He was the premier writer of horror fiction in the first half of the 20th Century, perhaps the major American practitioner of the art between the time of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. Born into an upper middle class family in Providence, Rhode Island, Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890-1937) had a lonely childhood, but read voraciously from his earliest years. He soon became interested in science and astronomy and began penning stories, poetry, and essays in great profusion, publishing them himself when no other market was available. The advent of Weird Tales in 1923 gave him a small outlet for his work, and he attracted a large number of followers, with whom he exchanged literally tens of thousands of letters, many of them quite lengthy. A number of these young correspondents eventually became professional writers and editors themselves. Lovecraft's fame began spreading beyond fandom with the publication of his first significant collection, The Outsider and Others, in 1939, two years after his untimely death. Book jacket.