Lovecraft: A Biography

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Lovecraft: A Biography
Lovecraft a Biography.jpg
Dust-jacket for Lovecraft: A Biography
AuthorL. Sprague de Camp
Cover artistNicholas Gaetano
CountryUnited States
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback)
Pagesxvi, 480 pp
813/.5/2 B
LC ClassPS3523.O833 Z59

Lovecraft: A Biography is a 1975 biography of the writer H. P. Lovecraft by science-fiction writer L. Sprague de Camp, first published in hardcover by Doubleday in February 1975.[1][2]

Criticisms and de Camp's responses[edit]

The biography, a warts-and-all examination of the famous horror and science-fiction writer, was the first major independent biography of Lovecraft. De Camp's approach has been called frank and judicious by some, unflattering and unbalanced by others. For instance, de Camp criticized Lovecraft's resolutely non-commercial attitude to his writing, whereas Lovecraft deliberately maintained that the bulk of his writing was for his own amusement only, and that of his close friends.

De Camp himself considered some of the criticism of his book as expressed in reviews of the hardcover had merit, and accordingly altered the text in the paperback edition to take account of these criticisms. All together, de Camp cut about 13,000-16,000 "repetitions, digressions and speculative obiter dicta" from the paperback edition.[1] On the requirement of the publisher he also "eliminated the notes section, bibliography and index," an excision he was reportedly unhappy about.[1]

Editions and translations[edit]

A later hardcover edition was issued by Barnes & Noble in January 1996.[2] The first paperback edition, corrected and abridged by the author, was published by Ballantine Books in August 1976.[1][2] The first British edition was published by New English Library in 1976.[1] An E-book edition of the Ballantine version of the work was published by Gollancz's SF Gateway imprint on September 29, 2011 as part of a general release of de Camp's works in electronic form.[3][4]

The book has also been translated into German,[1] Russian,[5] and several other languages.


The book was nominated for the 1976 World Fantasy Award, Special Award (Professional), and placed fourth in the 1976 Locus Poll Award for Best Associational Item.[2]

Relation to other works[edit]

De Camp's Lovecraft biography was preceded by August Derleth's biography H.P.L.: A Memoir (1945), and has now been very largely superseded by S.T. Joshi's more comprehensive treatment I Am Providence (Hippocampus Press, 2 vols, 2010) (first published in abridged form by Necronomicon Press, 1996, as H. P. Lovecraft: A Life), which draws on decades of scholarship by Joshi and others.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 78.
  2. ^ a b c d Lovecraft: A Biography title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
  3. ^ "Orion Publishing Group's L. Sprague de Camp webpage". Archived from the original on 2011-08-26. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  4. ^ entry for e-book edition
  5. ^ De Camp, L. Sprague (2008). Лавкрафт :биография. Санкт-Петербург: "Амфора".

External links[edit]