Sunand Tryambak Joshi (born 22 June 1958), known as S. T. Joshi, is an American literary critic, novelist, and a leading figure in the study of H. P. Lovecraft and other authors of weird and fantastic fiction. Besides having written what critics such as Harold Bloom and Joyce Carol Oates consider to be the definitive biography of Lovecraft, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft (Hippocampus Press, 2 vols., 2010 [originally published in one volume as H. P. Lovecraft: A Life, 1996]), Joshi has prepared (with David E. Schultz) several annotated editions of works by Ambrose Bierce. He has also written on crime novelist John Dickson Carr and on Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood and M. R. James, and has edited collections of their works, as well as collections of the best work of numerous other weird writers.
Joshi is known for his acerbic style, and has been described by editor Ellen Datlow as 'the nastiest reviewer in the field'. Most recently he has turned his attention to collecting and editing the works of H. L. Mencken. He currently resides in Seattle, Washington.
S. T. Joshi
S. T. Joshi (2002 promotional photo)
|Born||June 22, 1958|
|Occupation||Critic, editor, historian|
|Citizenship||United States since 1978|
|Subject||H. P. Lovecraft, horror, fantasy, atheism, contemporary politics, women's studies, H. L. Mencken|
Joshi discovered Lovecraft when he was 13 in the public library in Muncie, Indiana. He read L. Sprague de Camp's biography of Lovecraft, Lovecraft: A Biography, on publication in 1975 and began thereafter to devote himself to the study of Lovecraft, guided in this by scholars such as Dirk W. Mosig, J. Vernon Shea and George Wetzel. He also wrote some Lovecraftian fiction such as the story "The Recurring Doom", which can be found in Robert M. Price's anthology Acolytes of Cthulhu. 
Joshi received a B.A. (1980) and M.A. (1982) in classics at Brown University, primarily because of the holdings of Lovecraft books and manuscripts in the John Hay Library. He later did graduate work at Princeton University from 1982 to 1984, where he was the recipient of the Paul Elmer More fellowship in classical philosophy. Appalled at finding literally 1,500 textual errors in his favorite Lovecraft story, At the Mountains of Madness, he devoted years of research consulting manuscripts and early publications to establish the textual history of Lovecraft's works, in order to prepare corrected editions of Lovecraft's collected fiction, revisions and miscellaneous writings in collaboration with Jim Turner for Arkham House; they were published in five volumes between 1984 and 1995.
His literary criticism focuses upon readability and exploration of the dominant worldviews of the authors in question. His The Weird Tale looks at six acknowledged masters of horror and fantasy (namely Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Dunsany, M. R. James, Bierce and Lovecraft), and discusses their respective worldviews in depth and with authority.
A follow-up volume, The Modern Weird Tale, examines the work of modern writers, including Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Robert Aickman, Thomas Ligotti, T. E. D. Klein and others, from a similar philosophically oriented viewpoint. The third of what amounts to a critical trilogy on the weird tale, The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004), includes essays on Dennis Etchison, L. P. Hartley, Les Daniels, E. F. Benson, Rudyard Kipling, David J. Schow, Robert Bloch, L. P. Davies, Edward Lucas White, Rod Serling, Poppy Z. Brite and others. Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction (published in two volumes, 2012 by PS Publishing) is a comprehensive history of supernatural fiction from Gilgamesh to the present day.
In August 2014, Joshi strongly criticized author Daniel José Older after the latter started a campaign to change the World Fantasy Award statuette from a bust of Lovecraft to one of African-American author Octavia Butler. Older claimed Lovecraft's image was unacceptable because of his racism; in response, Joshi stated ""the WFA bust acknowledges Lovecraft's literary status in the field of weird fiction and nothing more. It says nothing about Lovecraft's personality or character." Joshi also argued that the critics of Lovecraft were ignoring "the significant question as to whether racism should be regarded as so much more significant a moral, intellectual, and personal flaw than many other stances one could name", and argued that it was incorrect to think "that Lovecraft's undeniable racism somehow negates his immense talents as a writer and also negates the many virtues – intellectual, aesthetic, and personal – that he displayed over his life". Journalist Laura Miller took issue with Joshi's arguments, stating Joshi "is essentially telling writers like Okorafor that they must accept an honour from that community in the form of a man who considered [black people] to be 'semi-human' and filled 'with vice'. Suck it up, or get out. I'm pretty sure this is not the message the World Fantasy Convention meant to send when they gave Okorafor the prize in the first place."
In 1987, Joshi became the fifth Official Editor of the EOD amateur press association (see Esoteric Order of Dagon), an organisation devoted to the study of H.P. Lovecraft particularly but which also examines weird and fantasy fiction in all its forms.
Joshi edited the journals Lovecraft Studies (1979–2001) and Studies in Weird Fiction (1986–2005), both published by Necronomicon Press; and Studies in the Fantastic (2008–09), published by the University of Tampa Press. He is editor of Weird Fiction Review (Centipede Press; 2010), and the Hippocampus Press journals Spectral Realms (from 2014); Lovecraft Annual (from 2007); Nemesis (from 2016). He was formerly co-editor of Dead Reckonings (from 2007).
Joshi and his editorial collaborator David E. Schultz have edited many volumes of Lovecraft's letters to individuals: for Necronomicon Press (including those to Robert Bloch, Henry Kuttner, Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett); for Night Shade Books (Mysteries of Time and Spirit: Letters to Donald Wandrei) and Letters from New York; and for University of Tampa Press (O Fortunate Floridian: Letters to Robert H. Barlow). Joshi and Schultz are now progressively issuing volumes of H. P. Lovecraft's letters to individual correspondents through Hippocampus Press. Volumes already issued include Lovecraft's letters to Rheinhart Kleiner; Alfred Galpin; August Derleth (2 volumes); Robert E. Howard (2 volumes); James F. Morton; Elizabeth Toldridge & Anne Tillery Renshaw; F. Lee Baldwin, Duane Rimel & Nils Frome; J. Vernon Shea, Carl F. Strauch & Lee McBride White; Robert Bloch; and Clark Ashton Smith.
Joshi edited the five-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays issued by Hippocampus Press from 2004-2006. He edited two annotated volumes of Lovecraft's best work for Dell books (the second with Peter H. Cannon). He and David E. Schultz edited the collected poetry of Clark Ashton Smith, issued by Hippocampus Press (3 volumes, 2007–2008) and the collected poetry of George Sterling (3 volumes, 2013).
Joshi was general editor of a line of original Cthulhu Mythos works from Perilous Press, including works by Michael Shea and Brian Stableford. The first publication was Shea's Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales (2009), with Stableford's volume titled The Womb of Time (two Mythos novellas).
A bibliography of William Hope Hodgson (co-compiled by Joshi with Sam Gafford and Mike Ashley) appears in Massimo Berruti, S. T. Joshi and Sam Gafford (eds). William Hope Hodgson: Voices from the Borderland.NY: Hippocampus Press, 2014, pp. 205–302.
Joshi has also edited books on atheism and social relations, including Documents of American Prejudice (1999), an annotated collection of American racist writings; In Her Place (2006), which collects written examples of prejudice against women; and Atheism: A Reader (2000), which collects atheistic writings by Antony Flew, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, Gore Vidal and Carl Sagan, among others. An Agnostic Reader, collecting pieces by Isaac Asimov, John William Draper, Albert Einstein, Frederic Harrison, Thomas Henry Huxley, Robert Ingersoll, Corliss Lamont, Arthur Schopenhauer and Edward Westermarck, was published in 2007.
Joshi is also the author of God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong (2003), an anti-religious polemic against various writers including C. S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, William F. Buckley, Jr., William James, Stephen L. Carter, Annie Dillard, Reynolds Price, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Guenter Lewy, Neale Donald Walsch and Jerry Falwell, which is dedicated to theologian and fellow Lovecraft critic Robert M. Price. In 2006 he published The Angry Right: Why Conservatives Keep Getting It Wrong, which criticized the political writings of such commentators as William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, David and Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, William Bennett, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Irving Kristol and William Kristol, arguing that the values of the American people have become steadily more liberal over time.
In 2011, Joshi was named the editor-in-chief of The American Rationalist magazine, beginning with the July/August 2011 issue.
Joshi was raised in Illinois and Indiana. After attending Brown University, he settled in the New York City area, where he was a senior editor at Chelsea House Publishers. Currently he lives in Seattle, Washington. Joshi married Leslie Gary Boba on September 1, 2001. They divorced in December 2010.
He wed Mary Krawczak Wilson in July, 2014 at a private ceremony in Seattle, WA.
He has since returned his awards from the World Fantasy Convention for their decision to discontinue use of the bust of H.P. Lovecraft as the basis for their awards.
Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce (June 24, 1842 – circa 1914) was an American short story writer, journalist, poet, and Civil War veteran.
Bierce's book The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. His story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" has been described as "one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature"; and his book Tales of Soldiers and Civilians (also published as In the Midst of Life) was named by the Grolier Club as one of the 100 most influential American books printed before 1900.A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States, and as a pioneering writer of realist fiction. For his horror writing, Michael Dirda ranked him alongside Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. His war stories influenced Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway, and others, and he was considered an influential and feared literary critic. In recent decades Bierce has gained wider respect as a fabulist and for his poetry.In December 1913, Bierce traveled to Chihuahua, Mexico, to gain first-hand experience of the Mexican Revolution. He disappeared, and was rumored to be traveling with rebel troops. He was never seen again.An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia
An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia is a reference work written by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz. It covers the life and work of American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. First published in 2001 by Greenwood Publishing Group, it was reissued in a slightly revised paperback edition by Hippocampus Press.
The book provides entries on all of Lovecraft's stories, complete with synopses, publication history and word counts. People from Lovecraft's life, including selected writers who influenced his work, are also included.
Fictional characters from Lovecraft's work are given brief entries, but most Cthulhu Mythos-related subjects are not referenced. "The 'gods' themselves, with rare exceptions, do not figure as 'characters' in any meaningful sense in the tales, so there are no entries on them," the authors explain.Arkham
Arkham () is a fictional town situated in Massachusetts. It is a dark city and an integral part of the Lovecraft Country setting created by H. P. Lovecraft. It is featured in many of his stories and those of other Cthulhu Mythos writers.
Arkham House, a publishing company started by two of Lovecraft's correspondents, August Derleth and Donald Wandrei, takes its name from this city as a tribute.H. P. Lovecraft
Howard Phillips Lovecraft (US: ; August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American writer who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. He was virtually unknown and published only in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, but he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors of horror and weird fiction.Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. Among his most celebrated tales are "The Rats in the Walls", "The Call of Cthulhu", At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, and The Shadow Out of Time, all canonical to the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft was never able to support himself from earnings as an author and editor. He saw commercial success increasingly elude him in this latter period, partly because he lacked the confidence and drive to promote himself. He subsisted in progressively strained circumstances in his last years; an inheritance was completely spent by the time he died, at age 46.Ibid (short story)
"Ibid" is a parody by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1927 or 1928 and first published in the January 1938 issue of O-Wash-Ta-Nong.In the Land of Time, and Other Fantasy Tales
In the Land of Time and Other Fantasy Tales is a posthumous collection of short stories by the writer Lord Dunsany, in the Penguin Classics series. Edited and with an introduction by S.T. Joshi, it assembles material from across Dunsany's long career. The cover illustration is a colourised version of a classic illustration for an early Dunsany story by his preferred artist, Sidney Sime.Lovecraft Country
Lovecraft Country is a term coined by Keith Herber for the New England setting, combining real and fictitious locations, used by H. P. Lovecraft in many of his weird fiction stories, and later elaborated by other writers working in the Cthulhu Mythos. The term was popularized by Chaosium, the producers of the Lovecraftian role-playing game Call of Cthulhu. Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi refers to the area as the "Miskatonic region", after its fictional river and university, while Lovecraft biographer Lin Carter calls it Miskatonic County, though Lovecraft indicates that at least some of his fictional towns were located in the real-life Essex County of Massachusetts.In its 1998 supplement Dead Reckonings, Chaosium defined Lovecraft Country as "a land located in the northeast of Massachusetts. The most important portion stretches along the Miskatonic River valley, from Dunwich in the far west to where it enters the Atlantic Ocean between Arkham, Kingsport, and Martin's Beach." These locations, along with Innsmouth, are a list of the most significant locations in Lovecraft Country.
Sometimes the phrase is used in a more inclusive sense, encompassing not only northeastern Massachusetts but also the southern hills of Vermont (the setting of The Whisperer in Darkness) as well as Lovecraft's hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, where he set such works as The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Haunter of the Dark.Necronomicon
The Necronomicon is a fictional grimoire (textbook of magic) appearing in the stories by the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and his followers. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft's 1924 short story "The Hound", written in 1922, though its purported author, the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, had been quoted a year earlier in Lovecraft's "The Nameless City". Among other things, the work contains an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.
Other authors such as August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith also cited it in their works; Lovecraft approved, believing such common allusions built up "a background of evil verisimilitude." Many readers have believed it to be a real work, with booksellers and librarians receiving many requests for it; pranksters have listed it in rare book catalogues, and a student smuggled a card for it into the Yale University Library's card catalog.Capitalizing on the notoriety of the fictional volume, real-life publishers have printed many books entitled Necronomicon since Lovecraft's death.Poetry and the Gods
"Poetry and the Gods" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft and Anna Helen Crofts. The two authors wrote the story in or shortly before the summer of 1920. It was published the following September in United Amateur, which credits Lovecraft as Henry Paget-Lowe. In the story, a young woman dreams that she has an audience with Zeus, who explains to her that the gods have been asleep and dreaming, but they have chosen a poet who will herald their awakening.The story was written after "The Green Meadow", and before "The Crawling Chaos"—two tales that Lovecraft and Winifred Jackson co-wrote with a Greek mythology basis. What Anna Helen Crofts contributed to "Poetry and the Gods" is unknown. Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi reports that she "appeared sporadically in the amateur press, and may have been introduced to [Lovecraft] by Winifred Jackson." Lovecraft's surviving letters do not mention "Poetry and the Gods".In his 1955 essay on the Cthulhu Mythos, Lovecraft scholar George Wetzel compares the messenger god Hermes in "Poetry and the Gods" with Nyarlathotep, the "messenger of Azathoth". Wetzel considers the dream communication used by Hermes to be "the same psychic device used later by Cthulhu to contact his cult followers."Prometheus Books
Prometheus Books is a publishing company founded in August 1969 by the philosopher Paul Kurtz (who was also the founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, Center for Inquiry, and co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry). Prometheus Books publishes a range of books, focusing on topics such as science, freethought, secularism, humanism, and skepticism. Their headquarters is located in Amherst, New York, and they publish worldwide. The publisher's name was derived from Prometheus, the Titan from Greek mythology who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man. This act is often used as a metaphor for bringing knowledge or enlightenment.
Authors published by Prometheus include Steve Allen, Molefi Asante, Isaac Asimov, Jeremy Bentham, Rob Boston, Ludwig Feuerbach, Antony Flew, R. Barri Flowers, Martin Gardner, Guy P. Harrison, Sidney Hook, Julian Huxley, S. T. Joshi, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, John Maynard Keynes, Philip J. Klass, Leon Lederman, John W. Loftus, Joe Nickell, Friedrich Nietzsche, Mario Perniola, Robert M. Price, James Randi, David Ricardo, Nathan Salmon, George H. Smith, John Steinbeck IV, Victor Stenger, Tom Toles and Ibn Warraq.
Prometheus Books obtained the bulk of the books and manuscripts of Humanities Press International. It has been building and expanding this into a scholarly imprint named Humanity Books. This imprint publishes academic works across a wide spectrum of the humanities.
In 1992 Uri Geller sued Victor J. Stenger and Prometheus Books for libel. The suit was dismissed and Geller was required to pay more than $20,000 in costs to the defendant.In March 2005, Prometheus Books launched the science fiction and fantasy imprint Pyr. In October 2012 it launched the crime fiction imprint Seventh Street Books.
As of 2006, the company and its various imprints have approximately 1,600 books in print and publish approximately 95–100 books per year. Since its founding, Prometheus Books has published more than 2,500 books.
In 2013 Prometheus Books partnered with Random House in an effort to increase sales and distribution.Ramsey Campbell
Ramsey Campbell (born 4 January 1946 in Liverpool) is an English horror fiction writer, editor and critic who has been writing for well over fifty years. He is the author of over 30 novels and hundreds of short stories, many of them widely considered classics in the field. Three of his novels have been filmed, all for non-English-speaking markets.
Since he first came to prominence in the mid-1960s, critics have cited Campbell as one of the leading writers in his field: T. E. D. Klein has written that "Campbell reigns supreme in the field today", and Robert Hadji has described him as "perhaps the finest living exponent of the British weird fiction tradition", while S. T. Joshi stated, "future generations will regard him as the leading horror writer of our generation, every bit the equal of Lovecraft or Blackwood."The Call of Cthulhu
"The Call of Cthulhu" is a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written in the summer of 1926, it was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, in February 1928.The Devil's Dictionary
The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War soldier, wit, and writer Ambrose Bierce consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for magazines and newspapers. Bierce's witty definitions were imitated and plagiarized for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic's Word Book in 1906 and then in a more complete version as The Devil's Dictionary in 1911.
Initial reception of the book versions was mixed. In the decades following, however, the stature of The Devil's Dictionary grew. It has been widely quoted, frequently translated, and often imitated, earning a global reputation. In the 1970s, The Devil's Dictionary was named as one of "The 100 Greatest Masterpieces of American Literature" by the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration. It has been called "howlingly funny", and Wall Street Journal columnist Jason Zweig wrote that The Devil's Dictionary is "probably the most brilliant work of satire written in America. And maybe one of the greatest in all of world literature."The Moon-Bog
"The Moon-Bog" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in or before March 1921. The story was first published in the June 1926 issue of the pulp magazine Weird Tales.The Picture in the House
"The Picture in the House" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft. It was written on December 12, 1920, and first published in the July issue of The National Amateur—which was published in the summer of 1921.The Tree (short story)
"The Tree" is a macabre short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written in 1920, and published in October 1921 in The Tryout. Set in ancient Greece, the story concerns two sculptors who accept a commission with ironic consequences.
Lovecraft wrote "The Tree" early in his career. He was dismissive of the story in a 1936 letter. It was one that, he said, "if typed on good stock make excellent shelf-paper, but little else." The assessment of Lovecraft authority S. T. Joshi was that although the story "may be a trifle obvious… it is an effective display of Lovecraft's skill in handling a historical setting."