Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

10 Barnes St.

Novr. 27, 1927

Dear C A S:-

I have had no chance to produce new material this autumn, but have been classifying notes & synopses in preparation for some monstrous tales later on. In particular I have drawn up some data on the celebrated & unmentionable Necronomicon of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred! It seems that this shocking blasphemy was produced by a native of Sanaa, in Yemen, who flourished about 700 A. D. & made many mysterious pilgrimages to Babylon's ruins, Memphis's catacombs, & the devil- hunted & untrodden wastes of the great southern deserts of Arabia- the Raba el Khaliyeh, where he claimed to have found records of things older than mankind, & to have learnt the worship of Yog-Sothoth & Cthulhu. The book was a product of Abdul' s old age, which was spent in Damascus, & the original title was Al AzIf-azlf (cf. Henley' s notes to Vathek) being the name applied to those strange night noises (of insects) which the Arabs attribute to the howling of daemons. Alhazred died-or disappeared-under terrible circumstances in the year 738. ID 950 Al Azif was translated into Greek by the Byzantine Theodorus Phi- letas under the title Necronomicon, & a century later it was burnt at the order of Michael, Patriarch of Constantinople. It was translated into Latin by Olaus in 1228, but placed on the Index Expurgatorius by Pope Gregory IX in 1232. The original Arabic was lost before Olaus' time, & the last known Greek copy perished in Salem in 1692. The work was printed in the 15th, 16th, & 17th centuries, but few copies are extant. Wherever existing, it is carefully guarded for the sake of the world's welfare & sanity. Once a man read through the copy in the library of Miskatonic University at Arkham-read it though & fled wild-eyed into the hills...but that is another story!
With best wishes from all the local efreets &djinns-

Yr obt

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 307

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