Cover image for Mysteries of time and spirit : the letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei
Mysteries of time and spirit : the letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei
Joshi, S. T., 1958-
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, CA : Night Shade Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
xx, 439 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3523.O83 Z49 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Mysteries of Time and Spirit is a collection of all the correspondence between Lovecraft and future Arkham-House co-founder Donald Wandrei.

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Author Notes

Howard Phillips Lovecraft, 1890 - 1937 H. P. Lovecraft was born on August 20, 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. His mother was Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft and his father was Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman for Gorham & Co. Silversmtihs. Lovecraft was reciting poetry at the age of two and when he was three years old, his father suffered a mental breakdown and was admitted to Butler Hospital. He spent five years there before dying on July 19, 1898 of paresis, a form of neurosyphillis. During those five years, Lovecraft was told that his father was paralyzed and in a coma, which was not the case.

His mother, two aunts and grandfather were now bringing up Lovecraft. He suffered from frequent illnesses as a boy, many of which were psychological. He began writing between the ages of six and seven and, at about the age of eight, he discovered science. He began to produce the hectographed journals, "The Scientific Gazette" (1899-1907) and "The Rhode Island Journal of Astronomy" (1903-07). His first appearance in print happened, in 1906, when he wrote a letter on an astronomical matter to The Providence Sunday Journal. A short time later, he began writing a monthly astronomy column for The Pawtuxet Valley Gleaner - a rural paper. He also wrote columns for The Providence Tribune (1906-08), The Providence Evening News (1914-18), The Asheville (N.C.) Gazette-News (1915).

In 1904, his grandfather died and the family suffered severe financial difficulties, which forced him and his mother to move out of their Victorian home. Devastated by this, he apparently contemplated suicide. In 1908, before graduating from high school, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He didn't receive a diploma and failed to get into Brown University, both of which caused him great shame. Lovecraft was not heard from for five years, re-emerging because of a letter he wrote in protest to Fred Jackson's love story in The Argosy. His letter was published in 1913 and caused great controversy, which was noted by Edward F. Daas, President of the United Amateur Press Association (UAPA). Daas invited Lovecraft to join the UAPA, which he did in early 1914. He eventually became President and Official Editor of the UAPA and served briefly as President of the rival National Amateur Press Association (NAPA). He published thirteen issues of his own paper, The Conservative (1915-23) and contributed poetry and essays to other journals. He also wrote some fiction which titles include "The Beast in the Cave" (1905), "The Alchemist" (1908), "The Tomb" and "Dagon" (1917).

In 1919, Lovecraft's mother was deteriorating, mentally and physically, and was admitted to Butler Hospital. On May 24, 1921, his mother died from a gall bladder operation. While attending an amateur journalism convention in Boston, Lovecraft met his future wife Sonia Haft Greene, a Russian Jew. They were married on March 3, 1924 and Lovecraft moved to her apartment in Brooklyn. Sonia had a shop on Fifth Avenue that went bankrupt. In 1925, Sonia went to Cleveland for a job and Lovecraft moved to a smaller apartment in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn. In 1926, he decided to move back to Providence. Lovecraft had his aunts bar his wife, Sonia, from going to Providence to start a business because he couldn't have the stigma of a tradeswoman wife. They were divorced in 1929.

After his return to Providence, he wrote his greatest fiction, which included the titles "The Call of Cthulhu" (1926), "At the Mountains of Madness" (1931), and "The Shadow Out of Time" (1934-35). In 1932, his aunt, Mrs. Clark, died; and he moved in with his other aunt, Mrs. Gamwell, in 1933. Suffering from cancer of the intestine, Lovecraft was admitted to Jane Brown Memorial Hospital and on March 15, 1937 he died.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

For the inaugural volume of their Lovecraft Letters series, editors Joshi and Schultz have chosen wisely and well: first, because the correspondence between H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) and Donald Wandrei (1908-1987), the co-founder of Arkham House in 1939, is largely complete on both sides; second, because the two writers often discuss horror fiction, as well as the timeless vagaries of getting published, whether in magazine or book form. In 1926, Wandrei, then a University of Minnesota undergrad, wrote the master of Weird Tales a fan letter, initiating a friendship that would last until HPL's premature death. Besides extolling the beauties of his native Providence, R.I., and the old cities he visits on his travels, Lovecraft takes obvious pleasure in guiding his prot g 's reading and introducing him to other members of his circle, including Arkham House's other future co-founder, August Derleth. As the years pass, HPL has more trouble placing his work, but he remains true to his principles: "it is clear that I can never land anything more unless I cater to the debased pulp ideal-and that I shall never do." Though lacking the illustrations and authorial commentary of Willis Conover's classic Lovecraft at Last (1976), this book should satisfy both scholars (footnotes at the end of each letter make for easy access) and fans eager to know more about these two pulp-era paragons from their own words. (Jan. 7) Forecast: Portions of some of these letters appeared in the five Selected Letters volumes (1965-1976) from Arkham House. Hardcore Lovecraftians, who've been waiting a long time for the complete texts, should ensure a quick sell-out, with the help of Cthulhu role-playing gamers keen on original sources. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Abbreviationsp. viii
Introductionp. ix
A Note on This Editionp. xx
1926p. 1
1927p. 9
1928p. 198
1929p. 233
1930p. 248
1931p. 272
1932p. 294
1933p. 316
1934p. 334
1935p. 355
1936p. 374
1937p. 389
Glossary of Frequently Mentioned Namesp. 392
Bibliographyp. 396
Indexp. 415