What Is Anything? Memoirs of a Life in Lovecraft

S.T. Joshi. Hippocampus, $45 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61498-220-3
Readers of this fan-friendly memoir from Joshi (Unutterable Horror) will be drawn to the accounts of his seminal work in modern Lovecraft studies. He established his reputation as a scholar in 1980 with his anthology H.P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism, and then helped it to evolve through a decade of publishing his and his colleagues’ work until Lovecraft’s fiction and critical writing about it became ubiquitous in both the popular and scholarly presses. Joshi vividly recreates the early years of modern Lovecraft studies, and the picture that emerges is of a dynamo of scholarly zeal and energy for whom Lovecraft was a springboard for later writings on subjects such as atheism and the documentary history of social prejudices. Although Joshi’s commentary on his more than 200 published books sometimes reads like an annotated bibliography, it’s enriched with illuminating insights and observations on such topics as Ambrose Bierce scholarship. Through diligent research, he turned up hundreds of previously unacknowledged works by Bierce and greatly expanded the known canon of his work. A concluding chapter focusing on some of the literary feuds he’s currently embroiled in reads like score-settling in places, but Joshi counterbalances his more pungent criticisms throughout his book with self-deprecating humor that reveals him to be a candid critic of himself as much as of others. This is an essential volume for Joshi fans. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/18/2018
Book - 978-1-61498-221-0
Ebook - 978-1-61498-223-4
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