The study of the life and work of William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918) has been making great strides lately. I’d like to think that this blog might be one of the reasons for this increased interest. Whatever the cause, Hodgson is getting some more attention and this will only increase later this year with the publication of the first issue of SARGASSO: JOURNAL OF WILLIAM HOPE HODGSON studies. We have already received several important contributions discussing WHH’s poetry, characters and even the legendary ‘writing log’ WHH kept. As we move forward, I think it’s important to identify and illuminate some of the areas that need more attention.
We still know very little about Hodgson the man. We can state that WHH was in certain places at certain times and did certain things but we know little about who he was or what he thought. As I’ve said before, we have very little of his personal letters to study. Reminiscences of WHH are also in short supply. We can theorize and guess the type of fellow he was and his thoughts and ideas but, in the end, these are just educated guesses. More than anything, I would love to see more researchers trying to piece together this puzzle. I send out a call for researchers and archivists to search out more biographical information. Perhaps a worldwide search (of libraries, universities, collections) will yield more letters and memos. I would happily self-publish a volume of Hodgson’s letters IF I had enough to publish!
2. Hodgson’s other characters
Everyone knows Carnacki but Hodgson’s other characters such as Captain Gault, Captain Jat and others have been virtually ignored. Thanks to Mark Valentine, the first issue of SARGASSO will include an article on Captain Gault which will hopefully open up this field. I truly feel that, in order to understand a writer, we have to consider their entire output and not just those things we like and enjoy.
3. Hodgson’s poetry
Hodgson considered poetry a major part of his life and yet the study of this has been severely limited. Again, the first issue of SARGASSO will contain a major study of WHH’s poetry by Phillip Ellis but this is a framework upon which much more work needs to be done. To correctly criticize poetry, to me, requires as poetic a soul as the poet themselves.
4. Hodgson’s influence
One of the ways to prove the value of a writer is to examine how they have influenced others who have come after them. Virtually no work has been done in this area. Surely there is much to be said?
These are merely a few areas that I believe we need to focus on as we strive to bring Hodgson to both a wider audience and a deeper critical appreciation. This blog is meant to be an area for the sharing of such information and work. Please take advantage of it and help us advance the cause of Hodgsonian Studies!