AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED (ALS). 6 pages, dated 20 September 1929, to " My dear Mr. Michael" [i.e. ?], signed "Yrs. for bigger & better daemons - H. P. Lovecraft." On three sheets of plain 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper, with address "10 Barnes St., Providence, R.I." written at the top right corner of the recto of the first sheet. Michael was a young man who contacted HPL in the summer of 1929, writing to him first from summer camp. Nothing else about him is known. Lovecraft's first letter to him (LWC inventory # 108099) is a minor masterpiece of autobiography. In the first page of this, second, letter, citing numerous examples, HPL gives an interesting assessment of his own work. "… I find a curious rawness & immaturity in all the stuff I have written up to the last two or three years…. The reason, probably, is that I was too glibly self-confident about my work in earliest youth. I had a sort of superficial fluency, & mistook that for maturity …. The thing that has helped me shake off this incubus is, without doubt, my critical & revisionary work -- which compels me to analyze …. Bitterly as I hate this work, it has done me good by compelling me to pay more attention to the fundamentals of the writing process…" Notes the similarity of his imaginary nomenclature to that of Dunsany, "although I devised mine before I ever heard of him." Bemoans the decay of the National Amateur Press Association, giving names and titles of its officers in case Michael wants to contact them anyway -- "…high-sounding officers, but not much behind 'em nowadays ---like a Guatemalan or Costa-Rican army!" Critiques some work that Michael had sent him, praising, in one of the stories, his "keen appreciation of the substratum of barbaric feeling in contemporary 'jazz' -- for in all truth it is not a very far cry from the bleat of a saxaphone to the howling of a frenzied ring of sweat-drenched cannibals around the monolithic altar of a Congolese crocodile-god." In reply to some unspecified "anti-ecclesiastical victory" of Michael, he enunciates his own atheism but counsels against any kind of bitter scoffing against religion, going on to offer anthropological and aesthetic appreciations of churches and sects. "It [Christianity] is all a graceful mythology like that of Greece & Rome, or of the Odin-worshipping north, & as such deserves our aesthetic reverence & affectionate recollection." He proceeds to an overview of current cosmological thinking (or, at least, his understanding of it), stating with great confidence some scientific "knowledge" which has been subsequently disproved, as well as much that is still debated. He denies the immortality of the soul. "When the fuel is gone, there can be no flame." But he also denies that such a view must lead to gloom, for, in a world without God, Man is promoted to the highest echelon of intelligence and creativity, "a form of very rare occurrence & strikingly unique properties." Nor must atheism lead to ethical chaos, he says, arguing that ethical behaviour arises spontaneously in human society and that "religion did no more than give an easily understandable raison d'etre & authority to laws of conduct which actually arose from utilitarian experience & the play of the aesthetic emotions." In his condescension towards pre-Enlightenment savages and their superstitions, Lovecraft displays a confidence in science and the rationality of man that in hindsight we may have trouble viewing without some condescension of our own. Unpublished. Faint creases where folded for mailing, else fine. (#108100).

Price: $4,000.00

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