cover image Miscellaneous Writings

Miscellaneous Writings

H. P. Lovecraft. Arkham House Publishers, $34.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-87054-168-1

Nearly 600 pages of second-level nonfiction by the master of cosmic horror, Lovecraft (1890-1937), might seem too much of a half-good thing. And what is one to think when editor Joshi suggests that the truest body of Lovecraft's writing lies not in essays, as here, or in his deservedly famous fiction, especially At the Mountains of Madness, but buried in his huge body of unpublished correspondence (nearly 100,000 letters)? Going by the present collection of minor Lovecraftiana, we might want to pass on the letters altogether. Even Joshi suggests that, aside from a handful of titles, the miscellanea is not worth its printer's ink. Lovecraft fancied himself an antiquarian of lofty style, and the bulk of his writing in this voice, though skilled, quickly gets old. Joshi assembles the letters and largely amateur essays by type rather than chronologically, and a distinct picture of the strange life and insular character of their author emerges. For cultists and completists only. Illustrations. (Feb.)