May 15, 2015

Starry Wisdow: Alan Moore, John Coulthart and HPL

Yuggoth Cultures (1994) by John Coulthart.
Excerpts from a really interesting post published by John Coulthart on his site.


[...] "Yuggoth Cultures" would have been an earlier collection of Lovecraftian fiction and non-fiction that Alan Moore had begun writing for Creation in 1993. Alan’s idea was to take Lovecraft’s "Fungi from Yuggoth" sonnet sequence as the basis for a collection that would explore Lovecraft’s fictional world and also draw together a variety of figures from the same era: fellow writers, occultists like Aleister Crowley and Austin Spare, and Harry Houdini for whom Lovecraft ghost-wrote "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" in 1924. Unfortunately the stars were not right on this occasion; Alan took the sole copy of the half-written manuscript to London in order to read selections at an event in Soho but left the papers in a cab. Some pieces survived, having been copied and stored elsewhere—"The Courtyard" in "The Starry Wisdom" is one of these—and there was talk for a while of the lost pieces being rewritten but enthusiasm for the project flagged.
Cover sketch by Alan Moore.
This is Alan’s sketch for the cover, the idea being to have a Lovecraft head made of fungal growths rather like an Arcimboldo painting. The head would be sprouting tendrils whose loops would contain pictures of some of the people featured in the book. Alan’s quick sketch is actually a better approximation of Lovecraft’s strange features than my painted version which isn’t narrow enough. For the record (and because people always ask), the other people on the cover are Alan himself, Austin Osman Spare, Aleister Crowley, Harry Houdini, Robert E Howard (not Al Capone as people often think) and Clark Ashton Smith
[...]

The complete article can be read here.

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