By Edward Guimont and Horace A. Smith
Back Cover Text
H. P. Lovecraft was a devotee of astronomy from the age of eleven, when he first discovered the
“myriad suns and worlds of infinite space.” He immediately began reading astronomy
books, going to Brown University’s Ladd Observatory to gaze at the stars, and doing his own
astronomical observations from a 3" telescope that his mother purchased for him. Soon he was
writing astronomy columns for local newspapers.
Lovecraft’s passion for astronomy is a major component of his life, thought, and literary
work, but until now it has never been extensively examined. This important topic has now been
treated in an exhaustive treatise written by two authorities on the subject, Edward Guimont and
Horace A. Smith.
The authors probe the origin and development of Lovecraft’s astronomical interests, his
studies of the moon, Venus, Mars, and other objects in the solar system, his fascination with a
“trans-Neptunian planet” (discovered in 1930 and named Pluto), and his conjectures as
to what might lie in the farthest gulfs of the cosmos. Along the way they examine such crucial
texts as “The Colour out of Space,” “In the Walls of Eryx,” and the
handwritten astronomy journals and pamphlets that Lovecraft wrote as a boy. They make emphatically
clear that astronomy was a central element in Lovecraft’s life and a vital component of his
Edward Guimont is a professor of history at the University of Connecticut.
Horace A. Smith is an emeritus professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Michigan State
- Chapter 1. My Gaze Was Ever Upward
- Chapter 2. Ladd Observatory and Three Whom Lovecraft Pestered
- Chapter 3. A Rooftop of Lovecraft’s Astronomy
- Chapter 4. Lovecraft Seeks the Garden of Eratosthenes
- Chapter 5. Lovecraft’s Lunar Cycle
- Chapter 6. Stop the Presses—Venus in the West!
- Chapter 7. Lovecraft Ventures to Venus
- Chapter 8. In the Two-Corona Class
- Chapter 9. At the Mountains of Mars
- Chapter 10. Yuggoth’s Environs
- Chapter 11. The Great Enveloping Cosmic Dark
- Chapter 12. Astronomy at the End
- Appendix I. A Partial Timeline of Lovecraft and Astronomy
- Appendix II. Lovecraft Dabbles in Astrophotography
- Appendix III. Astronomy with Lovecraft’s First Telescope
When the Stars Are Right: H. P. Lovecraft and Astronomy. By Edward Guimont and Horace A.
Smith. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2023; ISBN 978-1-61498-407-8 (paperback); 414 pages.
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