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09-Oct-2015 17:59

HPL himself relates some of the incidences concerning this event in letter #56 in Selected Letters—to his fellow amateur Rheinhart Kleiner all HPL stated was that he (HPL), Miss H.

and young Lee, plus Miss H’s aunt, set out for the Copley Plaza at 7 in the evening, and that obtaining front-row seats, HPL was not more than 10 feet from Dunsany.

The influence of this lecture on HPL cannot be too lightly passed over—in fact it most likely had a considerable effect in reviving HPL’s interest in phantasy, in serious writing (along with his Amateur Press supporters) and in commercial publishing.

Not much is known about this episode in HPL’s life—perhaps a turning point—yet the facts are somewhat easily ascertainable.

In his autobiography, While the Sirens Slept (London, Jarrolds, Ltd., n.d.), Lord Dunsany on page 21 describes only briefly his lecture at the Copley Plaza in Boston in late October of 1919.

No doubt he had no inkling that sitting in the audience was a neophyte, and America’s finest author-to-be of the phantasy genre, Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

The following day, however, Miss H could not let the Lord leave without trying to obtain his autograph, and so enclosed in a letter to him a gift of an autograph letter of Abraham Lincoln.

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After the reading, Miss H, pressed by her aunt, stood amongst the lionisers, and only a last minute failure of courage prevented her from obtaining the great man’s autograph.In early 1919 Whittier recruited the young (21 year old) Miss Alice Hamlet, through a short story of hers that appeared in the Boston Post newspaper.As Miss Hamlet relates it: From then on I was one of the “amateurs”.As one would expect, this episode deals with Amateur Journalists, the sole and greatest interest in HPL’s life during the middle 1910s and early 1920s.One of the Amateurs whom HPL knew rather well from about 1915 onwards, was the young David Whittier, an aspiring author of horror tales, who had at least one such tale in HPL’s own The Conservative.

After the reading, Miss H, pressed by her aunt, stood amongst the lionisers, and only a last minute failure of courage prevented her from obtaining the great man’s autograph.In early 1919 Whittier recruited the young (21 year old) Miss Alice Hamlet, through a short story of hers that appeared in the Boston Post newspaper.As Miss Hamlet relates it: From then on I was one of the “amateurs”.As one would expect, this episode deals with Amateur Journalists, the sole and greatest interest in HPL’s life during the middle 1910s and early 1920s.One of the Amateurs whom HPL knew rather well from about 1915 onwards, was the young David Whittier, an aspiring author of horror tales, who had at least one such tale in HPL’s own The Conservative.Eventually I put out a little mimeographed paper in conjunction with a John Smith of Orondo, Washington.