Since running the article on Hodgson’s poetry by E. A. Edkins from the June, 1944, issue of THE READER AND COLLECTOR, several of our readers have filled in some information about the enigmatic Mr. Edkins. First, here we have this picture of Edkins from 1925, courtesy of Juha-Matti Majala:
Juha-Matti also added the following information:
“I recently happened to obtain a book which prints (reset) the complete three volume run of the amateur journal The Aonian which Edkins edited and Timothy Thrift published. (The book lacks identification other than “Lucky Dog Press”, but was evidently issued by Thrift near the end of the 1940s.) There’s a good 1920s photo of Edkins included as a frontispiece (as is one of Thrift — and the best photo of “Tryout” Smith that I have seen elsewhere
in the book).
“Interesting that Edkins commented on Hodgson’s poetry. Apparently he had some interest in the weird, and in fact wrote (during the “halcyon days” of amateur journalism) a story which HPL praised — need to look up the title, it may be “Phantasm”. He writes not having read WHH’s fiction, though. It’s a great loss that Lovecraft’s letters to EAE evidently perished (at least for the most part, as far as I know not even the possible few surviving items have come to light so far). I’ll try to summarise what I know of Edkins together with the scan — as I mentioned in The Nonconformist, I’m currently researching information on the Lovecraft associates with Christopher O’Brien, although we haven’t yet looked into EAE very carefully.”
In addition, the ever helpful Gene Biancheri contributed this:
ERNEST A. EDKINS [1867-1946] was born in England and migrated with his family to Canada in 1869. His father was an expert gunsmith who had joined the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, then returned to England. Ernest was self-educated and became an executive for Commonwealth Edison in Chicago. His literary talents as a poet, essayist, editorialist, writer of short stories and critic were enhanced by an interest in amateur journalism — he joined The Fossils in 1906. After his retirement in 1934, he renewed his efforts in trying to improve the literary standards of amateur journalism through the influence of H. P. Lovecraft. Edward H. Cole, in his obituary for fellow Fossil Edkins, called him “probably the most notable writer [in] amateur journalism.” [Source of this bio: THE FOSSIL, Vol. XLIV, No. 2, October 1946.]
Obviously, there is much more work that needs to be done regarding Edkins! Lets hope we hear more soon.
The June, 1944, issue of THE READER AND COLLECTOR contained two small snippets of Hodgson poetry on pages that had extra space. In the interest of completeness, I am reproducing them here so that all of the booklet is represented. The first, “The Ghost Pirates”, comprised the bottom half of the page with August Derleth’s paragraph, “William Hope Hodgson”:
The Ghost Pirates
“Strange as the glimmer of
the ghostly light
That shines from some vast crest
of wave at night.”
The second bit of poetry appeared at the end of the Fritz Leiber, Jr., article, “William Hope Hodgson: Writer of Supernatural Horror”:
The Place of Storms
“While, in the sea, far down between Storm’s Knees,
I saw a bloated horror watching there–
A waiting shape, a shark; and deeper still,
A hideous, loathsome, writhing mass, that claimed
The Ocean’s silent bed–a foul affront
To Nature’s strange and wondrous handiwork,
Smirching the very deep with darker hue.”
I would like to express my extreme gratitude to everyone who has been reading this blog regularly. It’s easy to get discouraged when you take on a project like this so I appreciate all your support. I am often amazed by the varied countries that show that someone from there has read something on the blog. The U.S. is the #1 country so far, followed by the U.K. (not surprisingly) but I have also had hits from such places as Finland, Serbia, Kahzistan and many other places that I never knew had any interest in Hodgson. I’m thrilled to see such activity and hope that it will continue to grow in the future.
I’d like to open up this opportunity for anyone to ask me any question you might have about Hodgson and his work. I want to make this a regular feature of the blog so please, don’t be shy. No question is stupid. I will happily answer any and all questions to the best of my ability. Just leave your question in the comment section for this post and I will compile them all into a future post. When’s the last time you’ve had the opportunity to ask someone about Hodgson?
Thank you all again for your continued support. After the intensive articles of the last few weeks, we’ll be taking a break next week with some ‘lighter’ subjects. Hope to see you all then!–Sam Gafford