- Astrology, Articles on
- Six articles written in late 1914 for the [Providence] Evening Newsto combat the astrological articles of J.F.Hartmann. All articles (including those by Hartmann) rpt. Science vs. Charlatanry: Essays on Astrology(Strange Co., 1979). They are: Letter to the editor (September 9; as “Science Versus Charlatanry”); Letter to the editor (October 10; as “The Falsity of Astrology”); Letter to the editor (October 13; as “Astrlogh [sic]and the Future“ [by “Isaac Bickerstaffe, Jr.”]); ”Delavan’s Comet and Astrology“ (October 26 [by “Isaac Bickerstaffe, Jr.”]); Letter to the editor (December 17; as “The Fall of Astrology”); Letter to the editor (December 21 [by “Isaac Bickerstaffe, Jr.”]).HPL was irked when the local astrologer Joachim Friedrich Hartmann (1848–1930) published an article in the Evening News,“Astrology and the European War” (September 9), in the exact location (the top of the last page) where HPL’s astronomy columns typically appeared. HPL replied with two hostile and intemperate letters, to the first of which Hartmann replied with a letter of his own (published October 7). HPL then employed the satirical method of Jonathan Swift, who in his “Isaac Bickerstaffe” articles predicted the death of the astrologer Partridge and then wrote a convincing account of Partridge’s death, whereupon Partridge had a difficult time proving he was still alive; HPL’s pieces merely parody astrological technique by making vague and absurd predictions of the distant future. Hartmann feebly rejoined with two further pieces—“The Science of Astrology” (October 22) and “A Defense of Astrology” (December 14)—in which he ridiculed the Bickerstaffe pieces, unaware that HPL had written them.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.