The Dust Jacket: Leslie Klinger on H.P. Lovecraft

H.P. Lovecraft was a man who “only felt comfortable on Angel Street in Baltimore” and wrote about a visit to Brooklyn with a similar sense of horror as he wrote about some of his other worldly inventions, yet Leslie Klinger just put out The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, a meticulously documented collection of the inside of that man’s in-some-ways narrow mind, and the book is heavy enough to give George R.R. Martin’s doorstops a run for their money.

IMG_1584Barnes and Noble hosted a “conversation” between horror writer, Peter Straub, and scholar, Leslie Klinger, to celebrate the release. This was a little different than the other events I’ve covered because, of course, this was two writers talking about a third, deceased figure with a cult following. Also, Lovecraft is a bit of a polarizing figure, and trying to account for him, personally, takes up a little more room than it does with some other authors.

Both men handled themselves and the trickier questions with aplomb, comfortably acknowledging his weaknesses as a person and a writer, and their own weaknesses as readers. (You cannot have an honest conversation about Lovecraft without addressing both racism and his deliberately arcane language.) It was interesting to get a glimpse of the process involved in annotating a massive volume, like this one.

Ideal Date: DragonCon. What? A bunch of my friends go every year, dressed in a variety of costumes, and I bet that Mr. Klinger knows a lot about the historical basis from which lots of these sci fi creations came to be than my friends do!

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