Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Whitehead, Henry S

(1882-1932) Significant member of the H P Lovecraft circle, and in 1925-1929 Episcopalian Archdeacon in the Virgin Islands, whose folklore and legends subsequently appeared in much of his fiction, in particular the stories featuring Gerald Canevin, an alter ego for HSW, whose family name was Caer-n'-avon. HSW's writing career began in 1905. The first of his 25 stories in Weird Tales was the slight and sentimental "Tea Leaves" (WT 1924), in which prophecies read from tea leaves bring a woman wealth and love. "Jumbee" (WT 1926) is darker, featuring death portents and were-dogs (> Shapeshifters). "The People of Pan" (WT 1929) describes a lost race of Greek Pan-worshippers. "The Passing of a God" (WT 1930) questions the nature of divinity: a cancerous tumour, acclaimed as a God by Voodoo worshippers, proves indeed a malignant divinity. Several of HSW's finest supernatural stories appeared in Adventure, his vividly described Virgin Islands backgrounds overcoming that Magazine's no-fantasy policy. HSW's most convincing fantastic fiction is unambiguous and straightforward, written from a moral perspective that leaves no doubt that the supernatural exists. The majority of his fantastic stories were collected in two early Arkham House volumes, Jumbee and Other Uncanny Stories (coll 1944; vt in 2 vols as Jumbee and Other Voodoo Tales and The Black Beast and Other Uncanny Tales 1976 UK) and West India Lights (coll 1946). [RB]

Henry Saint Clair Whitehead

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This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.