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S. T. Joshi
S. T. Joshi (2002 promotional photo)
|Born||June 22, 1958|
|Citizenship||United States since 1978|
Sunand Tryambak Joshi (born June 22, 1958) is an American writer, musician, distinguished critic and award-winning scholar whose work has largely focussed on weird and fantastic fiction, especially the life and work of H. P. Lovecraft and associated writers. Joshi is a lifelong scholar and editor of H.P. Lovecraft and restored Lovecraft's texts for Arkham House. He has published a lengthy biography of H. P. Lovecraft, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H. P. Lovecraft (2 vols). Additionally, Joshi has been a prolific editor of works of weird fiction by various authors and a historian of the field across a number of volumes. He has also written extensively on atheism and rationalism, as well as forms of prejudice including sexism and racism. Joshi lives with his wife, Mary Krawczak Wilson, in Seattle, Washington.
His literary criticism focuses upon the worldviews of authors. His The Weird Tale examines horror and fantasy writing by Arthur Machen, Algernon Blackwood, Dunsany, M. R. James, Bierce and Lovecraft.
The Modern Weird Tale examines modern writers, including Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell, Stephen King, Robert Aickman, Thomas Ligotti, T. E. D. Klein and others, from a similar viewpoint. The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004), includes essays on Dennis Etchison, L. P. Hartley, Les Daniels, E. F. Benson, Rudyard Kipling, David J. Schow, Robert Bloch, L. P. Davies, Edward Lucas White, Rod Serling, Poppy Z. Brite and others. Unutterable Horror: A History of Supernatural Fiction (published in two volumes, 2012 by PS Publishing) is a history of supernatural fiction from Gilgamesh.
Joshi and David E. Schultz edited volumes of Lovecraft's letters with Necronomicon Press (including those to Robert Bloch, Henry Kuttner, Samuel Loveman and Vincent Starrett); for Night Shade Books (Mysteries of Time and Spirit: Letters to Donald Wandrei) and Letters from New York; and for University of Tampa Press (O Fortunate Floridian: Letters to Robert H. Barlow). Some of these volumes have now been published in expanded editions by Hippocampus Press.
Joshi and Schultz are now progressively issuing volumes through Hippocampus Press of H. P. Lovecraft's letters to his correspondents. Lovecraft's letters to Rheinhart Kleiner; Alfred Galpin; August Derleth (2 volumes); Robert E. Howard (2 volumes); James F. Morton; Elizabeth Toldridge & Anne Tillery Renshaw; F. Lee Baldwin, Duane Rimel & Nils Frome; J. Vernon Shea, Carl F. Strauch & Lee McBride White; Robert Bloch; and Clark Ashton Smith have been published.
Joshi edited the five-volume set of Lovecraft's Collected Essays issued by Hippocampus Press from 2004 to 2006. He edited two annotated volumes of Lovecraft's best work for Dell books (the second with Peter H. Cannon). He and David E. Schultz edited the collected poetry of Clark Ashton Smith, issued by Hippocampus Press (3 volumes, 2007-2008) and the collected poetry of George Sterling (3 volumes, 2013).
Joshi was general editor of Cthulhu Mythos works from Perilous Press, including works by Michael Shea and Brian Stableford. The first publication was Shea's Copping Squid and Other Mythos Tales (2009), with Stableford's volume titled The Womb of Time (two Mythos novellas).
Joshi has published on atheism, including Documents of American Prejudice (1999), an annotated collection of American racist writings; In Her Place (2006), which collects written examples of prejudice against women; and Atheism: A Reader (2000), which collects atheistic writings by Antony Flew, George Eliot, Bertrand Russell, Emma Goldman, Gore Vidal and Carl Sagan, among others. An Agnostic Reader, collecting pieces by Isaac Asimov, John William Draper, Albert Einstein, Frederic Harrison, Thomas Henry Huxley, Robert Ingersoll, Corliss Lamont, Arthur Schopenhauer and Edward Westermarck, was published in 2007.
Joshi published God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong (2003), an anti-religious polemic against various writers including C. S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, T.S. Eliot, William F. Buckley, Jr., William James, Stephen L. Carter, Annie Dillard, Reynolds Price, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Guenter Lewy, Neale Donald Walsch and Jerry Falwell. It is dedicated to theologian Robert M. Price.
In 2006 he published The Angry Right: Why Conservatives Keep Getting It Wrong, which criticized the political writings of such commentators as William F. Buckley, Jr., Russell Kirk, David and Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Phyllis Schlafly, William Bennett, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Irving Kristol and William Kristol, arguing that Americans have become steadily more liberal.
In 1987, Joshi became the fifth Official Editor of the Esoteric Order of Dagon. He has continued to be the OE of this amateur press association for upwards of 30 years.
Joshi has edited Lovecraft Studies (1979-2001) and Studies in Weird Fiction (1986-2005), both published by Necronomicon Press; and Studies in the Fantastic (2008-09), published by the University of Tampa Press. He is editor of Weird Fiction Review (Centipede Press; 2010), and the Hippocampus Press journals Spectral Realms (from 2014); Lovecraft Annual (from 2007); Nemesis (from 2016). He was formerly co-editor of Dead Reckonings (from 2007).
In 2011, Joshi became editor-in-chief of The American Rationalist magazine, which he edited for some years before changes at the magazine resulted in the discontinuation of his involvement.
Joshi, born in Puna, India, emigrated with his family to the U.S.A at the age of four. He was raised (primarily by his mother, an academic) in Illinois and Indiana, while his father (also an academic) remained in India, though his father eventually joined the family in the States.
Joshi discovered the work of Lovecraft at age 13 in a public library in Muncie, Indiana. He also read L. Sprague de Camp's biography of Lovecraft, Lovecraft: A Biography, on publication in 1975, and began thereafter to devote himself to Lovecraft. This devotion led him to decline offers from Yale and Harvard so that he could attend Brown University. He received a B.A. (1980) and M.A. (1982) in classics. After graduating, he did some undertook additional graduate school at Princeton University, from 1982 to 1984.
In August 2014, Joshi opposed the campaign to change the World Fantasy Award statuette from a bust of Lovecraft to one of African-American author Octavia Butler. As a person of colour, Joshi has been an ardent defender of Lovecraft's reputation and of the necessity to hold a balanced perspective on Lovecraft's racist attitudes given the general tenor of social attitudes during the times in which Lovecraft lived. Joshi returned his several World Fantasy Awards in protest at the decision to no longer utilise Gahan Wilson's statuette of Lovecraft as the award. The World Fantasy Award has since been changed to one of a leafless tree in front of a moon in bronze designed by sculptor Vincent Villafranca.
He has since returned his awards from the World Fantasy Convention for their decision to discontinue use of the bust of H. P. Lovecraft as the basis for their awards.