The Racial Worldview of H. P. Lovecraft, Parts 2 and 3 (yesterday I linked to part one, at another site), which this time tracks through the letters from 1919 to 1923. The three-part trawl of his letters, which appears to have been compiled in 2002, stops at 1923. Presumably the far-right compiler felt his own ugly lumpen assumptions would have been compromised if he’d ventured beyond 1923 — since Lovecraft married a Jewish woman in 1924, and Lovecraft’s earlier crude views began to change as he (like the rest of the world) wrestled with the intense social issues of the late 1920s and 1930s.

I hadn’t known that Lovecraft traced one side of his family back to the Welsh Marches of England…

“The Phillipses come from the borderlands of Wales, that mystic Machenian land.”

Although this is stated in a letter (May 3, 1923) that generally sounds very flippant, this personal snippet is probably(?) a sound personal belief. Yet I can’t find any mention of it via Google Books, so it may not have much basis in hard genealogy. I live not far from this area, and when he refers to the borderlands of Wales he must presumably mean the modern Welsh Marches, an interestingly imprecise and hybrid area so memorably evoked in literature by Kilvert’s Diary. Presumably this origin was a ‘family fact’ inherited via his great-great-grandmother, Esther Whipple, as to their origin in the British Isles. In view of his disparaging of the Celts and the Welsh in other early letters, one wonders if the exact location of the family origin may have been finessed by Lovecraft (or by earlier family members), in order to nudge his family origin over the English border. Since, in the above selection, for instance, he talks of…

“The Welsh, who have no Teutonic blood, are of little account.” (Letter #10, Dec 6, 1915).

“cursed, effeminate Celts” (Oct 6, 1921).

I wonder if the young Lovecraft, or his earlier family members, felt that a possible Welsh root to one side of the family was an unspeakable ‘skeleton’ lurking in his family tree?