being misspelled) in the first Akeley telegram in THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS ("... ONLY HARM BOTH WAIT FOR EXPLANATION / HENRY AKELEY").

[3] I do not have THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS (1939), but I can confirm it appears this way in BEST SUPERNATURAL STORIES OF H.P. LOVECRAFT (1945).

[4] The text actually reads fine this way. The telegram is spelled correctly, and a misspelling is noticed only when Akeley himself examines the handwritten note upon which the telegram was based. It is possible that the telegraph clerk knew Henry Akeley, and therefore fixed the spelling.

[5] If this is an error, HPL never complained about it, because it did not appear this way until after his death. In the WEIRD TALES printing, the name appears on the telegram as "AKELY". If he DID complain about it (perhaps not - your claims in this thread so far have not been very reliable), he must have preferred it the way Derleth had it, with the telegram itself (but not the note) spelled correctly.

[6] Luckhurst renders it as "AKELY" in the telegram, agreeing with WEIRD TALES and Joshi.

> I had the
> pleasure to at least read The Outsider and Others
> in the original (rather than a "books for
> libraries" Xerox print)

Personally, I'd be perfectly happy to get my hands on a semi-legible Xerox print or scan, for textual research purposes.

> On another matter: For what it's worth, I'm
> working on that reply to you, but yesterday (to
> put it mildly) did not go well at all here; and
> that was my only day off, so given the necessary
> length of the reply, it may take a day or two
> longer to get it all together.

Take your time. However, I hope you stay focused on pointing out the errors you claim exist in Luckhurst, rather than some other desperate distraction or irrelevancy. It seems your "Akely" example does not count.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 29 April, 2014 11:58PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Surely the 'corrected' texts in the 1980's volumes
> have mended many errors and restored missing
> sections.

Not many. A few. Not enough to generate new copyright, which is the goal of the Joshi-text project. New copyright requires creativity and/or originality, with a slight boost from the "sweat of the brow" doctrine (ie. it helps if you have a LOT of corrections, though, without creativity or originality, that by itself will not be enough).

Hence, Joshi's goal was to create as many changes as possible, for as many creative justifications as he could find. Part of this involved the raiding of early (non-final) drafts in search of new variants and text to reinsert. His variants include the reversing of HPL's own revisions; as well as the reinsertion of passages, from their nature, look like material that HPL excised from the text for good reason.

> (I prefer not to ue the name of the
> editor, since it is my firm belief that an editor,
> in that specific role, should always work
> backstage and not step out in the limelight
> alongside the author.)

In that case, THIS editor should definitely be named. These are not the Lovecraft texts; these are the Joshi texts. This is the editor who knows better than Lovecraft. Lovecraft thought he knew what he wanted, but Joshi knows better.

> My interpretation of why the debate has become so
> infected, is that it basically is a political one.

Should it not be about what Lovecraft wanted? A historical question. That's the only issue I see.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 03:56AM
Platypus, those are some serious claims. I hope this will be thoroughly investigated and resolved.

It may not be possible to ever set Lovecraft's texts in a definite way.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 04:04AM
Sounds as if, in several cases, the editorial choices must come down to a subjective judgment.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 09:09AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Platypus, those are some serious claims.

Not really. Rape and murder are serious charges. I am merely accusing Joshi of being a salesman selling a product, and employing sales puffery. He claims it is "new and improved", but it is really just "new and different". If I were to drag Joshi before a judge to answer for his crimes, the judge would probably shrug and say "caveat emptor" which is Latin for: "Its your own fault for being so gullible -- next time apply a few grains of salt before you swallow the words 'new and improved'."

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 09:45AM
Well, as I see it, nothing can be more serious than the integrity of Art.

Have Robert M. Price, Stephen Mariconda, and David E. Schulz, reevaluated their positive views back in the days of Crypt of Cthulhu over the 'corrected' editions?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 11:15AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Well, as I see it, nothing can be more serious
> than the integrity of Art.
>
> Have Robert M. Price, Stephen Mariconda, and David
> E. Schulz, reevaluated their positive views back
> in the days of Crypt of Cthulhu over the
> 'corrected' editions?


You are correct that nothing is more serious than the integrity of Art, especially with an artist as unique, as original, as H. P. Lovecraft. No, Price and Mariconda and Schultz have not reevaluated their positive views over the Corrected Texts, as they understand that S. T.'s labors have tried to restore the writings to the texts as Lovecraft wished them to be read. S. T., on the other hand, has continually reevaluated his texts, returned to them and made further corrections, most recently for THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT, which will stand as S. T.'s final work on the project for all time.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 11:35AM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> . . . S. T., on the other hand, has continually reevaluated his
> texts, returned to them and made further
> corrections, most recently for THE VARIORUM
> LOVECRAFT, which will stand as S. T.'s final work
> on the project for all time.


That sounds rather definite, to say the least.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 12:14PM
If it is possible for The Variorum Lovecraft to present all variations of the texts, including changes made in handwritten and typewritten scripts, and handwritten changes in magazines, this will certainly be an interesting publication. Then every reader can use his own judgment to edit his own definite Lovecraft canon.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 12:23PM
No one understood the importance of a correct text more than Lovecraft, who knew that only by way of textual purity can a writer's style be critically analyzed. This is perhaps why he insisted, when first submitting his stories to WEIRD TALES, that the stories be printed EXACTLY as Lovecraft wrote them. Now Whelan has this ignorant idea that because the WT texts were printed during Lovecraft's lifetime, they represent absolutely his wishes. Whelan took Ramsey Campbell to task for Ramsey's electric edition, THE RATS IN THE WALLS AND OTHER STORIES, for which Ramsey selected the stories and wrote an Introduction, but had nothing to do with choice of text. Whelan chastised Ramsey thus: "It's a bit sad that your version of 'The Rats in the Walls' improperly anticipates the climax by having its modern American narrator resort to archaisms (like 'shew' and 'daemon') PRIOR to his climatic regression to archaic British speech. In the original, that was meant to come as a shock." When I pointed out that "shew" was Lovecraft's consistent choice of spelling, Whelan screamed, "Lovecraft's choice was 'show' and 'demon'. Lovecraft's habit was to throw out draft texts when he was satrisfied with printed texts. He was satisfied with the printed texts [sic] of 'The Rats in the Walls' and those are what he kept. That was his choice. #It's not about Lovecraft's narrative voice, but that of his protagonist. And his protagonist is a modern American, until his shocking regression. #Nothing was 'retained'. The source texts [sic] say 'show' and 'demon'. Nothing but speculation supports any conclusion that the 'original' texts (ie. the early drafts) say any differently." This shews the inability of an amateur mind to comprehend Lovecraft's texts, Lovecraft's narrative style, Lovecraft's intentions. The narrator for "The Colour out of Space" is also an American, yet he uses "colour," "shewn," "meagre," "greying/greyish" and "shewed" in his narrative, including the final speech of the simple American farmer, Nahum. The consistency of this preference for British spelling is one of the aspects retained in all of Joshi's Lovecraft texts.

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Apr 14 | 12:26PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 07:56PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This is perhaps why he insisted, when
> first submitting his stories to WEIRD TALES, that
> the stories be printed EXACTLY as Lovecraft wrote
> them.

Joshi-ites like to say this as though it somehow proves that Lovecraft hated the WEIRD TALES versions, and was therefore eager for Joshi to make changes to them. Sounds like a non-sequitur to me.

What Pugmire does not tell you is that WEIRD TALES printed this letter in their letters column, announced to their readers that they would comply with HPL's conditions. After DAGON appeared in the next issue, HPL wrote another letter to WEIRD TALES stating that he was "exceedingly pleased" with it. WEIRD TALES printed that letter too.

Then, after telling them he was "exceedingly pleased" with DAGON (shortened American spellings and all) he continued to submit many many tales to them thereafter.

> Now Whelan has this ignorant idea that
> because the WT texts were printed during
> Lovecraft's lifetime, they represent absolutely
> his wishes.

Pugmire means me, Platypus. However, I have never held such an idea. In many cases the pulp printings are NOT his final wishes, and he made later corrections and/or revisions to them, either because of mistakes, or because he changed his mind. Derleth often had access to these corrected copies, which is why I take Derleth's texts seriously as sources. Derleth may have had information that we now lack.

> Whelan took Ramsey Campbell to task
> for Ramsey's

It is really poor form to import disputes from another forum.

> "It's a bit sad that your
> version of 'The Rats in the Walls' improperly
> anticipates the climax by having its modern
> American narrator resort to archaisms (like 'shew'
> and 'daemon')

Actually, the only corruption of this type in "THE RATS IN THE WALLS" is "shew". The other word is rendered in WEIRD TALES as "dæmon" (with a conjoined "æ" or "ash-symbol). I had momentarily confused the tale with THE MOON-BOG, another tale featuring a modern American narrator, which uses "show" and "demon". Both stories survive ONLY through the WEIRD TALES printings (yes, even the Joshi texts are based on them, and hence, when they use "shew" it is an innovation).

I don't think British versus American spellings is usually an issue. However, "shew" and the like are archaisms, and it should always be the authors choice whether to use them or not - because they have an artistic effect. For instance, in this case, it is supposed to come as a shock to the reader when the narrator (a modern American businessman) suddenly starts using archaic British idiom during the climax of the story. Having him say "shew" throughout dilutes this.

A possible explanation of the absence of surviving manuscripts or typescripts for certain tales may comes from the following letter to Barlow, dated [Nov 13] 1933: "I haven't originals of 'Pickman', 'Cthulhu' & 'Colour', for I've always torn up rough draughts as soon as I get a printed copy of the equivalent text for my files."

> When I pointed out
> that "shew" was Lovecraft's consistent choice of
> spelling, , Whelan screamed

LOL!! I am surprised that you could hear me screaming from so far away!

Anyhow, after I had finished screaming, I did point out that you were incorrect. Lovecraft used both "show" and "shew", and usually reserved "shew" for archaic contexts. For instance, in his writings in the UNITED AMATEUR, a magazine which HE EDITED HIMSELF, the verb "show" & its variants appear 72 times, and the verb "shew" etc. appear only 7 times, at least 5 of which are in an archaic or poetic context.

> The narrator for "The
> Colour out of Space" is also an American, yet he
> uses "colour," "shewn," "meagre,"
> "greying/greyish" and "shewed" in his narrative,
> including the final speech of the simple American
> farmer, Nahum.

Several points to make:

[1] The narrator is never identified. We never even learn his name. He is an out-of-towner, come to Arkham and New Hampshire for a surveying job. In the source texts, he uses a mix of British and American spelling (see below).

[2] I do not think that British versus American spellings is an issue. I never claimed that Joshi's RATS IN THE WALLS was corrupt for using British spelling. I objected to imposing an archaism ("shew") on a text where HPL had evidently chosen not to use it.

[3] The narrator never uses "shew" or its derivatives in any of the source texts for "The Colour out of Space". Note that the Derleth text closely follows the WEIRD TALES texts with some errors corrected, and must be based either on a corrected copy of the magazine print, or on the same typescript that the magazine print was prepared from. Derleth's text never says "shew" either, though it was his habit to preserve such variants when he found them. The only possible conclusion is that "show" was HPL's choice here. To my knowledge, "shew" never appeared in any version of "The Colour out of Space" until Joshi came along. If it appeared in earlier drafts, HPL himself destroyed these drafts deliberately. As HPL told Barlow, he tore up the manuscript (and probably the typescript) once he had a printed copy.

[4] The narrator actually uses a mix of spellings in the Derleth and magazine texts. Yes, he uses "meagre" and "colour" and "grey"; also "recognize", "analyze", "connection", "fetid", and "demon". He uses both "realise" and "realize", "neighbour" and "neighboring". Neither Derleth nor the magazine seems to have standardized the spelling - both merely seemed to have followed their source, resulting in an inconsistent, pattern very similar to that we see in HPL's own writings in THE UNITED AMATEUR, which he edited himself. But it is always "show"; never "shew".

> The consistency of this preference
> for British spelling is one of the aspects
> retained in all of Joshi's Lovecraft texts.

Consistency of spelling is an aspect of the Joshi texts. However, HPL, rather like a true man of the 18th century, did not seem to give a darn for consistency of spelling.

He may have been a bit embarrassed by his tendency for inappropriate archaism. He wrote to Barlow in 1927: "The earliest tale that I continue to take seriously - The Beast in the Cave was written at the age of fourteen; & even this will have to be revised extensively before it can be published. My style in those days was a pompous Johnsonese, for I am an antiquarian by nature, & never used to read a modern book if I could possibly find anything with long S's to take its place".

Joshi, of course, decided to remove the revisions HPL had already made, in an attempt to reconstruct the version he wrote when he was 14.



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 30 Apr 14 | 08:23PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 09:02PM
Ah, S. T. cares only for owning a product and getting his "cut," I see. Which is why he didn't ask for any payment from The Library of America, W. W. Norton or Modern Library. He obviously cares nothing for Lovecraft. Indeed, he must, as you have insisted elsewhere, dislike Lovecraft. And we, who love and admire S. T., who have found in him the finest of friends, are merely his apes. I see...

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30 Apr 14 | 09:48PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 30 April, 2014 10:13PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Ah, S. T. cares only for owning a product and
> getting his "cut," I see. Which is why he didn't
> ask for any payment from The Library of America,
> W. W. Norton or Modern Library.

I pretty much believed Joshi when he said that, if push came to shove, he would have let Oxford Press use his texts for free. Prestige and the appearance of legitimacy means money, in the long run, because of the other fish in the pond.

A better defense might be addressing the facts. If you know Joshi's private finances, you must know what you both meant when you claimed Luckhurst's texts were butchered and corrupt. Were you really both lying? Come on. Come up with a few good errors. Something a little juicier than extra paragraph breaks.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2014 07:05AM
Platypus doesn't seem like a troll to me. He presents some seemingly well considered valid points about Lovecraft's spelling.

If we can just lay aside Joshi's person for a moment, please! And stop being emotional about all this! And just concentrate on the texts, and look at them objectively.

Maybe, just maybe, Platypus has something to contribute to the integrity of the Lovecraft canon.

If we sit down both editors to dinner, with armed guards standing behind the chairs to see that no fight ensues, perhaps they will find a chemistry and make friends after a glass of wine, in spite of all, and we can look forward to a future edition of Lovecraft that will be a joint effort.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2014 10:32AM
Okay, I'm gonna bow out cos I get too angry when people attack S. T. At one point Whelan posted, in alt.horror.cthulhu, that S. T.'s annotations in the Penguin editions prove that S. T. actually dislikes Lovecraft. When I read something like that, I cannot help but consider the poster a troll. I know John is sincere in his thinking that S. T.'s texts corrupt the pure Derleth texts of the early Arkham House books, but I also know that such a position is false. It's an important topic, certainly, and I wish ye well in discussing it. Goodbye.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Ahab (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2014 06:53PM
Am sorry to hear that Wilum. Have to agree with Knygatin, Platypus does not seem like a troll to me either. He has made some harsh criticism of Joshi, but he has also asked some very legitimate questions regarding the criticisms of this Oxford text. I've yet to see anyone give an adequate answer as to why they find this text so defective. Based on many of your postings here I would assume you have a good deal of knowledge of Lovecraft's writings ( much more than myself, I must confess) and so would be able to address Playtpus' questions.
I hope you reconsider your decision to bow out.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 1 May 14 | 06:54PM by Ahab.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2014 07:53PM
Okay, one more post. I haven't owned ye Oxford edition since it first came out, giving my copy to S. T. as I refus'd to have the book in my house. So I cannot comment on the texts, I can only quote what S. T. wrote in his review of the book:

"How does Luckhurst defend this return to corrupt texts? Well, in reality he doesn't. He states: 'The texts have been checked against the first publication of the stories, nearly all in pulp magazines, with obvious mistakes silently corrected.' There is a considerable ambiguity in this utterance. Let us consider the text of 'The Call of Cthulhu.' Luckhurst has in fact not followed the Weird Tales (February 1928) text in certain particulars, especially as regards Lovecraft's British spellings, which appear in his text but do not appear in the Weird Tales text. Surely he cannot claim that the (proper) restoration of the British spellings constitutes a 'correction' of 'obvious mistakes'; what is more, not ALL of Lovecraft's British spellings have been restored, as Luckhurst has not printed 'connexion' (found in Lovecraft's typescript) where Weird Tales (and all previous texts prior to mine) print the American 'connection.' Luckhurst does follow Weird Tales in (erroneously) printing 'Eskimos' where Lovecraft wrote 'Esquimaux.' He follows Weird Tales in some paragraphing errors as well. The he prints 'This data.' whereas Weird Tales and earlier Arkham House editions printed 'These data.' The fact is that 'This data' is a grammatical error found in Lovecraft's typescript, and I printed it in my text. Weird Tales was actually correct in printing 'These data.' But I need not go on. The end result is a textual mishmash more worthy of some fly-by-night print-on-demand publisher rather than one of the world's great academic presses.

"The most unfortunate decision was to use the Astounding Stories appearances of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS and 'The Shadow out of Time.' Even Luckhurst appears dimly aware that the former, in its butchered appearance in Astounding, is so corrupt as to be unusable; so he has essentially used the version that August Derleth prepared in 1939 (reprinted, with further errors, in 1964), based on Lovecraft's corrected copies of Astounding, where at least the paragraphing has been repairedand the omissions of text (especially toward the end) mostly filled in. But the result is still a text that contains about 1500 divergences from the typescript. In the case of 'The Shadow outof Time,' the decision is also regrettavle. Consider this passage in Astounding:

"'I was born and raised in Haverhill [...] and did not go to Arkham till I entered Miskatonic University as instructor of political economy in 1895.'

"The actual text reads:

"'I was born i=and reared in Haverhill [...] and did not go to Arkham till I entered Miskatonic University at the age of eighteen. That was in 1889. After my graduation I studied economics at Harvard, and came back to Miskatonic as Instructor of Political Economy in 1895.'

Luckhurst actually supplies the above passage in a footnote; but the degree of his ignorance of Lovecraft textual scholarship is betrayed by his comment: 'Astounding simplified this sentence from HPL's original...' What actually happened, in all probability, was that R. H. Barlow, in preparing the typescript of the story for Lovecraft, skipped a line or two of text (probably because his eye saw 'Miskatonic' twice and largely skipped from the first usage to the second, causing the omission."

I call Whelan an anti-Joshi troll because of the slanderous lies he continually posts about S. T., his accusations of Joshi's intention in preparing Lovecraft's texts, &c. At another site, Whelan accuses Joshi of disliking Lovecraft (his evidence being what Whelan called the "horrendous" annotations in the Penguin Classics editions) and that S. T. is interested only in owning and guarding his text via copyright so that, in Whelan's phrase, S. T. can get his "cut." Such behavior is grotesque and unjust, and I have used this behavior in responding to Whelan, using his own method and thus judging him a "mentally ill troll." Some of Whelan's protests concerning Lovecraft's texts and Lovecraft's intentions are so pathetically stupid that I can only surmise they are a product of lunacy. I cannot abide such a moron attacking my friend and his life-long work on Lovecraft, and so I retaliate in kind, which makes me look bad and petty perhaps. My emotions run deep, because H. P. Lovecraft has given me my professional writing life by bewitching me utterly with his writing and his personality. S. T. has given us the finest texts of Lovecraft's works, an effort to which he has dedicated himself and returned to again and again so as to perfect it. It is because of S. T.'s work that I can return to Lovecraft constantly, his fiction or poetry, his essays or letters, and find new depths of wonder that in turn inspire my own creative work. I want to be remembered as a Lovecraftian writer--I want that to be my complete and total identity. Thanks to S. T.'s work on Lovecraft's texts, assisted by David Schultz and Martin Andersson, and the criticism of Lovecraft's stories that has thus come forth as a result of S. T.'s labor from Faig, Schultz, Worthington, Waugh, Ligotti, Mariconda, &c &c &c, Lovecraft Lives Eternal.

S. T. hath just pofted a new blog at (let's see if I can get this right)
[www.stjoshi.org]

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



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 1 May 14 | 08:09PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 May, 2014 10:18PM
Ok, I was jesting when I said "dinner" and "guards". It was my reaction to a certain childishness I sense in the debate. But I am otherwise serious about this issue and about looking at Lovecraft's texts in an un-affected objective manner. Free from personal prestige and investment.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 3 May, 2014 04:51AM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In the case of MOUNTAINS and SHADOW, it is very
> simple. HPL's final say is his hand-corrected
> copies of the ASTOUNDING texts. However, that
> text was published by Derleth in 1939, and has
> already entered public domain as a result of the
> failure of heirs to renew the copyright. Hence,
> that text is, from the perspective of the
> "Newly-copyrighted definitive Joshi texts
> Project", completely unusuable.

No, it really isn't "very simple" -- particularly when you're dealing with as complicated a textual history as here. Just to aid in clarifying, let's have a brief run-down of that:

A) The original A.Ms., with initial revisions, written in 1931.

B) The original T.Ms., with some further revisions, shortly thereafter.

B1) Conjectured carbon (see Discovering H. P. Lovecraft, pp. 100-01) It is here, apparently, that the revisions concerning Lovecraft's original hypothesis of two continents were introduced.

C) Publication, in three installments, in Astounding Stories, featuring numerous excisions, misprints, rewordings (including non-words) and broken-up paragraphing.

D) Lovecraft's correction of these issues, relying on his original A.Ms. (see O, Fortunate Floridian, pp. 329, 335-36), rather than the T.Ms. or (possible) carbon with their revisions/alterations, at least some of which appeared in the magazine versions.

Now, if you have such corrections from an author and they make it crystal clear that they've gone over it all with a fine-toothed comb and this is their final version (at that point), then well and good. Here, however, we run into serious problems, for Lovecraft himself, in his letters, makes it clear that he didn't take such care with the first installment: "My 'Mountains of Madness' running in Astounding -- Feb.-Mar.-Apr. Some misprints, but cou'd be worse" (Letters to James F. Morton, p. 372). He continued to take this view of that initial segment; yet, as Joshi clearly shows (Discovering H. P. Lovecraft, pp. 105-6, n. 26) even here you had a notable chunk of text which was omitted. Quoting from Joshi's note, here is the portion in question:

"The whole general formation, it must be made clear, seemed abominably suggestive of the starfish-head of the archaean entities; and we agreed that the suggestion must have worked potently upon the sensitised minds of Lake's overwrought party,. [Our own first sight of the actual buried entities formed a horrible moment, and sent the imaginations of Pabodie and myself back to some of the shocking primal myths we had read and heard. We all agreed that the mere sight and continued presence of the things must have cooperated with the oppressive polar solitude and daemon mountain wind in driving Lake's party mad.]

"For madness -- centering in Gedney as the only possible surviving agent -- was the explanation spontaneously adopted by everybody as far as spoken utterance was concerned...."

Joshi goes on to note: "The word for beginning the new paragraph must obviously refer to a previous mention of madness -- a mention which we find precisely in the omitted section."

Would Lovecraft have intentionally omitted this passage? In and of itself, possible, but unlikely. Why? Because it runs completely counter to his entire aesthetic dicta concerning the organic nature of a manuscript; to wit: "But be sure that all references throughout the story are thoroughly reconciled with the final design. Remove all possible superfluities -- words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole episodes or elements -- observing the usual precautions about the reconciling of all references" ("Notes on Writing Weird Fiction", in Collected Essays Volume 2: Literary Criticism, p.177; emphasis mine)

This is an important point, because it is a dictum Lovecraft wrote by throughout his career, and one which he continued to emphasize in his correspondence to other writers until his death. The passage above, without the portion in brackets, would simply grossly violate that dictum by introducing a superfluous and confusing element, as noted, in the wording. In cases such as this, a conscientious editor who is doing his best to determine the definitive text must take into account not only the latest text bearing the hand of the author, but also ancillary materials, such as essays setting out such guidelines, letters discussing them, and the prevailing usage of the writer, if any conflict appears.

So here, because such conflicts arise several times, all these points must be carefully sifted and decisions made which appear, in the seasoned judgment of the editor or textual scholar (and Joshi is certainly both) the one which closest approaches what the writer has expressed as their intentions both particularly and in general.

Which brings us to the following:

> You DID refer to the typescript. However, there
> is (according to Joshi) no surviving typescript
> that adequately reflects HPL's wishes for
> "...Mountains". Joshi's solution is "reconstruct"
> HPL's wishes using a combination of the written
> manuscript, the (non-final) typescript and the
> ASTOUNDING text, which Joshi believes butchers a
> different typescript (non-extant) which DOES
> (Joshi presumes) reflect HPL's final wishes, but
> unfortunately does not survive. Please see his
> essay "Textual Problems in Lovecraft".
>
> Joshi nonetheless regrets that "In the end there
> shall always remain doubt as to what Lovecraft's
> final wishes were for the novel were ...."
>
> Joshi faces this dilemma, of course, because he
> has chosen to ignore HPL's final wishes, as
> reflected in his hand-corrected copy of the
> ASTOUNDING text. Because that would result in a
> text no different from Derleth's, which may
> already be public domain. AND WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!

First, my apologies. Again, I was very tired, and misspoke there. Lovecraft used his A.Ms. in making the corrections, though in either case, the corrected magazine version(s) still, as seen above, show divergences which do not fit. Second, you rather misrepresent what Joshi had to say there. He does not posit a non-extant typescript, but rather says that certain alterations (which are in the Astounding text) must have come from a carbon of the typescript, if such existed, as they are not in the typescript itself:

"It lay in manuscript for five years, until [...] it was accepted by Astounding Stories[...]. In the interim, however, had occurred Admiral Byrd's expedition to the Antarctic (1933-35); and among its results was the confirmation that a hypothesis made by Lovecraft in his novel [...] was incorrect. Lovecraft was apparently concerned with correcting this error [...] but he must have made the correction on the carbon copy of the novel (assuming one was made), for no such revisions are found either on the existing T.Ms. or the A.Ms., although the revisions (clearly the work of Lovecraft) appear in the printed text." (Discovering H. P. Lovecraft, pp. 100-01)

This very instance, upon which you have so strongly insisted as an example of Joshi's ego getting in the way of following Lovecraft's preferences, is actually an instance of precisely the opposite, as he here supports the Astounding text!

On the subject of even recent AH editions prior to Joshi's: To cite another example which Donald Burleson mentions (H. P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study [1983], p. 194, n. 7), "On p. 34 of that edition, line 34, at the end of the paragraph (ending '... say') should be the following: 'Those specimens, of course, had been covered with a tent-cloth; yet the low Antarctic sun had beat steadily upon that cloth, and Lake had mentioned that solar heat tended to make the strangely sound and tough tissues of the things relax and expand. Perhaps the wind had whipped this cloth from over them, and jostled them about in such a way that their more pungent olfactory qualities became manifest despite their unbelievable antiquity"; two pages later comes the passage cited by Joshi. In each case, Lovecraft refers to these here and there throughout the novel, thus they are required if one is to follow Lovecraft's own rules on composition. The edition mentioned by Burleson here is not one of the earlier editions, but that of the 1960s onward.

> HPL eliminated a grand total of one (1) paragraph
> break on his hand-corrected copy of the ASTOUNDING
> STORIES text of "Shadow". I interpret this as an
> instruction to rejoin only that paragraph. Is
> this paragraph not rejoined in Luckhurst's text?

And on the butchered paragraphing of "The Shadow Out of Time"... once again, Burleson, before the emergence of Joshi's texts, noted how alien these "paragraphs" were to Lovecraft's entire classical approach to writing, especially his awareness of composition. Along the way, he includes corroboration from yet another party as to Lovecraft's disgust with this one:

"The Arkham House text follows the text as printed in Astounding Stories, where editor F. Orlin Tremaine and his colleagues butchered it by senselessly and arbitrarily chopping Lovecraft's paragraphs up into shorter 'paragraphs' to produce more 'white space' for a more attractive appearance on the page. Lovecraft's friend Donald Wandrei mentioned to me (telephone conversation, 22 March 1981) that when he took the manuscript of 'The Shadow out of Time' to Tremaine, the latter, not having time to read it, published it solely on Wandrei's recommendation; Wandrei mentioned that the misparagraphing was not personally Tremaine's fault, but was due to certain printers' conventions of the day. Wandrei also told me, however (telephone conversation, 22 February 1981) that Lovecraft was so disgusted a the misprinting both of At the Mountains of Madness and 'The Shadow out of Time' that he considered them both to be unpublished works! Unfortunately, the manuscript of 'The Shadow out of Time,' though it was supposed to reside with Robert Barlow (who gave his Lovecraft papers to the John Hay Library at Brown University), is missing. Only a small scrap of typescript survives, and its paragraphing, compared with the printed text, strongly suggests that the entire text is indeed thus mutilated -- but to any discerning reader, no such proof is required. A good example is the idiotic 'paragraph' on p. 382 of the Arkham House text beginning 'Flowers....'" (H. P. Lovecraft: A Critical Study, p. 211, n. 1)

What he is referring to here is the following, which is actually, compositionally speaking, a non-paragraph:

"Flowers were small, colorless, and unrecognizable, blooming in geometrical beds and at large among the greenery."

This is, taken as a paragraph, simply bad writing -- even for a grade-school level composition paper, and Lovecraft was much too good a writer not to know it. However, taken in context of the paragraph as he wrote it, it is perfectly acceptable:

"The omnipresent gardens were almost terrifying in their strangeness, with bizarre and unfamiliar forms of vegetation nodding over broad paths lined with curiously carven monoliths. Abnormally vast fern-like growths predominated, some green, and some of a ghastly fungoid pallor. Among them rose great spectral things resembling calamites, whose bamboo-like trunks towered to fabulous heights. Then there were tufted forms like fabulous cycads, and grotesque dark-green shrubs and trees of coniferous aspect. Flowers were small, colourless, and unrecognisable, blooming in geometrical beds and at large among the greenery. In a few of the terrace and roof-top gardens were larger and more vivid blossoms of almost offensive contours and seeming to suggest artificial breeding. Fungi of inconceivable size, outlines, and colours speckled the scene in patterns bespeaking some unknown but well-established horticultural tradition. In the larger gardens on the ground there seemed to be some attempt to preserve the irregularities of Nature, but on the roofs there was more selectiveness, and more evidences of the topiary art."

Now, that does read like Lovecraft... and like someone who knows something about proper composition of a paragraph using, for instance, contrast (among many other techniques). This goes to what Lovecraft said about the "organic" nature of paragraphs (see below), and once again strongly indicates his utter distaste for the "choppy" paragraphs so rightly associated with pulp hackwork.

To return to the accusations about Joshi and his "project" -- you claim the following:

"Joshi nonetheless regrets that 'In the end there shall always remain doubt as to what Lovecraft's final wishes were for the novel were ....'

Joshi faces this dilemma, of course, because he has chosen to ignore HPL's final wishes, as reflected in his hand-corrected copy of the ASTOUNDING text. Because that would result in a text no different from Derleth's, which may already be public domain. AND WE CAN'T HAVE THAT!"

No, he faces this dilemma because this is the sort of dilemma all textual scholars face when confronted with a set of differing texts, particularly when the history surrounding them is so convoluted and filled with often contradictory indications. Under such circumstances, one does the best one can to reconcile the differences and get as close as possible to what would appear the author's final choices within that context, considering all the various factors mentioned above. Unfortunately, short of raising the dead, absolute certainty is an impossibility; but one can be relatively certain that, given the set of circumstances, even Lovecraft's "restored" texts are not an entirely accurate representation of his intentions. Mistakes certainly can be made, and may have been made here; but Joshi lays out the reasons for his various decisions (certainly not all of them, as this would take up a sizeable volume or two, but most of the major decisions and by implication his reasoning behind others), and as far as textual scholarship goes, they definitely stand up.

You keep going on about his recently copyrighted texts -- a grievance which I find repeatedly from certain sources, and which almost always carries this bitterness about the idea of the texts costing something, or not being freely available. This may be an inconvenience, but not much of one, given that numerous editions contain these texts, and therefore they are readily available from a number of inexpensive sources... or free, via the library systems. Add to this the fact that Joshi has gone on record as saying that, as long as someone contacts him and asks permission, the fee will either be quite nominal, or even waived... which makes such bitterness sound (whether or not this is genuinely the case) a great deal more like sour grapes than a genuine grievance.

And again, on the paragraphing problem, and the reliability of Luckhurst's texts as a result of relying on the "corrected" Astounding texts so heavily, without giving other factors due consideration:

All right... he is initially speaking of Mountains, but what he says also applies here in the more general sense (and is something he commented on at various points in letters): "All my paragraphs cut up into little chunks like the juvenile stuff all the other pulp hacks write. Rhythm, emotional modulations, & minor climactic effects thereby destroyed. If anybody writes in little chunks to start with -- as Belknap does -- well & good. But if anyone writes in full paragraphs, then units have an organic structure which can't bear division. Tremaine has tried to make "snappy action" stuff out of old-fashioned leisurely prose" (O, Fortunate Floridian, p. 335; again, emphasis mine).

Ultimately, Lovecraft himself cast doubt on the authoritativeness of these corrected texts when he said, in the same letter to Barlow: "I had to go just a bit from memory, since the typed version wasn't exactly like the rough draught. I made certain revisions which I didn't bother to insert in the original scrawl", as well as: "Some day maybe I'll try to sort out & assemble that shuffled-up & possibly incomplete close typescript you gave me in '34. It ought -- when fixed up -- to be better than one of these messed-up magazine extracts!" (O, Fortunate Floridian, p. 336). Obviously, he never got around to doing so; but, equally obviously, neither was he entirely satisfied with the corrected versions here, either.

Again, when faced with the contradictory indications in the various texts, as well as an admission of relying on what he admitted at various times was a faulty memory regarding works completed some time before, as well as the other points mentioned earlier, it behooves an editor who is concerned with assembling as close to a definitive text as possible, to consult all texts and related matter, and then follow that which is most consistent with the writer's predominating practices and expressed views on the technical points involved. This is what Joshi has done, while Luckhurst has, apparently, not taken all these into account, but relied on Lovecraft's corrected Astounding texts. That being the case, Joshi's texts remain the more reliable of the two.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 4 May, 2014 10:03AM
*applauds jd* Well spoken!

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 4 May, 2014 03:05PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> A) The original A.Ms., with initial revisions,
> written in 1931.
>
> B) The original T.Ms., with some further
> revisions, shortly thereafter.

This "run-down" below evidently refers to AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. "A.Ms." here refers HPL's handwritten manuscript; "T.Ms" here refers the surviving typescript. Just trying to help folks follow the discussion.

> B1) Conjectured carbon (see Discovering H. P.
> Lovecraft, pp. 100-01) It is here, apparently,
> that the revisions concerning Lovecraft's original
> hypothesis of two continents were introduced.

That revision, at least, must have come from HPL. But since this draft does not survive, we cannot know that he did not make OTHER revisions as well.

> C) Publication, in three installments, in
> Astounding Stories, featuring numerous excisions,
> misprints, rewordings (including non-words) and
> broken-up paragraphing.

Since the draft HPL submitted does not survive, we cannot know WHICH of these excisions, rewordings and re-paragraphing come from HPL, and WHICH were made by ASTOUNDING. Thankfully, we do not need to solve this unsolvable problem ourselves BECAUSE we have...

> D) Lovecraft's correction of these issues,

PHEW!! Problem solved! If we do what the author tells us, we have no need to rely on the mystical and mysterious scholarly powers of Joshi, that allow him to miraculously discern the content of documents that no longer exist.

> relying
> on his original A.Ms. (see O, Fortunate Floridian,
> pp. 329, 335-36), rather than the T.Ms. or
> (possible) carbon with their
> revisions/alterations, at least some of which
> appeared in the magazine versions.

It is, of course, is his business, and not ours, what he chooses to rely on in correcting his text.

But as we shall see below, his (alleged) lack of access to any typescript ("T.Ms.") may be a non-issue. It seems, at least, to have no relevance to the examples you are about to give below. The handwritten manuscript ("A.Ms."), which he relied on, would have sufficed to catch the excisions you discuss, if indeed Tremaine (rather than HPL) had made them.

> Now, if you have such corrections from an author
> and they make it crystal clear that they've gone
> over it all with a fine-toothed comb and this is
> their final version (at that point), then well and
> good.

You are stacking the deck against he author!

If a person honestly wants to follow the author's wishes, "crystal clarity" is not required. Reasonable clarity should suffice. He who uses remote theoretical possibilities as an excuse for ignoring the author's instructions was never interested in the author's wishes to begin with.

Nor is the author required to swear that he reviewed all earlier drafts with a "fine tooth comb", before his last instructions are obeyed. He is not required to review earlier drafts at all.

Nor need he make any formal declaration of absolute finality. For our purposes, it suffices that he clearly intends his latest draft to supercede any prior draft.

> Here, however, we run into serious problems,
> for Lovecraft himself, in his letters, makes it
> clear that he didn't take such care with the first
> installment:

Even if this were true, it would be a poor excuse for disrespecting the author's instructions. But it is NOT true. HPL does NOT say he took no care with the first installment. He says something ELSE ... something you refuse to believe and accept.

> "My 'Mountains of Madness' running in
> Astounding -- Feb.-Mar.-Apr. Some misprints, but
> cou'd be worse" (Letters to James F. Morton, p.
> 372). He continued to take this view of that
> initial segment;

Yup. Even after checking against the manuscript, and even after hand-correcting his copy of ASTOUNDING, and directing the elimination of 30 paragraph breaks in chapter 4 alone (where both major excisions occur), he failed to notice anything more serious than misprints and extra paragraph breaks.

You claim this proves HPL was careless. I, who would rather respect and trust what the author tells me, think it proves that ASTOUNDING did not make any major excisions in the first installment. Hence, the excisions you are about to complain about below, must have come from HPL himself. Which makes sense, given that both these passages in Chapter 4 are redundant, superfluous, and interrupt the flow of the narrative.

> Quoting from Joshi's note, here is
> the portion in question:
>
> "The whole general formation, it must be made
> clear, seemed abominably suggestive of the
> starfish-head of the archaean entities; and we
> agreed that the suggestion must have worked
> potently upon the sensitised minds of Lake's
> overwrought party.
>
> "For madness -- centering in Gedney as the only
> possible surviving agent -- was the explanation
> spontaneously adopted by everybody as far as
> spoken utterance was concerned...."

The above quotes the passage as it appears in Derleth's text (derived from HPL's hand-corrected copy). You do not quote the omitted portion which Joshi "restores".

The 2 excised sentences to which you are refer run from "Our own first sight..." to "...driving Lake's party mad." The entire passage can be found here, on the forum licensed to use Joshi-derived texts:
[www.hplovecraft.com]

> Joshi goes on to note: "The word for beginning the
> new paragraph must obviously refer to a previous
> mention of madness -- a mention which we find
> precisely in the omitted section."

Joshi is talking nonsense. The sentence "For madness...[etc.]" does not require a previous explicit mention of madness. It merely requires that there be some logical connection between "madness" and the preceding words. Which there is! To paraphrase: We thought some suggestion worked potently on overwrought sensitive minds; Hence, madness is the theory we adopted. It is a perfect transition.

The "madness hence madness" formula that Joshi claims is required is in fact redundant. A piece of early-draft redundancy hat HPL fixed.

> Would Lovecraft have intentionally omitted this
> passage?

The one you quoted above? No, because he did not omit it. It is in the Derleth text, and was presumably in ASTOUNDING STORIES as well.

The 2 extra useless, redundant (but newly-copyrighted) sentences that Joshi inserts at this point? (See link). Yes, absolutely. Those sentences are EXACTLY the short of thing that HPL would, should, and apparently DID remove.

The first sentence ("Our own first sight ...") interrupts the flow of the narrative by jumping back in time to discuss their initial reaction to the buried monsters, only to repeat what was adequately expressed before. This ground was already covered when Lake encountered the monsters in Ch. 2 ("... reminds one of certain monsters of primal myth, especially fabled Elder Things of Necronomicon..." "...uncanny resemblance to certain creatures of primal myth..." "Dyer and Pabodie have read Necronomicon ... and will understand..." "...make Lake whimiscally recall the primal myths about Great Old Ones..."). As to Dyer's own reaction, he referred to the organisms as "hellish Achaean organisms", "nightmare specimens", and "primal monstrosity" only a few paragraphs earlier. We already know his feelings.

The second sentence ("We all agreed that ...") is redundant with what what he is about to say again in the next sentence, and what is said earlier in the chapter. The next sentence is "For madness - centering in Gedney as the only possible surviving agent - was the explanation spontaneously adopted by everybody ...". Earlier in the chapter we had "... it was so much simpler ... to lay everything to an outbreak of madness on the part of some of Lake's party ... that demon mountain wind must have been enough to drive any man mad ...".

The only non-redundant element here is the suggestion that the sight of the Star-Heads could have contributed to driving Gedney mad (but only in combination with other more-horrible things). But this suggestion ends up as a dead end. Gedney was not driven mad, but killed outright. Danforth was driven mad - but not by the Star-Heads. The Star-Heads end up being largely demystified, and almost humanized, by the end of the novel, whereas the demon wind, and other things, remain as creepy as ever. And its a bit late in the narrative to start suggesting that the sight of Star-Head corpses (as distinct from their living forms) might be enough to induce madness. If this were so, some stronger hint of it should have been given earlier.

> [Quote from HPL]: "[...]Remove all
> possible superfluities -- words, sentences,
> paragraphs, or whole episodes or elements --
> observing the usual precautions about the
> reconciling of all references" ("Notes on Writing
> Weird Fiction"[...])

Haha! Thanks for that quote. I especially like the part about REMOVING ALL POSSIBLE SUPERFLUITIES. That certainly applies here. Now I am more certain than ever that he removed these words himself.

> The passage above, without the portion in
> brackets, would simply grossly violate that dictum
> by introducing a superfluous and confusing
> element ....

Not at all. Without the omissions, the passage is not even remotely confusing. Eliminating them REMOVES elements that are not only superfluous, but largely redundant.

> Lovecraft used his A.Ms. in making
> the corrections [...]

Which ought to have permitted him to catch this excision, IF that excision was made by ASTOUNDING. I think, rather, that he DID catch the excision, and immediately remembered that he made it himself. Alternatively, he may have approved the excision regardless of who made it.

> He does not posit a non-extant typescript,
> but rather says that certain alterations (which
> are in the Astounding text) must have come from a
> carbon of the typescript, if such existed, as they
> are not in the typescript itself:

I'm not interested in debating the semantics of the word "typescript". It is a different (and later) DRAFT. It may have been a mere copy once, but that changed once he started making separate changes to it.

If he used the "typed carbon" (or whatever it was) to make the changes Joshi concedes must have come from HPL, he could have just as easily (or more easily) used it to make other changes as well. For instance, HPL could have (and apparently did, if we trust HPL) cross out the pair of sentences we have just been discussing; as well as the other pair of sentences you will discuss below

> In the
> interim, however, had occurred Admiral Byrd's
> expedition to the Antarctic (1933-35); and among
> its results was the confirmation that a hypothesis
> made by Lovecraft in his novel [...] was
> incorrect. Lovecraft was apparently concerned with
> correcting this error [...] but he must have made
> the correction on the carbon copy of the novel
> (assuming one was made), for no such revisions are
> found either on the existing T.Ms. or the A.Ms.,
> although the revisions (clearly the work of
> Lovecraft) appear in the printed text."
> (Discovering H. P. Lovecraft, pp. 100-01)

Of course, the news that it was about to be published might have inspired him to go through his carbon copy (or whatever draft he had at the time) to look for SUPERFLUOUS elements, and remove them. Apparently, he did just that.

> you have so
> strongly insisted as an example of Joshi's ego
> getting in the way of following Lovecraft's
> preferences,

??? No. I believe that the creation of this text was driven by copyright motives, originally at the behest of Arkham House. It was probably originally just a work for hire, in an attempt to buttress Arkham House's shaky copyright claims. The texts were originally published under Arkham House's copyright. I call these texts the "Joshi texts" because that is how they are currently promoted and marketed.

> ...another example[...]should be the following:
> 'Those
> specimens, of course, had been covered with a
> tent-cloth; yet the low Antarctic sun had beat
> steadily upon that cloth, and Lake had mentioned
> that solar heat tended to make the strangely sound
> and tough tissues of the things relax and expand.
> Perhaps the wind had whipped this cloth from over
> them, and jostled them about in such a way that
> their more pungent olfactory qualities became
> manifest despite their unbelievable antiquity";

Again, since (per HPL) this was evidently not excised by Tremaine, it must have been excised by HPL. And again, it is easy to see why HPL would do so.

The first sentence merely repeats stuff HPL already told us at the end of Chapter 2 ("...the ceaseless antarctic sun had begun to limber up their tissues a trifle..." "...he did throw a spare tent over them..." "... had to weight down the corners of the tent-cloth...").

The second sentence clumsily speculates on things the narrator cannot possibly know; except to the extent that it is redundant with the narrators more-modest speculations only two sentences earlier. Those more modest speculations (where he admits he cannot know the things he is speculating about) were: "...whether from the wind itself, or from some subtle, increasing odor emitted by the nightmare specimens, one could not say."

The two sentence as a unit interrupt the flow of the narrative by jumping backwards in time, rather than remaining in the present.

> In each case, Lovecraft refers to these here and
> there throughout the novel, thus they are required

I think you mis-spelled "redundant".

> the following,
> which is actually, compositionally speaking, a
> non-paragraph:
>
> "Flowers were small, colorless, and
> unrecognizable, blooming in geometrical beds and
> at large among the greenery."
>
> This is, taken as a
> paragraph, simply bad writing

Don't "take it as a paragraph" then. You are playing silly semantic games. Call it a "non-paragraph" if you want. There is still no rule against "non-paragraphs". HPL left it that way, and it does not bother me.

But you know, if Joshi, or some other editor, wants to reparagraph THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME based on HPL's handwritten manuscript, I might not object too hard. It is at least a plausible theory that he always meant to eliminate more paragraphing breaks, but never got around to it (IIRC, he only removes one paragraph break in SHADOW, whereas I think he removes 100s of them in MOUNTAINS). Joshi does other, worse, things to SHADOW, that are more clearly and directly at odds with the author's final wishes.

Personally, however, I would prefer it if editors exercise a bit more textual conservatism, and reserve their theories about how the texts would or should have been improved for the essay and commentary sections. So, personally I would just follow the hand-corrected copy of SHADOW OUT OF TIME (which essentially means following Derleth), and leave its paragraphing alone.

It is possible that HPL may have decided to keep the "choppy" paragraphing of SHADOW for artistic reasons. The narrator is, after all, an amnesia victim trying, throughout the story, to reconstruct his choppy and disconnected memories. But that's just theory, and it might be best to admit I don't know. What I do know, at the very least, is that fixing the paragraphs in SHADOW was not a priority for him. Here I agree. It's not that important.

Joshi, however, has no excuse for changing the paragraphing in AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS. Here, HPL *did* extensively reparagraph, using his original handwritten manuscript for reference. Where he left the paragraphing as it was, it was because he wanted to keep it that way.

> This goes
> to what Lovecraft said about the "organic" nature
> of paragraphs (see below), and once again strongly
> indicates his utter distaste for the "choppy"
> paragraphs so rightly associated with pulp
> hackwork.

Apparently it did not bother him in this case. Nor (if you check what you quote him saying) does he feel that short paragraphs are inherently wrong.

> All right... he is initially speaking of
> Mountains, but what he says also applies here in
> the more general sense

I prefer to leave it up to HPL to decide where it applies, and to follow his instructions.

> Ultimately, Lovecraft himself cast doubt on the
> authoritativeness of these corrected texts when he
> said, in the same letter to Barlow:

He does not say that at all. It remains clear that these drafts, at the very least, supercede all prior drafts. He puts his authority right behind them, at least to the extent of giving them more authority than any other text. But you are looking for any excuse to deprive HPL of the right to control his own texts.

> "I had to go
> just a bit from memory, since the typed version
> wasn't exactly like the rough draught."

HPL has the right to do this. He can go a little from memory or alot from memory. He is the author, and he can base his authorial decisions on anything he wants, including his memory.

> "I made
> certain revisions which I didn't bother to insert
> in the original scrawl"

But, the revisions made in the typescript have NO RELEVANCE to the excision examples you posted above. Those were not cuts by Tremaine that HPL overooked because they were present ONLY in the typescript. They were in the manuscript.

This is, I think, all a big fat distraction and red herring. Joshi has not found in the typescript any excisions that HPL missed from failure to check the typescript. That's why he and you are forced to accuse HPL (without basis) of carelessness in checking against the manuscript.

> as well as: "Some day
> maybe I'll try to sort out & assemble that
> shuffled-up & possibly incomplete close typescript
> you gave me in '34. It ought -- when fixed up --
> to be better than one of these messed-up magazine
> extracts!" (O, Fortunate Floridian, p. 336).

It HPL's his right, as author, to make such plans. It does not change the fact that the corrected copy is, at the very least, his current working copy with more authority than ANY prior draft, including the typescript.

Please note: He is planning to do such checking himself. HE IS NOT GIVING ANYONE ELSE AUTHORITY TO DO IT. He reserves to himself the right to make changes to his own text.

Note the materials he wants to check for (additions he may have made to the typescript, but which Tremaine may have removed, but which he may not remember) apparently do not exist. Otherwise you would be citing these as examples, instead of accusing HPL of carelessness in checking the handwritten manuscript.

> Obviously, he never got around to doing so;

It's not obvious in anything you have said. Did you leave out part of your argument? Where is your proof that he never got around to checking the typescript?.

And what difference would it make if he didn't check it? What excisions has Joshi identified that are based solely on the surviving typescript, as distinct from the manuscript? Certainly not the examples you give above!

> but,
> equally obviously, neither was he entirely
> satisfied with the corrected versions here,
> either.

I don't think HPL was ever entirely satisfied with anything he wrote. But such lack of satisfaction does not translate into permission for other people to make changes to his texts for him. Whatever vague plans of further improvement he may have had, I am sure he wanted to make those improvements HIMSELF. There is, here, NO SUGGESTION WHATSOEVER of any intent to delegate that task to another person as posthumous editor. HPL is the ONLY person in a position to know whether he wants to restore a variant found in an older, superceded draft. Absent such a grant of posthumous authority to another person, his hand-corrected copy was indeed his last draft.

And again, you have identified no Joshi corrections to MOUNTAINS that are based on the typescript that he allegedly failed to check.

> Joshi's texts remain the more reliable of the two.

I don't agree. But so far, I have only challenged Joshiites to come up with a list of errors in Luckhurst, to justify their claim of "butchery". I have yet to provide a list of errors in the corresponding Joshi texts. When I do provide it, we can debate which text is more "reliable". In the meantime, you still have not justified your charge of "butchery".

(Note that I do not think Luchkurst's text is perfect - I believe there ARE errors to be found, though I find it curious that Joshiites, despite their charges, do not seem to know what they are).



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 4 May 14 | 04:02PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Geoffrey (IP Logged)
Date: 4 May, 2014 10:17PM
I am finding this debate quite interesting. I thank all involved.

It seems that most of the textual debate centers around At the Mountains of Madness and "The Shadow out of Time". Allow me to ask about Lovecraft's own two favorites of his stories: Are there significant textual issues with "The Colour out of Space" or with "The Music of Erich Zann"?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 May, 2014 05:48PM
Geoffrey Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Allow me to ask about Lovecraft's
> own two favorites of his stories: Are there
> significant textual issues with "The Colour out of
> Space" or with "The Music of Erich Zann"?

I'm not sure what you'd consider significant, but there are a few interesting variants. I'll take a look at my notes and get back to you.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 May, 2014 05:56PM
Platypus Wrote:
> You do not quote the omitted portion which
> Joshi "restores".

My apologies. Actually you do, but it does not appear when I click "Quote This Message."
Does that always happen when one puts things in [brackets]?

Edit: Strange - it does't happen when I do it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 5 May 14 | 05:58PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 6 May, 2014 01:36AM
I wasn't aware of that problem; I've not seen it before. Handy to know about, as it might help clarify certain situations.

I'd like to get back to you with a suitable reply but, as with last week (which ended up being an 82-hour work week!), this week looks very long (at least 70 hours, probably more); so it will likely be the weekend before I can do so.

However, I would like to respond to something you've brought up several times, which I think requires an answer on my own part. I've not had a copy of Luckhurst's edition available to me for consultation for quite a long time, so have not been able to give any specific citations such as you ask for. This should be rectified soon, as I've ordered a used copy for permanent use. (The one I had access to before was through the library system, and has not been available lately.)

I would also like to make a request: A lot of your comments do not simply take Joshi to task for his editorial choices, but either insinuate or state flat out a particular set of motivations which, given the circumstances, are indeed rather grave charges to be issuing about an editor. Do you have any evidence to support these claims? If so, I for one would very much like to hear what this evidence is. If not, I would suggest that this is speculation on your part, and as such serves no purpose save to create bad blood, something which cannot but interfere with any attempt at a fruitful debate on the validity of the texts themselves.

In return, I will go so far as to give Luckhurst the benefit of the doubt and give him full credit for honestly seeking to present the author's final wishes where these two stories, at least, are concerned. I disagree that such is the case, obviously, and think his choices unwise; but I do not think, for instance, that he is simply seeking to "cash in" on Lovecraft.

Does this proposal strike you as a fair exchange? To focus not on personalities (unless, as noted, there is evidence to present to support such claims), but rather on the merits of the case for each choice?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2014 12:10AM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I would also like to make a request: A lot of your
> comments do not simply take Joshi to task for his
> editorial choices, but either insinuate or state
> flat out a particular set of motivations which,
> given the circumstances, are indeed rather grave
> charges to be issuing about an editor. Do you have
> any evidence to support these claims? If so, I for
> one would very much like to hear what this
> evidence is.

I'm not sure what you are asking me to prove, since you do not specify. But I sense mixed messages. Are you challenging me to focus on facts, or are you challenging me to get personal? Or is this merely a polite-sounding accusation that I am guilty of crossing some line?

> In return, I will go so far as to give Luckhurst
> the benefit of the doubt and give him full credit
> for honestly seeking to present the author's final
> wishes where these two stories, at least, are
> concerned.

That sounds like it might be an excellent deal ... for Joshi and Luckhurst. But what in God's name is in it for me? Or for the public generally?

Joshi is a salesman selling a product. Luckhurst is also a salesman selling a product. The public has a right to be skeptical of both of them.

This needs to be said. Because the attitude I have most frequently encountered from Joshi's defenders is that Joshi is lord high Pontifex Maximus, that we are mere lowly peasants, and we have no rights except to swallow uncritically his infallible judgments.

Joshi & his defenders need to come of their high horse and accept that the public does indeed have a right to be skeptical of his claims. If a salesman rings my door, it is not MY burden to prove that he is dishonest. If I have any doubts of any kind whatsoever, I don't have to buy. "Caveat emptor" is not merely a right ... it is almost a duty.

Once Joshi's defenders accept the buyer's right to beware, and stop accusing us of being mean because we dare to doubt, they are of course free to try to convince us that Joshi is an honest and honorable salesman selling an extremely excellent product that really is "new and improved". It might even be true. Such things are not entirely unheard of.

> I disagree that such is the case,
> obviously, and think his choices unwise; but I do
> not think, for instance, that he is simply seeking
> to "cash in" on Lovecraft.

I never suggested the word "simply" applied in either case.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2014 01:52AM
Briefly: In the main, I take no exception to most of what is said here. I agree that it is good to be sceptical of both (or, for that matter, any other edition) and look at the evidence and draw one's own conclusions. Obviously we have both done so, and reached differing conclusions.

What I am getting at in the passage you cite is that you have gone farther than this (whether or not by intent, or realizing it) and have at least insinuated a much more shady set of motivations and actions on Joshi's part. At least, this is the impression it is leaving with quite a few here, if the posts are anything to go by. What I am requesting is that you "dial it back a bit" on that score, and that, yes, we focus on a debate about the merits of the texts and possible reasons for the validity of this or that one. I think this would be more fruitful for the discussion in general, though I frankly doubt that either of us is likely to convince the other of our position. (For my part, this is at least to some degree because I was initially sceptical of Joshi's revised texts and the reasons for them; but, following a lengthy study of the various materials involved -- at least as far as I was able, not having access to, say, copies of the original manuscripts, etc., but only published materials -- I came to the conclusion that what he was doing was fully merited, and very closely reasoned, with a great deal of weighing of all the factors, etc. As all I've seen in the 20+ years since has tended to confirm that impression, it is unlikely anything here will change it... but not impossible. It all depends on how strong the evidence on the opposing side is, in my view.)

In any event, it should present a considerable amount of material of interest for others who may be interested in this issue, allowing them to draw their own conclusions from a more informed position than otherwise.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2014 04:32PM
Leslie Klinger has an interesting point in one of his descriptions of his forthcoming THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT.

"Unlike the previous annotated editions of some of Lovecraft's stories, edited by the estimable S. T. Joshi, I've attempted to show the range of Lovecraftian scholarship and focus on explanatory material rather than biographical details. With his assistance, I've used Joshi's carefully edited texts, rather than other slipshod sources."

S. T. picks me up early to-morrow to drive us to Portland for the World Horror Convention, and Leslie will be in attendance there. He may there give both S. T. and I galley copies of this new Lovecraft collection. I wonder if the "slipshod" reference is to ye Oxford edition. I was disappointed to see that Leslie isn't to be on the Lovecraft panel with S. T. and I at the con, but hopefully he will be in the audience and I can get him to discuss in brief his new Lovecraft edition.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Ahab (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2014 07:18PM
Oh my! Am sorry to hear that Leslie Klinger will be doing the annotations. I think he is one of the worst annotators I've ever had the displeasure of reading. He likes playing this game where he pretends that the stories he is annotating actually took place. Consequently a lot of his annotations deal with trying to explain away contradictions in the text. It is very distracting and adds nothing to one's understanding of the annotated text. I made the mistake of purchasing his Sherlock Holmes editions. I've avoided all of his other books since. I doubt I'll pick up his Lovecraft edition.

Wish it were someone like Michael Patrick Hearn instead. Check out his annotated editions of Wizard of Oz and Huckleberry Finn to see some nice examples of a well annotated book:

[www.amazon.com]

[www.amazon.com]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Ahab (IP Logged)
Date: 7 May, 2014 07:25PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Briefly: In the main, I take no exception to most
> of what is said here. I agree that it is good to
> be sceptical of both (or, for that matter, any
> other edition) and look at the evidence and draw
> one's own conclusions. Obviously we have both done
> so, and reached differing conclusions.
>
> What I am getting at in the passage you cite is
> that you have gone farther than this (whether or
> not by intent, or realizing it) and have at least
> insinuated a much more shady set of motivations
> and actions on Joshi's part. At least, this is the
> impression it is leaving with quite a few here, if
> the posts are anything to go by. What I am
> requesting is that you "dial it back a bit" on
> that score, and that, yes, we focus on a debate
> about the merits of the texts and possible reasons
> for the validity of this or that one. I think this
> would be more fruitful for the discussion in
> general, though I frankly doubt that either of us
> is likely to convince the other of our position.
> (For my part, this is at least to some degree
> because I was initially sceptical of Joshi's
> revised texts and the reasons for them; but,
> following a lengthy study of the various materials
> involved -- at least as far as I was able, not
> having access to, say, copies of the original
> manuscripts, etc., but only published materials --
> I came to the conclusion that what he was doing
> was fully merited, and very closely reasoned, with
> a great deal of weighing of all the factors, etc.
> As all I've seen in the 20+ years since has tended
> to confirm that impression, it is unlikely
> anything here will change it... but not
> impossible. It all depends on how strong the
> evidence on the opposing side is, in my view.)

Couldn't agree more. Hope this discussion can continue in that spirit. It has been a very enlightening read so far. My thanks to you and Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2014 09:07PM
Someone asked about textual issues in "The Music of Erich Zann" ("MUSIC"). Here's a bit what I know.

MUSIC was first published in an amateur magazine, THE NATIONAL AMATEUR (1922). I have never seen that text nor even heard of anyone who owns a copy.

MUSIC was next published in WEIRD TALES (1925). The text uses American spelling, as well as "show" and "demon" in place of their archaic or anglo-saxon equivalents. Otherwise no real issues. HPL (who as far as I know, was generally unconcerned about American versus British spelling) must have been happy.

MUSIC was next published in the Dashiell Hammett anthology CREEPS BY NIGHT (1931). This is clearly based on the WEIRD TALES text, but there are some minor revisions, the most significant of which are "bareness" is changed to "barrenness"; and the word "west" is capitalized ("...mocking note from far away in the West"), as if to suggest some special meaning (as was done, for instance, in "The White Ship" and "Poetry and the Gods"). There are also some minor changes in punctuation. I don't know if these revisions come from HPL.

MUSIC was next published in MODERN TALES OF HORROR (1932) which is the British version of CREEPS BY NIGHT. I have not seen this text, but I imagine its the same, perhaps with British spellings. In any event, I would not expect additional input from HPL.

MUSIC's final publication in HPL's lifetime was a second appearance in WEIRD TALES (1934). This version ignores the changes made in CREEPS BY NIGHT, but has changes of its own, the most significant of which are excisions of a word, two phrases, and even a whole sentence, amounting to 39 words. Excised are (1) the phrase "and I reflected for a moment that" which is replaced by a full stop, after which the narrator simply states (in a new sentence) what he had been about to reflect ("...in the theaters. This was the first time..."); (2) the word "unrecognizable" ("blind, mechanical [unrecognizable] orgy"); (3) the phrase "looked while the candles sputtered and the insane viol howled with the night-wind"); and finally the sentence "To save myself and Erich Zann I could at least try, whatever the powers opposed to me." I personally believe these excisions improve the tale, eliminating clumsy and/or redundant elements. The removal of the last sentence in particular increases the horror of the climax, by eliminating the unnecessary suggestion of heroic self-control in the face of nightmarish chaos. The question is, were these changes authorized by HPL.

Derleth's text very closely follows CREEPS BY NIGHT (and hence ignores the excisions from the 2nd WEIRD TALES appearance). The only change I noted was that at one point "know" has changed to "knew" ("the qualities of supreme genius which I *knew* this strange old man possessed"). I am relying on BEST SUPERNATURAL STORIES (1945). I do not know if this variant was present in THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS (1939). In any event, it is probably a transcription error.

Joshi's first text appeared in THE DUWICH HORROR AND OTHERS (1982). In his "Note on the Text" Joshi declares that no manuscript or typescript was available for this story, and so the text had to be based on WEIRD TALES. In fact, it seems to follow the old Arkham House text, but makes various changes to it, some of them based on the first WEIRD TALES text (hence, he also ignores the 1934 excisions), and some based on other considerations. He retains "knew" in place of "know" (via Derleth) texts, but (for instance) "barrenness" and "West" are restored to "bareness" and "west". The remaining changes I list are not supported by any source text: He changes "show" to "shew"; changes "demon" to "daemon"; and insists on capitalizing "bacchanals" in the phrase "satyrs and bacchanals" (but if you do that, should not "satyrs" also be capitalized?). He eliminates the paragraph break that occurs between "...departed as a friend." and "The next day Blandot ...", presumably based on the theory that whenever he sees a short paragraph it must have been caused by an interfering editor. There are also a score or so of minor changes in punctuation and word-division that I won't bother to list.

Also, in later Joshi texts (those currently being sold), an instance of "of" is replaced by "to" ("having no semblance *to* anything on earth")

In the Library of America collection TALES, it is declared that Joshi's text of MUSIC follows HPL's "typescript in a private collection." I don't know why the explanation has changed, since the text is still the same as it was in 1982 (except for the latter "of/to" switch).

Joshi's trivial changes do no real harm to the story. But if there is any reason to believe his text is somehow more definitive than any other version, I have no idea what those reasons would be.



Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 14 May 14 | 09:44PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Ahab (IP Logged)
Date: 14 May, 2014 11:04PM
Interestingly, one can read the LOA text of that story here:

LOA

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 15 May, 2014 08:33PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The texts seems
> mostly sound, but there are some errors, including
> the notorious "silent stutter in darkness" in "The
> Horror at Red Hook," which should be "silent
> strutter"

I must here give Mr. Pugmire credit for identifying an actual error in Luckhurst's text. Yes, Luckhurst's text does indeed say "stutter" and it should indeed by "strutter". However, 2 things need be said:

(A) This is not a "notorious" error that Joshi identified and corrected long ago. As far as I know, it has never occurred before. It does not occur in WEIRD TALES, it does not occur in the pre-65 Derleth texts I have seen; it does not occur in the post-65 Derleth texts. Concievably it was in THE OUTSIDER AND OTHERS (which I have yet to check), but as that is the holy grail of texts, which none have ever seen, it could hardly be a "notorious" error, if that is the only place it ever appeared. It may simply be one of those errors and typos that seem to inevitably creep into texts (yes, including Joshi's texts).

(B) A similar error DOES occur in certain Joshi texts. The "Library of American" collection (TALES) has "silent stutterer". So does the first, and notoriously corrupt, B&N edition, but perhaps that does not count. I have not, of course checked all the current Joshi texts.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Geoffrey (IP Logged)
Date: 17 May, 2014 12:22PM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Someone asked about textual issues in "The Music
> of Erich Zann" ("MUSIC"). Here's a bit what I
> know...

That was me, and I greatly appreciate your information. I also wonder about the textual history and textual uncertainties regarding "The Colour out of Space". I am particularly interested in these two tales because Lovecraft held them to be his best. I can imagine that his attention to the editing of these two stories would be greater than that given to his other stories since he considered the latter inferior.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2014 12:00AM
I suppose it would be best to preface the rest of my comments by stating that, while I have received Luckhurst's volume, I've not had a chance to go through it thoroughly -- that is, re-reading all the stories carefully, line by line. I have, however, browsed through several of them (particularly the two which have been the major points of contention here), and read nearly all Luckhurst's own matter: introduction, note on the text, chronology of Lovecraft, and the bulk of the notes. The majority of the latter are quite unexceptionable, though there is not often a great deal of difference between the information given there and in other annotated editions of Lovecraft containing these stories; what difference there is, is generally in formulation and occasionally minor detail. The major room for criticism, I think, was put forth by Joshi himself in his review, when he noted that (to paraphrase) the book is neither fish nor fowl. It does not honestly reflect Lovecraft's own final wishes (something Luckhurst himself acknowledges in his note on the text), nor does it genuinely fulfill his own stated intention of recapturing the experience the initial readers of these tales had when encountering them in the pulp magazines, as he silently corrects various misprints which can affect the reading of a tale, and follows the magazine paragraphing of the two tales in Astounding, while nonetheless incorporating the restorations utilized by Derleth. On the other hand, his reactions to Joshi's texts are generally neutral to favorable, with a few exceptions; and even here the "negative" (if one can call it truly negative, rather than perhaps a bit sharply sceptical) is balanced by his quoting the text in question... which is certainly helpful for those who wish to compare the two. (These instances of quotation are, however, few; leaving the majority of discrepancies between the two texts -- that is, Luckhurst's and Joshi's -- unremarked.)

The result, I am sorry to say, does not particularly impress me as a very useful edition of Lovecraft, as it does fall into neither camp, and therefore does not even do what Luckhurst himself has stated as his purpose. Which is a pity, as such an edition would at least be of interest to scholars interested in comparing the precise magazine versions with those which more closely follow Lovecraft's own manuscripts or (apparently) approved printed versions.

As for errors in Luckhurst's texts -- as I say, I've not had the time to go through each story thoroughly, nor even most cursorily; but here are a few worth noting:

from "The Whisperer in Darkness":

Notwithstanding the deep things I saw and heard, and the admitted vividness of the impressions produced on me by these things, I cannot prove even now... (p. 121)

which should read:

Notwithstanding the deep extent to which I shared the information and speculations of Henry Akeley, the things I saw and heard, and the admitted vividness of the impressions...

Or:

If I knew as little of the matter as they, I would feel justified in believing as they do. I would be wholly on your side. (p. 129)

which simply doesn't make sense. It should read:

If I knew as little of the matter as they, I would not feel justified in believing as they do. I would be wholly on your side.

Or:

I have seen the reprints of letters from you, and those agreeing with you, in the Rutland Herald, and I guess I know about where your controversy stands at the present time.(p. 220)

which, again, does not make sense; as opposed to:

I have seen the reprints of letters from you, and those arguing with you, in the Rutland Herald, and I guess...

There are others in this story as well, but these will serve as examples of where Luckhurst errs in following Derleth's texts.

There is also a rather peculiar one, in "The Horror at Red Hook", on p. 6: "columns of pilasters". You can't have columns of pilasters; it should be "columns or pilasters". Which might simply be a typo, except that, if so, it is odd that this is the same exact typographic error which appears in the AH text.

And an entirely new one, from the first chapter of At the Mountains of Madness:

which we then thought to form a separate and smaller continent divided from the larger one by a frozen junction of Ross and Weddell Seas, though Byrd has since disproved the report. (p. 189)

That last word, even in the older Arkhan House texts, should be "hypothesis". This makes sense, whereas "report" simply does not, and is in fact nonsense, given that there is no report of their hypothesis. This may, of course, be an editorial change in the original Astounding printing which has slipped through (as elsewhere noted, I've not seen the original publications), but in any event, it certainly doesn't reflect HPL's own wording.

So much for Luckhurst's texts as being representative of Lovecraft's wishes. Given that he himself makes it clear he is using magazine publications as the basis of his texts, and that he retained -- against Lovecraft's explicit instructions, even according to your own statements -- the paragraphing of At the Mountains of Madness from Astounding, it is obvious that such was never his intention. He was attempting a different goal altogether; one which I think is questionable on several grounds, but within an editor's privilege.

Which leaves us with what has become (in this thread, at least), the thorny question of "the Joshi texts", whether they fall into this heading, and whether or not they are more representative of Lovecraft's wishes. Rather than simply going point-by-point here, I will begin by stating flatly that all we know concerning the two most contended texts is that Lovecraft did not make (in his correcting of the Astounding printings) some of the emendations and changes present in Joshi's texts. Well and good. If we consider just these texts in isolation, that would be enough. If, on the other hand, we consider not only these "corrected" magazine excerpts, but Lovecraft's lifelong usage, then questions inevitably arise. And when we add to that his own repeated statements about such issues (see the letter excerpts at the end), it becomes virtually certain that there are some serious anomalies. Add to that the fact that he was still making such statements even at the point where he was making these corrections, and these stand out even more. These anomalies, on the other hand, are almost entirely resolved by reference to his manuscripts (both autograph and existing typescript), which firmly place these two texts within both his explicitly stated aesthetic preferences and lifelong practice. Unless you are claiming that, in these isolated instances alone, and going against statements he was making even at the same time, Lovecraft suddenly chose to take a completely different path, then such a collation of texts and consequent editorial choices seem the best method for respecting the author's wishes, rather than an ignoring of such. It then becomes a matter of which choices seem reasonable, and which do not. As the following will indicate, I think that, at least in the majority of cases, Joshi's choices most soundly reflect Lovecraft's own policies on these matters.

Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That revision, at least, must have come from HPL.
> But since this draft does not survive, we cannot
> know that he did not make OTHER revisions as well.

True enough. By the same token, we have no evidence that he did, either; so any further support of that idea is entirely speculative. Once again, additional evidence would be required to make a sound decision either way.

> Since the draft HPL submitted does not survive, we
> cannot know WHICH of these excisions, rewordings
> and re-paragraphing come from HPL, and WHICH were
> made by ASTOUNDING.

We do have the original typed manuscript, however; we also have Lovecraft's letters expressing his fury at the alteration of his paragraphing; and it is the paragraphing used by Astounding, which he spends a lengthy paragraph and more on excoriating, which Luckhurst follows in his edition:

"These stories were both published in the science fiction magazine, Astounding Stories and were extensively reparagraphed by the editor, with some passages deleted and some of the phrasing simplified. I have chosen to reprint the original pulp versions of the tales with regard to paragraphing, in order to retain some of the pulp energy that Astounding Stories wanted to inject into Lovecraft's tales. Readers may note a different prose rhythm in these two tales, but this breathless form was how they were first encountered by their audience in the Golden Age of science fiction. I have followed August Derleth in restoring deleted passages[...]."

-- "Note on the Text", p. xxix

We also have Lovecraft's letter to Alvin Earl Perry, which outlines in more detail his methods of composition as set forth in "Notes on Writing Weird Fiction", and which make it virtually certain such alterations would not have been done at that stage. (It should be noted, too, that Luckhurst is a bit loose in his categorization of the "Golden Age", which did not begin until the so-called "Campbell Revolution" of 1939... several years after the publication of these tales.)

At any rate, once again, you are building a rather flimsy argument here, given Lovecraft's repeated rejection of such short, "choppy" paragraphing and his frequent criticism of it as a detriment to good prose style. (See the section of letter excerpts at the end.) To propose that in these two tales only he would choose to suddenly adopt a type of prose rhythm completely alien to that which he had used in his entire career (at least since "The Beast in the Cave"), and at the same time that he is inveighing against precisely this sort of thing, is extremely shaky. When you talk about editors advancing their own theories, you might want to consider that this is precisely what you are doing here, as the weight of evidence is very much against you on this.

> Thankfully, we do not need to solve this unsolvable problem ourselves BECAUSE we
> have...
>
> > D) Lovecraft's correction of these issues,
>
> PHEW!! Problem solved! If we do what the author
> tells us, we have no need to rely on the mystical
> and mysterious scholarly powers of Joshi, that
> allow him to miraculously discern the content of
> documents that no longer exist.

Once again, you are ignoring the fact that Lovecraft himself expressed dissatisfaction with these corrected copies; they were an improvement, but even he says that they were not ideal. They serve in lieu of an entirely retyped manuscript (something he abhorred doing), but that is all.

> It is, of course, is his business, and not ours,
> what he chooses to rely on in correcting his text.

Save that, once again, you are ignoring the fact that Lovecraft raised the issue himself, emphasizing it in his own hand. This makes it quite clear that he had reservations about this aspect of his corrections, as otherwise (given the way he tended to express himself clearly in letters on such matters) he would have noted either that he had made some additional revisions or been silent about the memory part of it altogether. This is hardly unusual practice for him, as he tends to be a stickler for such.

> his (alleged) lack of
> access to any typescript

No "alleged" about it. Lovecraft's letter to Barlow has HPL himself saying he didn't have access to it.

> You are stacking the deck against he author!
>
> If a person honestly wants to follow the author's
> wishes, "crystal clarity" is not required.
> Reasonable clarity should suffice. He who uses
> remote theoretical possibilities as an excuse for
> ignoring the author's instructions was never
> interested in the author's wishes to begin with.
>
> Nor is the author required to swear that he
> reviewed all earlier drafts with a "fine tooth
> comb", before his last instructions are obeyed. He
> is not required to review earlier drafts at all.
>
> Nor need he make any formal declaration of
> absolute finality. For our purposes, it suffices
> that he clearly intends his latest draft to
> supercede any prior draft.

There are several points I would dispute here: !) These are not "remote theoretical possibilities", but rather a following of Lovecraft's own established practice as set forth in his letters, essays, and all extant drafts of the text, barring the published version. This includes his own statements to Barlow about the prose rhythm and interconnectedness of the various parts of the text, for these passages are anything but redundant, but instead act on several levels: as reflections on earlier events (but always with new information and associational resonance added), "rhythms of repetition" (to use Luckhurst's phrase, p. xix; and also his noting that "These repetitions build an incantatory rhythm, tying baroque literary form to philosophical content", p. xx), motifs much as in music (particularly opera, which bears an interesting resemblance to Lovecraft's work in many ways) which tie the text together structurally, knitting the fabric more tightly into a coherent, "organic" (to use HPL's own phrasing) whole; and foreshadow events to come (which are, of course, given that the narrative, though told as if the events are unfolding for the sake of maximum tension, are actually given post facto); and so on.

For example, the passage which Luckhurst cites in his note on p. 474 (for p. 215) not only reminds the readers of Lake's description of the toughness of the things, and their offensive odor, but also looks forward to the finding of the decapitated Old Ones toward the end of the novel, which thus acts as a parallel to the action of the dogs (the consideration and rejection of the penguins' being responsible recalls and adds new layers to the earlier passage concerning the attack of the dogs on the things) plus the reminder of the odor acts as a mnemonic resonance for the readers, not only preparing them for the later scene, but also acting to set the readers' knowledge in tension against the apparent facts as the protagonists encounter them, thus heightening suspense and the feeling of terror. It also serves as an instance of that "summing up" of events his characters so often use to come to grips with events up to that point, and that "emotional preparation" which was paramount in Lovecraft's conception of a weird tale (again, see the letters below).

So, too, with the passage you reject (beginning "For..."), as it serves many of these purposes as well. And no, Joshi is not talking nonsense here; he is following the sort of grammatical correctness in structure that Lovecraft made the keynote of his comments time and again. (See, for instance, his comments on the importance of rhetorical effects, as reflected in the letter citing his own influences in that regard.) That "for" is, without such a close referent, at best a clumsy usage, quite unlike the very careful structuring Lovecraft was so intent on, where every word was chosen for its precise effect and placement, even such a conjunction as this; again, more tightly knitting the fabric of the text while adding new resonances and also acting as a "summing up" of the case as being weighed by the actors so far (as in a detective story; one technique from such which Lovecraft used quite extensively). One sees this sort of thing constantly in Lovecraft's manuscripts. For example, on the first page of Mountains, as reproduced on p. 119 of Nightmare Countries, he has included in his interlineations a note to reference the discussion of the photographs and drawings from the opening paragraphs. This sort of "rhythmic repetition" has long been noted as a very important aspect of Lovecraft's textual style, at least as far back as Fritz Leiber's "A Literary Copernicus".

2) When putting together a "definitive" text, as I've indicated before, you not only have to consider the particular piece in question, but all other matter connected to it, including such a red flag as Lovecraft's letter to Barlow, which raises the question not of whether Lovecraft was entirely satisfied or not (the fact that he went into this entire matter not once, but twice within the same letter, strongly points to him not being so; he also went into this further in a later letter), but the degree to which he had reservations, and on what points. At which juncture, the letters, essays, and his lifelong usage enter the picture as tools to determine the degree to which this was so, and where.

I find it very interesting that you jump on the one phrase from that quotation of "Notes on Writing Weird Fictino" which would support your own contention, while ignoring the rest of the quote, let alone the essay itself, which argues against you in this matter; for Lovecraft did not go back and reconcile these things; references to these passages still occur elsewhere in the novel, references which, for their full effect, depend on these passages being there.

Allow me to quote the relevant passage again:

"If the development suddenly reveals new opportunities for dramatic effect or vivid storytelling, add whatever is thought advantageous -- going back and reconciling the early parts to the new plan. Insert and delete whole sections if necessary or desirable, trying different beginnings and endings until the best arrangement is found. But be sure that all references throughout the story are thoroughly reconciled with the final design. Remove all possible superfluities -- words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole episodes or elements -- observing the usual precautions about the reconciling of all references."

Again, note that not once, but three times in this short passage, he emphasizes this reconciling of all references and various parts, and then go back and reread Mountains carefully, and you'll find that there are passages which simply are not reconciled properly if these passages are missing, whereas if they are included, each element fits perfectly into the concepts voiced above. (Again, see the letter to Alvin Earl Perry for more on this topic.)

3) No, I am not "stacking the deck" here; I am using critical judgment to follow the indications of how Lovecraft himself tended to view these things, how he expressed his views on such matters, and what his common usage was (as well as his repeated advice to other writers on the subject). If anything, this is paying much more attention to the what the writer says than simply going by a single bit of evidence about which the writer has himself expressed reservations. In such a case, it is the editor/scholar who actually goes to the trouble of collating all these factors, and then carefully considering and weighing each factor against the others before reaching a decision, who is the most concerned with securing what is likely the author's wishes on the matter. Whether or not such an attempt is successful is, of course, open to debate; but following such a course indicates the very opposite of not caring what the writers' wishes are.

In a case where there are no contrary evidences, or indications that there may (or definitely are) problems with the text, then no such high bar is needed. But when such enter the picture, things have to be weighed that much more carefully, much as a judge or jury must weigh all the evidence of a case before reaching a verdict (e.g., the analogy in considering cases concerning a separation of church and state, wherein not only the specific wording of the constitutional amendment must be at issue, but also such clarifying documents as the original Treaty of Tripoli and Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, from which the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" is derived). However simple it may first appear, when something like this comes to light, following the simple course is more likely to land you in the wrong than otherwise.

4) As indicated by the above, as well as my statements elsewhere, there is no "clearly" about it. Along with detailing his efforts to restore the text, he at the same time flatly states that it may not reflect his formal typed manuscript, with the strong implication that referencing that would likely reveal some errors in an effort in which he was relying on his memory of that very document. Hence, it is not a clear-cut case, but an extremely nuanced one.

> You claim this proves HPL was careless.

Nowhere do I accuse HPL of "carelessness". I do state (with backing from his own comments in letters) that he was not a particularly good proofreader; this is scarcely uncommon among writers, in part because they have been going over the same material time and time and time again, and eventually even the most careful among human beings will find that they miss things simply due to fatigue with the material, or a galley-related analogy to "highway hypnosis". Ask just about any writer, and they'll tell you they've been through the same thing. This is why it is such a good idea to have multiple sets of eyes go over the same materials; each is likely to miss things, but together the likelihood of such drops dramatically. (Which is why we have so many typos, misprints, and missing passages in modern books: Publishers have "downsized" proofreading and even editing corps drastically, relying on machinery or one or two individuals to do what used to be done by several. I worked in this field for many years, and I know.)

As you seem intent on misrepresenting or at least distorting what I said... that letter to Morton was done before he had done more than glance over the Astounding text. It was not until some time later that someone else drew his attention to the botched job, particularly in the third installment. I do, however, stand corrected on one point: the passages mentioned were not omitted from the first installment, which ends at the last line of section III (according to Luckhurst's notes; p. 474; I've not seen the original Astounding text itself). These were from the first portion of the second installment. However, I stand by my statements concerning the likelihood that these were overlooked rather than intentionally excised by HPL, both because he was relying on his earlier A.Ms. rather than the typescript (the first version of which, at least, is extant; it is here where he had done several revisions we know for certain were by his hand). As I have stated, I have not seen the original manuscripts (A.Ms. or T.Ms.) save for occasional pages reproduced in this or that book or journal, but these passages were certainly present in the latter at least. Joshi himself raises the point -- though he considers it unlikely for these same reasons -- that he may have removed them in the revised T.Ms. sent to Astounding; but, for the reasons given above, as well as a point made in the letter to Perry, I would argue that such is unlikely. (And, if you've seen copies of his original autograph manuscripts, it is very conceivable that such passages could be overlooked; even with a magnifying lens, often his interlineations and transpositions are almost impossible to decipher; something even he ruefully admitted.) It remains hypothetical, but consistent with the craft and care he took on the points mentioned above.

Which brings us, once again, to the paragraphing of "The Shadow out of Time". Once more, all we know is that Lovecraft did not go over this one nearly as extensively. We do not know why he did not indicate the others; though certainly such would have been superfluous with Barlow, who had the original manuscript. However, once again, given the numerous statements Lovecraft made up to and including this time concerning the organic nature of paragraphs as they are written, as well as his lifelong adherence to the standard rules of composition and his frequent disparagement of such choppy, staccato "near-rhythms" (see letter extracts below, as well as the letter to Barlow cited earlier), the probability that he would deliberately go against all this in this one instance without remarking on such a drastic change (recall that, whenever he did attempt any such change in his style of composition, he remarked on it in his letters and discussed the difficulties he had with such) is so tiny as to have long passed the point of invisibility. It is much more reasonable to accept the paragraphing of the manuscript, which reflects his lifelong usage and the statements made in his correspondence and essays, as being more representative of his wishes in this case.

And while we're on the subject... it isn't simply my opinion that the passage I cite from "The Shadow Out of Time" is a "non-paragraph"; it is a simple fact of the rules of composition. It just does not meet any of the requirements of what constitutes a paragraph, certainly not by the standards which HPL used:

[lrs.ed.uiuc.edu]

Now, this is very basic stuff, and Lovecraft knew these basics (and followed them) from childhood; he argued for them again and again in his critical columns for the amateur press, his letters to other writers (particularly those who were just beginning), and so forth. In no instance does he make exceptions which would violate such a simple, basic part of writing construction. On the other hand, the passage as given in the restored text is a very sound example of precisely this unit of writing.

As for your arguments (which you admit are entirely theoretical)... again, this is not only against Lovecraft's lifelong practice, but against his explicit statements regarding prose rhythms and the need for the complex paragraphing he so carefully constructed. (Again, see the examples given below.) Not a priority for him? I think you are missing the forest for the single tree here; as I said, he begins by speaking of Mountains, but before he is through he is speaking of both (check the entire letter to see what I mean -- I do not copy it all because it amounts to about two full pages of text), and what he says agrees entirely with his constant reiteration of this very same point, and his distaste for such paragraphing as a part of declining prose style.

There is also this, from a later letter to Barlow, which further exemplifies his reservations:

"About the 'M of M' mess -- I think [Lovecraft's emphasis] my printed copies are now in tolerable shape. The other day I succeeded in straightening out your imperfect typed version (of which several early pages are absent), & may get some valuable points from that. As for the "Shadow" -- the copy now with Comte d'Erlette can't be correct, since I don't recall your transcribing my corrections in the typed copy. I think, though, that the printed copy had no omissions -- so that my memory-corrections make it sufficiently tolerable. -- O, Fortunate Floridian, p. 344

Note the very reserved phrasing here in both cases. In neither is there an indication of genuine satisfaction with the result. Once again, this argues against these as representing Lovecraft's "final wishes" concerning these two tales; whereas (at least with Mountains; by "Shadow" his self-confidence was so low that he never felt at all sure of the merits of that tale) in his comments dealing with the original manuscript he reiterates time and again that this is his "best" tale, and the infinite care and pains he took in correcting and revising it in original manuscript form.

> It's not obvious in anything you have said. Did
> you leave out part of your argument? Where is
> your proof that he never got around to checking
> the typescript?.

A) The letters already cited (written near the end of his life). B) No reference in any further letters indicating otherwise, something he would almost certainly (given how much he had gone into this already) have mentioned.

****************


The following excerpts from his letters go toward supporting many of the contentions I have made above, particularly about the forging of a careful, measured prose style using many of the same devices as good rhetoric and poetry to subtly enhance effect; an avoidance of the standards of popular magazines with their "action-oriented" prose (particularly paragraphing, but also word choice and subtleties and complexities of sentence structure and an overemphasis on brevity over accepted standards of composition); and the extremely careful, gradual emotional build-up by use of reiterations and expansions of particular phrases and motifs to prepare the reader for the desired emotional response to the wonders and terrors depicted in the work.

"At present you're laying more stress on plot than on those intangible subtleties of mood and colouring which come from the studied choice (really, a poetic choice) of cadenced words and phrases, and from a minute selective attention to the thousand-and-one almost invisible details which add up collectively into a living background.[...] But in the end, atmosphere repays cultivation; because it is the final criterion of convincingness or unconvincingness in any tale whose major appeal is to the imagination." -- SLII.89-90

This goes toward what I was saying earlier about Lovecraft using such poetic techniques in his own fiction, including such rhythmic repetitions, as well as chiasmus (one of his favorites, apparently, as it crops up over and over again in his work), etc.

"The second essential -- the element which, joined to the proper vision, makes literary competence a certainty -- is a keen sense of beauty as applied to language. A natural author thinks of words solely in their aesthetic relations -- in their power to grasp delicately and exquisitely his every shade of meaning and emotion, and to sing forth his dreams in music of surpassing loveliness. To him language is no haphazard, utilitarian thing, but the conjoined marble and chisel of a sculptor, wherewith perfect things may be bodied forth afresh in perfect beauty. No one need try authorship unless he feels himself able and inclined to treat language as a fine art -- as a thing of complex and delicate laws, of hidden meanings, and of a thousand potent subtleties of sound, rhythm, force, vividness, tone-colour, and associative values. He must be willing and eager to bind himself in a long and toilsome apprenticeship to the gods of speech -- and must never be impatient or rebellious. He must come to love language so much that it will form almost an end in itself -- he must love it till the mere handling of beautiful words and rhythms becomes an exquisite pleasure...." -- SLII.143-44

On the faults of an "action-oriented" style and lack of adequate emotional preparation:

"Walpole was too steeped in the classical tradition of the early 18th century to catch the Gothic spirit of the latter half. His choice of words and rhythms is the brisk, cheerful Addisonian one; and his nonchalant and atmosphereless way of describing the most prodigious horrors is enough to empty them of all their potency." -- SLII.231

"My advice today would be the same as in the past -- to put all energies into the twin fields of accurate life-knowledge and subtle language-mastery; substituting for a romantic interest in a limited field of outward human actions a profound curiosity to get at the roots of conduct and events and to detect hidden rhythms, ironies, and inclusive truths behind the external mask -- this, and a carefully cultivated love of the art of written expression for its own sake, involving a passionate interest in words and phrases and cadences at least three-quarters as great as your interest in what you write about. Cultivate accuracy, profundity, and scholarship -- remembering that the popular tastes and perspectives are all false things of the surface unworthy of a sober thinker's attention, and that the proportionate importance of the different factors in life is never even approximated by romantic popular literature with its artificial, catchpenny standards based on the dull comprehension of the brainless majority. Learn to lose interest in the tawdry and tinsel things exalted by cheap novelists, and to gain interest in the only two things worthy of a high-grade adult mind -- truth and beauty, as exemplified by a searching and unbiased glance into the real nature and proportions of life, and a single-minded devotion to the processes, harmonies, and niceties of art as practiced only for its own sake. Substitute the specific for the general, the scholarly for the careless, the accurate for the inexact, the true for the pleasant or conventional, the analytical for the empirical, the serious for the trivial, the painstaking for the casual, the conscientious for the dashing, the objective for the subjective, the impersonal for the personal, the gradual for the sudden, the profound for the swift, the effacing for the ambitious, the unworldly for the worldly, the settled for the restless, the relentless for the ennuied, the patient for the impatient, the sceptical for the credulous, the ironic for the romantic, the calm for the excitable, the deliberate for the random, the sharp for the blurred, the conscious (in craftsmanship only, however) for the unconscious and haphazard, the well-planned for the vague..... Choose as the only suitable aim in life the feat of spying out truth so far as it can be spied, and of pinning it down to paper in the most vivid and beautiful of all possible forms....... Let all your interest and enthusiasm go into the process of selecting the true and significant from the false and irrelevant, and of crystallising your selection in the most perfect language and imagery which art can provide."-- SLII.326-27

"What you want is a reading-course in several parallel lines, mapped out with care by some competent scholar and followed attentively and conscientiously by yourself. I'd say, offhand, that about five parallel streams would be about right -- elementary science, to give you an idea of man's place in nature; psychology and philosophy, to shew you how people think, why they do what they do, and what they do under given conditions; history, to give you an intelligent perspective on possible fictional backgrounds; literary method, (critical essays, textbooks on writing and appreciation) to teach you how to translate thoughts, events, pictures, and moods into language to the greatest possible advantage; and literature itself --in its most standard form -- to enlarge your aesthetic knowledge of life, and at the same time to accustom you unconsciously to the most effective devices of linguistic expression. Of these five streams, the last-named is by far the most important and necessary. Above everything else comes good literature. And of course a concomitant to all this would be a complete swearing-off of the cinema and of cheap magazines. You can't bury that stuff too deeply out of sight and memory for your own artistic good!!" -- SLIII.14-15

[On the possibility of his writing an "interplanetary" tale:] "I doubt if I'd handle it as a phantasy so much as a stark, macabre bit of quasi-realism. I would try to achieve what all other interplanetary writers blithely & deliberately reject -- namely, the sense of awesome, utter, & almost mind-unhinging tremendousness implicit in the very notion of transportation to another world either in body or in mind. Virtually all writers wholly miss this point to a degree I cannot but regard as ludicrous. In cold realistic fact, any man with half an imagination would undergo a frightful mental shock at the mere idea of any contact with a planet other than this. This feeling would be the central element of any interplanetary story of mine; indeed, the whole thing would be more of a psychological study than an adventurous narrative -- more a Poe-effect than a H. G. Wells or Jules Verne effect.[...] There is one basic difference in our work which would almost automatically eliminate the danger of parallelism, even when we work on identical themes. It is this -- that you are fundamentally a poet, & think first of all in symbols, colour, & gorgeous imagery, whilst I am fundamentally a prose realist whose prime dependence is on the building up of atmosphere through the slow, pedestrian method of multitudinous suggestive detail & dark scientific verisimilitude. Whatever I produce must be the sombre result of a deadly, literal seriousness, & almost pedantic approach. The "art" atmosphere is never in my best stuff -- instead, there is an impersonal, unsmiling, minutely reporting quality somewhere. I have to see a thing or scene with clear-cut visual distinctness before I can say anything whatever about it -- then I describe it as an entomologist might describe an insect. Prose realism is behind everything of any importance that I write[...]" -- SLIII.96

"Still, it is absurdly easy to find the cause of that decay in prose rhythm of which Dr. Canby speaks -- so easy, indeed, that I marvel at his failure to dwell upon it himself. I allude to the use of the typewriter in the original composition of manuscripts; a practice which not only discourages good workmanship through its undue speed, distracting noise, [... ] and division of the attention, but which insidiously corrupts a writer to condone hasty crudities in rhythm on account of the extreme difficulty of making adequate interlineations, corrections, and recastings in the sentences of the rough draughts. No writer ought ever to consider a rapidly written sentence as a finished product. It may be that four or five verbal transportations will be needed to produce the desired effect; or that wholesale substitutions of words of diverse length -- often demanding still further textural changes for their perfect accommodation -- will have to be effected. These needs may be obvious at once, or not until some later passage brings out the asymmetrical quality of the first-evolved version. In any case, an artistically conceived prose manuscript must be in a perpetual state of flux; with unlimited opportunities for every kind of shifting, interpolation, and minute remodeling, and with no sentence or paragraph accepted more than tentatively until the very last word is set down.[...] In other words, no decent prose -- or rather, no prose of permanent rhythmical value -- can be produced except on a sheet which can at any moment be subjected to instant emendation, in any degree of extensiveness, in any of its parts whatsoever; a set of conditions which cannot be met on the typewriter. Of course, it is possible that occasional typed products -- casual letters, and so on -- of persons with an already-implanted rhythm-sense may accidentally achieve a fair grade of harmoniousness; just as an accomplished musician's idle strumming of piano-keys may produce a chance bar of fair quality. But in this case the merit will be due to a long previous saturation with good melody and cadence, such as can be obtained only through habits of deliberate, fastidious, and constantly-amended longhand composition. Only the generation of writers brought up on cautious pen and ink methods can have any chance of clicking out passable rhythm on a typewriter. This is indeed already sadly obvious -- for the newest crop of adults contains from fifty to seventy-five percent of lifelong typewriter-addicts whose tempo and mechanically imposed limitations can be readily traced in short, jerky sentences, staccato near-rhythms, and an utter ignoring of periodic beats and modulations in favour of ideas and images presented by direct intellection and without the aid of sound-appeal. These people often show a perfect natural sense of rhythm when they write in verse and are obliged to keep the prosodick element paramount; but when they turn to prose, the discouraging effect fo their mechanical incubus grows too much for them, and they soon succumb to the deadening staccato and careless structure inevitable in not-easily-corrected and over-speeded writing." -- SLIII.132-33

"To make a story effective in the highest degree, the inner rhythms of the prose structure must be carefully fitted to the incidents as they march along; while each word must be chosen with infinite care-- a care which considers not only the dictionary meaning, but the subtle aura of associations which it has picked up through folk-usage and previous literary employment. In other words, prose must be created with just the same exactness, delicacy of ear, imaginative fertility, etc., as verse. One must study profoundly the art of how to present each new development in a narrative. Often everything depends on the dramatic manner in which some turn of plot is unfolded -- so that one must study hours to discover just the right way to lead up to a revelation, bridge over a transition of scene or mood or perspective or time or action, build a foundation for some future event so that it will have an air of half-expectedness when it comes, express the delicate suggestions, associations, and implications which surround some specific act or object or incident, etc., etc., etc........" -- SLIII.355

"As I've been trying to make clear, the popular magazine world is essentially an underworld or caricature-imitation world so far as serious writing is concerned. Absolutely nothing about it is worthy of mature consideration or permanent preservation. That is why I am so absolutely unwilling to make any concessions to its standards, & so much disposed to repudiate it entirely in an effort to achieve real aesthetic expression even on the humblest plane." -- SLIII.416

"Any tale which attempts to re-create a section of experience in maturely effective proportions must devote fully as much attention to the static as to the kinetic factors involved. This is even truer of weird fiction than of any other form; since phantasy is not, directly, a picture of objective events at all, but merely the delineation of a certain type of human mood. What a weird story tells is something that never happens; the real portraiture being wholly of the feeling which often gives rise to the illusion of such happenings.[...]

"Now I have no quarrel with non-artistic fiction manufacture. It is a profession just as difficult and dignified as steamfitting -- and I would gladly follow either if it were practicable and profitable. The only thing is, that I can't do it. The process of tinkering cold-bloodedly and inartistically with words and phrases and cadences for purposes other than that of self-expression develops within me certain repugnances which prevent me from duplicating the required patterns in quasi-original fiction. I can revise, but I can't concoct new things in the domain of the cheap and spurious.[...] One can't succeed in a field for which one has only contempt and loathing, so beginning about five years ago I stopped trying to suit shoddy markets and decided to work sincerely. I have no ambition to work in any but the genuine field -- that of Machen, Blackwood, or Poe -- even though I realise keenly that I shall never be more than a microscopic figure (if even that) in that honourable and fiercely contested area. I had rather fail like an inferior Blackwood than succeed like a glorified Quinn or Kline -- although, as I said before, I'd be perfectly willing to grind out the Quinn-Kline brand of pap if I could do it without impairing my ability to write sincerely. But I can't -- so that's that." -- SLIII.427-28

"[...] I think my days of contribution to W. T. are decidedly numbered, for Wright rejected my best story last year [Mountains], & is likely to do the same with my later work on account of its greater length & slower motion as compared with my earlier stuff. I can no longer be satisfied with the glib, machine-clipped type of tale which editors demand -- & unfortunately there is no likelihood of editors ever being satisfied with the kind of story I now write. -- SLIV.24

"While it is damn true that of two statements the more direct, caeteris paribus, is the better, it does not follow that a skeletonic structure is the prose ideal. There are limits -- and euphony must [not] be sacrificed for headline brevity. The sort of superfluous stuff that needs clearing away is what dilutes the thought by removing the closely-knit relationship of cognate parts. It isn't wholly a matter of the number of words, and often a smooth, ample passage is actually more direct than a chopped-up, rugged hash of conscious Carlylese which shows less words by mathematical count. Then again, actual phonetic harmony means a lot in itself. Good prose needs rhythm as much as good verse, and anybody who thinks that the style of Time is real prose is a sucker.[...] [T]here's no excuse for barking out an Hemingway machine-gun fire when one could weave prose which can be read aloud without sore throat or hiccoughs. I refuse to be taken in by the goddam bunk of this aera just as totally as I refused to fall for the pompous, polite bull of Victorianism -- and one of the chief fallacies of the present is that smoothness, even when involving no sacrifice of directness, is a defect. The best prose is vigorous, direct, unadorn'd, and closely related (as is the best verse) to the language of actual discourse; but it has its natural rhythms and smoothness just as good oral speech has. There has never been any prose as good as that of the early eighteenth century, and anyone who thinks he can improve upon Swift, Steele, and Addison is a blockhead." -- SLIV.32-33

"As for the current decline in prose style -- it has really been going on for over half a century. Even back in my day the teaching of rhetoric was by no means as exact as it had been in the day of my parents & grandparents, & my early writings were constantly picked to pieces by my more rigidly trained uncle & grandfather. If my prose has any merit, it is due to that criticism, & to the ancient books of rhetoric (1797, 1812, 1818, 1842, 1845, &c.) in the family library, which I studied assiduously as part of my ingrained antiquarianism. In reality, my writing reflects not the standards of my own chronological period, but those of a century & more ago. For real, honest training you can't beat Blair's Rhetorick (of which I have a late -- 1820 -- edition), Alden's Reader (1797), or Parker's Aid to Composition (1845). The latter -- redolent of the scholarship of the Poe period -- is what I really grew up on. If I had depended on the weak-kneed stuff dished out to me in the early 1900's, I would have a damned sight worse style than I do now." -- SLIV.96-97

"Some stories are so interdependent in their parts, and so inextricably tied up with a certain proportioning, that they wouldn't be worth a damn if mangled to suit some pachydermatous mob-caterer who knows and cares nothing for genuine quality; and when this is the case my respect goes to the chap who insists that they appear as written or not at all." -- SLIV.122

"There's nothing "academic" in [his criticism of Price's story]. I simply couldn't get interested in a bald succession of flat statements whose astonishing content was belied by the casual, cheerful atmosphere.[...] What is there to give any sense of life -- any sense that something besides a cool catalogue of impossible, irrelevant, gratuitous, and doubtfully interesting assertions is being presented[....]

"[...] What is needed so cryingly is emotional preparation for the incredible events delineated, and this might conceivably be achieved in brief compass through a very discriminating use of words and rhythms and details in setting the scene and establishing the relationship of the characters to it.[...] It may be added, that weird or in general strange fiction undoubtedly suffers more than any other kind through devitalisation to the "action" state. This is because the presentation of incredible material depends absolutely on the fancy-cajoling or semi-hypnotising process which nothing but plentiful and convincing atmosphere can set in motion. A non-strange "action" story is not nearly such a self-defeating paradox as a story which tries to be strange and "actionated" at the same time." -- SLIV.162-4

"The press directly discourages the minute, leisurely development, careful choice of significant detail, full presentation of nuances, sharp analysis of motives & emotions, impartial treatment of values, & rhythmical grace of style, which distinguish serious novel-writing from mere capable journalism." -- SLIV.316

This next one is from his letter to Alvin Earl Perry, which was essentially an expansion of his essay on writing a weird tale; here, given more room, he makes more explicit certain aspects, and his comments here, I would argue, make the case all the stronger on the unlikelihood that the debated excisions and deletions from At the Mountains of Madness and the alteration in paragraphing of "The Shadow Out of Time" would have taken place at such a late date in the composition of these tales:

"Then comes the next stage -- deciding how to tell the story already thought out. This begins mentally -- by thinking of various effective ways to arrange certain unfoldings revelations. We speculate on what to tell first, & what to save for later presentation in order to preserve suspense or provoke interest. We analyze the dramatic value of putting this thing before that thing, or vice versa, & try to see what selection of details & order of narration best conduce to that rising tide of development final burst of revealing completion which we call "climax." Having roughly made our decisions regarding a tentative arrangement we proceed to write these down in the form of a second synopsis -- a synopsis or "scenario" of events in order of their narration to the reader, with ample fulness & detail, with notes on such things as changing perspective, modulated stresses, & ultimate climax. I never hesitate to change the original synopsis to fit some newly devised development if such a devising can increase the dramatic force or general effectiveness of the future story. Incidents should be interpolated or deleted at will -- the writer never being bound by his original conception, even though the ultimate result be a tale wholly different from that first planned. The wise author lets additions & alterations be made whenever such are suggested by anything in the formulating process.

"The time has now come to write the story in the approximate language which the reader is to see. This first draught should be written rapidly, fluently, not too critically -- following the second synopsis. I always change incidents & plot whenever the developing process seems to suggest such change -- never being bound by any previous design. If the development suddenly reveals new opportunities for dramatic effect or weird story-telling, I add whatever I think advantageous -- going back and reconciling early points to the new plan. I insert or delete whole sections when I deem it necessary or desirable -- trying different beginnings & endings until the best is found. But I always take infinite pain to make sure that all references throughout the story are thoroughly reconciled with the final design. Then -- in completing the rough draught -- I seek to remove all possible superfluities -- words, sentences, paragraphs, or whole episodes or elements -- observing the usual precautions about the reconciliation of all references.[...]

"Now comes the revision -- a tedious, painstaking process. One must go over the entire text, paying attention to vocabulary, syntax, rhythm of prose, proportioning of parts, of tone, grace & convincingness of transitions (scene to scene, slow detailed action to rapid & sketchy time-covering action & vice versa ... &c. &c. &c.), effectiveness of beginning, ending, climaxes, &c., dramatic suspense & interest, plausibility & atmosphere, & various other elements. That finishes the story -- & the rest is merely the preparation of a neatly typed version ... the most horrible part of all to me. I detest the typewriter, & could not possibly compose a story on one. The mechanical limitations of the machine are death to good style anyway -- it being harder to transpose words & make the necessary complex interlineations when bound to keys & rollers, while delicate prose rhythms are defeated by the irrelevant regular rhythms of line-endings & roller-turnings. Nothing was ever composed on a typewriter which could not have been composed better with pen or pencil." -- SLV.202-04

All of which goes to show that the actual revision process, including any excisions, additions, rephrasings, etc., would be done before he went to preparing a typescript. That last is merely a transcribing process, save where such a vital change as that concerning the factual refutation of his hypothesis about there being more than one land-mass is involved. He also adds the following:

"I always endeavor to read and analyse the best weird writers -- Poe, Machen, Blackwood, James, Dunsany, de la Mare, Wakefield, Benson, Ewers, & the like -- seeking to understand their methods & recognise the specific laws of emotional modulation behind their potent effects. Such study gradually increases one's own grasp of his materials, & strengthens his powers of expression. By the same token, I strive to avoid all close attention to the prose and methods of pulp hack writers -- things which insidiously corrupt cheapen a serious style." -- SLV.204

And once again, concerning the importance of the subtleties of handling all these factors, particularly that "emotional preparation" and realistic handling of character reactions which were so important to him (and this goes, once again, toward the support of the necessity of those contested passages in Mountains:

"As for science-fiction, and the dividing-line betwixt literature and tripe -- I think the latter can be drawn with rough accuracy, even though all lines are hazy and surrounded by a broad twilight or ambiguous zone. A work is primarily literature when it presents events in a really convincing perspective -- with adequate emotional preparation for each development, honest delineation of character (without inappropriate, conventionalised, or misproportioned emotional reactions, etc.), plausible developments and motivations, absence of artificially handled melodrama and synthetic "adventure" clichés, and the sort of artistic craftsmanship which uses language gracefully and fastidiously and weaves an atmosphere of logical unfolding and momentary reality about the recorded scenes and happenings. When a work departs markedly from this standard -- following cheap "action" patterns suited to juvenile taste, having absurd and inappropriate emotions figuring in the pattern, harbouring rubber-stamp characters and strained motivations, and written in an ignorant, slapdash newspaper style -- it certainly is not even approximately literature." -- SLV.309

"[...] I disagree totally & violently with your belief in making concessions in writing. One concession leads to another -- & he who takes the easiest way never comes back.[...] The road does not lie through any magazines ... that is, the road for a fantastic writer.[...] The road to print for the serious fantaisiste is through book-publication alone -- save for those incidental magazine placements which lie along the way. And if one can't make the book grade in the end, he is better off with his work largely unpublished -- able to look himself in the face & know that he has never cringed nor truckled nor sold his intellectual & aesthetic integrity. He may go down, but he'll go down like a free & unbroken gentleman with sword untarnished & colours defiantly flying.[...] Actually, all technical training for the popular magazines is in precisely the wrong direction so far as aesthetic expression is concerned. The better magazine hack one is, the less chance one has of ever doing anything worth doing. Every magazine trick & mannerism must be rigidly unlearned & banished even from one's subconsciousness before one can write seriously for educated mental adults." -- SLV.400-01

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2014 06:03AM
I see! So we need to revise Lovecraft's stories until they are in line with aesthetic principles he stated elsewhere. What about the "cosmic," a quality he stressed was essential to the weird tale and which he found in such examples as Blackwood's "The Willows," but which is notably absent from his own stories? Should we fix Lovecraft so that he becomes more "cosmic," which we must, after all, assume to have been his intention?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2014 06:54AM
Thank you, J. D., for your excellent responses. They are inform'd and intelligent, unlike the mutterings of those who are so clueless as to state that Lovecraft's weird fiction is poorly written, lacks art, lacks "the cosmic," &c. I've been reading some of Ligotti's own critical comments on Lovecraft, as well as the bit that del Toro penned in his essay that was reprinted in his series of hardcover reprints from Penguin, and China Mieville's mesmerizing Introduction to the Modern Library edition of AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, and it is remarkable--the difference between people who have actually read and understand Lovecraft's genius and those ignorant few who haven't. More and more, I look forward to the thrilling publication of THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT (one volume of which I have seen in pdf and it is fantastic) and reading as a whole the collected essays soon to be publish'd in hardcover as LOVECRAFT AND A WORLD IN TRANSITION. I recently reread I AM PROVIDENCE, and every time I return to that masterpiece of biography I glean newly noted information that I had forgotten or didn't fully notice in my five previous readings. I am also more and more excited about THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, having spent some time discussing it with its editor, Leslie Klinger, at WHC, and hearing him describe the form he gave his Notes &c. (He also shew'd such enthusiasm for the book's cover, to the point where he began to giggle as he described it to me; but I cannot share his enthusiasm in this, as I am anti-tentacle.) I am just now hoping to find time to begin a careful rereading of A MONSTER OF VOICES--SPEAKING FOR H. P. LOVECRAFT; it was utterly delightful to meet Robert H. Waugh in Providence last year, at that amazing celebration of Lovecraft's genius where were gather'd so many of the scholars who have and continue to do such solid work. I've also been dipping into the past numbers of LOVECRAFT ANNUAL, and reread with admiration your fine essays therein; and I am currently doing a very careful rereading of James Goho's "The Sickness unto Death in H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Hound'", and in the same number, "Knowledge of the Void: Anomaly, Observation, and the Incomplete Paradigm Shift in H. P. Lovecraft's Fiction" by Kalman Matolcsy. This is perhaps one of the truly remarkable aspect's of S. T.'s own work in Lovecraft Studies, that it has not only inspir'd solid and enthralling new work by others but that he has given them a place in which to see their works publish'd. Gawd, we have so many treasures to look forward to!

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 12:48AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I see! So we need to revise Lovecraft's stories
> until they are in line with aesthetic principles
> he stated elsewhere. What about the "cosmic," a
> quality he stressed was essential to the weird
> tale and which he found in such examples as
> Blackwood's "The Willows," but which is notably
> absent from his own stories? Should we fix
> Lovecraft so that he becomes more "cosmic," which
> we must, after all, assume to have been his
> intention?

Que? For one thing, there is no "revising" going on here -- the choices made are all from Lovecraft's own hand, save for occasional preference for British spelling variants, and even these follow his general preference. But also... the "cosmic" is "notably absent from his own stories"??? I beg to differ... strongly. Granted, there are those stories lacking a cosmic element ("The Tomb", "The Quest of Iranon", etc.); but the majority of Lovecraft's tales have at least a hint of the cosmic, and most are actually centered around such: At the Mountains of Madness certainly qualifies, as does "The Shadow out of Time", "The Whisperer in Darkness", "The Call of Cthulhu", "The Colour Out of Space", The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath... even such things as "The Silver Key" (and even its collaborative sequel) or "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" have a fair degree of the cosmic in their makeup. Whether an individual reader feels he succeeded with this aspect or not is, of course, up to that reader to decide. Myself, I've always felt that was one of the strong points, and something which first drew me to Lovecraft in the first place.

I fear my feeling here is that you really aren't reading Lovecraft very closely, for it is pretty darned evident that he did work according to his aesthetic theories and standards. He certainly didn't always achieved what he set out to do -- I don't know if it was even possible for him, or anyone, to quite do that -- but he managed to come very, very close a remarkable amount of the time.

Let me give a practical example, by question: What would you say is the relationship between At the Mountains of Madness and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath? Why does Lovecraft bring Kadath into that novel at all? What purpose does it serve, and what are the implications? A tremendous number of readers seem to either see it as simply Lovecraft attempting to connect all his work (in this case, unsuccessfully), while others see it as mere cloudy reference to build atmosphere, but which ultimately has no meaning. I have my own views on the matter, but I'm curious to hear what your views might be (assuming you've ever considered the question; many don't). As far as my own views... a careful reading of the novel, with knowledge of the earlier piece in mind, has a great deal to do with the cosmic implications rife throughout this Antarctic terror, but it is often on such a subtle level, requiring a very close reading to catch it, that much is often missed as a result of a more casual reading (which, let's face it, is the way most people read, and always have).

I'd suggest going back through Lovecraft's tales and weird verse in chronological order, and noting how he developed various themes and motifs or symbols. I think by doing so you might begin to see a great deal more of the cosmic than your comment above would suggest you do now.

Wilum: Thank you. I appreciate the kind words. As you know, as a result of my rather close study of HPL's body of writings, I've come to view him as one of the most remarkably consistent writers I've ever encountered, in point of the interplay of his philosophy, aesthetics, and the influence of these on his "practice"... that is, his actual fiction and verse (yes, even his antiquarian verse ties into this in many ways, as you are aware, given my essay on such things as "On a Grecian Colonnade..." and so on.

It has been an odd journey to get here, but once I got past the point of simply reading his work for the frisson of the familiar trappings most people connect with HPL, and actually began to read all this as if for the first time, but closely and critically, I quickly came to realize that his entire body of work -- stories, poems, letters, essays (including his travelogues) are closely interconnected. He was not simply creating a "mythology" (as has been pointed out by others, it is as much an "anti-mythology" as anything), but expressing in artistic form a worldview; a secular worldview which is nonetheless among the most cosmic and breathtaking I've ever encountered... and that's saying no little, as I've read a number of writers with a strong strain of that in their work. Not every single piece fits into such a cosmic -- or, for that matter, such a secular -- framework (again, "The Tomb", while in many ways a very fine story, much more subtle and nuanced than is generally realized, comes to mind), the vast majority of his work does. Yet it is not a simplistic cosmicism, but linked (as his letters make clear) very much to his love of the past, tradition, and the emotional roots which these so often give, from which a true Burkean sense of the cosmic or sublime can emerge.

A fascinating and complex writer; and the more I read by him, the more fascinating and complex he continues to become....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 02:15AM
jdworth
> A fascinating and complex writer; and the more I
> read by him, the more fascinating and complex he
> continues to become....


Yes, this has been my experience as well, from my constant study of his excellent fiction. I don't have the kind of intellect that can understand nuances and the mechanics of literary perfection, but I can comprehend it when I read the scholarly works of others and they point out such aspects of classic fiction. You and I disagree, as I disagree with S. T., concerning aspects of "The Hound," and so when I reread yesterday, in LOVECRAFT ANNUAL No. 2, James Goho's "Sickness Unto Death in H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Hound'", I was overhwelm'd with fascination and appreciation at how well the essay explains all of the marvelous literary aspects of that story that came from intelligent study.

It has been my experience that the detractors of Lovecraft haven't read him in a long time, haven't read his complete oeuvre, and thus they are not to be taken seriously in any way. They are always wrong.

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 05:45AM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But also...
> the "cosmic" is "notably absent from his own
> stories"??? I beg to differ... strongly. Granted,
> there are those stories lacking a cosmic element
> ("The Tomb", "The Quest of Iranon", etc.); but the
> majority of Lovecraft's tales have at least a hint
> of the cosmic, and most are actually centered
> around such: At the Mountains of Madness certainly
> qualifies, as does "The Shadow out of Time", "The
> Whisperer in Darkness", "The Call of Cthulhu",
> "The Colour Out of Space", The Dream-Quest of
> Unknown Kadath... even such things as "The Silver
> Key" (and even its collaborative sequel) or
> "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" have a fair degree of
> the cosmic in their makeup.

What did Lovecraft mean by the "cosmic"? I cannot be bothered to quote him directly at the moment, and he never gave a precise definition anyway, but it seems he intended a sense of awe, a feeling that something is wrong with the universe, that the laws of nature do not necessarily hold---in general, a sudden fear that there might be something beyond the material. He exemplified this notion of the "cosmic" by such works as Blackwood's very subtle "The Willows."

Lovecraft's own most celebrated tales, in contrast, are about monsters from space. They are very tangible, corporeal things---most of them even have names. What Cthulhu looks like in the flesh is described in such detail that you can now buy dolls of him if you like.

Lovecraft himself, in his letters, frequently noted that his own works did not achieve the "cosmic."

> A fascinating and complex writer; and the more I
> read by him, the more fascinating and complex he
> continues to become....

I agree, of course. But it is important not to confuse his attempts at theorizing with what he actually did himself.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 09:23AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jdworth Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > What did Lovecraft mean by the "cosmic"? I cannot
> be bothered to quote him directly at the moment,
> and he never gave a precise definition anyway, but
> it seems he intended a sense of awe, a feeling
> that something is wrong with the universe, that
> the laws of nature do not necessarily hold---in
> general, a sudden fear that there might be
> something beyond the material. He exemplified this
> notion of the "cosmic" by such works as
> Blackwood's very subtle "The Willows."
>
> Lovecraft's own most celebrated tales, in
> contrast, are about monsters from space. They are
> very tangible, corporeal things---most of them
> even have names. What Cthulhu looks like in the
> flesh is described in such detail that you can now
> buy dolls of him if you like.
>
> Lovecraft himself, in his letters, frequently
> noted that his own works did not achieve the
> "cosmic."

First... I'm not sure quite which quote you are thinking of, but the canonical one which comes to mind is from "Supernatural Horror in Literature", and it is one he frequently reiterates in his letters:

"The true weird tale has something more than secret murder, bloody bones, or a sheeted form clanking chains according to rule. A certain atmosphere of breathless and unexplainable dread of outer, unknown forces must be present; and there must be a hint, expressed with a seriousness and portentousness becoming its subject, of that most terrible conception of the human brain—a malign and particular suspension or defeat of those fixed laws of Nature which are our only safeguard against the assaults of chaos and the daemons of unplumbed space."

While in this particular quotation he does not define this as the "cosmic", later on he makes the identification of the two clear; and this is the thing he refers to time and again in his letters. Now, I could be mistaken, but I do not recall him ever saying his works never achieved this, but he did feel that he always fell short of the level to which he attained it -- however, I would use caution in citing this as evidence he didn't, as he was always disparaging of his works on so many levels, save occasionally shortly after they were done, when he felt he had at least come close to putting his vision on paper. And certainly he felt he had come quite close at times, as those same letters indicate. Even with "The Call of Cthulhu", which he felt was a very flawed story, he indicates that he had at least touched the cosmic, as his letter to Wright shows.

Now what you say about his most celebrated works being "about monsters from space" who are "very tangible things", etc., goes precisely to what I was saying about my fear that you aren't reading his work very closely. Yes, such beings are a part of the tales, but they are (as are his "human puppets") symbolic; this is one of the reasons they so often tend to be static, as in the Old Ones in At the Mountains of Madness; or impossible to truly describe or classify, as with "The Colour Out of Space"; or with descriptions so chaotic (yet using clinically accurate language) that they defy clear conception in the brain, as with Wilbur's twin in "The Dunwich Horror". Even Cthulhu, remember, is seen from a distance (literarily speaking) not by Thurston, but by another, whose words Thurston then paraphrases; so we are getting a distortion of a distortion of a reality which, in the final analysis, confounds language. Recall, too, that the figure most people consider Cthulhu to be, is not necessarily his actual shape; he is such an alien being that, when the ship drives through him (if "him" is even the proper word, rather than merely another limitation of our language), When Johansen looks behind, what he sees is "the scattered plasticity of that nameless sky-spawn was nebulously recombining in its hateful original form" -- "original" here, of course, referring to the only form in which the character has seen it. What its original, or normal (if it has such) might be, is questionable, given later descriptions by Lovecraft in other tales which are both extremely brief and vague, but even in what they contain do not entirely agree with what is given here.

The same sort of thing is at work in so many of the other tales as well. These are things readers can easily identify, but if you read the stories with care, you will see that they are (as he described "Cthulhu" in that letter to Wright) only the getting at the very edge of what is really present in the story... and it is this which lies behind them, and which is approached much more subtly and cloudily, which is the cosmic. This is, for instance, why we have the epigraphs from Blackwood to "The Call of Cthulhu" or Lamb for "The Dunwich Horror". Lovecraft is telling the reader right off the bat that what his characters are seeing is merely the closest approximation out limited senses and understanding can approach to what is present; and the text of the story more often than not backs this time and again, albeit not in such blunt terms.

And this is why I chose that example of Kadath cropping up in At the Mountains of Madness earlier; for it gets at the very heart of the matter. What is the horror (or, better, terror) there? Certainly not the Old Ones, with whom we come to have a certain sympathy and even a feeling of almost comradeship; nor even the shoggoths which, while certainly horrific and repulsive enough, and disturbing as a violation of all our conceptions of life beyond the genuinely amoebal, remain merely a physical threat. No, it is what he hints that Danforth saw beyond those further mountains; the original (if you will) of Kadath in the Cold Waste, and which has been given such a charming surface appearance in Carter's dreaming... yet even in that earlier novel, one can sense something much more cosmic and frightening behind what is on the surface. Lovecraft is very delicately (yet it is distinctly there, as a close reading will show) getting at precisely that violation of all the laws of the cosmos which we accept as reality, that blurring between "reality" and the unreal which he defines as the weird or cosmic in its most pure form, for it is this which leaves us without all the defenses which we have built up during our existence as a species against the realization that we live on a very precarious perch at the mouth of the abyss -- the alien universe which is not only stranger than we imagine, but stranger than we can imagine, and which takes no heed of us, our needs, or our conceptions, and in which we are at best strangers, creatures of the moment with no more importance or significance than the mayfly.

As I said, go back to the stories and weird verse; read them in chronological order -- but read them carefully... even, preferably, aloud, as this will call attention both to the music of the language and the carefulness of the phrasing and delicacy of the conceptions being adumbrated -- and you'll begin to see what I mean. After all I, too, was there once; what I saw and enjoyed in Lovecraft was, despite a vague feeling of that cosmic disruption, largely what you describe. But when I went back to the stories after some years, I found soooooo much more going on there. Not because I was looking for it, but because I read them with care. And in that reading, I found that his theories and practice match up, if not perfectly, then this is only because, as others have noted, what he was attempting may well be beyond language itself. The closest we can get is a rough approximation; but this he achieved time and again in his work, and achieved beautifully and to a remarkable degree.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 11:13AM
That should read "in the level to which he attained it". *sigh* Really should go over these before I post them sometimes.....

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 20 May, 2014 11:51AM
I'll be going to S. T.'s Memorial Day cook-out on Sunday, and he is going to lend me his galley copy of THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT. Les had asked that I be sent a copy but the company never did so. I won't start a new thread called "New Edition of Lovecraft from Leslie S. Klinger" until ye book is publish'd in October, but I am excited to investigate the galley and see the way that Les has organized his notes, which he told me emphasized the trend of Lovecraft scholarship rather than a biographical approach. Annotated editions are one of my passions (I am still returning to the Penguin CAS after having read it fully twice and portions of it a third time), and I think this new publication of E'ch-Pi-El will be amazing. I'll shew the galley in detail on YouTube, so that others can examine it before purchasing, as it's quite expensive.

How I wish there was a Lovecraft site to match this one. But perhaps it's good, for me, that there is none, as I would otherwise not get any original weird writing accomplish'd. Eldritch Dark is as wonderful as it is unique, and we are extremely fortunate to have it, to be able to come here and discuss--with originality & intelligence & a solid knowledge of the genre--weird fiction and fantasy.

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 20 May 14 | 12:17PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 21 May, 2014 05:35PM
I think Jojo Lapin X's description of the "cosmic" was rather well put impromptu. Not definite perhaps, but an acceptable description, one of several possible interpretations. My own preferred description of the "cosmic", would simply be a disturbing sensation of something that differs, and deviates, from the Earth's natural laws that we humans are now conditioned to.

However, if Cthulhu was no more than a puppet, a clearly defined, tangible gelatinous bloat with arms and tentacles, then it would be the equivalent of the material rubber monsters of the 1950's sci-fi horror movies. It's the things that Cthulhu does, that are disturbing, the taint Cthulhu emanates. Cthulhu tears down Earth's natural laws. I find it deliciously cosmic.

There are other writers than Lovecraft, who probably by their word sorcery are better able to directly conjure up a disturbing apprehension of the cosmic in their prose. Lovecraft, while being no lean sorcerer with words himself, foremost presents intellectual concept ideas, scientific prospects, and it takes some imagination from the reader to interpret the sensation of cosmic disturbance in these.

I don't think Blackwood is a "cosmic" writer. While it is too long ago I read "The Willows" to remember it, other things that I have read by him, like The Centaur, Incredible Adventures, and Pan's Garden, deals more with spiritual matters. His work is about opening up the senses and awareness to inner truths, to all levels of dimensions, to Totality. He is not so interested in weird disturbance (well, maybe more so early in his career, since he understood the terror of the unknown in the spiritually undeveloped soul. But not in the sense of confronting alien physical laws), as in reaching for the disclosed Truth.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote excellent "cosmic" material.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 22 May, 2014 01:21AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think Jojo Lapin X's description of the "cosmic"
> was rather well put impromptu. Not definite
> perhaps, but an acceptable description, one of
> several possible interpretations. My own preferred
> description of the "cosmic", would simply be a
> disturbing sensation of something that differs,
> and deviates, from the Earth's natural laws that
> we humans are now conditioned to.

I would agree that, as an impromptu definition, it was pretty close -- in fact, that was what made it so easy to refer to the definition I quote. He didn't have it verbatim, but it wasn't far off. Kudos there, certainly.

> However, if Cthulhu was no more than a puppet, a
> clearly defined, tangible gelatinous bloat with
> arms and tentacles, then it would be the
> equivalent of the material rubber monsters of the
> 1950's sci-fi horror movies. It's the things that
> Cthulhu does, that are disturbing, the taint
> Cthulhu emanates. Cthulhu tears down Earth's
> natural laws. I find it deliciously cosmic.

I would agree with this, too. Cthulhu works as a symbol of many things, from the sheer alienness of the cosmos to the human tendency to mythologize anything which is beyond our immediate understanding. And Cthulhu's "mastery of dreams" is a very important point, especially given the common use of dreams as a major theme in Lovecraft's work. This was one of the most fascinating things, to me, about his work, and his ability to take the same theme and ring so many changes on it while still retaining a strange sort of commonality upon which he builds in story after story, effectively erasing the line between reality and dream, is one of the most unique and powerful things about him.

> There are other writers than Lovecraft, who
> probably by their word sorcery are better able to
> directly conjure up a disturbing apprehension of
> the cosmic in their prose. Lovecraft, while being
> no lean sorcerer with words himself, foremost
> presents intellectual concept ideas, scientific
> prospects, and it takes some imagination from the
> reader to interpret the sensation of cosmic
> disturbance in these.

I think there is quite a bit which is correct here; Lovecraft does often tend toward a conceptual approach with these things. Not that there isn't an emotional component there, but rather that his ideas and concepts are so full of ramifications that no single emotional response is able to encompass them all. I would also add that I think a part of the problem is that, quite frankly, few people know how to read well anymore. We've been so inundated with prose which is so oversimplified, which diagrams out what we are supposed to see, feel, and react to (a point which Brian Aldiss, of all people, complained of in a letter to a sff fan) that, when a writer does not do this, but rather presents intimations, adumbrations, and subtle suggestions which merely point toward something, but do not overtly draw attention to themselves (once again, I refer the reader to such hints throughout At the Mountains of Madness, indicating that this is a realm where dream and reality are not necessarily differentiated; where time does not obey the same laws; where the primal is still very much alive and active; where in fact all the laws of nature break down when viewed closely) -- when a writer does this, even the most literate among us is seldom equipped any longer to catch these without having them first drawn to our attention by something else; or by repeated readings over time. It is, therefore, frequently the case with Lovecraft that the vast majority of what is actually going on in his stories is overlooked by most readers, until they clear their heads of the common misconceptions of what he was about (the tentacles, as some have put it) and reads the material with fresh perspective. It's a real eye-opener, and an extremely rewarding one.

> I don't think Blackwood is a "cosmic" writer.
> While it is too long ago I read "The Willows" to
> remember it, other things that I have read by him,
> like The Centaur, Incredible Adventures, and Pan's
> Garden, deals more with spiritual matters. His
> work is about opening up the senses and awareness
> to inner truths, to all levels of dimensions, to
> Totality. He is not so interested in weird
> disturbance (well, maybe more so early in his
> career, since he understood the terror of the
> unknown in the spiritually undeveloped soul. But
> not in the sense of confronting alien physical
> laws), as in reaching for the disclosed Truth.

I think I'd have to disagree with this, at least to some extent. I would agree that Blackwood has at least a fair degree of the "cosmic" to his work, and that "The Willows" actually fits well into that category (as do the pieces you mention, particularly several in Incredible Adventures). But this is not a consistent quality with Blackwood, and it was indeed closely tied in with his mystical interests, which may explain the difference in our views on this matter.


> Arthur C. Clarke wrote excellent "cosmic"
> material.

Indeed he did. I believe Fritz Leiber, in the piece mentioned before, expressed the view that Clarke (along with several others) would have fit very well into Lovecraft's view of what the ideal sort of science fiction ought to be.

Though we've drifted a fair amount from Luckhurst's edition as a topic of discussion here, I'll go even further afield by adding the following, which Jojo and others may find of some interest. It is an excerpt from Donald Burleson's wonderful essay, "On Lovecraft's Themes: Touching the Glass", in An Epicure in the Terrible:

"After producing a few earlier tales (stories that, while perhaps minor, adumbrate the thematic posture of later works), Lovecraft in 1921 wrote "The Outsider" and gave us the central apocalyptic moment at the mirror, the moment of terrible revelation when the Outsider, trying at first to believe the carrion horror in the frame to be a separate entity, reaches out and touches the polished glass and knows the abominable form to be his own. In a sense, the fateful mirror is also a lens, in that the moment at the glass brings to focus what is going to be the broad thematic concern of Lovecraft's entire oeuvre: the nature of self-knowledge, the effects of learning one's own nature and one's place in the scheme of things. The rotting finger that touches the glass sets ringing a vibration that will endure, will continue to resonate in varying pitches and intensities, throughout the whole experience of Lovecraft's fiction.[...]

Aside from (but connected to) the grand theme just described, one may discern five major themes in Lovecraft's fiction. They may be listed and characterized as follows:

1. The theme of denied primacy: the theme that as human beings on this planet we were not first, will not be last, and have never really been foremost.

2. The theme of forbidden knowledge, or merciful ignorance: the theme that there are some types of knowledge only by the avoidance or suppression of which can humankind maintain a semblance of well-being.

3. The theme of illusory surface appearances: the theme that things are not as they seem, that surface appearances mask a deeper and more terrible reality.

4. the theme of unwholesome survival: the theme that some things, and some beings, outlive what would be from the ordinary human viewpoint their rightful existence, producing circumstances in which it must be concluded that the present is no place where we can hide from an encroaching past that can reach forward to find us.

5. The theme of oneiric objectivism: the theme that there is at best an ambiguous distinction between dreaming and reality -- that the world of deep dream may be as real as, or more real than, the waking world; the suggestion is strongly present that the shared dream-world of humankind holds awesome secrets about the ultimate nature of things."

I also cannot resist quoting the final paragraph of this essay, which is phrased in such a poetic and powerful form that it remains a favorite passage among all my reading:

"In literary theorist M. H. Abrams's well-known The Mirror and the Lamp, the mirror is a metaphor for mind, mind viewed (in pre-Romantic or Neoclassicist terms) as a mimetic reflector of externality, in contrast with the "lamp" metaphor of mind as a radiant contributor to what it perceives. For Lovecraft (in such a scheme decidedly the pre-Romantic) the mind is more mirror than lamp. But for Lovecraft the mirror is also a metaphor for the cosmos itself that reflects back humankind's true face, the face of a lost and nameless soul. Self-referentially, Lovecraft's career-long text itself is a sprawling hall of mirrors, mirrors mirroring mirrors, a labyrinth of iterated thematic reflections through which wanders the Outsider who forever reaches forth, in hope against hope, to touch the glass."

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 25 May, 2014 08:08PM
Still having to go on little time for such things, but... I've just finished going through At the Mountains of Madness in this edition, and I must say I can't help but wince. On the subject of paragraphing: for anyone used to the narrative flow of standard literature, let alone HPL's particular periods, it's an experience reminiscent of traveling on a train which judders to a stop very few feet, yards, or at least every block or two, each time bruising the passenger's nose against the opposing wall... with each paragraph break. For example, there are paragraphs in HPL's manuscript (or Joshi's corrected editions) which are one, in the older Arkham House may be one or two, which here are split up into as many as five or six separate paragraphs; many of which are as nonsensical as the one cited from "The Shadow out of Time" -- in other words, not paragraphs at all, but single sentences which are merely expansions of or additions to the thought of the earlier part of that original paragraph. I'm not talking about dialogue or an exclamation (more on that at the end of the following list); I'm talking about things which are supposed to be separate paragraphs, but simply are not by any of the rules of writing. I'm sorry, but this sort of thing is simply annoying to anyone who recalls anything about composition, or pays any attention to writing at all. To be blunt, it's sub-literate crap. No wonder the sf magazines of the day got such a godawful reputation.

In addition, I made a partial list of errors which stood out, some of which follow the earlier Arkham House editions, some of which diverge from that (whether or not they follow the Astounding text, as I indicated earlier, I do not know). But each tends to disfigure Lovecraft's writing, at times making him sound frankly illiterate, using words or phrases he doesn't understand. For those interested, here is that list (and again, this is only those I took the trouble to write down; there are quite a few others I didn't):

p. 203: prematurely developed -- this should be "preternaturally developed"
p. 203: gangliar centres -- should be "ganglial centres"
p. 203: has more -- should be "had more"
p. 203: Pteridophytes -- should be "pteridophytes" (HPL himself complained in his letters about this sort of useless, antiquated capitalization of such terms)
p. 230: plunged into the town -- should be "plunged into the labyrinthine town"
p. 239: storey (this dialectical variant is given two times on this page) -- should be "story"
p. 239: filling up gaps -- should be "filling in gaps"
On p. 240 a reference is made to the Old Ones being "able to traverse the interstellar ether on their vast membranous [should be "membraneous", according to HPL's usual usage and the manuscript] wings -- thus oddly confirming some curious hill folklore long ago told me by an antiquarian colleague"; this of course refers to the Fungi from Yuggoth; Luckhurst, in his note to this passage, says: "another reference to Wilmarth, [...] who encounters the Yuggoth that fly[....]". Anyone who has read the story knows that "Yuggoth" is the planet, not the creatures encountered in the tale
p. 242: pteridophyta -- should be "pteridophytes" (again, HPL inveighed against this faux-scholarly language, which either creates an incorrect form of the word, or uses an extremely obscure one, which goes against even scholarly usage such as we have here)
p. 242: prothallia -- should be "prothalli"
p. 245: Then, suddenly -- should be "Then suddenly"
p. 246: "During the Jurassic Age the Old Ones met fresh adversity in the form of a new invasion from outer space -- this time by half-fungous, half-crustacean creatures -- creatures undoubtedly the same[...]"; in his notes Luckhurst says that HPL added (emphasis mine) to the manuscript the following, which should come between the first "creatures" and the em-dash: "from a planet identifiable as the remote and recently discovered Pluto". Again, he knows about this revision from HPL, yet does not follow it in the text, but relegates it to a note. So much for following the writer's wishes.
p. 255: include it in our present trip -- should be "include it in our present flight", as the latter word is more appropriate in this context; it also avoids the redundancy of the word "trip" being used so closely together, as it is used in reference to the Old Ones' journey shortly thereafter
p. 259: primal masonry. -- should be "primal masonry --", to fit with the unfinished thought form of expression of the rest of the passage ("I, in my turn, whispered of how the camp was left -- of what had disappeared, and of how the madness of a lone survivor might have conceived the inconceivable -- a wild trip across the monstrous mountains and a descent into the unknown primal masonry --"; again, a technique he uses periodically throughout the novel to depict the characters' mental and emotional state as they reluctantly come to accept the truth of what is happening. The full stop robs it of that sense of reluctance, repugnance, and ingrained skepticism.
p. 270: characteristic cartouches -- should be "characteristic designs", as it is specifying a particular motif within the cartouches
p. 270: carvings were places -- should be "carvings were in places"
p. 273: in a series of grouped dots -- should be italicized for emphasis, both to raise one possibility and to foreshadow the actuality behind it, which is part of the "secondary climax" of the encounter with the shoggoth
pp. 273-4: "They had not been even savages -- for what indeed had they done? That awful awakening in the cold of an unknown epoch -- perhaps an attack by the furry, frantically barking quadrupeds, and a dazed defence against them and the equally frantic white simians with the queer wrappings and paraphernalia? Poor Lake. Poor Gedney. And poor Old Ones![...]"; should read: They had not been even savages -- for what indeed had they done? That awful awakening in the cold air of an unknown epoch -- perhaps an attack by the furry, frantically barking quadrupeds, and a dazed defence against them and the equally frantic white simians with the3 queer wrappings and paraphernalia ... poor Lake, poor Gedney ... and poor Old Ones!" The former, by breaking into a question, separates the following thought and comparison so that the establishment of the parallels suffers; the full stops exacerbate this by making the passage ("Poor Lake. Poor Gedney. And[...]") bathetic and jarring rhetorically. The latter reinstates the flow to the passage, and reinforces the parallel between the dogs and the penguins, the attack on the camp and its aftermath, and the death of Lake, then Gedney, and now the Old Ones, though with a subtle separation by including Lake and Gedney in one phrase, a beat, then the Old Ones. It's a very careful construction (as is the rest of this passage, which elicits sympathy for and comradeship with the Old Ones), utterly mangled by following the magazine text.
p. 281: "beyond doubt the unknown archetype of that dreaded Kadath in the Cold Waste beyond abhorrent Leng, whereof primal legends hint evasively." This should be followed by "We were the first human beings ever to see them -- and I hope to God we may be the last." This both reinforces that the legends and myths here reach back into prehuman ancestry; the fact that these are the first human beings ever to see the original; and the determination (elaborated on shortly) to prevent any further expeditions from unearthing these terrors (cf. Burleson's theme of forbidden knowledge or merciful ignorance cited above); a common thread which runs throughout the novel like a musical motif.
p. 284: bygone, reading -- should be "bygone reading"
p. 284: The final paragraph should be broken up following "source:", providing a brief rhetorical beat followed by the emphasis by isolation of Danforth's exclamation with all the questions it raises at this point.

Several of these differences depend on a careful use of the mechanics of rhetoric, something which Lovecraft was very careful to orchestrate. (Remember that he tended to read his works aloud to check how the phrasing, pauses, etc., built and worked together for maximum effect; at times reading even quite lengthy works to friends to get their responses.) To ignore these finer points is to miss entirely Lovecraft's approach to his art.

Which brings me to another issue: Luckhurst makes it a point to mention more than once the "tentacular horror" aspect of Lovecraft's writing, once again driving home the stereotype as substance fallacy; he even brings it in in his notes on Lovecraft's classification of the types of fossils the explorers find in the cave, despite the fact that this is (to say the least) stretching the point more than a little. From reading his notes, and examining the texts even as far as I have (I've still several stories to go to complete the thing), it is obvious that he, like so many, has this simplistic, stereotyped, and shallow view of Lovecraft and both his intentions and his control of his texts. I would argue that this cannot help but belittle the subject he is addressing, and mar his abilities to present the material intelligently. It is very like the statement that Derleth made in his introduction to Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos:

"The Cthulhu Mythos, it might be said in retrospect -- for certainly the Mythos as an inspiration for new fiction is hardly likely to afford readers with enough that is new and sufficiently different in concept and execution to create a continuing and growing demand"

a view which has been blown to smithereens by the ever-growing additions and supplements to Lovecraft's work, much of which is indeed quite original and innovative both in concept and technique, and certainly which has an ever-growing popularity; it is a view which is based on a very shallow and myopic view of what Lovecraft's work is about or what it achieves. (I would highly recommend reading Steven J. Mariconda's essays on this subject, as well as Maurice Lévy's A Study in the Fantastic, to get some indication of just how far off such a view tends to be... and even these are scarcely scratching the tip of the iceberg.)

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 June, 2014 11:57PM
jdworth, most of the "errors" you list are bogus; and I may say more about that. A few of the errors you list are genuine - and I may say more about that too, since these errors do not demonstrate the superiority of typescripts over pulp texts as you and Joshi claim (these errors did not originate in the pulp texts, which have the correct readings). However, since you have shown at least a few genuine errors, it is time for me to keep my promise and show that Joshi is not error-free either.

So here's a partial list of some Joshi’s errors in the 9 stories published by Luckhurst. I am using as “the Joshi text” the corrected B&N edition, which Joshi has publicly claimed as his most-definitive text to date, and does in fact correct various errors in the Penguin editions; though it does in many cases introduce new errors of its own. I precede each list with a paragraph summarizing the history of the source texts, so they can be placed in proper context.

THE HORROR AT RED HOOK (“RED HOOK”): To my knowledge, it is the original WEIRD TALES text of this story that has the best claim to represent HPL’s final wishes. Derleth’s 1965 text (in DAGON & OTHER MACABRE TALES) relied not on WEIRD TALES, but apparently on a pre-publication typescript (probably the same one relied on by Joshi), which may be the source of certain mis-readings. Joshi corrects some of Derleth’s misreadings, but retains others. Note that, since Derleth’s text is not based on WEIRD TALES, when it independent support’s WEIRD TALES’ reading, we can take this as strong confirmation that it reflects the text HPL submitted for publication. I am aware of no adequate evidence that the text was revised after publication. Some Joshi errors in this story are:

[1] RED HOOK, Throughout [B&N pp.318, 319, 322, 325, 330]: All 5 instances of the word “shew” or shewed” [Joshi] should be “show” or “showed” [Derleth, Weird Tales, Luckhurst]. Note that since it was Derleth’s habit to retain most spellings of his source texts, we can assume that whatever surviving typescript he relies on usually says “show” as well. There is nothing about the context – a story about an Irish-American policeman in modern Brooklyn – that suggests that the archaic form “shew” is even appropriate here. Note that Joshi’s use of such spelling does not necessarily reflect ANY source text – it is merely his policy to consistently use this spelling, no matter how inappropriate the context.

[2] RED HOOK Ch1, para. 3 [B&N p.315]: “of restful” [Joshi] should be “of a restful” (“to invite a padded cell instead of a restful rustication”) [Weird Tales, Dereth]. Joshi’s error here seems to have originated in the Penguin editions; it is not present in his oldest texts.

[3] RED HOOK Ch2, para.1 [B&N p. 316]: “in Beardsley’s” [Joshi, Derleth & Luckhurst] should be “in Aubrey Beardsley’s” (“leering with concealed rottenness as in Aubrey Beardsley’s best manner”). [Weird Tales]. I no reason to doubt that Weird Tales reading reflects the copy HPL submitted. The other artist mentioned in this sentence, Gustave Doré, is also fully named, and there seems no reason to single out Beardsley for last-name-only treatment.

[4] RED HOOK Ch3, para. 1 [B&N p.318]: “old world” [Joshi, Derleth & Luckhurst] should be “Old World” (“he had sailed for the Old World and remained out of sight for eight years”). [Weird Tales] It is proper to capitalize "Old World" when, as here, it refers to the Eastern Hemisphere (just as the Western Hemisphere is the "New World"). There is no need, after HPL’s death, to reintroduce errors from some surviving, non-final typescript, which, in all probability, does not match the corrected version sent to the publisher.

[5] RED HOOK Ch4, para.3 [B&N p.322]: “new friends” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “few friends” (“finally astonished his few friends by renovating and redecorating his Flatbush mansion”) [Weird Tales]. Suydam has no new friends mentioned in the text except the cultists; whose astonishment (if any) Malone and the narrator are not privy to. However, he does have a few (old) friends who have been mentioned previously in the text: the “rare acquaintances” who occasionally visit his home in Ch.3,Para.1; or the “humiliated friends” who see him prowling about in subway stations in Ch.3,Para.2. Also, as the second half of the sentence makes clear, the social revival, which he is only just about to launch, does not begin by making any new friends, but merely (at first) by reconnecting with relatives and old acquaintances. These are the ones who are now astonished.

[6] RED HOOK Ch.5.Para.1 [B&N p.324]: “old world” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “Old World” (“headed for the widening water spaces that led to Old World wonders”) [Weird Tales]. The Cunard Liner is headed, not into to the past, but to the Eastern Hemisphere (Europe, etc).

[7] RED HOOK Ch.7,Para.3 [B&N p.330]: “which” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “when” (“gloated over a minor sadist cult *when* they might have proclaimed a horror from the universe’s very heart.”) [Weird Tales]. It is not the cult, but that which it worships, that is the ultimate in horror.

The WEIRD TALES (1928) text of "THE CALL OF CTHULHU" ("CTHULHU") is an excellent text overall. BEWARE AFTER DARK (1929) is not based on the WEIRD TALES text, but apparently on an earlier typescript. Derleth's text is based closely on WEIRD TALES, fixing an obvious typo or two; and its unclear if its other very minor changes are corruptions, or if Derleth is following a HPL-corrected copy (I have not so far been able to conclude this, nor entirely rule it out, from the nature of the changes). Joshi uses the Derleth text as a base text, and makes various changes to it based on WEIRD TALES and BEWARE AFTER DARK, and some changes of his own. He now claims the text is based on the typescript, but since he originally claimed it was based on WEIRD TALES and that no typescript was available, my guess is that any resemblance to the typescript is purely coincidental.

[8] CTHULHU's sub-title hinting at the narrator's death [Joshi, Luckhurst], was not a subtitle in the oldest and most-authentic texts [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth] but a note inconspicuously positioned (without titular capitalization of words), like a footnote, at the bottom of the first page or column. Note that pro-Joshi agitators have used the presence of a "subtitle" as a test of authenticity; but it never had a "subtitle" (as such) during HPL's life.

[9] CTHULHU Ch.1 at para.10 [B&N p.358]: "titan" [Joshi] should be "Titan" ("dream of great Cyclopean cities of Titan blocks") [Weird Tales, Derleth, Beware After Dark, Luckhurst]. Consistency of capitalization is one of Joshi's policies, but he does not seem to appreciate how it can subtly alter emphasis and meaning. Without capitalization, "titan" merely means "very big"; but "Titan" more explicitly recalls the Titans of myth - an appropriate analogy here, as the city was indeed created by primordial gods of Chaos.

[10] CTHULHU Ch.1, last para. [B&N p.362]: “stopped he” [Joshi] should be “stopped the” (“only a miracle can have stopped the medical fraternity") [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth].

[11] CTHULHU at 2d para. after 2d "Ph'nglui..." chant in mid-Ch.2 [B&N p.365]: “incongruous with” should be “incongruous in” (“incongruous in its diminutiveness”) [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth].

[12] CTHULHU, at 2d para. after 2d "Ph'nglui..." chant in mid-Ch.2 [B&N p.365]: “Bacchanal” [Joshi] should be “bacchanale” (“from left to right in endless bacchanale”) [Weird Tales, Derleth] or perhaps "Bacchanale" [Beware After Dark]. The word "bacchanale" refers to a type of wild musical dance, & is also used by HPL in "The Hound" ("a bacchanale of bats"); whereas HPL typically uses "bacchanal" to refer to a participant or celebrant (ie. "satyrs and bacchanals" in "THE MUSIC OF ERICH ZANN"). Joshi apparently decided it was a misspelling and fixed it.

[13] CTHULHU at 8th para. following 2d "Ph'nglui..." chant in mid Ch.2 [B&N p.367]: “Black Winged Ones” [Joshi, Beware after Dark] should be “Black-winged Ones” [Weird Tales, Derleth]; alternatively, if you think Beware After Dark is the better text (I don't) then one should follow it by omitting the word "green" [omitted in Beware After Dark] from a later phrase, at 4th para. from end of tale, "green, bat-winged mocking imps of Tartarus" ["green" is included in Weird Tales, Derleth, Joshi, Luckhurst]. Regardless of whether Weird Tales of Beware After Dark is the better source, this may be a coordinated change, so by mixing and combining readings from both texts, Joshi creates for the first time the suggestion that these two references may describe different creatures, one mostly black, the other mostly green.

[14] CTHULHU Ch.2 at 3d para.before "That is not dead..." couplet [B&N p.367]: “but Their mode” [Joshi] should be “for Their mode” (“They knew all that was occurring in the universe, for Their mode of speech was transmitted thought”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Beware After Dark, Luckhurst]. "But" makes no sense here.

[15] CTHULHU Ch.2 at 1st para.before "That is not dead..." couplet: [B&N p.368]: “dim aeras” [Joshi] should be “dim eras” (“idols brought in dim eras from dark stars”) [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth]. Joshi apparently changed it to "aera" after observing that HPL occasionally used the "late-Latin" form "aera" when goofing around in private letters. However, "era" was his consistent choice for fiction, as well as being supported by the early published sources. (And, while I don’t think it matters, I doubt the surviving typescript says any different).

[16] CTHULHU Ch.3, in the NZ article (past its midpoint) [B&N p.372]: “shewed” [Joshi] should be “showed” (“The Emma’s men showed fight”) [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth, Luckhurst]. This is supposed to be a transcript of a modern newspaper article! This is merely a particular eggregious example. The archaism "shew" does not appear at all in Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, or Derleth texts of CTHULHU, all 4 appearances of the verb in this tale should use the modern spelling. Nor is there any reason the archaic spelling should be used The narrator is neither a poet nor an antiquarian, and has no affinity for the poet Wilcox (the one character in this tale whom one might expect to use archaisms).

"THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE" ("COLOUR") was published in 1927 in AMAZING STORIES, and HPL later told Barlow that he had thrown out the manuscript after obtaining a printed copy. In the early 30s, F.Lee Baldwin planned to publish it as a pamphlet, and for this purpose prepared a typescript, probably from the magazine text. HPL made revisions to this typescript, signed off on it, and sent it to Baldwin. Derleth's text is clearly derived from AMAZING STORIES (it has word-divisions originating in line-breaks in the pulp text), yet it just as clearly incorporates revisions that must have come from HPL. Hence it may be based on the Baldwin typescript, or on a hand-corrected copy of the magazine. Joshi claims to have use the Baldwin typescript, but also shows some contempt for it as a source (which may mean that Derleth's public-domain text has already followed it closely) . I have yet to check this typescript, but in the meantime, I am going to count Joshi in error whenever Derleth and AMAZING STORIES agree against him. The contempt he has expressed for the Baldwin typescript is such that I see no reason to assume it supports Joshi's variant readings; but I am open to new information.

[17] COLOUR, throughout [B&N pp.598, 601 (x2), 610, 613, 614]: The archaic form "shew" appears nowhere in Derleth and AMAZING STORIES, which always use "show", "showing", etc. (and I am sure the Baldwin typescript is no different). Joshi however, changes it to "shew" etc., throughout (per his policy), which must be considered a corruption: the narrator is modern, and archaisms have no particular appropriateness here.

[18] COLOUR at para.7 [p.596]: Joshi has combined paragraph 7 & 8 into one long paragraph. There should be a paragraph break after "...not knowing why." [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Note that the paragraphs are divided by subject matter. Para.7 concerns his search for Ammi; para.8 concerns his initial attempts to converse with Ammi; and para.9 begins Ammi’s tale. There is no evidence here that ASTOUNDING is chopping up paragraphs merely because they are long.

[19] COLOUR at para.14 [Joshi's para.13; B&N p.598]: "space where" [Joshi] should be "space, except where" ("around the dwindling brown lump near the well was a vacant space, except where the earth had caved in") [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. This is a new error originating in corrected B&N edition.

[18] COLOUR at para.16 [Joshi's para.15, B&N p.599]: "predecessor had been" [Joshi] should be "predecessor" ("which proved, however, as baffling in the laboratory as its predecessor.") [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Perhaps Joshi felt the added words were gramatically necessary (but they're not).

[19] COLOUR at para.19 [Joshi’s 18, B&N p.600]: “heaven” [Joshi] should be capitalized (Nahum “thanked Heaven that most of the other crops were in the upland lot”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. The consistent non-capitalization of “heaven” is one of Joshi’s policies of standardized usage; which unfortunately negates the function of capitalization as a tool to express emphasis and/or some special meaning. In this case, HPL used capitalization to suggest personification, or, more specifically, that “Heaven” is in this instance a polite substitution for “God” (often used by those too well-bred to take His name in vain). Note that Nahum is religious (see para.35 [Joshi’s para.34, B&N p.605] “he had always walked uprightly in the Lord’s ways so far as he knew”). Joshi also wrongly removes the capitalization from “thank Heaven” [so in Amazing Stories, Luckhurst, Derleth] in para.57[Joshi’s para.56, B&N 613].

[20] COLOUR at para.21[Joshi’s para.20, B&N p.600]: “shying away of the horses” should be “shying of horses” (“But the shying of horses near Nahum’s house had now become an acknowledged thing”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. The definite article (“the”) is not appropriate since no particular horses are being referred to – horses generally are shying near Nahum’s, hence the general acknowledgement. Compare the similar observation near the end at para 63[62]: “Horses – the few that are left in this motor age – grow skittish in the silent valley…”. The word “the” appears in all Joshi texts, but “away” apparently got added some time in the 90s.

[21] COLOUR at para. 25 [Joshi’s para.24, B&N p.602]: “The Dutchman’s breeches became” [Joshi] should be have scare quotes around “Dutchman’s breeches” (“The “Dutchman’s breeches” became a thing of sinister menace”). [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Without the scare quotes, the text becomes a source of unintentional humor.

[22] COLOUR at para 27 [Joshi’s para.26, B&N p.602]: “the trouble” [Joshi] should be “this trouble” (“the milk began to be bad. Then Nahum had the cows driven to the uplands, after which this trouble ceased”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst] Although this specific trouble just mentioned ceases, the general trouble just keeps getting worse and worse.

[23] COLOUR at para.29 [Joshi’s para.28, B&N p.603]: “hue” [Joshi] should be “hues” (“Even the flowers whose hues had been so strange were greying now”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. As paragraph 25[24] made clear, multiple “colours” and “prismatic variants” were involved, though there may have been a single “primary tone” underlying them.

[24] COLOUR at para.42[Joshi’s para.41, B&N p.608]: “gettin’ to hev” [Joshi] should be “gittin’ to hev” (“her face is gittin’ to hev that colour sometimes toward night”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst].

[25] COLOUR at para. 60 [Joshi’s para.59, B&N p.614]: “nighted” [Joshi] should be “blighted” (“He did not wish to cross the blighted, wind-whipped woods alone”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]

[26] COLOUR at para.61[Joshi’s para.60, B&N p.614]: “over half a century” should be “forty-four years” (“It is forty-four years since the horror happened”) [Amazing Stories, Derleth, Luckhurst]. The story was published in 1927, and the horror occurred in the summer of 1883. I don’t know where Joshi got his alternate reading from, but, hypothetically, even if HPL did agree to update the language, so that a publication in the mid 30s could seem current, that purpose was completely foiled when that mid-30s publication failed to appear. To present this as the “definitive text” of a story that everyone knows only appeared once during the author’s lifetime, in 1927, only makes it seem as though the author cannot do basic math.

THE DUNWICH HORROR (“DUNWICH”) appeared in WEIRD TALES in 1929, the only appearance during the author’s life. Derleth’s text appears not to be based on WEIRD TALES but on a presumably-earlier typescript. Since we know that surviving typescripts do not necessarily contain the author’s final revisions (as in the case of MOUNTAINS below), and since HPL never complained of any butchery in the pulp text, we should give WEIRD TALES primary respect, absent some special reason to believe it is in error. Also, when WEIRD TALES and Derleth agree, we can take this as independent confirmation that WEIRD TALES accurately reflects what HPL sent them. Joshi claims his text follows HPL’s typescript, presumably the same one used by Derleth. On Derleth’s authority, it does appear that the surviving typescript does indeed use the spelling “shew” in most case; so I won’t count this as an error against him, though (on the authority of Weird Tales) neither do I think it can be counted as an error against Luckhurst.

[27] DUNWICH Ch.2 at para.5 [B&N p.638]: “inflict” [Joshi] should be “afflict” (“Odd wounds […] seemed to afflict the visible cattle”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst].

[28] DUNWICH Ch2 at para.7 [B&N p.638]: “dark trunks” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “dark blue trunks” (“a pair of dark blue trunks or trousers”) [Weird Tales]. That this is not in the surviving typescript should not dissuade us; the typescript that should matter is the one that was sent to Weird Tales, and that obviously contained this word.

[29] DUNWICH Ch5 at para.1 [B&N p.644]: “of Arkham” [Joshi] should be “at Arkham” (“the Library of Miskatonic University at Arkham”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]

[30] DUNWICH Ch9 at para4 [B&N p.659]: “one” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “ones” (“rehearsed the formulae he had memorized, and clutched the paper containing the alternative ones he had not memorized”) [Weird Tales]. “Formulae” is plural, hence context seems to confirm Weird Tales that the alternatives should also be plural.

THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS (“WHISPERER”) was published in WEIRD TALES in 1931, the only publication to appear in HPL’s life. Derleth appears to have based his text on a pre-existing typescript, perhaps not necessarily the same one he submitted to Weird Tales. Hence, the Weird Tales text is probably the best guide to HPL’s final wishes, though Derleth is probably a fair guide to HPL’s early-draft spellings, and possibly those he submitted as well. In any event, when Weird Tales and Derleth agree, we can take this as a strong confirmation that this reflects the readings of the text as HPL authorized it for publication. This is one text where Joshi is sometimes more correct than Derleth or Luckhurst, but only because he has made changes to deference to the pulp text. In other words it is NOT (as he is now claiming) because typescripts are more reliable than pulps.

[31] WHISPERER, throughout: The verb “shew”, “shewing”, “shewed” etc. [Joshi] occurs several times in this tale, in text and letters, but all other sources say “show” etc. [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Since it was Derleth’s policy to preserve spellings from his source texts (as he did with “shew” in the Dunwich Horror and elsewhere), and since both Akeley and the narrator are modern characters, it is fair to conclude that “shew” (etc.) is a corruption here.

[32] WHISPERER Ch.2, Akeley Letter at 5th para. [B&N p.675]: “had nearly” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “has nearly” (“I have run it on the machine for some of the old people up here, and one of the voices has nearly scared them paralyzed”) [Weird Tales]. The plu-perfect is clearly inappropriate here, since the old folks can hardly have become paralyzed by the voice on the record before Akeley played it .

[33] WHISPERER Ch.4, Akeley’s 3d (Wednesday) letter, at para.3 [p.692]: “knots” [Derleth, Joshi, Luckhurst] should be “knot” (“pyramided fleshing rings or knot of thick, ropy stuff”) [Weird Tales]. In other words, their head resembles many rings of rope, but amounting to a single knot.

[34] WHISPERER Ch.7 at para.1 [B&N p.706]: “some faint” [Derleth, Joshi, Luckhurst] should be “some very faint” (“There likewise appeared to be some some very faint, half-imaginary rhythm or vibration in the air”) [Weird Tales].

[35] WHISPERER Ch.7 at para.4&5 [B&N p.707]: “record” [Joshi] should be “records” in both paragraphs (“kodak prints and records?” and “take out the letters and pictures and records”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Joshi has evidently changed the text based on his understanding that there is in fact only one phonograph record. However, the Whisperer is not Akeley; he knows of only one record for certain, but wants all records however many there may be. His use of the plural is a slip-up and subtle clue.

[36] WHISPERER Ch.7 at para.22 [B&N p.711]: “presented” [Joshi] should be “represented” (“there are four different sorts of beings represented in those cylinders up there”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst].

[37] WHISPERER Ch.7 at para.27 [B&N p.712]: “sound-box began” [Joshi, Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “sound-box suddenly began” (“the machine with the tubes and sound-box suddenly began to speak”) [Weird Tales]

[38] WHISPERER Ch.7 at 3d-to-last para. [B&N p.714]: “that cosmic” [Joshi] should be “that strange cosmic” (“must indeed be true that strange cosmic linkages do exist”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Note that nobody doubts the non-strange variety of cosmic linkage, like light from distant galaxies reaching our eyes.

AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS (“MOUNTAINS”): There are roughly 5 drafts of this text: (1) HPL’s handwritten manuscript superceded by; (2) an early typescript prepared by Barlow, superceded by; (3) the draft HPL submitted to ASTOUNDING STORIES, which does not survive, but which even Joshi admits must have contained revisions by HPL; (4) the ASTOUNDING STORIES text, in 3 installments, which alters and somewhat abridges the non-extant submitted draft, excising approximately 3,800 (or more?) words, mostly from the 3d installment; and (5) HPL’s laboriously hand-corrected copy of ASTOUNDING, which restores 3,800 words to the text, rejoins hundreds of paragraphs, and makes other corrections and changes. Derleth’s text follows the hand-corrected copy. Joshi criticises Derleth for doing so, and instead creates a text of his own by combining various readings from all surviving drafts (note again that the draft HPL submitted does not survive). I unfortunately don’t have any original source texts, other than the Derleth texts. However, since faithfulness to HPL’s final draft is precisely what Joshi criticises Derleth for, we can take Derleth’s readings as definitive, absent better information. The examples below are merely illustrative.

[39] MOUNTAINS Ch.1 after Poe-poem at 7th para. [Joshi’s 6th para, B&N p.729]: “lingulae” [Joshi] should be “linguellae” (“such mollusks as linguellae”)[Derleth, Lukchurst]. Joshi admits that in says “linguellae” even in HPL’s manuscript, but Joshi changed it based upon a mistaken belief that “linguellae is a mis-spelling of “lingulae”. Actually, they are entirely different types of fossil animal. The “lingula” (plural, lingulae) is/was a type of brachiopod, whereas the linguella (plural, linguellae) was a sea slug and type of mollusk. (Luckhust, in his notes, swallows and repeats Joshi’s misinformation, but at least he had the sense to leave the “misspelling” alone and print what HPL wrote). The “lingula” is not (strictly speaking) even a Cambrian-era fossil (as is required for this context), though it does have an older Cambrian-era relative which is more properly called a “lingulella” (which is still a brachiopod and an entirely different creature from the mollusk “linguella”, also Cambrian-era).

[40] MOUNTAINS Ch.1, last para. [B&N p.730]: “Nature” [Joshi] should be “nature” (“certain contradictions in nature and geological period which whetted his curiosity”) [Derleth, Luckhurst]. In other words, the evidence presents contradictory evidence as to varied natures, and varied geological periods. Capitalizing “Nature”, as though she were a unique or personified entity, is not appropriate here. HPL does occasionally capitalize “Nature” (usually to suggest personification) and one of Joshi’s policies is to insist he do so more often, based upon some silly idea that he ought to be consistent. Note that Joshi is probably not following any source here – he apparently did a text search for “nature” in his files, and replaced them with “Nature” except when blatantly wrong even to him.

[41] MOUNTAINS Ch.2, at para.20 [Joshi’s para.18, B&N p.735]: “mososaur” [Joshi] should be “mosasaur” (“great mosasaur skull fragments”) [Derleth, Luckhurst]. Named after the Mosa river, where this fossil was first found.

[42] MOUNTAINS Ch.4, at para.1 [B&N p.750]: “frightful mountain wall” [Joshi] or “awful mountain wall” [Luckhurst] should be “mountains of madness” (“—and to that other thing beyond the mountains of madness.”) [Derleth]. Joshi, in his essay, “Textual Problems in Lovecraft”, gives the full history of this passage. The manuscript (earliest draft) says “mountains of madness”; the (surviving) typescript says “frightful mountain wall”; apparently that did not satisfy HPL either, because ASTOUNDING STORIES has “awful mountain wall”, probably reflecting the (non-extant) draft HPL submitted, though Joshi prefers the theory is that the ASTOUNDING editor changed it (why would he?). But it barely matters, because in HPL hand-corrected copy of ASTOUNDING, HPL crosses out “awful mountain wall” and replaces it with “mountains of madness”, returning to his original reading. Thus, if the final wishes of the author are the criteria, “mountains of madness” is correct. But Joshi disregards these final instructions based on some theory that Joshi knows better than HPL what HPL really wanted. I will leave it to jdworth to defend this idea, and the specifics of the theory, if he thinks he can do so with a straight face.

[43] MOUNTAINS Ch.7 at para.15 [B&N p.775]: “molecular disturbance” [Joshi] should be “molecular and atomic disturbance” (“The Old Ones had used curious weapons of molecular and atomic disturbance against the rebel entities”) [Derleth, Luckhurst].

[44] MOUNTAINS Ch.9, 5th para from end [B&N p.789]: “a vaulted” [Joshi, Luckhurst] should be “a long, vaulted” (“About 9:30 p.m., while traversing a long, vaulted corridor”) [Derleth].

THE DREAMS IN THE WITCH-HOUSE (“DREAMS”) was first published in WEIRD TALES (1933); and HPL griped in his letters about some misprints, such as “magical love” for “magical lore”. Derleth’s text is clearly derived from WEIRD TALES (its spellings mostly reflect Weird Tales style sheet rather than HPL’s habits), but a number of deliberate changes and corrections suggest Derleth was work from HPL’s hand-corrected copy (‘jail’/’jailer’ becomes ‘gaol’/gaoler’, ‘love’becomes ‘lore’; ‘human element’ becomes ‘known element’, ‘hearty-sleeping form’ is fixed to ‘heavily-sleeping form’. Derleth was not in the habit of making these sorts of changes on his own, and must be working from HPL’s hand-corrected magazine copy. At least one of Derleth’s readings may be a transcription error (“country records” should presumably be “county records”); but it otherwise must be respected as a source of HPL’s final wishes (at least until the hand-corrected magazine copy shows up). Joshi, claiming to working from the handwritten manuscript, confirms the correctness of most of the listed changes. Joshi does however, have his own unique readings; which, even if derived from a typescript, must be considered errors if the author’s final wishes are allowed to control. In a lot of cases Joshi restores words and phrases from early drafts, which were probably exised by HPL (Joshi, to my knowledge, does not even claim these readings match the typescript). A few examples follow:

[45] DREAMS, in Title, at para.4, and at 9th para from end [B&N 857 860, 885], : “Witch House” [Joshi] should be “Witch-House” [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. I don’t usually quibble about things as trivial as Joshi’s hyphenation changes, but here he is altering the title as chosen by HPL. He gets this reading from the handwritten draft, but I am told that even a surviving unpublished typescript has the hyphens added in by hand (by HPL of course – who else would do it?).

[46] DREAMS at para.8 [B&N 861]: “was already on” [Joshi] should be “was on” (“it now appeared that the purpose of those surfaces concerned the side he was on.”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. The word “already” adds nothing to the intended meaning here; it is merely a bit of early-draft-redundancy that got edited out.

[47] DREAMS at para.18 [Joshi’s para.17, B&N 864]: “abhorrent” [Joshi] should be “absorbing” (“monstrous visions. Those visions, however, were of absorbing convincingness”) [Weird Tales, Luckhurst, Derleth]. HPL has just described the visions “as monstrous”, and does not need to repeat the idea following “however”. This is a later-draft improvement, suggesting that Gilman is being lured as well as repelled.

[48] DREAMS at para.26 [Joshi’s para.25, B&N p.867]: “the maddening confusion” should be “the confusion” (“that faint suggestion of sound which once in a while seemed to trickle through the confusion of identifiable sounds”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. The extra word “maddening” is a mere distraction here, since the focus should be on the new sound. The reader already knows Gilman has nervous issues.

[49] DREAMS at para.66 [Joshi’s para.64, B&N p.878]: “shrieking twilight abysses” should be “shrieking abysses” (“Again the infinitude of shrieking abysses flashed past him, but in another second”). The phrase “twilight abysses”, “roaring twilight abysses” and “shrieking twilight abysses” is repeated throughout the tale, and yet another instance here is not necessary.

[50] DREAMS at para.66 [Joshi’s 64, B&N p.878]: “grimacing crone […] pajama sleeve” [Joshi] should be “grinning crone […] pajama sleeves” (“Into this the grinning crone started, dragging Gilman after her by his pajama sleeves.”) [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Keziah has no reason to be making faces here; a fixed expression better suits the context. Note also that dragging someone by a single pajama sleeve is not very secure.

[51] DREAMS at 14th para. from end [B&N p.884]: “the missing Ladislas Wolejko” [Joshi] should be “the missing child Ladislas Wolejko” [Weird Tales, Derleth, Luckhurst]. Unlike so many of the words and phrases that Joshi reinserts, the word “child” here is a helpful reminder to the reader; as “little Ladislas” has been mentioned only once, several paragraphs earlier, and the mother’s last name has been mentioned only once as well.

THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH (“INNSMOUTH”) was published as a pamphlet by Visionary Publishing in 1936. IIRC, someone up-thread tried to discredit this source by saying it was so bad it had to be printed with an errata sheet. What they failed to mention was that the errata sheet was prepared by HPL himself, so that, while this may make a lousy reading copy, it is an excellent source for the author’s final wishes. I do not have this source but I understand that Derleth follows Visionary, and Luckhurst apparently follows Derleth. Joshi says he reverts to an earlier typescript, but the differences are trivial, and I shall only list a few. A heavily-abridged version appeared posthumously in WEIRD TALES, and seems to derive from the same typescript used by Joshi.

[52] INNSMOUTH Ch.2 at para.1 [B&N p.815]: “half-illegible” [Joshi, Weird Tales] should be “half-legible” [Derleth, Luckhurst]. Eliminates a useless syllable.

[53] INNSMOUTH Ch.2 at para.17 [B&N p.819]: “telling” [Joshi] should be “tolling” (“I knew that those hoarse strokes were tolling the hour of eleven”) [Derleth, Luckhurst]

[54] INNSMOUTH Ch.3 at para.13 [B&N p.828]: “Otaheité” [Joshi] should be “Othaheite” [Derleth, Weird Tales, Luckhurst]. This looks like a Joshi change, based on his idea of the “correct” spelling. But then, why not go all the way and call it “Tahiti”? Otherwise, there is no “correct” Roman-lettered spelling for indigenous names of places that pre-existed European discovery. Hence he might as well accept the spelling actually used by HPL (and the pronunciation used by Zadoc).

THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME (“TIME”): The manuscript of this tale was given as a gift to Barlow after Barlow typed it. After that, HPL used Barlow’s typescript (non-extant) as his working copy. At some point a typescript was submitted to ASTOUNDING, but no typescript of any kind survives. After its appearance, HPL felt confident it had not been intentionally abridged; and trusted himself to make a few hand-corrections without the need to check against any typescript or manuscript, (the manuscript was still with Barlow, and a typescript (no longer extant) was then in Derleth’s hands, but both these drafts had, in any event, been superceded by the draft, also non-extant, that he sent to be published). Derleth used HPL’s hand-corrected copy as the basis of his own text. Joshi largely ignores the author’s final wishes, and reverts to the abandoned hand-written draft that HPL left with Barlow 18 months prior to publication. Only a few examples of this bizarre decision are listed below.

[55] TIME Ch.1 at para.8 [Joshi’s para.3, B&N p.949]: “shewing it […] to any quarters” [Joshi] should be “showing it […] in any quarters” (“showing it, with suitable comment, in any quarters where it will be likely to accomplish good”) [ASTOUNDING, Derleth, Luckhurst]. A “quarter” is a place, not a person; so there can be no good reason alter the final-draft reading. As to the verb “shew”, Derleth and ASTOUNDING has Peaslee use “show” throughout, and even (at least in this instance) in HPL handwritten manuscript. Peaslee is supposed to be an extremely modern and prosaic narrator – neither poet nor antiquarian; there is no artistic point to having him use archaisms.

[56] TIME Ch.1, 4th-to-last para.[B&N p.953] : “an hypodermic” [Joshi, ASTOUNDING] should be “a hypodermic” [Derleth]. This is trivial, but I mention it for 4 reasons: First because Joshi admits that HPL crossed out “an” on his corrected copy of ASTOUNDING and replaces it with “a” but does not explain why he fails to follow HPL’s directions; second because it shows that HPL desired to have Peaslee use a modern idiom, regardless of what HPL’s own habits may have been (which is also relevant to “shew”); third, because it shows HPL’s purpose was continued revision, not the reconstruction of some lost early draft; and fourth, to show the triviality of some of the changes that HPL considered more important than altering ASTOUNDINGS’ paragraphing (assuming he wanted such alterations at all).

[57] TIME Ch.5, following McKenzie Letter at 4th para [Joshi’s 2d para., B&N p.978]: “of sufficiently light draught” [Joshi] should be “sufficiently small” (“a tramp steamer sufficiently small to get up the river”) [Derleth, Luckhurst]. Both variants are missing from ASTOUNDING, which simply reads “a tramp steamer to get up the river”. According to Joshi, HPL inserted the words “sufficiently small” on his hand-corrected copy. Joshi refuses to follow this instruction, deriving his alternate reading from the early, abandoned, handwritten manuscript. Joshi’s alternate reading is in no way superior, it is merely more wordy. Smaller boats have an easier time on rivers, and not necessarily only because of lighter draughts – other dimensions can matter too.

[58] TIME Ch2 at para.10 [Joshi’s para.4, B&N p.966]: “around” [Joshi] should be “about” (“These objects moved intelligently about the great rooms”) [ASTOUNDING, Derleth]. The final draft better reflects the intended meaning – the objects are not circling the great rooms, merely moving within them

[59] TIME, Ch.6 at para.30 [Joshi’s para.14, B&N p.983]: “corridor thirty feet tall” [Joshi] should be “corridor thirty feet wide and thirty feet tall” (“a Cyclopean corridor thirty feet wide and thirty feet tall, paved with octagonal blocks”) (ASTOUNDING, Derleth].

[60] TIME, Ch.6 at 10th para from end [Joshi’s 5th para from end, B&N p.986]: “God’s name” [Joshi] should be “Heaven’s name” (“What in Heaven’s name could all this mean?”) [ASTOUNDING, Derleth, Luckhurst]. HPL usually liked to have his well-bred characters swear by “Heaven” rather than abusing God’s name directly (not to be religious, but merely to be classy), just as he often liked to mock his ill-bred characters by having them swear by “Gawd”. Joshi here merely reverts to an early-draft reading.

[61] TIME, Ch.6 at 9th para. from end [Joshi’s 4th para. from end, B&N p.986]: “before” [Joshi] should be “below” (“I knew what lay below me, and what had lain overhead”) [ASTOUNDING, Derleth]. Peaslee’s destination does indeed lie below him, and the succeeding paragraphs make clear.

[62] TIME, Ch.8 at para.15 [Joshi’s para.6, B&N p.993]: “screwed up” [Joshi] should be “collected” (“in the dark, I collected my courage”) [Astounding, Derleth, Luckhurst] HPL generally tries to avoid colloquialisms. Joshi merely replaces his final choice with an early draft reading.

[63] TIME Ch.8 at para.16 [Joshi para.7, B&N p. 993]: “almost collapsed” [Joshi] should be “collapsed” (“I looked for an instant, then collapsed”) [Astounding, Derleth]. Within the next 2 sentences it is made clear that the narrator does indeed collapse (“I sank wholly to the floor”) – there is nothing “almost” about it.

The above is only a partial list of variants, but I have tried to pick the more-interesting ones. One thing that happens a lot (though I have listed few examples) is where Joshi re-inserts unnecessary words and phrases that got edited out of earlier drafts, probably by HPL himself. These extra phrases are invariably of such a nature that they add nothing to the story worth having. I will leave it to jdworth to argue for the necessity of specific examples – I prefer not to waste more words on them.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 7 June, 2014 03:55AM
jdworth: On the subject of "NON-PARAGRAPHS"

I must call your attention to an unpleasant habit you seem to have - that of calling down a thousand nameless authorities in support of a proposition, and then implying that anyone who disagrees is a hopeless ignoramus. You have recently done this in support of your claim that the indented single sentence is a horrific violation of all sane rules of literary composition. You have claimed this as a basic fact, known to every grade-schooler. You have suggested that anyone who disagrees is sub-literate. Such bullying puffery would be offensive even if you were RIGHT.

But in this case, you have not merely insulted me. You have also insulted Lewis Carroll, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Kenneth Graham, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sheridan Le Fanu, Jonathan Swift, W.W. Jacobs, Algernon Blackwood, Arthur Machen, Edgar Allan Poe, Lord Dunsany, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert W. Chambers, Ambrose Bierce, Charles Dickens, Sir Thomas Mallory, Sir Walter Scott, Robert E. Howard, William Morris, E.R. Eddison, Henry S. Whitehead, Frank Belknap Long, George MacDonald, Raymond Chandler, F. Marion Crawford, Clark Ashton Smith, and countless others.

And yes, you have insulted H.P. Lovecraft as well. For he does this in "The Rats in the Walls"; in "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward"; in "Ex Oblivione"; in "The Evil Clergyman"; in "Ibid"; in "The Beast in the Cave"; in "Supernatural Horror in Literature"; in "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath"; and yes, even in the Joshi versions of these tales. He does this in his (self-edited) writings in the UNITED AMATEUR.

And no, I'm not even talking about such one-sentence "paragraphs" being used in dialogue, or in the immediate vicinity of dialogue or of poetry (though such exceptions already disprove your rule). Nor am I talking about such when they occur at the very beginning or end of chapters. All the artists or works referred to above use one-sentence non-quote paragraphs found sandwiched between 2 other normal paragraphs.

Paragraphing is really up to the author. Whenever he wishes to pause - for emphasis or other effect, or for whatever reason, he may do so. But you don't want it to be up to the author.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 7 June, 2014 01:48PM
jdworth: This is a response to our earlier post, regarding 5 errors in RED HOOK and WHISPERER. I concede these errors, but they do not demonstrate what you and Joshi claim.

Your position, (and Joshi’s), was that Luckhurst’s text can be presumed to be corrupt (without the need to check) because of his use of pulp texts and Derleth’s texts, instead of reverting to typescripts. The evidence, however, is that random typescripts tend to be inferior sources, and Derleth’s texts tend to be inferior to pulp texts in PRECISELY those instances where Derleth relied on surviving pre-publication typescripts. As we have seen, particularly in MOUNTAINS, a surviving typescript is NOT necessarily the same text that HPL submitted for publication. The genuine errors you have found, from RED HOOK and WHISPERER, illustrate this. In both cases, Luckhurst got his erroneous readings from Derleth, who, in both RED HOOK and WHISPERER, did not use the pulp text or a corrected pulp-text but reverted to earlier typescripts. The typescripts themselves may well be the source of Derleth’s errors.

In any event, 4 of the 5 errors you have successfully shown in Luckhurst are all CORRECT in the pulp texts, and the 5th is incorrect in the pulp ONLY because it was superceded by HPL's hand-corrected copy of the pulp. So the moral of the story is NOT that Luckhurst should NOT have checked against the pulp texts (per your accusation) but rather that he should have checked more carefully, and made a more informed judgment as to whether Derleth or Pulp was the better text in each individual case.

jdworth wrote:
> from "The Whisperer in Darkness":

[1] WHISPERER Ch.1 at para.1 [Luckhurst p.121]

> which should read:
> “Notwithstanding the deep [extent to which I shared
> the information and speculations of Henry Akeley,
> the] things I saw and heard, and the admitted
> vividness of the impressions...”

Yes. The material [in brackets] should be restored. It is correct in WEIRD TALES. Luckhurst's incorrect reading follows Derleth, who here relies on a pre-publication typescript. I don't know if it is correct in the typescript used by Derleth. Perhaps not. Joshi claims he uses the typescript but rarely makes full disclosure of ALL his sources. Joshi may have gotten the correct reading from Weird Tales in this case.

[2] WHISPERER Ch.2, Akeley's letter at 3d para. [Luckhurst p.129]

> […]It should read:
> “If I knew as little of the matter as they, I would
> [not] feel justified in believing as they do.”

Yes. Again following Derleth. Once again, it is correct in WEIRD TALES.

[3] WHISPERER, Ch.2, Akeley's letter at 2d para. [Luckhurst p.129]

> “I have seen the reprints of letters from you, and
> those agreeing with you, in the Rutland Herald,
> and I guess I know about where your controversy
> stands at the present time.”:

Yes, “agreeing” should be “arguing”, not so much because it does not make sense (it actually does make reasonable sense) but rather because WEIRD TALES has “arguing”, and that is the better evidence of the author’s final wishes than a posthumously published text that derives (accurately or not) from on a pre-publication typescript.

[4] RED HOOK Ch.2 at para.2 [Luckhurst p.6]

> "columns of pilasters". […] Which might
> simply be a typo, except that, if so, it is odd
> that this is the same exact typographic error
> which appears in the AH text.

It’s a typo – typically caused by “f” and “r” being close together on the keyboard. Luckhurst used Derleth as his base text, and copied Derleth’s error. Derleth in this case (as in WHISPERER) has based his text on a pre-publication typescript. This error may come from the typescript .

It is correct in WEIRD TALES.

[5] MOUNTAINS Ch. 1, about 1/2-way between Poe poem and end of chapter [Luckhurst p.189]

> “which we then thought to form a separate and
> smaller continent divided from the larger one by a
> frozen junction of Ross and Weddell Seas, though
> Byrd has since disproved the report.” (p. 189)
>
> That last word, even in the older Arkhan House
> texts, should be "hypothesis".

Yes. Luckhurst seems to be following ASTOUNDING here (he also has "awful mountain wall" at the beginning of Ch.4 which I know is ASTOUNDING's reading).

Derleth follows the hand-corrected copy. Since I am inclined to trust Derleth (and since Luckhurst seems to be following ASTOUNDING whenever he varies from Derleth); the most likely explanation, at this time, is that HPL changed "report" to "hypothesis" on his hand-corrected copy of the magazine.

> This makes sense,
> whereas "report" simply does not, and is in fact
> nonsense, given that there is no report of their
> hypothesis.

No! No! No! The word "hypothesis" (Derleth's reading) is likely correct because it probably follows the hand-corrected copy that HPL left. Period! The word "report" DOES make reasonable sense here, and if that's what HPL left, in his final draft, that's what we should respect. If that were indeed the case, we ought to conclude that there is indeed a report of the hypothesis, because HPL's text says there is one. If (unlike me) you are not inclined to trust that Derleth's text follows HPL's reading, then you need to track down that hand-corrected copy and find out what it actually says. Or at least get your friend Joshi to tell you what it says.

> This may, of course, be an editorial
> change in the original Astounding printing which
> has slipped through (as elsewhere noted, I've not
> seen the original publications), but in any event,
> it certainly doesn't reflect HPL's own wording.

Wow! Just Wow! Even if the ASTOUNDING copy says "report"; and even if HPL's hand corrected copy leaves it as "report" (it "slipped through"), and even if no other source text (not even an earlier draft) has anything to say on the issue, Joshi is still right ??? So what you are saying, basically, is that you don't care what the source texts say. Joshi can just make up his own readings, and substitute them, based on some lame-brained theory of what HPL would have wanted, should have wanted, and therefore must have wanted.

Recall that this entire clause was not in the pre-publication manuscript or typescript at all. They have nothing to say on this issue.

If (as seems to me most likely) HPL did change "report" to "hypothesis" on his hand-corrected copy, this should not be read as an accusation that ASTOUNDING altered the text from "hypothesis" to "report". Why on earth would ASTOUNDING do such a thing? If HPL altered the wording, he was simply changing his mind, as he has the right to do. There is no need to read it as a claim that "hypothesis" was what he originally wrote. An author is never bound by what he wrote before.

I believe "hypothesis" is correct because I trust Derleth to follow his source text and not make random changes of a substantive nature. But you've almost got me convinced that "report" might be correct after all.

------------------x
In sum, the 5 errors you cite above are indeed Luckhurst errors. However, they don’t demonstrate the general superiority of typescripts over pulp texts, or of typescripts over hand-corrected copies of pulp-texts. What they seem to demonstrate is that pulp texts are (in general) superior to typescripts, and that HPL’s hand-corrected copies of pulp texts are even better than pulp texts. Luckhurst errs by reling on an inferior source, when there is a better source available. The same applies (where applicable) to Joshi and Derleth.

I'll get to your second list of errors another time - perhaps next weekend. Unlike your first list, most of them are bogus. They may be the "tip of the iceberg" as you claim, but it is interesting that the quality of your later examples are not improving after the first 5.



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 7 Jun 14 | 02:18PM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 17 June, 2014 12:11AM
jdworth, your second list of “errors” all concern THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, and, unlike your first list, most of them are bogus.

Of the 21 Luckhurst “errors” you list above four (#s 1 through 4 below) are both supported by Derleth and strongly supported by internal context. I conceded you these with no argument. In five more (#s 5 through 9 below) Joshi’s reading is supported by Derleth, but gets no support from context. If I grant you these as trivial Luckhurst errors, on Derleth’s authority, it becomes a double-edged sword for Joshi, for all 1,500 of Joshi’s own trivial variations from Derleth, become errors on the same authority. In your remaining examples (#10 through 21 below), Derleth stands against you. Derleth is presumably following HPL’s hand-corrected copy, and you have failed to make a convincing case that anything else stands in your favor.

The 4 supported by both Derleth and context, which I concede, are as the following:

[1] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at (Derleth’s) 5th-to-last para. [Luckhurst p.203]: You say “has more” [Luckhurst] should be "had more" (“Probably it had more than five senses, so that its habits could not be predicted from any existing analogy”) [Joshi, Derleth]. Derleth supports Joshi; as does context.

[2] MOUNTAINS Ch.6 at (Derleth’s) 2nd-to-last para.[Luckhurst p. 239]: You say “storey” (twice in sentence) [Luckhurst] should be "story" (“no one set of carvings […] told more than a fraction of any connected story, nor did we even begin to come upon the various stages of that story in their proper order”) [Derleth, Joshi]. “Storey” is standard in Britain, but only when applied to the storey of a building (not a narrative). Luckhurst, it seems, has misapplied his own spelling policy.

[3] MOUNTAINS, Ch.10, (Derleth’s) last para. [Luckhurst p. 270]: You claim “were places” should be “were in places” (“through the carvings were in places rather sparse”) [Joshi, Luckhurst]. Derleth supports Joshi here; and there is clearly a word missing.

[4] MOUNTAINS Ch.12, at (Derleth’s) 2nd-to-last para. [Luckhurst p.284]: You claim that “bygone, reading” [Luckhurst] should be "bygone reading" [Derleth, Joshi]. Yeah, that comma obviously does not belong there.

-------------------------------------x
You identify five (5) more Luckhurst errors, where Joshi is supported by Derleth, but not clearly supported by context. If this is enough to declare Luckhurst in error, then Joshi is also full of errors (1500 of them, by his own boast). I'm happy with this, but perhaps you are not.

[5] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at (Derleth’s) 5th-to-last para [Luckhurst p.203]: We have “gangliar centres” [Luckhurst] versus "ganglial centres” [Joshi] versus “ganglial centers” (“Though excessively primitive and archaic in some respects, the thing had a set of ganglial centers and connectives arguing the very extremes of specialized development.”) [Derleth]. Internal evidence is no help -- “gangliar” and “ganglial” are recognized forms; and both mean the exact same thing. I would use Derleth’s reading. However, the assumption that this reflects HPL’s copy is rather tentative -- it is conceivable that Derleth was only familiar with one form of the word (“ganglial”) and therefore corrected what he mistakenly thought was a typo. But if you are in the mood to quibble about trivial spelling differences, there is little doubt that the final draft has “centers”, not “centres” (and the narrator is American). So, if such trivia matters, Luckhurst and Joshi are both wrong.

[6] MOUNTAINS Ch 7 at (Derleth’s) para. [Luckhurst p.242]: You claim “pteridophyta” [Luckhurst] should be "pteridophytes" (“The beings multiplied by means of spores – like vegetable pteridophytes, as Lake has suspected”) [Joshi, Derleth]. This may be wrong, but not for the reasons you say. There is nothing “faux-scholarly” about Pterydophyta. It is the name of a genus, & arguably ought to be capitalized; whereas “pteridophytes” refers to members of the genus, and perhaps need not be capitalized. But even that is too pedantic for me. All I am willing to admit is that it should be whatever HPL says. Perhaps this was printed in ASTOUNDING as “pterydophyta” and HPL (given a choice between changing it to “Pterydophyta” or to “pteridophytes”), chose the latter option. But either one would have been correct. Still, the only GOOD reason it is wrong is because (trusting Derleth) it does not match HPL’s hand-corrected copy, which is HPL’s last draft.

[7] MOUNTAINS Ch.7 at (Derleth’s) para.11 [Luckhurst p.245]. You claim “Then, suddenly,” (2 commas) [Luckhurst] should be “Then suddenly” (no commas) (“Then suddenly the lands of the Pacific sank again”) [Derleth, Joshi]. Perhaps so (per Derleth); but is it really worth our time to squabble about commas? Do you imagine, for a minute, that Joshi is innocent of tinkering with punctuation? I have tried to avoid things this trivial in my own list, for fear of boring folks to death.

[8] MOUNTAINS Ch.9 at (Derleth’s) para.11 [Luckhurst p.259]. You claim “primal masonry.” (with a period) [Luckhurst] should be "primal masonry--” (with a long-dash) (“how the madness of a lone survivor might have conceived the inconceivable – a wild trip across the monstrous mountains and a descent into the unknown primal masonry--”). You use a lot of words to endow this minor variation in punctuation with enormous significance (“The full stop robs it of that sense of reluctance, repugnance, and ingrained skepticism”, etc. etc.) I simply cannot see the enormous significance you claim, and believe Joshi is correct only because Derleth supports him.

[9] MOUNTAINS Ch. 11 at (Derleth’s) para.9 [Luckhurst 273-4]. You claim that “paraphernalia! Poor Lake. Poor Gedney. And poor Old Ones!” [Luckhurst] should be “paraphernalia … poor Lake, poor Gedney … and poor Old Ones!” [Joshi, Derleth], except that you misquote Luckhurst as “paraphernalia? Poor Lake. Poor Gedney. And poor Old Ones!”, and then waste a lot of words explaining why this non-existent question mark matters. You say the text has been “utterly mangled” by these minor changes. I think it makes no practical difference, and that if an actor were to read the passage aloud, you would be hard-pressed to tell which version he was reading. BTW, I doubt Luckhurst is following the magazine here. He probably just observed that “poor Lake” is an exclamation, and that treating it the continuation of a longer sentence is perhaps not strictly correct. But I would follow Derleth, just to be textually conservative.

-----------------------------------X
In a third batch of “errors”, Derleth does not support you, and your arguments from context are weak to nonexistent. Joshi accuses Derleth of following HPL’s hand-corrected copy of ASTOUNDING, and boasts that he does otherwise. Hence, until further evidence arises, we can tentatively conclude that Derleth is following HPL’s final draft with reasonable accuracy and faithfulness. In the face of this, arguments from context and internal evidence would have to be pretty strong to overcome the respect that ought to attach to an author’s final draft. You have failed to meet that burden; leading to the conclusion that it makes more sense to regard these variants as Joshi corruptions.

[10] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at (Derleth’s) 6th-to-last para [Luckhurst p.203]: You claim “prematurely developed” (“The muscular system was almost prematurely developed”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “preternaturally developed” [Joshi]. However, Derleth supports Luckhurst here. Nor does context help Joshi. Neither “preternaturally” not “prematurely” make much sense here. “Preternaturally” (if it reflects a prior draft) may have been originally meant to suggest something analogous to supernatural strength, but it is difficult to see how Lake could discern such a quality by examining an organism that is dead or completely inert. Perhaps HPL realized this, and hence changed it. By contrast, “prematurely” may be meant to suggest a musculature that is too highly specialized and complex for so supposedly-primitive an organism. Note that Lake immediately makes analogous observations about the brain and nervous system (“Though excessively primitive and archaic in some respects, the thing had a set of ganglial centers and connectives arguing the very extremes of specialized development.”)

[11] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at [Derleth’s] 5th-to-last para. [Luckhurst p.203]: You claim “Pteridophyta” (“It reproduced like the vegetable cryptograms, especially the Pterydophyta…”) [Derleth, Luckhurst]. Should be “pteridophytes” [Joshi], except that you have misquoted Luckhurst (he does NOT have “Pteridophytes”). Derleth supports Luckhurst. “Pteridophyta” is the name of the genus, normally capitalized; whereas “pteridophyte” (pl. pteridophytes) refers to a member (or members) of the genus, and is not normally capitalized. Context does not favor either reading. You write “HPL himself complained in his letters about this sort of useless, antiquated capitalization of such terms”, but I cannot help suspecting you got this factoid from the same place you got your rule against indented single sentences. It is INDEED proper to capitalize the name of a genus, so I am reluctant to believe that HPL mistakenly believed otherwise.

[12] MOUNTAINS Ch.5 at (Derleth’s)para.22 [Luckhurst p.230]: You claim “the town” (“When at last we plunged into the town itself …”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “the labyrinthine town” [Joshi]. But why? Joshi apparently got the extra word from an earlier draft. If the author is to be allowed to control his text, it is the later draft that should guide us. Before you decide that that “labyrinthine” is needed, I suggest re-reading chapter 5, and count how many times the city is referred to as a “maze” as “twisted” as a “labyrinth” (etc.), before our heroes even reach this point. In Ch.5 para.1, when we first see this “town” it is described as an “almost endless labyrinth”; in para. 2 as “a tangle of orderly stone”; in para.3 as “this Cyclopean maze”; in para.6 as a “nameless stone labyrinth”; in para.7 as the “whole tangle”; in para.10 as a “tangle of stark titan towers”; in para.11 as a “labyrinth of rock and masonry”; in para.15, they supply themselves with paper to tear up “in any interior mazes”; in para.16 they are walking downhill towards “the stupendous stone labyrinth”; in para.19 they see a “monstrous tangle of dark stone towers”; in para.20 they note that of “orderly streets there appeared to be none”; and in para.21 can see that it is a “complex tangle of twisted lanes and alleys”. Which brings us to para.22, where they plunge into “the town itself” and immediately feel “the oppressive nearness and dwarfing height of omnipresent crumbling and pitted walls”, and get nervous where a “debris-littered alley turned a sharp corner”. Nor will this be the last of the maze references before the story is through. I am not saying that all this repetition fails to serve a mood-building purpose; merely that, even so, there must be a limit at some point; and I don’t need to decide where that limit is, because the author has already made that decision: his final draft does not contain this word. HPL was self-critical, in his letters of his own “adjectival excesses”, so we should not be surprised if redundant adjectives occasionally disappear in later drafts.

[13] MOUNTAINS Ch.6 at (Derleth’s) 2nd-to-last para. [Luckhurst p.239]: You claim “filling up gaps” [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be "filling in gaps" [Joshi]. Derleth supports Luckhurst here, so no dice.

[14] MOUNTAINS Ch.7 at (Derleth’s) 1st para.[Luckhurst p.240]: You claim “membranous” (“able to traverse the interstellar ether on their vast membranous wings”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be “membraneous” [Joshi]. Both spellings are accepted. You claim “membraneous” matches the manuscript, but do not claim you actually checked this (Joshi’s reading proves nothing; it is his standardization-policy to always spell “membraneous” the same, regardless of source texts). You also do not claim it matches the surviving typescript. You cannot know whether it matches what HPL submitted for publication; since that text no longer exists. His hand-corrected ASTOUNDING copy almost certainly says “membranous”, as well as “color”, “odor” “dispatch” and a host of other standard American spellings, which HPL seemed perfectly satisfied with. And why not? Dyer, his narrator, is a modern American

[15] MOUNTAINS Ch.7 at (Derleth’s) 5th para. [Luckhurst p. 242] You claim “prothallia” (“they did not encourage the large-scale development of new prothallia except when they had new regions to colonize”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be "prothalli" [Joshi]. Except Derleth stands against you, and you offer nothing to counter that. Nor does context help: “prothallia” is the plural form of “prothallium”, whereas “prothalli” is the plural of “prothallus”. Both words mean the exact same thing; and I believe “prothallium” is actually the more-common form. I suspect the reason Joshi changed this from “prothallia” to “prothalli” is because he is a stickler for consistency. Earlier in the story, the narrator paraphrased Lake as referring to the creatures having a “thallus or prothallus” (which rolls off the pen better than “thallus or prothallium”). But both words are correct; and there is no rule that an author must always use the same word (especially since he was paraphrasing another person on the first occasion).

[16] MOUNTAINS Ch.7 at (Derleth’s) 5th-to-last para.[Luckhurst p.246]: You claim that the bracketed material in the "During the Jurassic Age the Old Ones met fresh adversity in the form of a new invasion from outer space -- this time by half-fungous,half-crustacean creatures [from a planet identifiable as the remote and recently discovered Pluto] -- creatures undoubtedly the same[...]". You support this with reference to the wording in Luckhurst’s footnote (where he includes the bracketed text), and refers to it being “added” in HPL’s manuscript. But “added” in this context is merely Luckhurst’s loose way of saying that HPL’s manuscript contains additional words. Luckhurst claims to have done no original research with the manuscript. He is not trying to make any claim that HPL finished the manuscript and then went back and added these words later. All he knows is that Joshi got this passage from an earlier text, and that is all he means to say. The burden is on you to show it that HPL wanted these words, even though his final draft does not contain them. And it’s a hard burden, because HPL did indeed check the published text against the manuscript, and eliminated a paragraph break that occurs at precisely this point.
HPL could have excised these words for any number of reasons. Firstly, the implication that they come from Pluto conflicts with the implication that they come from interstellar space, and even beyond. They have only just arrived at the point in Star-Head history being discussed, have invaded and settled on Earth, and since they are not originally FROM Pluto any more than they are FROM Earth, there is no particular need for them to be identified strongly with Pluto at this early stage. As the next paragraph makes clear they are actually from even remoter gulfs of interstellar space than the Old One’s are, perhaps even originating beyond the space-time continuum. Even in WHISPERER it is explained to Wilmarth that Yuggoth is merely one of their outposts. HPL may have excised these words because they are a minor spoiler for WHISPERER, wherin the identification of Yuggoth with Pluto is kept back throughout the tale, and revealed for effect very late in the tale, just before the final denouement. Finally, the excision of these words costs us, as fans, nothing. What have we lost? We already have WHISPERER. We already know that these Fungus-Creatures have an outpost on Pluto. Mentioning the detail here adds nothing to this particular tale – it is a distraction. And Derleth’s text of MOUNTAINS already gave us more-than-enough information to permit us to realize that the same creatures are being discussed here. Joshi has done us no favors by restoring these words.

[17] MOUNTAINS Ch.9 at (Derleth’s) 1st para. [Luckhurst p.255]: You claim that “in our present trip” (“we realized we must begin the quest at once if we expected to include it in our present trip.”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be :“on our present flight.” [Joshi] (except you misquote Joshi as “in our present flight.”). Derleth stand against you, & so does context. The word “flight” is being used VERY loosely in Joshi’s reading (to say the least), to refer the ENTIRE round-trip including its NON-FLIGHT portion. The “quest” they mean to include “on our present flight” is a foot-journey through an underground labyrinth. The narrator is already on foot when he mentions their “present flight, ” which is about to become a tunnel-crawl. They are not even running away – at least not yet; so it isn’t even a flight in THAT sense. So “trip” is simply the better word choice, from the author’s final draft. And yet, amazingly, you claim that context supports “flight”. Were you that confident no-one would check the context?

[18] MOUNTAINS Ch.10 at (Derleth’s) para.14 [Luckhurst p.270]: You claim that “characteristic cartouches” [Derleth, Luckhurst] (“That others had recently noticed this belt of carving was hinted at by the presence of a used flashlight battery on the floor in front of one of the most characteristic cartouches”) should be "characteristic designs" [Joshi]. Except Derleth stands against you. Your only counter-argument is that “it is specifying a particular motif within the cartouches”, but the general context does not support this claim. Yes, the [cartouche or design] is part of a larger “belt of carving”, but nothing suggests that this “belt of carving” is itself merely a single “cartouche”. The flash-battery found on the floor in front of one of the [designs or cartouches], allowing the narrator & Danforth to conclude that others had already examined it recently; would hardly support your extremely narrow and specific an interpretation. In any event, Derleth’s reading, taken at face value as evidence of the author’s final wishes, proves that “cartouches” are the type of characteristic designs he had in mind; and Joshi’s reversion to a more-ambiguous early draft must be seen as a corruption.

[19] MOUNTAINS Ch.11, at (Derleth's) para.7 [Luckhurst p.273]. You claim “in a series of grouped dots” (wherein the black slime “clung to those bodies and sparkled less voluminously on a smooth part of the accursedly reschulptured wall in a series of grouped dots”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should be in italics [Joshi]. Except Derleth supports Luckhurst against you. I don’t, of course, deny that the words are significant -- perhaps even for the reasons you state; but it hardly follows that the words must be italicized. The “iridescent black slime” is also significant, and perhaps even more-so, if the point is (as you say) to foreshadow the Shoggoth encounter. It is up to the author, then his final text must control, and it seems his final text has no italics.

[20] MOUNTAINS Ch.12, at (Derleth’s) 5th para. [Luckhurst p. 281] You claim that "abhorrent Leng, whereof primal legends hint evasively. [end paragraph]" should be "abhorrent Leng, whereof primal legends hint evasively. We were the first human beings ever to see them -- and I hope to God we may be the last. [end paragraph]". However, these extra words are not in Derleth. The fact that these words occur at the very end of a paragraph renders implausible any theory that HPL inadvertently overlooked Tremaine’s excision here (we know he checked these last chapters carefully, restoring both paragraphing AND those excisions he wanted restored). Your claim that it “reinforces” certain elements of the story which run “throughout the novel like a musical motif”, sounds to me like an admission of redundancy. Frankly I think the sentence is out of place, and does not follow naturally from the meditations on primal Leng. But it’s not up to me. It’s up to HPL … or should be, and the only way to leave the author in control is to trust his final draft.

[21] MOUNTAINS Ch.12 at final sentence. [Luckhurst p. 284] You claim that the final sentence (“At the time, his shrieks were confined to the repetition of a single, mad word of all too obvious source: ‘*Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!*’ ”) [Derleth, Luckhurst] should have a paragraph break after the colon [Joshi]. Your position, I guess, is that the italics, and the exclamation points, and the characterization of these words as a mad shriek, and their position at the very very end of a long story, are not quite emphasis enough. Problem is, HPL seems to disagree. Luckhurst (following ASTOUNDING) has 28 paragraphs in the final chapter; whereas Derleth (following HPL’s hand corrected copy) has only 14. This means that HPL eliminated 14 paragraph breaks in the last chapter alone, but left the (critical) final paragraph/sentence precisely as it was. What’s good enough for HPL is good enough for me. Sorry!

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 20 June, 2014 12:33AM
Here's six more Joshi corruptions, for good measure:

[66] CTHULHU Ch.3 at (Derleth's) 6th para. after news article [B&N p.374] "Christiana" [Joshi] should be "Christiania" [Weird Tales, Beware After Dark, Derleth, Luckhurst] ("kept alive the name of Oslo during all the centuries that the greater city masqueraded as 'Christiania'"). The real historic name of a real place.

[67] DUNWICH Ch.7 at para.3 [B&N p.655]: "De Vigenére's *Traité, des Chiffres*" [Joshi] should be "De Vigenere’s *Traité des Chiffres*" [Derleth, Weird Tales]. Trivial, I know. But if jdworth gets to scold Luckhurst for misplaced commas, ...

[68] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at (Derleth's) para.10 [B&N p.733]: "was to establish" [Joshi] should be "planned to establish" [Derleth, Luckhurst] (Lake "would need a great deal for the new base which he planned to establish at the foot of the mountains"). The phrase "was to establish" would normally be understood as indicating that Lake did indeed later establish such a base, which is not the case. This might be an early-draft error - fixed in HPL's final draft.

[69] MOUNTAINS Ch.2 at (Derleths) 9th-to-last para. [B&N p.740]: "Lake was sending more messages, and told" [Joshi] should be "Lake, sending more messages, told" [Derleth, Luckhurst]. This is a efficiency edit, saying the exact same thing with fewer words. Joshi is apparently reverting to an inferior early-draft reading.

[70] MOUNTAINS Ch.3, final para [B&N p.750]: "that which may end the world we know" [Joshi] should be "that which we know may end the world" [Derleth, Luckhurst]. The final draft is stronger and more ominous. As the song goes "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine".

[71] MOUNTAINS Ch.5 at (Derleth's) para.19 [B&N p.762]: "something whose" [Joshi] should be "something of which the" [Derleth, Luckhurst](the downhill walk to the alien city "was something of which the smallest details will always remain engraved in my mind"). I'm not going to be a pedant and say that "something whose" is absolutely unacceptable; but on the other hand it is easy to see why it was fixed in HPL's final draft.

Really, however, it is all trivia. I have never accused Joshi of "butchering" HPL's texts. Joshi, and his allies, are the ones throwing around that accusation.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 12:18PM
Platypus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> [67] DUNWICH Ch.7 at para.3 : "De Vigenére's
> *Traité, des Chiffres*" should be "De
> Vigenere’s *Traité des Chiffres*" . Trivial, I
> know. But if jdworth gets to scold Luckhurst for
> misplaced commas, ...

Hilarious. The original printing, which had some trouble with diacritical marks (turning "coöperate" into "co,,perate", for example), had this as "Trait, des". I did catch this one, however, for correction to "Traité des", as shown by the errata list at the H. P. Lovecraft Archive. The person at B&N tasked with entering the corrections into the text obviously retained the comma by mistake. Thanks for catching it -- it shouldn't have been necessary.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 01:19PM
Interesting. The official spelling of the author's name is actually Blaise de Vigenère.
[en.wikipedia.org]

One does find it spelled DE VIGENERE, often because, due to well known technical limitations, printers failed to accuentuate properly capital letters.
As it is the case here, on the front page of De Vigenère's Traité, or Traicté as it was spelled then.
[gallica.bnf.fr]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 02:29PM
Chipougne Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting. The official spelling of the author's
> name is actually Blaise de Vigenère.

Joshi renders it correctly (by French standards, anyway), with the backwards-slanting mark. The only error I meant to complain of was the misplaced comma. Sorry if I was unclear.

> One does find it spelled DE VIGENERE, often
> because, due to well known technical limitations,
> printers failed to accuentuate properly capital
> letters.

Derleth renders it without the backwards-slanting mark. Probably it is not present in the typescript upon which Derleth relies. It is not present in WEIRD TALES either. Quite possibly, HPL never used it. I'm not sure the mark should be thought strictly necessary in an English text. There has always been a certain amount of flexibility in the adaptation of foreign alphabets; and this is a horror story, not an encyclopedia article; and the backwards mark (unlike the forward-slanting mark) is meaningless to most English readers.

I have no strong opinions either way. Again, the misplaced comma was the only error I meant to complain about.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 03:34PM
Martinus Wrote:
------------------
> Hilarious. The original printing, which had some
> trouble with diacritical marks (turning
> "coöperate" into "co,,perate", for example), had
> this as "Trait, des". I did catch this one,
> however, for correction to "Traité des", as shown
> by the errata list at the H. P. Lovecraft Archive.
> The person at B&N tasked with entering the
> corrections into the text obviously retained the
> comma by mistake. Thanks for catching it -- it
> shouldn't have been necessary.

IIRC, there are a number of errors in that category: Things you thought and fixed in your "errata list" which were either misapplied or in some cases skipped entirely in the corrected B&N text. For instance, in "History of the Necronomicon", "Sanaá" in Yemen is still misspelled - the error has merely been rendered less obvious. IIRC, this also happened somewhere with your attempt to fix the spelling of "Baudelairean". IIRC, my error #19, on by June 16th post above, was also the result of the imperfect application of an error you caught (whoever undertook to fix the error you noted, failed to reinsert all of the missing words).

But it is really not about who gets blamed. On a personal level, Luckhurst may be reasonably innocent of many of the errors in his own text. It's about a claim of superiority being made about a product being sold. And it seems to me that stones are being thrown from a glass house.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 05:17PM
Platypus Wrote:
> The only error I meant to complain of was the
> misplaced comma. Sorry if I was unclear.
Not at all, and it is perfectly justified to stick to the original typescript, not the actual spelling.


>I'm not sure the mark should
> be thought strictly necessary in an English text.
Probably not.

> There has always been a certain amount of
> flexibility in the adaptation of foreign
> alphabets
Yes, it all depends on who writes it, and to whom.

> and this is a horror story, not an
> encyclopedia article
Of course. But sometimes horror writers do chose to use original spellings for reasons of local colour.

> and the backwards mark
> (unlike the forward-slanting mark) is meaningless
> to most English readers.
Quite understandably. The same thing happens to us in French with most European alphabets like German, Polish, etc.
These marks can make a big difference, though. Consider this sentence, for instance: J'aurai des dés dès que possible (I'll have some dice as soon as possible).

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2014 05:17PM
On many issues (such as French-derived accent marks, mentioned above), Joshi has no consistent policy other than the need to make multiple corrections. Hence "Vigenere" becomes "Vigenère" to me more correct (which is fine).

But then "facade" was generally was published during HPL's life as the more-correct "façade". Naturally, HPL made no objection (how could he object?) I can only assume he left "façade" exactly as it was in his hand-corrected copies of ASTOUNDING and other texts (hence, Derleth, following HPL's hand-corrected copies, also has "façade"). The "cedilla" mark under the "c" reflects the French source, and is meant to signify that "c" is pronounced "s" even though not followed by an "i" or an "e". "Façade" is considered the correct spelling not only in French, but also English as well (see, e.g., the OED). But Joshi restores it to "facade" to better reflect HPL's typescripts and manuscripts. Which again is fine.

But you can bet that if early editors had left it as "facade" in early published texts, Joshi would be changing it to "façade" and calling "facade" an "error".

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 23 June, 2014 02:05AM
Chipougne Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Not at all, and it is perfectly justified to stick
> to the original typescript, not the actual
> spelling.

I agree in principle with the idea of textual conservativism, but I'm not sure this is the best example. If HPL did want "proper" French accent marks on French words and names, then the "original typescript" is the last place one would expect to find them. One would expect to find them hand-drawn onto the typescript that is actually sent to the publisher.

> These marks can make a big difference, though.
> Consider this sentence, for instance: J'aurai des
> dés dès que possible (I'll have some dice as
> soon as possible).

Your French is better than mine. I can actually read French to some small extent, and the "accent grave" (or backwards-slanting accent) has never meant anything to me (unlike the "accent aigu" or forward-slanting or acute accent, which does affect pronunciation). One source says that the "accent grave" is usually used to distinguish between words that would otherwise look identical.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 23 Jun 14 | 03:03AM by Platypus.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 25 June, 2014 09:31AM
Off-topic: Is this H. P. Lovecraft's genuine signature on the front leaf, or a forgery?
[www.ebay.com]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 25 June, 2014 02:07PM
I have my doubts about the signature. In moft of his signatures that I have seen, the e and c are not conjoined, bur rather he writes "Love," then there is a wee break, followed by "craft." In all of his books in his personal library signed by HPL, he never signs just "Lovecraft," but always "H. P. Lovecraft."

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

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 25 June, 2014 03:00PM
Does it not seem likely that it is neither H P Lovecraft's signature, nor a forgery?

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2014 12:22AM
Seems most likely a forgery, since the handwriting is near identical to H. P. Lovecraft's. Of course, there have been other Lovecrafts around, back in the 1920's when the book was originally purchased, and now, such as in the Spectral Reams publication mentioned in the other thread, invented or not.

Still, the auction could turn out an outrageous bargain! After all, anything with "Lovecraft" on it today is a goldmine.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2014 05:34PM
It contains the right letters of the last name, in the right order, and in script. Otherwise, I don't see how you can say the writing is "near identical". All you can say is that someone accustomed to writing legible connected script wrote the name "Lovecraft" on the book, for some unknown reason. That person might even have been HPL for all I know, but is probably not. Perhaps someone wrote the name, hoping that people making unwarranted speculations on the internet would jack up the price of the book, without any actual need to lie. Or perhaps the name is there for other reasons. If someone had been trying to forge HPL's signature, I think they would probably have written "H.P." in front of it, and would have made sure the "e" was written in quasi-capital style.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2014 11:35PM
Compare for yourself: [www.google.se]

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2014 11:45PM
After having looked at it for a while, it seems to me that someone without proficiency or much commitment still tried to imitate the signature style.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2014 11:14AM
No matter how much you look at it, you can get very little info from such a tiny writing sample. It may even have been written by Lovecraft, for all I know. Someone with legible handwriting wrote "Lovecraft" in standard-style connected script. When I write the word "Lovecraft" in script, it looks about the same. They may or may not have been trying to make it look like Lovecraft's sig; but that is hardly the only explanation for the similarity. That style of script is pretty standard, and by no means unusual.

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 19 July, 2014 03:25AM
Picked up the following comment from an Amazon review, for what it's worth. According to this, it seems as if Joshi took Lovecraft's old manuscripts, and added bits he found in them to the 'corrected' Arkham House editions, without really taking into consideration whether Lovecraft wanted these bits in his final versions:

"The reference to 5,000 words excised from "At the Mountains of Madness" is also misleading, even if technically true. The difference between the Joshi version of "Mountains", and the older Arkham House texts which followed HPL's final instructions, is only about 230 extra words, which Joshi "restored" from earlier drafts. It may be true, as you say, that about 5,000 words were excised from the original magazine appearance, but this is irrelevant to most people, because that version is not on sale anywhere. If 5,000 words were excised in the magazine, Lovecraft evidently restored 4,770 of them on his hand-corrected copies, resulting in the Arkham House texts, and texts derived from the Arkham House texts, which everyone read before Joshi's versions came alone. The other 230 words that Lovecraft did not restore were, presumably, the words he did not want."

Re: New edition of HPL from Oxford University Press
Posted by: faunus (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2014 08:30AM
Sorry to rekindle an old debate, especially one so heated, but it seems to me that we have a somewhat messy situation regarding Lovecraft's texts at the moment. On the one hand we have the old Arkham texts that are still available, although predominately in paperback. These texts introduced textual errors in the form of typos that have snowballed over time. On the other hand we have Joshi's texts which according to Platypus and from what Joshi himself admits are in reality hybrid texts, merging different drafts into what Joshi considers to be a definitive version - or his preferred versions at least. These texts are increasingly taking over as the established texts in the ever increasing number of Lovecraft editions that are available.

EDIT: Out of interest, what approach did Scott Connors and Ronald S. Hilger take with their corrected texts of CAS? Did they take a best version of two or more drafts or did they pick the draft they thought best represented CAS' wishes? Or some middling approach?

Any discussion over pulp versions seem to be a red herring here, because it was not those versions that Derleth published.

Apart from the sterling work that Platypus has posted here showing the changes to ATMOM is there anywhere else on the internet that has published theses changes? I for one cannot afford the Variorum editions that Joshi intends to publish shortly, so I'd be interested to read the work of any other Lovecraftian scholars.

Anyway, thank you all for a fascinating discussion.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 29 Sep 14 | 08:38AM by faunus.



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