The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

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Overview

Incantations of black magic unearthed unspeakable horrors in a quiet town near Providence, Rhode Island. Evil spirits are being resurrected from beyond the grave, a supernatural force so twisted that it kills without offering the mercy of death!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781906838355
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 04/09/2013
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 893,655
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is the most important and influential horror writer of the twentieth century. His stories of occult nightmare and cosmic terror have drawn praise from William S. Burroughs, Angela Carter and Jorge Luis Borges and continue to inspire new generations of writers, film-makers

DM Mitchell is the editor of the acclaimed Lovecraftian anthology The Starry Wisdom (Creation Books, 1995), and now Associate Editor of Creation Oneiros. He lives in Wales, UK.

Read an Excerpt

1

Joseph Curwen, as revealed by the rambling legends embodied in what Ward heard and unearthed, was a very astonishing, enigmatic, and obscurely horrible individual. He had fled from Salem to Providence - that universal haven of the odd, the free, and the dissenting - at the beginning of the great witchcraft panic; being in fear of accusation because of his solitary ways and queer chemical or alchemical experiments. He was a colourless-looking man of about thirty, and was soon found qualified to become a freeman of Providence; thereafter buying a home lot just north of Gregory Dexter's at about the foot of Olney Street. His house was built on Stampers' Hill west of the Town Street, in what later became Olney Court; and in 1761 he replaced this with a larger one, on the same site, which is still standing.

Now the first odd thing about Joseph Curwen was that he did not seem to grow much older than he had been on his arrival. He engaged in shipping enterprises, purchased wharfage near Mile-End Cove, helped rebuild the Great Bridge in 1713, and in 1723 was one of the founders of the Congregational Church on the hill; but always did he retain his nondescript aspect of a man not greatly over thirty or thirty-five. As decades mounted up, this singular quality began to excite wide notice; but Curwen always explained it by saying that he came of hardy forefathers, and practised a simplicity of living which did not wear him our. How such simplicity could be reconciled with the inexplicable comings and goings of the secretive merchant, and with the queer gleaming of his windows at all hours of night, was not very clear to the townsfolk; and they were prone to assign other reasons for his continued youth and longevity. It was held, for the most part, that Curwen's incessant mixings and boilings of chemicals had much to do with his condition. Gossip spoke of the strange substances he brought from London and the Indies on his ships or purchased in Newport, Boston, and New York; and when old Dr. Jabez Bowen came from Rehoboth and opened his apothecary shop across the Great Bridge at the Sign of the Unicorn and Mortar, there was ceaseless talk of the drugs, acids, and metals that the taciturn recluse incessantly bought or ordered from him...

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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
carpentermt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is the latest magisterial Lovecraftian publication from the University of Tampa Press. What connection could a Florida university have with a staunch Rhode Islander like HPL? Interestingly, RH Barlow of De Land, FL was a correspondent and friend of HPL who served as his literary executor. UT Press has made a small industry of publishing Lovecraftiana, including A Comprehensive Bibliography and Oh, Fortunate Floridian (the letters of HPL to RH Barlow). A major player in these publications has been ST Joshi, the eminent Lovecraft scholar, who edits these books. As you might guess, the content has been more of interest to readers fascinated with HPL¿s life, with scholars and with collectors, rather than to general readers. Well, it is a university press!The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is their latest foray into Lovecraftian publishing. TCOCDW was written very quickly in 1927 and HPL never really made efforts to have it published during his lifetime. There are several reasons why it now merits an urgent recommendation. The production is simply wonderful. I have the hardcover and it is simply a beautiful book to behold. The editing is by ST Joshi and we may safely consider this to be a definitive edition, superseding all others. There are copious notes on the text by Mr. Joshi which do a wonderful job of keeping everything in its proper context. You can read the novel through but it helped me immensely to stop and refer to the notes. We then have a marvelous afterward by Mr. Joshi. Not only is it very scholarly but it is also quite readable, as interesting it its own right as the text itself. Finally we have the crowning glory of the book, a series of photographs of buildings from Lovecraft¿s Providence by Donovan K. Loucks. For those of us not lucky enough to have trod the streets of Providence in the footsteps of HPL and Poe, these add immeasurably to the reading experience. I cannot imagine a better way to experience The Case of Charles Dexter Ward; anyone who is a serious Lovecraftian simply must have a copy.Now of course I could wish for one more thing and that would have been a street map of Providence with these locations marked out, and perhaps a map of greater Providence with neighboring towns indicated. Well I looked them up online myself and I guess I can¿t be too greedy.The fly in the ointment of course, is HPL¿s text itself, which even he did not have high regard for. For idle dabblers and or those new to Lovecraft, TCOCDW is not the place to start. I remember reading a version of the text at age 14 and it did not leave any sort of favorable impression, what with all the references to colonial Rhode Island that made no sense to me then. I got lost in a salad of words and names. Even today I find it almost to be a caricature of HPL¿s writing. It can be viewed as a stepping stone on his way to his greater masterpieces, a sort of farewell to supernatural fiction and a turning towards science fiction. I read it as a personal love letter from HPL to Providence with a horror story thrown in. At the very least, the paperback is none too expensive and The University of Tampa Press has given us a model of how all of HPL¿s works should be presented. I can only hope for more wonders from this source.
saltmanz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was the second Lovecraft story I read, after At the Mountains of Madness, so at the time I knew next to nothing about Lovecraft's mythos and other writings. (That didn't last long, though.) Now with two volumes of his work under my belt, this is still the story that has stuck with me the most. It takes a while to get into, and the old-fashioned, stuffy prose doesn't help the slow start, but once things start picking up with terrible revelations and horrible implications, there's no putting it down. I find it fascinating how Lovecraft is able to pull off such a terrifying story with no gratuitous visuals. Everything is implied rather than shown directly. When describing a monster, in this story at least, Lovecraft doesn't go into actual physical descriptions, but instead simply describes how terrifying in appearance the creature is. And the genius of it is, it works. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is easily the masterpiece of Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pretty good book my first lovecraft book but not my last a little hard to get into but i liked the twist at the end
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