The Contributions within Lovecraft's Collaborations

The latter portion of Lovecraft's writing career was dirproportionately characterized by collaborations with other authors.  However, his contribution to the works varies greatly.  In some cases, he contributed little more than a suggestion (e.g., the posthumous "collaborations" authored by August Derleth).  In others, just the opposite (e.g., "The Mound").  Obviously, all of these works are not equal, but they are invariably lumped together as though they were.  As a result, some of the author's work has been somewhat mistakenly set aside under impression that his voice was dilluted by working with a co-author when, in reality, some stories may as well be considered to be entirely original Lovecraft stories.  This page attempts to sift through the collaborations and revisions HPL worked on and catalog what portion of these pieces can be credited to Lovecraft.


Note that I am not doing any scholarship here.  I'm merely reporting in one place summaries of prior work done on each of these stories.  Much of the text on this page is from (or at least adapted from) Wikipedia.  Additional text comprise my summaries of S.T. Joshi's notes and annotations from The Crawling Chaos and Others and Medusa's Coil and Others, The Annotated Revisions and Collaborations of H.P. Lovecraft, Volumes 1 and 2, respectively, although even those volumes do not contain everything attributed to HPL.  (For specifics, see this page.)


Alcestis - In the 1930s Sonia Greene wrote a play called "Alcestis", in which the Prologue is written in Lovecraft's hand.  It was unpublished until the mid-1980s when it was issued in a facsimile holograph edition of 200 copies by R. Alain Everts' The Strange Company as by H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene.  Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, however, considers that the play is likely entirely Greene's work.  The manuscript of "Alcestis" is amongst Greene's papers at the John Hay Library.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Greene)

Ashes (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.) - Eddy's entry in Wikipedia states that "Lovecraft's contribution seems to have ranged from making suggestions and perhaps a paragraph change."  None of his stories appear in the two volumes of "Annotated Revisions and Collaborations of H.P. Lovecraft" by S.T. Joshi, which strongly suggests they do not represent collaborations so much as Lovecraft providing merely editorial input.  However, those volumes do contain stories for which the same can be said (and is said by Joshi!), often by including the story as an appendix.  A key difference is that Eddy's stories are still under copyright (now held by his family), whereas none of the others are, thus restricting their publication (Joshi explicitly) states this as the reason for their exclusion from these volumes), so the jury is still out until some definitive statement comes to light.  There are conflicting opinions and information about Lovecraft's involvement.  Eddy's wife stated in her memoirs that Lovecraft came over frequently to work on the stories.  Joshi states that if Lovecraft was substantially involved, the revisions must be among his worst, and the subject matter in some cases is unlike was he was known to write.  However, two of the stories were rejected in their original form by Weird Tales, only to be accepted after Lovecraft's revisions, so who knows?

The Battle that Ended the Century (with R. H. Barlow) - No data yet.

Bothon (with Henry S. Whitehead) - No data yet.

The Challenge from Beyond (with C. L. Moore; A. Merritt; Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long) - This piece was seemingly written as a "round-robin" exercise.  The full story and some analysis can be found here: http://skullsinthestars.com/2013/09/02/the-challenge-from-beyond-with-moore-merritt-lovecraft-howard-and-long/
.

Collapsing Cosmoses (with R.H. Barlow) - No data yet.

The Crawling Chaos (with Winifred V. Jackson) - "Lovecraft wrote the entire text, but Jackson is credited since the story was based on a dream she experienced."  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crawling_Chaos)

The Curse of Yig (with Zealia Bishop) - Bishop supplied the story idea and some notes, paying Lovecraft to flesh it out in 1928. It could be said the tale was "ghost-written"; however, others class it as a "collaboration". Bishop then sold the story under her own name to Weird Tales magazine.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Curse_of_Yig)  Joshi states that the synopses Bishop supplied for the three stories Lovecraft ghostwrote for her were "quite weak and conventional" and that for the most part these tales are the closest of the revisions in quality to Lovecraft's own.

Deaf, Dumb, and Blind (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.) - See the entry for
"Ashes" (above).

The Diary of Alonzo Typer (with William Lumley) - No data yet.

The Disinterment (with Duane W. Rimel) - No data yet.

The Electric Executioner (with Adolphe de Castro) - No data yet, but Joshi points out that this and "The Last Test" contain "dialogue, attempts at delated character portrayal, and "action" scenes that Lovecraft was clearly incapable of handling with any great competence," which suggest Lovecraft was forced to retain many elements from the original drafts of these two stories.  However, Joshi points out features of "The Last Test" that indication that HPL had a large role in that story either way (See that entry for specifics).

Four O'Clock (with Sonia Greene) -
In the introduction to The Crawling Chaos and Others, Joshi states that, "Late in life Sonia sent August Derleth another story [after "The Horror at Martin’s Beach"], previousy unpublished, on which she claimed that Lovecraft had worked...  Much earlier, however, Sonia had told the earlyLovecraft scholar Winfield Townley Scott that Lovecraft had only suggested changes in the prose... but in fact, the prose seems quite Lovecraftian in spots, so I suspect Lovecraft had more of a hand in the story than Sonia suggested to Scott."  The story is included as an appendix in that volume.

The Ghost-Eater (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.) -
See the entry for "Ashes" (above).

The Green Meadow (with Winifred V. Jackson) - Lovecraft wrote the entire text, but Jackson is credited since it was based on a dream she had experienced.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Green_Meadow)  Note: Lovecraft had a similar dream himself which started off the story before learning of Jackson's dream.

The Hoard of the Wizard-Beast (with R. H. Barlow) - No data yet.

The Horror at Martin’s Beach (with Sonia H. Greene) - a.k.a."The Invisible Monster," which was revised and edited by H. P. Lovecraft for publication in Weird Tales (November, 1923).  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonia_Greene).  I haven't read much else about this, but this reads very much like Lovecraft story in content, whether that was because the idea originated with him or Green was influenced by her husband's previous works. 
In the introduction to The Crawling Chaos and Others, Joshi only states that this was "[a]nother story to which Lovecraft might have chosen to affix his byline," though he doesn't dissect the contributions.

The Horror in the Burying-Ground (with Hazel Heald) -
No data yet.

The Horror in the Museum (with Hazel Heald) - Nothing stated on Wikipedia regarding contributions.

In the Walls of Eryx (with Kenneth Sterling) - Sterling, a precocious Providence high school student who had befriended Lovecraft the previous year, gave Lovecraft a draft of the story in January 1936. This draft included the idea of an invisible maze--a concept Sterling recalled as being derived from the story "The Monster-God of Mamurth" by Edmond Hamilton, published in the August 1926 issue of Weird Tales, which featured an invisible building in the Sahara Desert.

Lovecraft thoroughly rewrote Sterling's draft, lengthening the story to 12,000 words (from an original 6,000-8,000). Though the original draft does not survive, most of the prose in the published version is believed to be Lovecraft's.

The Last Test (with Adolphe de Castro) - The story more than doubled in size from the original version by de Castro once Lovecraft revised it.  The most important change is that the original did not include any supernatural elements, whereas Lovecraft changed the focus to include that.  Additionally, HPL added references to his own mythos which makes it not only revised but "Lovecraftian."  However, see also "The Electric Executioner" above.


The Loved Dead (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.) -
See the entry for "Ashes" (above).

The Man of Stone (with Hazel Heald) - No data yet.

Medusa's Coil (with Zealia Bishop) - Her stories appeared in the magazine Weird Tales. However, they were extensively revised by H. P. Lovecraft to the point of being ghostwritten.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zealia_Bishop)  See also "The Curse of Yig" above.

The Mound (with Zealia Bishop) - "The Mound" is a novella (indeed one of HPL's longest works!) that Lovecraft wrote as a ghostwriter from December 1929 to January 1930 after he was hired by Zealia Bishop to create a story based on the following plot synopsis: "There is an Indian mound near here, which is haunted by a headless ghost.  Sometimes it is a woman." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mound_%28short_story%29)
  See also "The Curse of Yig" above.

The Night Ocean (with R.H. Barlow) -
In the introduction to The Crawling Chaos and Others, Joshi states that "Till A' the Seas" is probably more than half Lovecraft's, but he no doubt wished to encourage the young author by allowing it to appear under Barlow's name only; while "The Night Ocean" is probably 90% Barlow's, so a collaborative byline would have been inappropriate."

Out of the Aeons (with Hazel Heald) - No data yet.

Poetry and the Gods (with Anna Helen Crofts) - No data yet.

Satan's Servants (by Robert Bloch) - This tale is sometime listed as 'revised' by Lovecraft, as indeed, it was presented in "Something About Cats," one of the early collections from Arkham House.  However, while Lovecraft lent advice on this early tale of Bloch's (which was first written 1935) he does not appear to have written any prose in the story.  Lovecraft's notes amounting to a page and half of comments and suggestions are printed in the collection as an appendix.

The Slaying of the Monster (with R. H. Barlow) - No data yet.

The Sorcery of Aphlar (with Duane W. Rimel) - No data yet, but Joshi included the story only as an appendix in his collections of revisions and collaborations because "it is unclear whether Lovecraft's involvement is significant enough to classify the story as a revision."

The Thing in the Moonlight (with J. Chapman Miske) - J. Chapman Miske wrote this based on a letter from H. P. Lovecraft to Donald Wandrei.  This letter describes a dream that Lovecraft had.  The story was prepared for publication by Miske, who filled in the story surrounding the description of the dream.  In places, the letter and published story are identical, word-for-word.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_in_the_Moonlight)

Through the Gates of the Silver Key (with E. Hoffmann Price) - The story has its origins in Price's enthusiasm for an earlier Lovecraft tale. "One of my favorite HPL stories was, and still is, 'The Silver Key'," Price wrote in a 1944 memoir. "In telling him of the pleasure I had had in rereading it, I suggested a sequel to account for [protagonist] Randolph Carter's doings after his disappearance." After convincing an apparently reluctant Lovecraft to agree to collaborate on such a sequel, Price wrote a 6,000-word draft in August 1932; in April 1933, Lovecraft produced a 14,000-word version that left unchanged, by Price's estimate, "fewer than fifty of my original words," though An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia reports that Lovecraft "kept as many of Price's conceptions as possible, as well as some of his language." Thus many of the central ideas of the story like 'Umr at-Tawil, the talk of mathematical planes and multiple facets of Randolph Carter throughout Time and Space come from Price, who was well read in neoplatonic thought, theosophy and the occult. Even the quote from the Necronomicon is mainly by Price in outline though put in more Lovecraftian language. The sub-plot about Yaddith was entirely Lovecraft's idea however.

In any case, Price was pleased with the result, writing that Lovecraft "was right of course in discarding all but the basic outline. I could only marvel that he had made so much of my inadequate and bungling start." The story appeared under both authors' bylines in the July 1934 issue of Weird Tales; Price's draft was published as "The Lord of Illusion" in Crypt of Cthulhu No. 10 in 1982.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Through_the_Gates_of_the_Silver_Key)

“Till A’ the Seas” (with R.H. Barlow) - Nothing stated on Wikipedia regarding contributions.  However, in an interview with S.T. Joshi on YouTube (W.H. Pugmire's channel), it was stated that Lovecraft wrote "maybe 10%" of this leaving Barlow almost entirely responsible for the work.  Maybe I misunderstood or Joshi misspoke*, because in the introduction to The Crawling Chaos and Others, Joshi states that "Till A' the Seas" is probably more than half Lovecraft's, but he no doubt wished to encouage the young author by allowing it to appear under Barlow's name only; while "The Night Ocean" is probably 90% Barlow's, so a collaborative byline would have been inappropriate."
*He may have been referring to "The Night Ocean."

The Trap (with Henry S. Whitehead) - No data yet.

The Tree on the Hill (with Duane W. Rimel) - Nothing stated on Wikipedia regarding contributions.

Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman) - Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman) - Although the story began with Talman, HPL rewrote a large portion of it, particularly the dialog (Talman was unhappy with the revised dialog, incidentally, though there isn't so much of it that it should be a main point of concern).  It doesn't read much like a Lovecraft story, so I personally feel like he simply did some editorial work on it rather than reinventing the underlying mechanics or changing the thrust of it.  There are certainly no references to the mythos (Compare with "The Last Test," by contrast).

Under the Pyramids (with Harry Houdini) - Facing financial problems, J. C. Henneberger, the founder and owner of Weird Tales, wanted to associate the popular Harry Houdini with the magazine in order to boost its readership.  Following the introduction of an "Ask Houdini" column, as well as the publication of two short stories allegedly written by the escape artist, Henneberger sought out Lovecraft in February 1924 and commissioned him to write the tale of a supposedly true experience that Houdini had had in Egypt.  Lovecraft was paid $100 (approximately $1340 in present day terms) to ghostwrite the story, at the time the largest sum he had ever been given as an advance.  This was a major factor in motivating him to take the job as, after listening to Houdini's story and researching its background, Lovecraft concluded that the tale was completely fabricated and requested permission from Henneberger to take artistic license. After receiving clearance from the editor, he began his writing by spending considerable time researching the setting in books issued by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as well as by frequently visiting the museum's Egyptian exhibits.

Lovecraft completed "Under the Pyramids" in February 1924, but lost his original draft of the story at Union Station in Providence, Rhode Island when he was on his way to New York to get married.  He was forced to spend much of his honeymoon in Philadelphia retyping the manuscript.  The work's original title, "Under the Pyramids", is known only from the lost and found advertisement that he placed in the The Providence Journal.  The tale was printed in the May-June-July 1924 edition of Weird Tales under the title "Imprisoned with the Pharaohs" and without credit to Lovecraft in the byline, as Henneberger thought that this would confuse the readers, since the narrative was told entirely from Houdini's first-person perspective. Lovecraft would later receive credit in the editor's note of the 1939 reprint.

Winged Death (with Hazel Heald) - No data yet.


The breakdown

I've taken the stories for which I have data and categorized them by HPL's involvement.

Almost completely by HPL:
The Crawling Chaos (with Winifred V. Jackson)
The Curse of Yig (with Zealia Bishop)
The Green Meadow (with Winifred V. Jackson)
Medusa's Coil (with Zealia Bishop)
The Mound (with Zealia Bishop)
The Thing in the Moonlight (with J. Chapman Miske)
Under the Pyramids (with Harry Houdini)
Roughly half by HPL*:
The Electric Executioner (with Adolphe de Castro)
Four O'Clock (with Sonia Greene)
The Horror at Martin’s Beach (with Sonia H. Greene)
In the Walls of Eryx (with Kenneth Sterling)
The Last Test (with Adolphe de Castro)
Through the Gates of the Silver Key (with E. Hoffmann Price)
Till A' the Seas (with R.H. Barlow)
Barely by HPL:
Alcestis (by Sonia Greene)
Ashes (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.)

The Challenge from Beyond (with C. L. Moore; A. Merritt; Robert E. Howard, and Frank Belknap Long)
Deaf, Dumb, and Blind (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.)
The Ghost-Eater (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.)
The Loved Dead (with C. M. Eddy, Jr.)
The Sorcery of Aphlar (with Duane W. Rimel)
The Night Ocean (with R.H. Barlow)
No data yet:
The Battle that Ended the Century (with R. H. Barlow)
Bothon (with Henry S. Whitehead)
Collapsing Cosmoses (with R.H. Barlow)
The Diary of Alonzo Typer (with William Lumley)
The Disinterment (with Duane W. Rimel)
The Hoard of the Wizard-Beast (with R. H. Barlow)
The Horror in the Burying-Ground (with Hazel Heald)
The Horror in the Museum (with Hazel Heald)
The Man of Stone (with Hazel Heald)
Out of the Aeons (with Hazel Heald)
Poetry and the Gods (with Anna Helen Crofts)
The Slaying of the Monster (with R. H. Barlow)
The Trap (with Henry S. Whitehead)
The Tree on the Hill (with Duane W. Rimel)
Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman)
Winged Death (with Hazel Heald)
*It's hard to quantify contributions, but I'm including stories here in which the text was largely or almost entirely HPL, but the plotting originated with another author.  This is as opposed to stories where Lovecraft only took a vague premise as a starting point, not a completed draft.


If you can point me to any information about the proportional authorship of any of these works, please email me.  Thanks!
   

Copyright 2013 the Ale[x]orcist.  Updated 2015, 2016.
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