Dust Jacket Text
S.T. Joshi’s award-winning biography H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996) provided the
most detailed portrait of the life, work, and thought of the dreamer from Providence ever
published. But that edition was in fact abridged from Joshi’s original manuscript, and
this expanded and updated edition restores the 150,000 words that Joshi omitted and, in
addition, updates the texts with new findings.
Howard Phillips Lovecraft was born to a well-to-do family in Providence, Rhode
Island. As a child, he revealed remarkable precocity in his early interests in literature and
science. Ill health dogged him in youth, rendering school attendance sporadic; and in 1908 he
experienced a nervous breakdown that rendered him a virtual recluse for several years. In 1914
he discovered the world of amateur journalism and began slowly emerging from his hermitry. He
wrote tremendous amounts of essays, poetry, and other work; in 1917, under the encouragement of
W. Paul Cook and others, he resumed the writing of horror fiction, and his career as a
dream-weaver began anew.
In 1921 Lovecraft met his future wife, Sonia H. Greene, at an amateur journalism
convention. It was at this time that he began expanding his horizons, both geographical and
intellectual: he traveled widely, from New England to New York to Cleveland; and he absorbed
such literary and intellectual influences as Lord Dunsany, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Arthur
Machen. In 1924 he and Sonia decided to marry, and Lovecraft moved to New York to pursue his
literary fortune. But, as the first volume of this biography concludes, his metropolitan
adventure would be bittersweet at best.
As the second volume of S.T. Joshi’s comprehensive biography of H.P.
Lovecraft begins, we find Lovecraft dwelling in misery in a one-room apartment in Brooklyn
Heights: his wife, Sonia, has had to move to the Midwest for work, and he must rely on the
companionship of the Kalem Club, the informal band of friends in the New York area. In 1926, in
part through the intervention of his close friend Frank Belknap Long, Lovecraft finally decided
to return to his native Providence, Rhode Island, effectively ending his marriage. That return
spurred the greatest spurt of literary creativity he would ever experience: in less than a year,
such works as “The Call of Cthulhu,” The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, and “The Colour out of Space” would emerge
from his pen, establishing Lovecraft as the leading weird fictionist of his generation.
In spite of his increasing poverty, antiquarian travel occupied much of
Lovecraft’s time, and he gained an impressive knowledge of such oases of antiquity as
Charleston, Quebec, St. Augustine, and Richmond. These voyages both renewed his connection with
the past and infused his literary work, as such later tales as “The Whisperer in
Darkness” and “The Shadow over Innsmouth” drew ever more profoundly upon his
Intellectually, Lovecraft evolved as well. Recent developments in science
confirmed his materialism and his atheism, and the onset of the Great Depression gradually
caused him to reassess his political and economic theory; he emerged as a moderate socialist and
advocate of the New Deal. Late in life he became a giant in the world of fantasy fandom—a
development that foreshadowed his worldwide fame in the decades following his early death.
S.T. Joshi is the author of The Weird Tale (1990), The Modern Weird Tale
(2001), and other critical and biographical studies of supernatural fiction. He has prepared
textually corrected and annotated editions of H.P. Lovecraft’s work for Arkham
House, Penguin Classics, and other publishers, as well as editions of the work of Ambrose
Bierce, Arthur Machen, Lord Dunsany, and other weird writers. With David E. Schultz, he has
begun a long-range project to edit Lovecraft’s collected letters, in a projected 25
volumes. Joshi is also the author of God’s Defenders: What They Believe and Why They
Are Wrong (2003), The Angry Right (2006), and The Unbelievers (2011), and the
editor of Documents of American Prejudice (1999), Atheism: A Reader (2000), In
Her Place: A Documentary History of Prejudice against Women (2006), and other volumes. He
lives in Seattle with his wife and several cats.
Praise for H.P. Lovecraft: A Life:
“A magnificent book which supersedes every other study of Lovecraft’s life—the
definitive biography of Lovecraft, full of insights into his work. I found it compulsively
readable and endlessly fascinating. It deserves to be classed with the major literary
“S.T. Joshi’s impressive new biography can only add to his reputation as the most
formidable scholar in the Lovecraft field.”—JACK SULLIVAN.
“Lovecraft has finally found his Boswell: erudite, insightful, comprehensive,
and—for a change—sympathetic. It’s probably the first biography that Lovecraft
himself would have approved of.”—T. E. D. KLEIN.
“S.T. Joshi’s admirable biographical study of Lovecraft provides the inevitable
foundation for all future study of that enigmatic author.”—HAROLD BLOOM.
“Even for a reader relatively familiar with Lovecraft’s work and the gothic legend
of his life, H.P. Lovecraft: A Life will contain illuminating
surprises.”—JOYCE CAROL OATES.
“The massive H.P. Lovecraft: A Life . . . will surely stand for
many years, if not forever, as the definitive biography as well as perhaps the most
authoritative interpretation of [Lovecraft’s] work.”—R. D. MULLEN, Science
Table of Contents
- Unmixed English Gentry
- A Genuine Pagan (1890–1897)
- Black Woods & Unfathomed Caves (1898–1902)
- What of Unknown Africa? (1902–1908)
- Barbarian and Alien (1908–1914)
- A Renewed Will to Live (1914–1917 [I])
- Metrical Mechanic (1914–1917 [II])
- Dreamers and Visionaries (1917–1919 [I])
- Feverish and Incessant Scribbling (1917–1919 [II])
- Cynical Materialist (1919–1921 [I])
- Dunsanian Studies (1919–1921 [II])
- A Stranger in This Century (1919–1921 [III])
- The High Tide of My Life (1921–1922)
- For My Own Amusement (1923–1924)
- Ball and Chain (1924)
- The Assaults of Chaos (1925–1926)
- Paradise Regain’d (1926)
- Cosmic Outsidedness (1927–1928)
- Fanlights and Georgian Steeples (1928–1930)
- Non-Supernatural Cosmic Art (1930–1931)
- Mental Greed (1931–1933)
- In My Own Handwriting (1933–1935)
- Caring about the Civilisation (1929–1937)
- Close to the Bread-Line (1935–1936)
- The End of One’s Life (1936–1937)
- Thou Art Not Gone (1937–2010)
I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft. By S.T. Joshi. New York, NY:
hardcover (2010; ISBN 978-0-9824296-7-9),
paperback [2013; ISBN 978-1-61498-053-7 (set), 978-1-61498-051-3 and 978-1-61498-052-0 (individual volumes)];
2 volumes, 1200 total pages.
Purchasing This Book
This book may be purchased in hardcover from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, in paperback from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble, or directly from the publisher, Hippocampus Press.