Edward Lucas White
Edward Lucas White (May 11, 1866 – March 30, 1934) was an American author and poet. Born in the USA in Bergen, New Jersey, he attended Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he lived for the rest of his life. From 1915 until his retirement in 1930 he was a teacher at the University School for Boys in Baltimore.
He published a number of historical novels, including The Unwilling Vestal (1918), Andivius Hedulio (1921) and Helen (1926), but he is best remembered for fantasy horror stories such as "The House of the Nightmare" and "Lukundoo" that were based on his own nightmares. Two collections of his short fiction were published in his lifetime, The Song of the Sirens (1919) and Lukundoo and Other Stories (1927).
"Lukundoo", White's most frequently anthologized story, is the tale of an American explorer in a remote section of Africa who incurs the wrath of the local witch doctor, who casts a spell on him. Hundreds of sore pustules erupt all over the explorer's body. As these develop, it becomes clear that each sore is actually a sort of homunculus: a tiny African man, emerging head-first from within the explorer's flesh. He is able to terminate the development of individual homunculi by beheading them as they develop, but there are too many for him to defeat them all – and some of them are on portions of his back which he cannot reach. The explorer's only option is suicide.
Two posthumous collections of his fiction have been published by Midnight House: The House of the Nightmare (12547ac) edited by John Pelan and Sesta and Other Strange Stories (2001) edited by Lee Weinstein. The latter contains mostly previously unpublished and uncollected material.
During 1885 White began a utopian science fiction novel, Plus Ultra. He destroyed the first draft and started over in 1901, then worked on it for most of the rest of his life. The resulting monumental work—estimated by one critic at 500,000 words—remains unpublished, although a portion of it was released separately in 1920 as the novella From Behind the Stars.
On March 30, 1934, seven years to the day after the death of his wife, Agnes Gerry, he committed suicide by gas inhalation in the bathroom of his Baltimore home. His last book, Matrimony (1932) was a memoir of his happy marriage to her.
- El Supremo: A Romance of the Great Dictator of Paraguay (1916)
- The Unwilling Vestal: A Tale of Rome Under the Caesars (1918)
- Andivius Hedulio: Adventures of a Roman Nobleman in the Days of the Empire (1921)
- Helen (1926)
Short Story Collections
- The Song of the Sirens (1919)
- "The Song of the Sirens", "Iarbas", "The Right Man", "Dodona", "The Elephant's Ear", "The Fasces", "The Swimmers", "The Skewbald Panther", "Disvola", "The Flambeau Bracket".
- Lukundoo and Other Stories (1927)
- "Lukundoo", "Floki's Blade", "The Picture Puzzle", "The Snout", "Alfandega 49a", "The Message on the Slate", "Amina", "The Pig-Skin Belt", "The House of the Nightmare", "Sorcery Island".
- Why Rome Fell (1927)
- Matrimony (1932)
- Barrett, Mike. "Narratives Out of Nightmare: Edward Lucas White"". Wormwood (Spring 2009); expanded version in Barrett's Doors to Elsewhere. Cheadle, Staffs, UK: The Alchemy Press, 2013, pp. 63-74.
- Joshi, S.T. "Edward Lucas White: Dream and Reality" in Joshi, The Evolution of the Weird Tale. New York: Hippocampus Press. ISBN 0974878928 (2004), 39-45.
- Searles, A. Langley. "Fantasy and Outré Themes in the Short Fiction of Edward Lucas White and Henry S. Whitehead" in Douglas Robillard, ed. American Supernatural Fiction: From Edith Wharton to the Weird Tales Writers. New York: Garland,ISBN 0815317352 (1996).
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Edward Lucas White