“Department of Public Criticism“
- Column criticizing amateur publications appearing in the United AmateurHPL wrote the columns for: January 1915; March 1915; May 1915; September 1915; December 1915; April 1916; June 1916; August 1916 (subtitled “First Annual Report, 1915–1916”); September 1916; March 1917; May 1917; July 1917; January 1918; March 1918; May 1918; September 1918 (in part); November 1918 (in part); January 1919 (in part); March 1919; May 1919 (in part). HPL notes (“What Amateurdom and I Have Done for Each Other”) that he had been appointed chairman of the Department of Public Criticism in the fall of 1914, taking over for Ada P.Campbell; HPL was then reappointed to the post for the 1915–16 and 1916–17 terms. Rheinhart Kleiner was appointed chairman for 1917–18, but HPL notes (letter to Arthur Harris, January 12, 1918; ms., JHL) that Kleiner was unable to serve, so that HPL ended up writing some of the articles for that official year. He was reappointed for the 1918–19 year.The articles are, on the whole, rather mundane criticisms of the prose and verse appearing in the amateur journals of the period, largely concerned with pointing out grammatical errors in prose and errors in meter and scansion in poetry; occasionally HPL reveals his own prejudices by contesting the authors’ opinions on literary, social, and political topics. The column was largely designed for an educational purpose, as a means of assisting amateurs to improve their writing skills. Some of HPL’s articles are of great length—the column for September 1915 is 7,225 words long.
An H.P.Lovecraft encyclopedia. S.T. Joshi, David E. Schultz.
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