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At the Mountains of Madness: And Other Tales of Terror Mass Market Paperback – September 13, 1991

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Editorial Reviews


“One of the greatest short novels in American literature, and a key text in my own understanding of what that literature can do.”

“Lovecraft’s fiction is one of the cornerstones of modern horror.”

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About the Author

H. P. LOVECRAFT is one of the seminal horror authors of the twentieth century. He wrote more than one hundred stories, and achieved popular acclaim in such publications as Astounding Stories and Weird Tales. Though he died in 1937, the small press publisher Arkham House was established in 1939 to preserve Lovecraft’s works for future generations

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (September 13, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345329457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345329455
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (189 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focused on the writing of horror stories, after the advent in 1923 of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, to which he contributed most of his fiction. His relatively small corpus of fiction--three short novels and about sixty short stories--has nevertheless exercised a wide influence on subsequent work in the field, and he is regarded as the leading twentieth-century American author of supernatural fiction. H. P. Lovecraft died in Providence in 1937.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 17, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This Modern Library Classic edition of H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" is marketed as "the definitive edition", presented "in fully restored form". However, while it is a nice, good quality trade paperback, the only thing that sets this edition apart from that found in the S. T. Joshi edited "The Thing on the Doorstep" is a rather excellent introduction by China Mieville, and a non-fiction piece by Lovecraft himself, "Supernatural Horror in Literature". I am admittedly no Lovecraft scholar, but I was hard-pressed to find any difference between this and the Joshi text, and there were certainly no significant differences in the plot.

That said, this is a nice book to have, and should be particularly considered by those who are looking to introduce themselves to Lovecraft. "At the Mountains of Madness" is perhaps the quintessential Lovecraft story as it draws masterfully on themes developed in his earlier writings. Detailing the discovery of unimaginably old artifacts by an Antarctic exploration, the story revels in Lovecraft's primary concept of horror, namely, the cosmic insignificance and fragility of man. As the narrator and his assistant descend into the stygian depths of an unspeakably ancient city, the tension derives not from anything traditionally evil, but rather utterly indifferent to humanity's well being.

Moreover, the elements of dislocation, of man being knocked of his perch at the apex of evolution work, if anything, even better than they did in the 1930's. In an age when we are the precipice of understanding some of the most profound mysteries of life, "At the Mountains of Madness" places all of humanity squarely in the boondocks of cosmic significance.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on December 28, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recommend this as the best one-volume introduction to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. If you finish this single volume you will be familiar with the atmosphere and the terminology of a large part of the Cthulhu Mythos. That's probably why this particular edition has remained in print so long. After _The Dunwich Horror_, it was my introduction to Lovecraft.
In the first story, "At the Mountains of Madness", you find yourself immediately immersed in the world of the Necronomicon, Miskantonic University, and the cosmic pantheon of the Cthulhu Cult and the Elder Things.
The second tale, "The Shunned House", shows what the master could do with a more conventional horror story. It is one of the best stories of a cursed house and family ever written.
The third story, "Dreams in the Witch House", serves as an excellent introduction to the cursed city of Arkham, though there are also strong elements of Miskantonic, the Necronomicon, and the speculations of fourth dimensional connections between our own world and "the farthest stars of the transgalactic gulfs."
Finally, there is "The Statement of Randolph Carter", which may be the most perfect short horror story ever written.
Of course if you are really hooked and want all the details about Lovecraft's world, then get the _Encyclopedia Cthulhiana_, that is if you are lucky enough to find a copy....
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Doug Vaughn HALL OF FAME on December 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read these stories years ago while spending the summer with a friend in rural Arkansas. The house had no electricity so we read late at night by kerosene lamp. I can still remember the feelings that these pieces evoked and how hard it was to go to sleep in the dark afteward. Now, even as an adult, reading in a comfortabley lighted room, these stories still scare the hell out of me.
There has never been another writer like Lovecraft. His stories are oblique and suggestive and the reader's own mind provides much of the horror. He understood what lurked just beneath the civilized veneer of our consiousness and he manages to tease it out so well.
This is fiction for those who like to feel their skin crawl. Simply the best of its kind ever.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 27, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
At the Mountains of Madness is one of Lovecraft's most singular, lengthy, and important pieces of fiction. Set in the cold wastes of Antarctica, it takes us far afield from the mysterious world of Lovecraft's New England yet in close proximity to the mythical framework of his most noted writings. A cadre of scientists from Miskatonic University travels to the coldest continent in order to pursue important geological work, but their mission is quickly transformed by one team's discovery of an ancient cavity housing hordes of scientific specimens at the base of an undiscovered range of weird, majestic mountains. The most important specimens found in the pit are largely intact bodies of terrifically strange creatures having both animal and vegetable characteristics and sporting immense, bat-like wings. As the first team begins a study of the creatures, the other party members rush to the campsite. However, they find only death, destruction, and mystery there when they arrive. Mysterious caves, peculiar shapes, and other incredible aspects of the adjacent mountains leads the expedition leader to dub them "the mountains of madness." Scientific curiosity impels two of the men to fly over those mountains to see what lies on the other side. What they find is an empty, ancient city, which they set out to explore. Statues and strange hieroglyphics lead the men to conclude that this city was once the most revered spot of the Old Ones mentioned in the Necronomicon and the Pnakotic Manuscripts, a city built long before man's first ancestors walked the earth. As they move deeper within the bowels of the city, they discover that it is not quite deserted after all.Read more ›
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