Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

598 Angell St.
July 30, 1923

My dear Smith:--

.....I shall be 33 next month, & am already falling into the role of the comfortable, benevolent old gentleman! Tranquility, though, was always my goal. I have always had a deep & persistent notion that life doesn't amount to very much, & that it would have been better if one had never been born. I have doubted whether anything in existence be worth the sacrifice of simple placidity & freedom from strong emotion, & have thus vegetated along very quietly, more of an epicurean in the strict historical sense than a hedonist of the Cyrenaic kind—which most moderns seem to be. And I still think my phlegmatic way & detached cosmic attitude have gained me more than they have lost me. Doubtless my position is highly inartistic—but I don't let that worry me. I can summon up enough ghouls & lemures to amuse my idle hours--& it's all the better if they don't harrow me up as they used to do in my nervous nightmares—which were most marked when I was six years old. But I digress.

I am glad you find something of intereste in The Other Gods. Yes—it represents me in my most Dunsanian mood. Truly, Dunsany has influenced me more than anyone else except Poe—his rich language, his cosmic point of view, his remote dream-world, & his exquisite sense of the fantastic, all appeal to me more than anything else in modern literature. My first encounter with him—in the autumn of 1919—gave an immense impetus to my writing; perhaps the greatest it has ever had....

—H P L

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 139

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