A new edition of Brumal and a new Brazilian book

The new issue of the open access journal Brumal has appeared. Vol 6, No 2 (2018) is ‘Horror and the Fantastic’. English abstracts, then Spanish, Portugese or French texts. On a first pass, the specifically Lovecraft items are:

* “Towards a classification of space in fantastic horror texts”. In which… “we outline three sorts of spatial categories: the natural, the supernatural, and the preternatural spaces, and take incomparable English-speaking authors as a starting point, such as H. P. Lovecraft” before moving on to consider Spanish writers.

* And a review in Portuguese of the book O Fantastico: Procedimentos de Construcao Narrativa em H.P. Lovecraft (2017). [trans: The Fantastic: H.P. Lovecraft’s Procedures of Narrative Construction]

The book can be obtained from Brazil and I see it was also reviewed recently in Revista Abusoes. It appears to be a two-volume Masters dissertation from 1979, which gathered dust for nearly 40 years before being rediscovered, hailed as something special, and published.


New Book: Barbarian Life: A Literary Biography of Conan

Marvel comics veteran Roy Thomas has an auto-biography of his life in Conan comics, and his wider fascination with the Conan character. DMR Books has a good review of the 296-page Volume One, which quietly scaled the walls of the Elephant God of Amazon just before Christmas…

Barbarian Life: A Literary Biography of Conan the Barbarian (Volume One), by Roy Thomas. In this book, Roy shares not only his memories of writing the first 53 issues of the comic book (Volume Two will cover the rest of his more than 100 issue run), but his own obsession with Conan and his creator.

I expect this book might be usefully paired with Barry Windsor-Smith’s The Freebooters, for an insight into the role of the artist in sword-and-sorcery comic-book making. Despite the publisher pitching this as simply a trade paperback collecting the Freebooter stories from the BWS: Storyteller magazine, it’s far more.

The IGN review explains…

This collection is unlike anything I have ever read. Part comic, part behind-the-scenes article, Barry Windsor-Smith’s The Freebooters is definitely unique. […] Most trades* these days give a slight glimpse into the creative process, but not like this. Readers will see unfinished pages, progressive pieces showing rough sketches to final, colored pieces. We also get a narrative that guides us through the thoughts and decisions that BWS made.

* = a trade paperback book collecting a series of comic books or strips, usually formerly issued in episodic pamphlet comic form to comics shops and collectors. Also abbreviated to ‘tpb’.

Lovecraft Was Right, part 358

A new paper “The sounds of plants”. The researchers…

demonstrate, to our knowledge for the first time, that plants emit sounds that can be recorded from a distance. We recorded ~65 dBSPL ultrasonic sounds …

Since certain fungi also attract night-insects, it would be interesting to know if some of those also produce sound.

H.P. Lovecraft on the sounds emitted by the Mi-Go fungus race in the woods of Vermont, in “The Whisperer in Darkness” (1931)…

It is more than two years now since I last ran off that blasphemous waxen cylinder [sound recording]; but at this moment, and at all other moments, I can still hear that feeble, fiendish buzzing as it reached me for the first time.

New from McFarland

Forthcoming books from McFarland, picked from their new Spring 2019 catalogue:

* Weird Tales of Modernity: The Ephemerality of the Ordinary in the Stories of Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith and H.P. Lovecraft. (July?)

* Journeys to the Underworld and Heavenly Realm in Ancient and Medieval Literature. (Seems relevant to an understanding of the wider context of The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and others) (Already published)

* The Detective and the Artist: Painters, Poets and Writers in Crime Fiction, 1840s-1970s. (First sections likely to be relevant to an understanding of the context of “The Call of Cthulhu” and others) (February)

* The Horror Comic Never Dies: a Grisly History. A short history of 150 pages, seemingly fannish but deeply informed. (February)

Cthulhu in the Library?

From William Gerold’s b&w photobook College Hill; a photographic study of Brown University in its two hundredth year (1965). Gerold seems unaware of Lovecraft — and anyway couldn’t have photographed 66 College St. circa 1960-65, H.P. Lovecraft’s old house, as it had been moved from the site in 1959. Though he photographed some of the architectural details and sculpted animals and suchlike, and along the way managed to record this Cthulhu-idol like detail from the John Carter Brown Library (1904) at Brown University.

“My aunt is well acquainted with Mr. Champlin Burrage, an Oxford man, who is librarian of the John Carter Brown library at Brown. (I hope to meet him very soon.)” — letter from Lovecraft to Rheinhart Kleiner, April 1917.

Circa 1910 postcard of the Library frontage…

Friday ‘Picture Postals’ from Lovecraft: Rhode Island School of Design

The exterior of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, in 1908. Opened on the site in 1893, and known as the Waterman Building, at 11 Waterman St.

When Lovecraft was a young boy, at his own fervent request his parents…

took him in 1897 to see a recently opened exhibit of Greek antiquities at the Rhode Island School of Design

The “entire first floor” was initially dedicated to the public exhibitions, in addition to the adjacent colonial-life Museum house (‘entrance through Waterman St.’) seen on the above map. But in 1897 the construction of the Metcalf exhibition galleries behind the Waterman building was completed. When these new galleries opened, the inaugural show is reported to have been an extravaganza of American and European paintings. But there was also a dedicated Greek and Roman Sculpture gallery with originals, casts and photographs. The opening of the latter gallery was accompanied by… “a course of seven lectures on the History of Greek Art before the students of the Rhode Island School of Design in the Winter of 1897-98” given by the President of Brown University. This Sculpture gallery was presumably what Lovecraft ‘the little Ancient’ saw when it first opened. Possibly it was the same as the sculpture court, seen here, that flanked the entrance to the School’s galleries…

The boy Lovecraft became a “constant” visitor…

before long I was fairly familiar with the principal Grecian myths and had become a constant visitor at the classical art museums of Providence and Boston

Of course in Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu” young Wilcox is… “studying sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design”.

A later additional Eliza G. Radeke Building was opened for RISD exhibitions at 224 Benefit Street, dropping down the hill at the back. Lovecraft attended its grand opening in late April 1926. That was about four months before he wrote “The Call of Cthulhu”. The new building included a collection of Greek and Roman art, and a large new collection of Greek coins, although I’m uncertain if this was a relocation and augmentation of the original Waterman St. Sculpture Gallery, or if it had contents that would have been wholly new to both Providence and Lovecraft. One imagines the curious Lovecraft peering into the probably-new coin cases, and spotting remarkably tentacular designs on the ancient coins…