The UK has seen the usual February wobbling between promising signs of early springtime and raw blasts of chilly weather. This seems to have influenced my ‘Picture Postals’ posts. My ‘Return to Copps Hill’ post revisited Lovecraft’s snowy visit to Boston’s Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. My Photoshopped ‘Vint-o-Vision’ picture had Lovecraft shivering at the controls of the Ladd Observatory telescope, Providence. More authentically I found two choice pictures of College Hill (under snow) and Angell Street (in the earliest spring). To thaw out shivering Tentaclii readers (I hear it’s still bitterly cold in much of the USA) there was then a visit to and inside the hothouses of the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, leading into some choice quotes which establish ‘gardens’ as a key interest for Lovecraft in his imagination, dreams and reality. Sadly he never lived to fully explore the theme, although some in his circle took the idea and ran off with it in the direction of pulpy ‘sci-fi horror plants’.
Very little in new research or discoveries this month on Tentaclii, but I was pleased to find and recover a new ‘lost’ backwoods yarn by Lovecraft’s friend Everett McNeil. He certainly could spin a yarn, and I still wonder (despite having written his life) where he had the experience to write such tales. I suspect either during his walking to New York, or during his stint in the armed forces.
In books the action was overseas this month. Lovecraft’s letters appeared in Spanish for the first time. The French have the new volume Selection de lettres (1927-1929). The Germans published their handsome new book of the translated poetry, based around Lovecraft’s “Fungi from Yuggoth”, and this book earned the coveted Joshi ‘stamp of approval’ some weeks later.
There was however advance notice of some 2023 books in English, including: Lovecraft’s Letters to Hyman Bradofsky and Others, an untitled “book on Arkham House ephemera from the Classic Years”; a Miskatonic University Monograph: “The Discovery of Fragments of Kitab al-Azif at Harran”; an untitled book of letters from the Lovecraft Circle but not sent to Lovecraft; and the academic William Hope Hodgson and the Rise of the Weird: Possibilities of the Dark. Looking further ahead, NecronomiCon Providence announced the 2024 dates.
In scholarly work, I linked a couple of journals with interesting new items on sea-monsters seen in the light of contemporary academic theory. Which is the more scary, I wonder? Some Deleuze Seminars were dug up, containing his 1975-1976 thoughts on Lovecraft. The German annual Lovecrafter Nr. 3, a “50 years of Lovecraft in Germany” special-issue, became available in PDF and thus is now potentially machine-translatable.
Posts on artwork were wide-ranging this month, from August Derleth’s “cinderella’ stamp” to the latest Ian Miller artwork. Miller is still making masterpieces like this at age 70+, which is an encouragement to us all. There was also a link to a new article on the huge and sustained success of the Call of Cthulhu RPG in the Far East. Who knew?
In comics, Unknown Kadath had a trade paperback release date in May 2023. I linked to a new Dark Worlds Quarterly surveying vintage Lovecraft comics adaptations published in black & white.
In audio, lots of relevant items are still appearing on Librivox. Lovecraft’s friend Henry S. Whitehead is obviously getting some deserved and noticeably regular attention, here and there. We even had “The Fantasy Fan: The Complete Writings of Clark Ashton Smith” this month.
From the archives, some 1981 issues of Cultural Correspondence popped up on “Lovecraft, Surrealism”, with contributions from an elderly Frank Belknap Long. I also noted some choice Ray Bradbury items appearing, and then came the mammoth Collected Fiction of Henry Kuttner (an influence on Bradbury) and to celebrate I found and tweaked/colorised a picture of the young Kuttner. I also tracked down the three fannish/scholarly texts on Kuttner’s work.
As for me… still no joy on the job front. It appears there comes a certain birthday after which no-one wants to interview you for a monthly-paid job, regardless of how impressive your C.V. or wide-ranging your skill-set is. Three months of looking and applying, and not a single interview. Except one as a night-shift warehouse picker / pallet-stacker in Stoke-on-Trent, which was arranged via a special jobs fair… which meant they didn’t need to see my C.V. Despite having done 18 months of such manual work, many decades ago, I didn’t even get that job. The UK’s supposed talent shortage and ‘huge demand for over 50s’ appears to be a figment of the government’s imagination, so far as I can see. If such demand was really there, a 1990s first-class graduate like myself would by now have had a dozen or more interviews. What’s really needed seems to be guaranteed “double your dole money” jobs for over 50s who want to work. I’d be perfectly happy to pick the local litter (US: ‘trash’) for three days each week, for £700 a month. That’s all I need. And the city of Stoke-on-Trent certainly needs such an all-year army of litter-pickers, I can tell you.
Anyway, that’s it for the shortest month. Onward to March and warmth!