If you spend enough time in Lovecraft's lonely landscapes, fear really does develop: not the fear that you will come across unearthly creatures, but the fear that you will come across little else. And what first seems horridly overdone accumulates a creepy minimalism. Taken as a whole, Lovecraft's work exhibits a hopeless isolation not unlike that of Samuel Beckett: lonely man after lonely man, wandering aimlessly through a shadowy city or holing up in rural emptiness, pursuing unspeakable secrets or being pursued by secret unspeakables, all to little avail and to no comfort. There is something funny about this -- in small doses. But by the end of this collection, one does not hear giggling so much as the echoes of those giggles as they vanish into the ether -- lonely, desperate and, yes, very, very scary.
The New York Times
Two of H.P. Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth sonnets appeared in the Library of America's American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Vol. I (2000). Now Lovecraft (1890-1937), the most important U.S. horror writer since Edgar Allan Poe and a big influence on nearly every major figure in the genre after his day, has been honored with a volume of his own in this prestigious series. Drawing from scholar S.T. Joshi's definitive texts, Peter Straub, the bestselling author of In the Night Room, has selected 22 works of fiction, ranging from such traditional ghostly tales as "The Outsider" and "The Rats in the Walls" to such lengthy cosmic narratives as "The Call of Cthulhu" and "At the Mountains of Madness." This edition represents the latest scholarship, including a recently discovered missing passage from "The Shadow Out of Time" and a few new minor corrections. Some may quibble over the inclusion of the pulpish "Herbert West-Reanimator" and the even worse "The Lurking Fear," though they're of interest as rare examples of Lovecraft aiming to please an audience other than himself. Still, all the best fiction is here in a book sure to help reinforce Lovecraft's place in the American literary canon. (Feb. 8) Forecast: Despite the many other editions of Lovecraft's fiction in print, every fan will want to own this landmark volume. Sales success could prompt Library of America to issue a second Lovecraft collection. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
This collection of Lovecraft shorts includes Herbert West-Reanimator, Pickman's Model, The Haunter of the Dark, and other shockers (22 total) selected by editor Peter Straub. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A landmark that lifts Lovecraft from pulp to Poe as a master of macabre fantasy and horror, despite Edmund Wilson's infamous destructive essay "Tales of the Marvelous and Ridiculous." Is Lovecraft's storytelling genius equal to Poe's? Well, he has a wider canvas, quite cosmic, though he wrote swatches of haunted verse and carves graven paragraphs. At first he saw himself as a knowing and skilled amateur storyteller but, far more obsessively, as a lifelong antiquarian. Before his teens he self-published journals about chemistry and astronomy; in his teens had weekly newspaper columns, later wrote travel books, and ghosted many works for hire while publishing fantasies in Weird Tales and other pulps. Though idolized, he never earned a living at fiction. Among the 22 tales selected by horrormeister Peter Straub are Lovecraft's favorite "The Colour Out of Space" and his classics "The Rats in the Walls," "The Thing on the Doorstep" and "The Whisperer in Darkness." Also herein: the dreadful "Herbert West-Re-Animator," a youthful dud later filmed as the agonizingly but amusingly awful Re-Animator, now a grisly cult classic but less admired than its ringingly empty sequel, Bride of Re-Animator. Straub's notes fascinate, and there is a cool-spirited, nonanalytic chronology of Lovecraft's short but odd, odd life (1890-1937)-and this seems adapted from Lovecraft biographer S.T. Joshi's excellent 30-page Internet essay "Scriptorium-H. P. Lovecraft." (Joshi-edited texts were used for this volume.) HPL lacked all interest in plain folks and fought off his cosmic chills by inventing a pseudomythology. He bore the Cthulhu Mythos midway in his career, adopting starry infinitudes as his big black backdrop,with hidden and hideous ancient beings now ready to rise from slime: "After vigintillions of years great Cthulhu was loose again, and ravening for delight." The present volume collects a third of Lovecraft's fiction-he wrote three times more nonfiction than fiction, mostly for bread. Black-robed by Library of America, the real King rises from darkness in his homeland. His reputation abroad glows. Agent: David Gernert/The Gernert Company