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A Means to Freedom:
The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft
and Robert E. Howard

Edited by S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz, and Rusty Burke


Dust Jacket Text

H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard are two of the titans of weird fiction of their era. Dominating the pages of Weird Tales in the 1920’s and 1930’s they have gained worldwide followings for their compelling writings and also for the very different lives they led. The two writers came in touch in 1930, when Howard wrote to Lovecraft via Weird Tales. A rich and vibrant correspondence immediately ensued. Both writers were fascinated with the past, especially the history of Roman and Celtic Britain, and their letters are full of intriguing discussions of contemporary theories on this subject.

Gradually, a new discussion came to the fore—a complex dispute over the respective virtues of barbarism and civilisation, the frontier and settled life, and the physical and the mental. Lovecraft, a scion of centuries-old New England, and Howard, a product of recently settled Texas, were diametrically opposed on these and other issues, and each writes compellingly of his beliefs, attitudes, and theories. The result is a dramatic debate—livened by wit, learning, and personal revelation—that is as enthralling as the fiction they were writing at the time.

In [the] second volume of the letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, the two authors continue their wide-ranging discussion of such central issues as the relative value of barbarism and civilization, the virtues of the frontier and of settled city life, and other related issues. Lovecraft regales Howard with his extensive travels up and down the eastern seaboard, including trips to Quebec, Florida, and obscure corners of New England, while Howard writes engagingly of his own travels through the lonely stretches of Texas. Each has great praise for the other’s writings in Weird Tales and elsewhere, and each conducts searching discussions of literature, philosophy, politics, and economics in the wake of the depression and Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election. World affairs, including the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, also engage their attention.

All letters are exhaustively annotated by the editors, and the [second] volume concludes with an extensive bibliography of both writers as well as the publication of a few letters to Lovecraft from Robert E. Howard’s father, Dr. I. M. Howard, in the wake of his son’s tragic and unexpected suicide.

H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) has become world-renowned as the leading author of supernatural fiction in the twentieth century. In addition, his essays, poetry, and especially letters have found a wide audience. This volume continues the unabridged publication of his letters, a project that will eventually culminate in the issuance of all his letters in complete and annotated editions.

Robert E. Howard (1906–1936), in spite of his relatively brief literary career, has achieved universal renown for his many tales of horror, fantasy, and adventure. He virtually invented the subgenre of sword-and-sorcery, and devised a series of tales around such compelling figures as Conan the Cimmerian, King Kull, Solomon Kane, and Bran Mak Morn. His work, and even his life, has been the subject of major motion pictures.

S.T. Joshi is a leading authority on H.P. Lovecraft and the author of H.P. Lovecraft: A Life and other critical and biographical studies. He has edited Lovecraft’s collected fiction, essays, and poetry. David E. Schultz is a pioneering scholar on Lovecraft and the editor of the Commonplace Book and of many editions of Lovecraft’s letters. Rusty Burke is a renowned scholar on Robert E. Howard and the editor of Howard’s collected letters and other writings.


Volume 1
  • Introduction
  • A Note on This Edition
  • Abbreviations
  • Letters
    • 1930 (18 letters, 98 pages)
    • 1931 (24 letters, 131 pages)
    • 1932 (33 letters, 261 pages)
Volume 2
  • Letters
    • 1933 (19 letters, 176 pages)
    • 1934 (17 letters, 131 pages)
    • 1935 (14 letters, 86 pages)
    • 1936 (4 letters, 40 pages)
  • Appendix
    • With a Set of Rattlesnake Rattles (by Robert E. Howard)
    • The Beast from the Abyss (by Robert E. Howard)
    • Dr. I.M. Howard: Letters to H.P. Lovecraft (4 letters, 5 pages)
  • Glossary of Frequently Mentioned Names
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Bibliographic Information

A Means to Freedom: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. Edited by S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz, and Rusty Burke. New York, NY: Hippocampus Press; 2009; ISBN-13 978-0-9814888-0-6 (hardcover) 978-0-9844802-9-6 (paperback), 2 volumes, 1004 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.

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