H.P. Lovecraft Letters Mentioning William Hope Hodgson


HPL to Robert Barlow, 3 to 6 August 1934

P.P.S. Those Koenig books — 3 of W H Hodgson's — have come from Klarkash-Ton. Hope I'll like 'em — though Carnacki didn't raise the wildest expectations. One is laid in my beloved 18th century....what happened to the survivors of a ship wrecked in 1757. Haven't had time to read 'em yet!

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from O Fortunate Floridian, by S T Joshi and David E. Schultz.


HPL to Robert Barlow, 8 August 1934

Hodgson books also unread.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from O Fortunate Floridian, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to August Derleth, After 6 August 1934

Have also read 3 weird books by William Hope Hodgson — "The Boats Of the Glen Carrig", "The House on the Borderland,"& "The Ghost Pirates" — Lent me by Koenig. Do you know these?. In some respects they have a peculiar & magnificent power — an ability to suggest realms & dimensions just out of reach & sieges by hellish legions the nameless from unsuspected, fathomless abysses of night. "The House On The Borderland" has a breath-taking cosmic reach. No comparison is possible between these fine works & Hodgson's later feeble attempt — "Carnacki the Ghost Finder" — which I read in Florida. I have prepared a note on Hodgson to be slipped into my Sup.Horror article as reprinted in the Fantasy Fan.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to Richard F. Searight, 11 August 1934

I’ll never get time to read all the stuff piling up on me — there are three borrowed books by William Hope Hodgson (weird writer of the pre-war period) which I ought to be returning to their owner right now! !

Thank you, Adam Joffrain — excerpted from Letters to Richard F. Searight, Necronomicon Press, 1992.


HPL to Robert Barlow, 14 August 1934

Well — I've gotten around at last to the William Hope Hodgson books, & am very pleasantly disappointed. "The Boats Of the Glenn Carrig" is really magnificent except for a slight letdown & petering out (adventure and romance gaining the ascendancy) in the last quarter. It concerns the survivors of a wrecked ship & the strange unknown realms of horror to which they drift in small boats. In most cases these horrors are only vaguely adumbrated & subtly manifested — in a way strongly suggesting Blackwood's "Willows". Clearly "Carnacki" was no real test of Hodgson — & I fancy good old Cavevin's praise must have been based on a perusal of the other items. I'm now reading "The House on the Borderland" & it looks as if it were going to be great. The boy has atmosphere — & his characters react to abnormal phenomena in the right way. If you like I'll sub-sub lend(they belong to Koenig & come to me from Klarkash-Ton) you these volumes. They're certainly worth reading & I believe Hodgson really ought to go into my supernatural horror article. The one main fault of the Glen Carrig is the sort of pseudo-archaic 18th century English being enployed. Actually it is not the English of the 18th century at all — being stilted & romantic & full of expressions out if keeping with the period. This novel was published in 1907 — seven years before "Carnacki", if I recall aright. The one I'm now reading is dated 1908, & deals with phenomena in a ferociously situated & evilly regarded house on the edge of a sinister chasm in the west of Ireland. The third book — "The Ghost Pirates" — has an ominous frontispiece by Syme which you'd enjoy.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to F. Lee Baldwin, 21 August 1934

Recently I’ve discovered—through some books lent by Koenig—a weird author I never appreciated before, but who really deserves (despite some obvious weak points) to rank among the titans of his class. I refer to one William Hope Hodgson & his three volumes “The Boats of the Glen Carrig” (1907), “The House on the Borderland” (1908) & “The Ghost Pirates” (1909). His later book “Carnacki the Ghost Finder”—which I had read before—is vastly inferior.

Thank you, Sam Gafford — from an unpublished letter in the John Hay library.

HPL to Robert Barlow, 22 August 1934

Have read all three Hodgson books — and sink me if they aren't magnificent ... The second one "The House on the Borderland" — had some cosmic stuff in it that got Grandpa up on his hind legs yelling! The dead writer of the diary — his mind projected forward in time — witnesses the destruction of the solar system! I've prepared a note to insert in my article at the proper point (near the end of Ch. IX) & sent it to Hornig. Hodgson simply can't be left out of any historical survey of this sort — & he certainly deserves to be bought to notice. Without question, "Carnacki" must be his very poorest work.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to Donald Wandrei, 25 August 1934

Have you discovered the weird author William Hope Hodgson? I'm incorporating a note about him in the reprint of my article.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Mysteries of Time and Spirit: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei.


HPL to E Hoffman Price, 31 August 1934

This is the season for me to absorb impressions — not put them forth. I'm still reveling in the discovery of William Hope Hodgson — which, as I told you, I owe to the always-accommodating Koenig.

Thank you, Sam Gafford — excerpted from Selected Letters V.


HPL to August Derleth, 8 September 1934

Incidentally — last night, as per Koenig's orders, I mailed you those Hodgson books I spoke of — ; . . . . . These books are Koenig's property, but in his generosity he is offering to lend them to anybody in the gang who cares to read them. Accordingly I suggest you send them on — when fully through with them — to the next logical candidate for perusal — DUANE W RIMEL, BOX 100, ASOTIN, WASHINGTON.  Dwyer is next on the list after him.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to Clark Ashton Smith, 30 September 1934

Well — as you see, I surely have become a premier Hodgson fan! DO you know anything about W.H.H. and his career? Koenig tells me he was killed in the war. All told, I believe that nobody but Blackwood can equal or surpass him in capturing the exact shades of the cosmic horror mood in all their actual details. But he was uneven — again like Blackwood. "Carnacki" is very weak, artificial and stereotyped despite the strong points which you justly point out — and the "Glen Carrig" certainly suffered a letdown halfway through. As soon as the castaways have dwelt on the island long enough to become tangible realities employing obvious siege strategy, something of the story's original tension and sense of malign expectancy is lost. Also — the attempt to use 18th century English rings absurdly false to any sincere devotee of the 18th century. I agree about "The Ghost Pirates" — and What a wealth of technical sea lore it contains!I wonder if Hodgson was ever a sailor? But the masterpiece, so far as I can see, is "The House on the Borderland." Boy — that dim, brooding air of menace! And that stupefying cosmic sweep! I am all on edge to read "The Night Land."

— excerpted from Selected Letters.


HPL to August Derleth, 3 october 1934

No hurry about the Hodgson books — simply shoot 'em on to Rimel when you're through with them. I wouldn't have bothered you with them if Koenig had said you wished to see them. But you'll find them amply worthy of perusal. Meanwhile C A S informs me that — also at Koenig's request — he is now forwarding you two more Hodgsoniana. . . . "Carnacki, the Ghost Finder", & "The Night Land" . . . which you are in turn to forward to me. Thanks in advance for the latter procedure! I read Carnacki in De Land & didn't think much of it, but since I've read the others I believe I'd like to take a look at it again to see if by any chance I did it injustice.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to Robert Bloch, 18 october 1934

Would you like to be put on the lending list of any weird classics? Some excellent stuff by William Hope Hodgson — & those Williams books which Koenig mentions in his F F article — are going the round.

Thank you, Adam Joffrain — excerpted from HP Lovecraft Letters to Robert Bloch, Necronomicon Press, 1993.


HPL to August Derleth, 27 october 1934

I don't wonder that book-reading opportunities are few! Don't judge Hodgson from "Carnacki" — "The House on the Borderland" is the important volume.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude, by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to August Derleth, 6 November 1934

Curious how tastes differ — Klarkash-Ton thought "The Night Land" much better  than "Carnacki" ... which latter,indeed, is surely only a very mediocre echo of "John Silence". But don't judge Hodgson except by "House on the Borderland" & "Glen Carrig."

...

Well — I'm a couple of hundred pages into "The Night Land" — but it's damn hard going. God, what a verbose mess. And yet the chronological-geographical idea & some of the macabre concepts are magnificent. Don't know whether I'm going to side with you or with Klarkash-Ton in the end. The pseudo-archaic English is an acute agony — a cursed hybrid jargon belonging to no age at all! That's Hodgson's weakness — you'll note a sort of burlesque Elizabethan speech supposed to be of the 18th century in "Glen Carrig". Why the hell can't people pick the right archaic speech if they're going to be archaic?

...

Please send the remaining three Hodgson books, when done, to DUANE W RIMEL, BOX 100, ASOTIN, WASH. I shall send the rest to Dwyer for later forwarding to Rimel.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to August Derleth, 6 March 1935

By the way — I hope you haven't forgotten that the Hodgson stuff is to go to the Asotin boys when you're through with it.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to Richard F. Searight, 31 May 1935

Some other hellish possibilities are Ludwig Prinn’s De Vermis Mysteriis (Bloch), & the "Sigsand Manuscripts" mentioned repeatedly in the work of William Hope Hodgson.

Thank you, Adam Joffrain — excerpted from Letters to Richard F. Searight, Necronomicon Press, 1992.

HPL to August Derleth, 4 June 1935

How are the Hodgson books coming on? Don't forget that young Duane W Rimel, Box 188 Asotin, Wash stands next on the list.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to E Hoffman Price, 28 September 1935

The weird artist should invent his own fantastic violations of natural law, Of course the growing body of genuine weird writing — Poe, Dunsany, Blackwood, Shiel, de la Mare, Machen, M.R.James, Wakefield, Benson, Hodgson,Ewers,etc — does narrow the field in a subtle way.

— excerpted from Selected Letters V.


HPL to Duane Rimel, 28 September 1935

What common myth, for example, does Blackwoood use in "The Willows"? Or Chambers in "The Yellow Sign"" Or Hodgson in "The House On The Borderland""

— excerpted from Selected Letters V.

HPL to Richard F. Searight, 04 November 1935

There are always one or two tardy ones in a long chain — like Derleth & Dwyer with the Hodgson books.

Thank you, Adam Joffrain — excerpted from Letters to Richard F. Searight, Necronomicon Press, 1992.


HPL to Richard F. Searight, 26 November 1935

Would you care to borrow the weird books of William Hope Hodgson (extremely distinctive — a real discovery) which Koenig is circulating among the gang? If so, he authorises me to place your name on the circulation list.

Thank you, Adam Joffrain — excerpted from Letters to Richard F. Searight, Necronomicon Press, 1992.


HPL to Robert Barlow, January 29 1936

Rimel has at last received the Charles Williams books from Dwyer. That, however, does not account for Hodgson's "Night Land" ... which is probably somewhere round the old homestead at West Shokan.

Thank you, Andrea Bonazzi — excerpted from Essential Solitude by S T Joshi & David E. Schultz.


HPL to James F Morton, March 1937

Tsathoggua! but what sort of insanity gets hold of some of these birds (W.H.Hodgson is the classic and momorable offender, and Seabury Quin has also pulled some choice boners in this line) when they try to represent the diction of an age which after all is, historically speaking, essentially modern?

Thank you, Sam Gafford — excerpted from Selected Letters V.