english | the author as ecosystem, the case of H.P. Lovecraft

tentative de recensement et cartographie temporelle pour l’approche d’un auteur
attention : work in progress 15 avril -> 15 juin


À l’invitation de Lionel Ruffel et Annette Gilbert, se tiendra à la Haus der Kulturen der Welt de Berlin, les 13 et 14 juin, un événement intitulé The publishing sphere – ecosystems of ontemporary literatures.

Ma propre intervention interrogera ce que le numérique déplace à l’approche d’un auteur, et je prendrai bien sûr pour exemple H.P. Lovecraft.

Pour répondre à la demande des organisateurs, je tiendrai ici, jusqu’à l’événement lui-même – où cela sera restitué sous forme de performance interactive –, une tentative de simple cartographie contextuelle de cette approche, mais que je souhaite rendre, en ligne et pour les 2 mois à venir, la plus exhaustive possible.

Donc désolé si les commencements sont minces – et style télégraphique–, mais ça devrait vite se densifier. J’ouvre d’autre part les commentaires, serai plus qu’heureux si c’est l’occasion d’un atelier collectif et ouvert.

Vous pouvez télécharger ici le PDF « abstract » de l’événement :

Parmi les autres invités, lire en ligne les mêmes notes de recherche de Marcello Vitali-Rosati (super heureux de le retrouver, l’italiano-montréalais !) – les autres dès que.

mapping an author
a progressive cartography of an author as ecosystem

lifetime, an incomplete inventory _ 1st circle, the published ecosystem _ around or about HPL, 2nd circle of the same ecosystem _ HPL, translated & published in France _ the web ecosystem _ how to write about Lovecraft - Lovecraft, from crossmedia to transmedia _ what about that mess and why ?

prliminary notic : problm with the e key of my MacBook and no money to gt a nw on
sorry for th inconvninc, not at all a tribut to Mr Gorg Prc


description and extension of an author as ecosystem

(and the parallel dream to apply it on ourselves)


| lifetime, an incomplete inventory |

 1.1., point of departure : how one of the most considerable and productive american writer of the 20th century didn’t published a single book in his lifetime ;

 1.2., the tin metal box with his non-published manuscripts (attested in a New York letter, requiring his aunt Lilian to send it with other items left in Providence, no further description nor archive) ;

 1.3., the diaries, a new one each year, a quote per day, and the related utilities (the diary from 1925 at the John Hay Library, binding partially destroyed and not fixed, no other ones keeped, but a mention of the 1928’s one, when his bag is thiefed on a boat in Albany, and the 1927’s one, probably a Sonia’s gift, used in 1933 for his notes about imaginary and composition ;

 1.4., the letters : number estimated 35 000 (minimum), approximately 5 000 keped at the John Hay Library, approximately 1 800 actually published (ST Joshi/David Schultz), of witch a lot of postcards, but only one face copied (despite HPL’s care of chosing the image sent) – definitely lost : all letters to Sonia, after the false divorce ;

 1.5., audio archives : no record of phone calls (regular use from 1924 up to 1937), no audio recording (despite use of the tool in his narratives), no radio broadcasting (despite the incredible expansion of the media, particularly in his New York years) (to compare with Algernon Blackwood, even his elder) ;

 1.6., library : approximately 1 000 books owned, exhaustive inventory done (and published by S.T. Joshi) after his death by a neighbor, at the request of the surviving aunt, and scattered after her death ;

 1.7., manuscripts and typescripts : all the manuscripts given to Barlow in return for typescripts, both setted down to the John Hay Library after HPL’s death, with some exceptions (incredible fate of In the shadow of time manuscript, found in Hawai in 1999) ; all the manuscripts sent to Derleth, or typescripts and carbon papers published by Weird Tales and others ;

 1.8., a total of 70 photographies with HPL identified on them, alone or with other relative or friends, very improbable to find nw ones ; some photographies lost : shooting made when living at Barlow’s house in Florida, 2nd stay ;

 1.9., photographies made by HPL himself : th first weeks in New York, 1924, astounded by the city, he borrows Sonia’s Kodak – images destroyed or disappeared ;

 1.10., drawings and maps : the recurrent and precise description of his room, writing desk, tools and utilities books ; how HPL’s drawings, in scenarii or notes, are so poor compared to the richness of the words...

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| 1st circle, the published ecosystem |

 2.1., eBooks : annotated and critical editions, and how Joshi’s digital version The Lovecraft Encyclopedia furnishes another dream, but uncompleted (or : the digitalized media insufficient by itself, if producing a new enclosure) ;

 2.2., the Hippocampus unique CD-Rom (non-fiction only) : how we read by occurrences and not by the titles table ;

 2.3., an exceptional experience : I am Providence by ST Joshi, a fixed printed book but a digital work in progress on Kindle – the possible dream of a fully exhaustive biography ? (and my own dream of a biography made of what we can’t know) ; corollary : my rage not to find any french publisher ready to launch the translation...

 2.4., of what use is a print (and partial) publication of the letters, instead of a full and collaborative digital tagged version ?

 2.5., question about publishing : when HPL and his circle of friends (Loveman, Kirk, Belknap-Long, Morton) write a 4 carbons letter and send each letter to the 4 others, is it a published or a private act ?

 2.6., question about publishing : when the same improvisation is written again, identical or similar version, in 3 different letters to 3 different persons, would it be called « published » or not, in our actual social network ecosystem ?

 2.7., as for Baudelaire, Proust or Kafka, the total impossibility to conceive a Lovecraft’s Complete works – « the annotated Lovecraft« , published in 2015, concerns only the main narratives – do our « complete works » dream is a simple projection of our impossible grief about the printed work, and the difficulty to conceive the work as ecosystem ?

 2.8., parallel copyright ecosystem : every text published or partially published during lifetime elevated in public domain ; every text published after his death (Derleth), copyrighted by the Lovecraft fundation (request 500€ to publish the 1925’s diary, 25 pages), each translation copyrighted by the foreign publisher : strict controls on Amazon CreateSpace, absolutely no control on Amazon Kindle, dozen of worn translations on eBooks without the translator’s name, most of them hacking the Bouquins version, without any claim from the publisher... no request to my own request to buy a copyright for Sonia’s memoir...

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| around or about HPL, 2nd circle of the same ecosystem |

 3.1., an echoing ecosystem : how we have to reinvent the american story of literature, the importance of Lovecraft leading to open again Bierce, Blackwood, Dunsany, Machen, Rhode James and others, and why so neglected ?

 3.2., the direct testimonies of Frank Belknap-Long, George Kirk, Willis Conover, Galpin and many others : an ecosystem by itself ? the particular case of Sonia’s Private Life of HP Lovecraft, written 10 years after the death of her husband ;

 3.3., Lovecraft as meme : a character that seems born in HPL’s fictions and narratives becomes the idea or the representation of the author and his life – Lovecraft as depressed, solitary, stuck in Providence and how it had could become the main figure of the author (Houllebecq’s book for example) ;

 3.4., Cthulhu’s fan fictions : how Lovecraft didn’t invented any mythology, but how Derleth invented Lovecraft by using his mythology – would Lovecraft have existed without the false Lovecraft posthumously built ?

 3.5., the Cthulhu’s role play : how to play Lovecraft and not to read him :

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| HPL translated, published and studied in France|

 4.1., role acted by Cocteau, Breton et other surrealists : an intellectual affair, as for Edgar Poe ?

 4.2., the 1st french essay (Maurice Levy) and his action on US reception in return ;

 4.3., shortened texts, shortened translations, recomposition of volumes, sci-fi context, who is the french Lovecraft ?

 4.4., what does it mean, in the book economy and its symbolic values, to be classified as an horror writer ?

 4.5., the very strange story of Julien Gracq visiting August Derleth by force : how I knew someone who knew someone who knew Lovecraft ?

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| the web ecosystem |

 5.1., The Lovecraft Archive – but who is Donovan K Louks ? – on the web, seniority coming before scienticity ? – and note the last actualization of this 1st ranked and most complete web site is from summer 2011...

 5.2., researchers blogs and websites, some examples : The Cthulhu Files, S.T. Joshi’s website, and blog, David Haden’s TentaclII, Lovecraft and his Legacy...

 5.3., a broadcast and films ecosystem : torrents, forums – see Mega or Mega (other type of ecosytem : stability of the resources, unstability of their prmannt moving)...

 5.4., communities : the french Facebook groups, the Lovecraftothèque ;

 5.5., find his grave (how it creates an archetypal image, but impossible to find it at Swan Point Cemetery without using a connected device)

 5.6., creative writing : invented forms rooted on the Commonplace Book ; and particularly this e-generated Lovecraft : not trying to generate short-stories, but using the Commonplace Book ideas as support : HP Lovecraft bot on Twitter, far better than the title bot, an Innsmouth bot, Cthulhu bot ;

 5.7., the digital pictures archives and libraries as an opened inventory : buses, bridges, books ; very important : we learn to contextualize the narratives, and their grammar of invention, as th library of available sources grow vith the free digital access : for example, to read each morning, during the whole year 2015, what happened in the 1925’s New York Times, same day of the week, in 1925, knowing that HPL also read the same news at the same hour, everyday ?

 5.8., how the web learns us to read the past : YouTube as a contextual tool, for example The 24 dollars island (13’ documentory of New York in 1927, by Robert Flaherty), or The last laugh, (Murnau, 1924, with Emil Janning) a film seen by Lovecraft, and showing us how he lives in Brooklyn ;

 5.9., Google Street View as a witness of the unknown – Lovecraft writing about places, and how today the places help to write our Lovecraft ? example of the Ladd Observatory in Providence ;

 5.10., is the mystery of the author by himself who helps the biographical approach in french as crossmedia : - for example this portrait polyphonique de H.P. Lovecraft by David Collin at the Swiss radio, or Le cas Lovecraft, a french documentary based on archives, by Patrick Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic ;

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| how to write about Lovecraft |

 6.1., axiom : is it possible to write about a foreign author without retranslating him ? corollary : the paratext of the single translations as part of an essay, the tree structure (arborescence) as the study by itself ?

 6.2., a website attempt (2013-2015), my defunct thelovecraftmonument.com

 6.3., if a direct experiment (visiting a city, exploring a cavern, urban walks, bus travels) precedes and get ahead the writing, how documenting this experience adds to our knowledge of the main work ? – very important concept for us, since Debord or Perec, but numerous intersection points in HPL (He, Whisperer in darkness) ;

 6.4., how to contextualize a diary : 1925-2015, please live daily 90 years ago

 6.5., an economical challenge : some amounts, and the misery of actual times

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| Lovecraft, from crossmedia to transmedia |

 7.1., Providence as a fiction : immersive perspectives in Virtual Reality, a new way to include the author in his narrative – an example with Philip K Dick, I Philip

 7.2., « l’instant Lovecraft » : about the impossibility to caracterize myself what I’m doing, how and why, except to do it ;

 7.3., the translation as permanent work in progress, on digital as well on print

 7.4., the Print On Demand as an ecosystem by itself : a) no more difference between main stream publishers and slf publishing, b) the software behind the POD is fully the digital ecosystem (same as eBooks), c) Hippocampus Press printed in UK or Germany, my Commonplace Book printed in California : the water comparison used by Kenneth Goldsmith ;

 7.5., strange similarities with what brought HPL to fiction writing : 1st printed meteorological chronicle at 14, then amateur journalism... other very potent figures en HPL’s life : the magazine publishing (Weird Tales among many others), the permanent use of public libraries and 2nd hand bookshops, writing as a collective adventure ;

 7.6., important to notice how HPL, the writer without a book, has a permanent reading experience outside of the book domain (newspapers, magazines, reeceived letters or phone calls) : a user ecosystem as a background to the ecosystem he’s building, invisible to himself ?

 7.7., my own ecosystem : a black carboard suitcase of manusripts up to 1992 – serie initiated in 1977, but the whole bunch of notebooks voluntarily destroyed in 1983) ; digital archives transposed from Atari to Mac since 1991 (1988-1991 : lost), exhaustive bibliography ceased in 2000 ; computer hard drive, external hard dive with images, another one for manual backups and heavy datas, another one for Time Machine ; a back up on Dropbox ; my website on ovh.com : one main data base and 4 secondary ones ; list of lost datas : long list ; defunct blogs and sites, under my own name or not : long list ; my own site on webarchive ; since 1997, and later at the BNF/Heritrix, public access, but not the private section of the site ; no more notebooks of any kind since 1994 (except briefly for Paysage Fer) ; on my computer : mails and agenda available approximately since 2005 (data base) ; absolutely no hand written letters since 2007 (since Julien Gracq’s death, who remained my last and lone correspondent) ; material files on my computer approximately 9 000 (on my hard drives and on Dropbox) ; other datebases : Ulysses database for my drafts and notes (Ulysses is my main tool for notes and drafts) ; a material archive for all my Tweets from 2011 to 2015 (no archive for my Tweets from 2008 to 2011, nor since 2015), no downloaded archive for my status or images on Facebook (since 2006) or Instagram ; important : the lone reference for my printed work, since the origin, are the text files, scanned or revised, in my computer or private part of the web site – so no need to build an archive for the POD work ; only one thing serious : this web site (but no backup outside ovh, no possibilty to keep it alive after an eventual or accidental death (I asked their CEO, kind answer but nothing done) ; the fact that I always forget to mention my 700 videos on YouTube as a proof of their ephemeral life, no backup ; in the garage, approximately 4 dead laptops, but most of my old ones erased and given to my children – a good bunch of dead hard drives, but don’t know why I keep them ;

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| what about that mess and why ? |

 8.1., why are the US people so dumbs and deafs about HPL ? how is it possible that I’ve been the first to publish – in french and not in english, the 1933’s diary ?

 8.2., the task to build a new story of literature as a retrospective look (already in Proust) ;

 8.3., the task to understand our own word, in a state of deep mutation or transition : the technical transition of the 20’s (telephone, radio, airplanes, cosmos, relativity, travels) as the vocabulary of the unknown ; Lovecraft against anticipation ;

 8.4., working on an author : what Barthes called préparation du roman (the novel making up) as we wait for our writing, or the writing by itself, non-fiction now more powerful than fiction, but same stuff same aim ?

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responsable publication François Bon © Tiers Livre Éditeur, cf mentions légales
diffusion sous licence Creative Commons CC-BY-SA
1ère mise en ligne 15 avril 2017 et dernière modification le 11 juin 2018
merci aux 33149 visiteurs qui ont consacré 1 minute au moins à cette page