Monday, May 9, 2011

The first fan letter from H.P. Lovecraft to Clark Ashton Smith

Cleveland, Ohio
August 12, 1922

My dear Mr. Smith:—

I trust you will pardon the liberty taken by an absolute stranger in writing you, for I cannot refrain from expressing the appreciation aroused in me by your drawings & poetry, as shown me by my friend, Mr. Samuel Loveman, whom I am now visiting in Cleveland. Your book, containing matter only chronologically classifiable as juvenilia, impresses me as a work of the most distinguished genius; & makes me anxious to see the new volume which I understand is in course of preparation.

Of the drawings & water-colours I lack a vocabulary adequate to express my enthusiastic admiration. What a world of opiate phantasy & horror is here unveiled, & what an unique power & perspective must lie behind it! I speak with especial sincerity & enthusiasm, because my own especial tastes centre almost wholly around the grotesque & the arabesque. I have tried to write short stories & sketches affording glimpses into the unknown abysses of terror which leer beyond the boundaries of the known, but have never succeeded in evoking even a fraction of the stark hideousness conveyed by any one of your ghoulishly potent designs.

I should deem it a great honour to hear from you if you have the leisure & inclination to address an obscurity, & to learn where I may behold other poems by the hand which created such works of art as Nero, The Star-Treader, & the exquisite sonnets which companion them. That I have not work of even approximately equal genius to exhibit in reciprocation, is the fault of my mediocre ability & not of my inclination.

Apologising for this intrusion upon your time, & again expressing the appreciation which every renewed glimpse of your work increases, I beg the honour to remain

Yr most obedient Servt.
HPLovecraft

(from Letter to Clark Ashton Smith From H. P. Lovecraft on 12 August 1922)

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