- In Defence of Dagon
- Collective title for a series of three essays: “The Defence Reopens!” (3,820 words; January 1921); “The Defence Remains Open!” (5,980 words; April 1921); and “Final Words” (2,100 words; September 1921). First published in its entirety in In Defence of Dagon (Necronomicon Press, 1985). Brief excerpts from the first two essays appeared as “In Defense of Dagon,” Leaves(1938).The essays were written in response to comments on HPL’s poems and stories submitted to the Transatlantic Circulator, an Anglo-American organization of amateur journalists who circulated their work in manuscript and commented on it. The essays present a strong defense of HPL’s brand of weird fiction (the weird writer is “the poet of twilight visions and childhood memories, but sings only for the sensitive”), calling upon Oscar Wilde’s critical theories to combat the notion that weird art (or any art) can be “morbid” or “unhealthy.” HPL also vigorously defends his atheistic materialism (first expressed in a letter or essay that does not now survive), maintaining that religion has been largely disproven by the sciences of physics and biology and that anthropology has accounted for the origin of religious belief. Many comments by other members of the Circulator (which included John Ravenor Bullen, who was perhaps responsible for HPL’s entry into the group) survive at JHL.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.