Patreon patron John M. posts his January 2023 question…

Does HPL have any ‘lost’ manuscripts? I’m thinking of works that he may have referenced in letters or elsewhere but weren’t published and otherwise can’t be found.

Yes, and there was a Lovecraft Annual essay which partly covered the topic, in the 2011 edition. This was J.M. Rajala’s “Locked Dimensions out of Reach: The Lost Stories of H.P. Lovecraft”. Excluding boyish early exercises, among many other items this notes…

* a 1906/07 story about a Roman colony in Central America (started, unfinished), and there were other similar tales set in the Amazon, Africa etc. One such began on College Hill, with a chance discovery showing Angell Street to have been a Ancient Roman road;

* a “hideous novel” or perhaps a fix-up linked story collection of ‘Club’ tales, titled The Club of Seven Dreamers. In 1920 he wrote… “I am at present full of various ideas, including a hideous novel to be entitled “The Club of the Seven Dreamers”.” I seem to recall that Ken Faig Jr. has looked into the possibilities of this lost (or more likely never written) Club in some depth, in terms of the books that might have inspired the title;

* a Vathek-like novel Azathoth “on which I have been experimenting”, possibly with a Baghdad setting and which was perhaps partly mutated into the later Dream-quest;

* The House of the Worm, which I suspect later partly found its way into “Alonzo Typer”;

* the many destroyed false-starts and experiments for “The Shadow out of Time”;

* his lost notes on old London and Paris, which he studied in extreme depth, and mooted as the basis for story starting in Old London and ending in Roman horrors elsewhere;

* at least one missing prose-poem from around the time of “Nyarlathotep”, such as the fabled and debatable “Life and Death” (circa 1920);

* “Cassius”, a potential Whitehead collaboration based on a side-show man that Arthur Leeds knew from his Coney Island / Times Square freak-show days. Whitehead tackled the story alone, in the end;

* a novel of old Salem, and presumably of witchcraft, mooted and perhaps even partly planned but unwritten.

I can also note, off-hand…

* a “now lost tale set on the dark side of a Moon” (Joshi), on which I have a post;

* there are probably several lost revisions, beyond the non-fiction items such as the lost classroom book he wrote with Moe. Either ‘demo stories’ or outlines for youngsters, or full-blown revisions for clients. For instance Lovecraft offered a 6,000-word synopsis for a story, “The Pool”, that Talman never bothered to write up himself, and it’s just possible that there may be more such story-outlines as yet undiscovered;

* I’m informed that… “In one of the letters to [David V.] Bush dated 20th January 1918 HPL mentions the book he edited (re-wrote) for the Rev. W.S. Harrison of Starkville, Miss., a “long Miltonic epic in blank verse”.

* two versions of “The Cats of Ulthar”, recalled from memory for oral performance at Whitehead’s boys’ club. This evening club had two sessions, one younger and one older, and I would imagine Lovecraft tailored his recalling for each group. If these versions were fully written out, or just skeleton memory-joggers, can’t now be known;

* in fantastical poetry, “one of my early doggerel attempts was a description of an hypothetical glass-covered, furnace-heated world of groves & gardens”, something that partly surfaces much later in the settings for “The Shadow Out of Time”;

* Lovecraft wrote “He” on 11th August 1925. On the morning of Saturday 15th he returned to the same Elizabethtown park in which he had written “He”. There he outlined and began writing another tale, but was interrupted by a ‘person from Porlock’… “I sketched out and began filling in when my labour was interrupted by the advent of one of those curious stranger-addressing characters” who wanted to talk about American Bison. I have a fragmentary attempt at reconstruction of this tale.

Not manuscripts, but being mooted in letters and jottings were such things as…

* the Commonplace Book note on a “Witches Hollow novel” with partial plot, though this was obviously a boys’ school-story and thus a planned collaboration with Whitehead;

* a ‘proper’ literary rewrite of “The Lurking Fear” (which never happened);

* a “Call of Cthulhu” sequel set on Cthulhu’s original planet (also never happened);

* and he expressed vague interest in the possible writing of a werewolf tale, which might have resulted in longer work in the 1940s… but of course he never lived to explore such notions.

Can readers add any more that I’ve overlooked?