Or so, it seems, in a delightfully bon mot, Fritz Leiber once called Lovecraft. The quote comes up in a nice little piece in yesterday’s Boston Globe about Lovecraft and the impending Library of America edition of his work.
The piece isn’t too deep, but it draws some interesting connections – tying Lovecraft to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammet. This is a smart connection, one I’ve never seen made before (and certainly haven’t made myself). It’s apt, I think, in that they were all writing in the first few decades of the century, all sprang from the pulps, all were profoundly important, and often scorned by the artsy establishment.
They’re all so important in fact, that we can hardly see their contributions anymore since their ideas, styles, and works are so well-woven into the world as we know it.
Strikes me that there might be more fertile ground for study with these three.
The piece also notes that the precise and complex sentences of Lovecraft’s style evoke a cold, dispassionate philosophical style. And right on. I’d never quite twigged to that, but yeah – reading Lovecraft is sometimes like reading philosophy.
Even better – here’s a link to that Library of America book. Out on Thursday. If you don’t know Lovecraft, or know someone who needs an introduction, order it.
Chandler and Hammett have their volumes with LoA. As it must certainly have done with the two crime/detective writers, having such a book for Lovecraft will only help further cement his place as an important and utterly unique figure in America letters.