Scarce letter from the Cthulhu creator to the future Psycho scribe, with Lovecraft name-dropping pulp writer friends, talking cinema, and damning strong drink: "I’ve never tasted alcoholic liquor, & never expect to during my few remaining years"
Sought-after ALS signed “Ec'h-Pi-El,” one page both sides, 5.5 x 9, December 25, 1933. Lengthy handwritten letter from H. P. Lovecraft to his protege, 16-year-old Robert Bloch, the future author of Psycho. At the top of the page, Lovecraft adds: “EXTRA! KADATH has just come! God!!…Truly a magnificent piece of work—design, atmosphere, colour. Thanks a thousandfold!” He then writes, in part: “Dear Bho-Blok:—Before departing on a week’s visit to Frank B. Long (during which I shall also see [Wilfred Blanch] Talman and [Donald] Wandrei) I must thank you for the generous array of pictorial horrors to the Black wing of my gallery. Truly, they’re a splendid lot, + I get a great kick out of all of them. That coloured specimen shudderingly embodies your favourite monster-type, as do certain of the others. As per request, I return herewith the sheet with the Yuggoth-denizen…+ the multi-ocular lumberer out of nightmare…I also assume you want the ‘golem’ illustration returned… Enclosed is the FF with my other gods. I think this will form a very encouraging medium for your own work. I guess I told you of Unusual’s need of retrenchment—but after all, it will appear in a shape far outclassing the FF. There will be 64 pages, 9 x 6, of common pulp stock—with cover + illustrations. My opening contribution will be ‘Celephais’…There will be biographical sketches + portraits of weird writers each month—mine being slated for the third issue. I had a hell of a time boiling down the sad story of my life to the prescribed 900 words! The first issue of Unusual is now in the press—indeed, you ought to get it almost as soon as this epistle. I’ll be glad to see copies of The Quill—especially those with the dream tale. Glad the school upheaval is working out ultimately for the best. How complex are the events of life, + how unpredictable + paradoxical their consequences! Good thing, though that you’re sticking to The Quill. On [J. Vernon] Shea’s advice I saw ‘Henry VIII’ + certainly did not feel disappointed. A powerful piece of pageantry + a poignant human study, too…Another + still more moving cinematic experience of mine was ‘Berkeley Square’—which I went to see twice. Of course some of the uncanny power which this film had for me was due to my especial psychology—the almost disturbing sense of membership in the 18th century, + of alienage from my own period, which has haunted me ever since I could walk or talk. This cinema was freer from anachronisms that any other 18th century drama I have ever attended…Providence has many relatively unchanged backwaters like Berkeley Square—indeed, I now live in one! This house is one of the strongest imaginative influences I have ever been exposed to, + it’s getting more + more so as the details of furnishing progress. We are constantly getting additional old family things out of storage—just now the living room fireplace is taking form with an old set of irons + a pair of bellows. I missed ‘The Invisible Man,’ but will try to take it in when it returns, as it undoubtedly will. I suppose Long + his parents will drag me to half a dozen cinemas, good, bad, + indifferent, during my visit. Hope you won’t let legal likker launch you on too protracted a spree. For my part, I never could see much good in alcoholic drugging—+ the spectacle of drunkenness, with all the work of millennia of evolution artificially undone, is anything but aesthetic in my eyes. I’ve never tasted alcoholic liquor, + never expect to during my few remaining years.” In fine condition. Accompanied by the original hand-addressed mailing envelope, on the reverse of which Lovecraft has added his return address with full signature, “From, HP Lovecraft, 66 College St. Providence, R.I.,” and a brief note to the left side: “The more I look at KADATH the more he fascinates me. I have him propped up beside the fireplace amongst my yuletide decorations.” Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was an American writer of fantasy, horror, and crime — the famous author of Psycho — who, as a teenager, absorbed the supernatural fiction of H. P. Lovecraft. When Bloch turned 16 years old on April 5, 1933, he decided to write a letter to Lovecraft care of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, which was then sent to Lovecraft in Providence, Rhode Island. On April 22, HPL wrote back to Bloch, ‘Your very flattering note has just been forwarded to me by Weird Tales,’ inaugurating an especially interesting, albeit brief, correspondence between the two. HPL generously answered Bloch’s frequent letters with lengthy missives of his own, in which he mentored the budding author and apprised him of literary news. Bloch learned so much about the craft of writing—and about other matters—that he later stated: ‘Lovecraft was my university.’ Lovecraft’s side of this correspondence was published in 1993 by Necronomicon Press as H. P. Lovecraft Letters to Robert Bloch, edited by David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi.