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100posts11This marks the 100th posting on the William Hope Hodgson Blog!

Back when I started this blog, several people questioned if there would be enough material to keep it going.  It wasn’t an entirely unjustified question.  After all, Hodgson doesn’t have as much devoted to him as, say, Lovecraft does.  But I felt that, whatever material I did have was important enough to present.

WHHHodgson is kind of the underdog in weird literature.  Doesn’t get a lot of press.  Guillermo del Toro isn’t lining up to direct a move based on THE NIGHT LAND.  There isn’t a convention devoted to Hodgson taking place in Blackburn.  There aren’t even any comic books doing “Hodgsonian” tales.

When I was a small press publisher back in the 1990s, I had a table at a local convention/show where I was selling my Hodgson reprints as well as a couple of Machen books and others.  The convention’s GOH was Neil Gaiman who was kind enough to stop by the table and talk a bit.  We chatted about Machen for a few minutes and gave him complimentary copies of my Machen books but, when I tried to interest him in the Hodgson, he wasn’t biting.  He just wasn’t all that keen on WHH…even when I was trying to give him FREE copies.  I’ve gotten that reaction a lot.

I guess that kind of stuck with me over the years as an example of Hodgson being the “Rodney Dangerfield” of weird fiction.  “He don’t get no respect!”

Through the years, that has always been one of the driving forces behind my efforts.  I want Hodgson to get more respect both from the readers and the literary circles.  WHH will never reach the stature of a Poe or Lovecraft (nor would even I say he deserves to be elevated so far) but there is much in WHH to enjoy and study.

This staged photo of WHH at a ship's wheel was used in his lectures about life at sea.

This staged photo of WHH at a ship’s wheel was used in his lectures about life at sea.

That was one of the reasons why I started this blog because there was no place on the internet to get a lot of this information.  You might get a bit here and there but it wasn’t centralized.  I wanted there to be a place where everyone could come to get old and new material and find out what’s going on in the world of Hodgson.

I hope that I have succeeded in that endeavor.

As we enter 2013, there are already new things in store for Hodgson and his fans.  Some new books are scheduled to come out and WHH is finally getting some of that critical attention that has been denied him for so long.

Hopefully, this year will see the publication of a new collection of Hodgson criticism and studies edited by Massimo Berruti and published by Hippocampus Press called VOICES FROM THE BORDERLAND.  It is an anthology of some old pieces and a lot of new ones as well.  I am happy to say that I will be represented in this volume by several articles and am honored to be included.

One of the most important items in VOICES FROM THE BORDERLAND will hopefully be the long-awaited Hodgson Bibliography which S. T. Joshi, Mike Ashley and I have been working on for well over 10 years now.  It is already over 100 pages long and covers international appearances as well as English.  It has been an invaluable resource in my own work and I look forward to sharing it with others.

A early photo of WHH.  I am not sure of the year but probably roughly around 1903 or so.

A early photo of WHH. I am not sure of the year but probably roughly around 1903 or so.

Already this year we have seen a new paperback of Hodgson stories from Night Shade Books called THE GHOST PIRATES AND OTHERS edited by Jeremy Lassen.  This has marked the first appearance by WHH in an inexpensive, mass produced paperback in several years.  Hodgson also was mentioned in S.T. Joshi’s two volume history of weird literature; UNUTTERABLE HORROR.

Later this year, Centipede Press will be releasing a collection of Hodgson stories compiled by S. T. Joshi.  I do not know the full contents of this book yet but I do know that it will contain the text of the original edition of THE HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND.  Unfortunately, given the tendency of Centipede Press to produce expensive items, I fear it will not be cheap but I am sure that it will be a very attractively pro1 sargassoduced book.

In addition, 2013 will see the first issue of SARGASSO: The Journal of William Hope Hodgson Studies.  This will be a yearly publication highlighting new articles about Hodgson as well as Hodgson inspired art and stories.  I’ve already gotten a number of submissions and am expecting new articles by some of the biggest names in Hodgson criticism.

carnackiAnother project which I’m putting together is a special, 100th anniversary edition of CARNACKI.  This will be a deluxe edition, reprinting the original texts along with annotations.  With luck, I hope to have it available by November.  Going along with that, I would like to announce a collection of all-new Carnacki tales!  I’m opening this up to submissions today, with this post, in the hopes that everyone will spread the word!  I am looking for new tales of Carnacki in the Hodgson tradition so I encourage all of our writers out there to submit a story.  Details are still being negotiated so keep watching the blog for more announcements.

Already I am looking forward to the future.  Within the last 20 years, Hodgson has made great strides in critical and reader popularity.  Virtually all of his major fiction is now available either through e-books, print-on-demand or free online sites.  The next steps are to increase availability of his poetry and non-fiction so that, for new readers, everything is available.  This is a major difference from just a few years ago when it was difficult to easily find even Hodgson’s novels.  Today, we can state that Hodgson is better known and read than ever before.

William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918)

William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918)

And there is still so much more to learn!  Genealogy research has barely been touched and there is a great need for more study about Hodgson’s own life, opinions and beliefs.  Plus Hodgson has suffered from one major disadvantage: there has yet to be a full, book-length critical study of his works.  I hope to change this in the future.

It’s been a great 100 posts and I hope everyone will still around for the next 100!!

(I’d like to thank everyone who has helped with this blog over the last 100 posts.  I could not have done it without your overwhelming support and I humbly thank you all.  Whether you have contributed materials, shared knowledge, spread the word or just read the blog regularly, you are why I keep going and posting week after week.  I may be the person behind the blog but it is really for all of you.)


Filed under Carnacki, Hodgson, William Hope Hodgson

An Index to the Blog!

I love indexes!  They’re just such wonderfully marvelous things!  One of the very first things I usually do when I get a new book is to flip to the back and check out the index and bibliography.  If I like them, I know I’ll like the book!

Given that this blog has now had 65 posts (believe it or not!), there are probably a lot of people who are just now discovering it and want to read more but who wants to wade through 65 posts looking for something?  Well, fear not, true believer! (I grew up on Stan Lee comics obviously.)  What follows is a clickable index of all of the posts so that you can jump to any of them from here.

I’ve also organized them by subjects so you can easily find more of what you’re interested in.


“A Life on the Borderland”

“Smile for the Camera, William Hope Hodgson”

“The Man Who Saved Hodgson”

“Sail on One of Hodgson’s Ships!”

“Meet Mrs. Hodgson!”

“William Hope Hodgson, This is Your Life!”

“A Hodgson Mystery”

“The Kernahan Letters, Part One”

“The Kernahan Letters, Part Two”

“The Kernahan Letters, Part Three”

“The Kernahan Letters, Part Four”

“The Kernahan Letters, Part Five”

“Hodgson Memorial”


“Mr. Hodgson, Second Mate”

“A Medal for Hodgson”


“Hodgson’s First Story”

“From the Tideless Sea”

“More News from the Homebird”

“The Baumoff Explosive”

“The Voice in the Night”


“Physical Culture: A Talk with an Expert”

“Why Am I Not At Sea?”

“The Calling of the Sea”


“Hodgson’s Publishing History”

“Writing Backwards: The Novels of William Hope Hodgson”

“A Brief History of Hodgson Studies”

“The First Literary Copernicus”

“WHH: Master of the Weird and Fantastic by H.C. Koenig”

“The Weird Work of William Hope Hodgson by H. P. Lovecraft”

“In Appreciation of William Hope Hodgson by Clark Ashton Smith”

“William Hope Hodgson by August Derleth”

“The Poetry of William Hope Hodgson by E. A. Edkins”

“William Hope Hodgson and the Detective Story by Ellery Queen”

“WHH: Writer of Supernatural Horror by Fritz Leiber, Jr.”

“An Appreciation”


“A Biographical Item”


“Free Hodgson”

“What’s That I Hear?”

“William Hope Hodgson and Arkham House”


“Canacki on the TV!”

“Hodgson on the Web!”


“The Dreamer in the Night Land”

“My First Hodgson”


“A Borderland Gallery”

“Why Carnacki?”

“E. A. Edkins and some Updates!”

“New Sargasso Sea Story”

“The REAL Sargasso Sea”

“A Carnacki Gallery”

“The Derelict of Death by Ford and Clark”

“The House on the Borderland by Corben and Revelstroke”

“Why I’m doing this…”

“Sign Here, Please”

“Announcing SARGASSO!!!”

“Updates and New Poll”

“A Curious Matter of Books”

“A Hodgson Parody”

“Odds and Ends”

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We’re coming up on the two month mark since I began this blog!  I’m thrilled at all the great response it’s received but also the amount of new information and items we’ve been able to bring to a wider public.  Because many might only now be discovering this blog, I present the following index to the previous posts for your convenience.  It will keep people from having to search through all of the entries.

The Dreamer in the Night Land (Intro to the blog)
A Life on the Borderland (A short bio of WHH)
Free Hodgson! (A listing of where to find WHH writings free online)
Hodgson’s First Story (A look at the first story WHH had professionally published)
My First Hodgson (Hints on what Hodgson new readers should start with)
Smile for the Camera, William Hope Hodgson!  (A gallery of WHH photos)
The Man Who Saved Hodgson! (A look at H. C. Koenig, WHH’s early champion)
Hodgson’s Publishing History (A Chronological listing of WHH’s publishing)
Sail on One of Hodgson’s Ships! (A look at a ship Hodgson sailed on that still exists today!)
Writing Backwards: The Novels of WHH (Important article on the order in which WHH wrote his novels)
A Brief History of Hodgson Studies (An overview of critical work on WHH)
Meet Mrs. Hodgson! (Article about WHH’s wife and the only known photo of her)
William Hope Hodgson, This is Your Life! (Chronology of WHH’s life)
What’s that I Hear? (List of audio adaptations)
“The First Literary Copernicus” (Reprint of important article about WHH’s cosmicism)
A Borderland Gallery (Gallery of covers of HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND)
Why Carnacki?  (Author William Meikle explains why he writes new Carnacki stories)
“WHH: Master of the Weird and Fantastic” (Important article by H.C. Koenig)
“The Weird Work of Willam Hope Hodgson” by H. P. Lovecraft (essay on Hodgson’s works by HPL)
“In Appreciation of William Hope Hodgson” by Clark Ashton Smith (essay by CAS)
“William Hope Hodgson” by August Derleth (Brief essay by co-founder of Arkham House)
“The Poetry of William Hope Hodgson” by E. A. Edkins (essay on WHH’s poetry)
“William Hope Hodgson and the Detective Story” by Ellery Queen (essay about Carnacki)
“WHH: Writer of Supernatural Horror” by Fritz Leiber (essay about WHH’s horror stories)
“An Appreciation” (portion of one of WHH’s obituaries)
E.A. Edkins and Some Updates!  (updating some previous items)
William Hope Hodgson and Arkham House (essay about the importance of AH in Hodgson’s career)
MATANGO!!!  (A look at the only film length adaptation of a WHH story)
New Sargasso Sea Story (presenting a new sea-horror tale by John B. Ford)

And that brings us up to date! Hard to believe how much we’ve covered and how much is left to do!  Next week, we’ll be looking at WHH’s Sargasso Sea stories as well as presenting the history behind that unique area.  Hope to “sea” you then!–Sam Gafford


Filed under Carnacki, Hodgson, William Hope Hodgson

“William Hope Hodgson and the Detective Story” by Ellery Queen

This is the sixth item to appear in the June, 1944, issue of THE READER AND COLLECTOR, published by H.C. Koenig.  This is an interesting article by the celebrated Ellery Queen about Hodgson’s detective stories, primarily the Carnacki tales.  HCK’s son-in-law, Gene Biancheri, contributed this information about Queen:

H.C. Koenig had extensive correspondence with Frederic Dannay [1905-1982], who, with his cousin Manfred Lee, wrote under the pen name “Ellery Queen.”  Dannay wrote that he was going to publish Hodgson’s Carnacki story, “The House Among the Laurels” in ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, but it never happened.  However, a Captain Gault story by WHH, “The Red Herring,” was included in an Ellery Queen hardcover, ROGUE’S GALLERY: THE GREAT CRIMINALS OF MODERN FICTION (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1945).

Ellery Queen, as Gene notes, was really two people.  Dannay and Lee wrote an astounding number of detective novels starting with THE ROMAN HAT MYSTERY (1929) which had the unique quality of being a mystery written by one of the main characters.  What followed would be a series of many novels starring the character Ellery Queen and even more novels ‘written’ by Ellery Queen.

In 1941, the ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE was founded and it continues to this day.  I confess that I am something of an ‘Ellery Queen Fan’ so finding this article was a particular thrill to me.  For those of you who might be unfamiliar with Ellery Queen, check out these sites:

Ellery Queen (Wikipedia article)

Ellery Queen Website (A website devoted to Ellery Queen and includes info on the radio shows and movies)

This essay was, as noted in the footnote which was also included in the original publication, was apparently meant to accompany the reprinting of a Carnacki story in ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE.  I wonder if this essay was ever printed anywhere else considering the Carnacki story was never used in EQMM?

As always, spelling and formatting are reproduced as originally printed and the intro paragraph was written by HCK.–Sam Gafford

William Hope Hodgson and the Detective Story

By Ellery Queen

Dannay & Lee–“Ellery Queen”

Creator of one of the best known detectives in the history of fiction.  Writer of a couple of dozen detective novels, editor of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and compiler of four fine detective anthologies, the latest of which is “The Misadventure of Sherlock Holmes.”

Too few people in America are familiar with the work of William Hope Hodgson; and even this fortunate minority, who know Mr. Hodgson as a writer of weird and supernatural stories, have to be reminded that he also wrote two books in the detective-crime field.

One is “Captain Gault”—ten short stories about a modern smuggler.  The other is “Carnacki the Ghost Finder”—six short stories about a ghost-breaker; a unique detective who investigates haunted houses and similar phenomena.

Readers, writers, and students of supernatural fiction deplore the fact that at the end of five of the Carnacki stories, Carnacki produces a tangible, real-life explanation for the ghostly manifestations.  For example, H. P. Lovecraft, one of the great modern masters of weird fiction, once expressed the opinion that the Carnacki stories were “weakened” by the realistic solutions.  Well, one man’s meat is truly another man’s poison.  To your Editor the sane, of-this-world explanations strengthen rather than weaken the stories.  These natural elucidations, frowned on by devotees of the weird, must be applauded by devotees of the detective story; they transform Carnacki from a mere dabbler into the unknown to a legitimate and authentic detective.

But let’s not quarrel over Carnacki.  He’s a 24-carat “find” both for lovers of the “invisible” and addicts of the “visible”.  Let’s rejoice that EQMM can bring you one of Carnacki’s strange and fascinating adventures which, to the best of your Editor’s knowledge, is here printed for the first time in the United States.

*In the near future, “The House Among the Laurels”, a short story taken from “Carnacki, The Ghost-Finder” will be published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.  The above article will appear as a preface to this story.

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“The Poetry of William Hope Hodgson” by E. A. Edkins

The fifth item to appear in the June, 1944, issue of THE READER AND COLLECTOR is this rather interesting article on Hodgson’s poetry by E. A. Edkins.  WHH’s poetry is something of an oddity in his work and is generally not studied.  Part of the reason for that is the fact that not much of it has been available.  Hodgson only published a few poems during his lifetime (that were not incorporated into his novels) and it was not until after his death that his widow arranged for the publication of two volumes of verse.  WHH’s biographer, Sam Moskowitz, states that this lack of success in the poetry field was a source of great disappointment with Hodgson.  But, as Edkins notes in this essay, Hodgson’s failure may not be particularly surprising.

I have not been able to find any biographical information about Edkins beyond what H.C. Koenig noted as an introduction or even a photo.  Perhaps one of our readers here can furnish something?  As previously, I have retained the spelling and typing which HCK used when the essay was published in 1944. –Sam Gafford

The Poetry of William Hope Hodgson

By E.A. Edkins

Premier writer of the National Amateur Press Association.  Has contributed essays, reviews and poetry to various journals since 1883.  Editor and publisher of the incomparable Causerie and co-editor with Tim Thrift of the best of the amateur magazines, The Aonian.

William Hope Hodgson lacks the poetic gift, principally because he is technically unskilled in poetic forms.  “The Voice of the Ocean” is of course largely derivative, and reveals pompous allegories that have been demoded since the time of Keats and Shelley.  Some of the classic poets used this form as a medium for the expression of philosophic concepts, naively overlooking the fact that philosophy and poetry are strange bedfellows.  In the metaphors and symbolisms employed by Hodgson, one detects an aching sense of beauty, a longing to rationalize and synthesize the emotions of a sensitive mind with the inscrutable brutalities of nature, a yearning to understand the baffling mystery of existence, but, unfortunately, not the slightest glimmering of real vision.  All of his reactions are the reactions of a bewildered thinker; and when he attempts a really bold flight, his effort to be tragic passes rapidly into melodrama and bathos.  It is significant that A. St. John Adcock, who wrote the introduction to “The Calling of the Sea”, is careful not to commit himself as to the merits of Hodgson’s verse; in fact, he hardly refers to it at all.  I am unacquainted with Hodgson’s prose fiction, but it is probably vastly superior to his verse.  He strikes me as one of those authors who depend a lot on “inspiration”, write loosely and rapidly, and never review their effusions.  He probably has a fertile imagination and considerable fluency of expression, but little if any sense of style or of cumulative effect.

Fantasy was effectively used by Edgar Poe, both in his prose and verse, but not the fantasy of what I believe is termed “science fiction”.  So too with Dunsany and Machen.  A fantaisiste is not necessarily a poet, but the Lords of Poesy are truly fantaisistes, living as Beddoes said, “in a world of furious fancies.”  Hodgson’s “Down the Long Coasts” is one of his most appealing poems and in “Grey Seas Are Dreaming of My Death” he almost becomes articulate.  At its worst his work is pure doggerel, as in “The Song of the Great Bull Whale”; at its best, one senses intimations of high emprise, grandiloquent dreams, hopeless frustrations, the unavailing sehnsucht of a soul tormented by beauty sensed dimly through impenetrable veils.



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