Newly uploaded to Archive.org, a nice clear scan of the notorious ‘banned in Indiana’ May-June-July 1924 bumper issue of Weird Tales magazine. Lovecraft gets the cover, albeit without a name credit, as “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” is here presented as being written by Houdini.

In the same issue, the sublime “Hypnos” by H. P. Lovecraft, although with a mundane illustration. Also one of his ‘shockers’ — the notorious necrophiliac story “The Loved Dead” by Eddy and Lovecraft (“Lovecraft clearly had a greater hand in this story than the other ones [and it] reads as if Lovecraft wrote the whole thing” — S.T. Joshi, A Dreamer and a Visionary: H.P. Lovecraft in His Time, page 173. This opinion was slightly revised for Joshi’s later I Am Providence to: “There was, as with its two predecessors, in all likelihood a draft written by Eddy for this tale; but the published version (Weird Tales, May–June–July 1924) certainly reads as if Lovecraft had written the entire thing.”). The issue also has a Henry S. Whitehead story “Tea Leaves”.

It’s interesting to see the way that editor Baird diffused micro-articles throughout the issue. These being short potted histories, accounts of grim historical crimes, and ‘strange news items’, all lightly rewritten in a house style. These were used to pad out the pages at the end of stories, and thus add value for the reader at little cost to the publisher. One can see how this sort of ‘assemblage of the bizarre’ could have fed into the idea of the assemblage of disparate cuttings found in “The Call of Cthulhu”. Although doubtless many writers and others in Lovecraft’s circle kept similar paste-in scrapbooks of strange newspaper cuttings and weird fragments. Thus, no elite modernist literary influence required for “Cthulhu” — as for those elements of the story Lovecraft would be have been responding to a mix of home-made grassroots bricolage and a commercial re-purposing of public information of the sort found in the early Weird Tales.

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