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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – October 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Together, these books offer 30 "weird stories" by our nation's greatest horror writer. In addition to the title piece, Cthulhu includes "Rats in the Walls," "Herbert West Reanimator" (the basis of several fun B movies), and "The Haunter of the Dark." The Thing sports such standards as "The Dunwich Horror," "Pickman's Model," and "Beyond the Wall of Sleep." These corrected texts present the definitive versions of each tale. Each volume also contains notes and an introduction by scholar S.T. Joshi.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.


I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale -- Stephen King --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141182342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141182346
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 105 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on April 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
Edited by J. T. Joshi, "The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories" offers an excellent, even scholarly, introduction to the tales of H. P. Lovecraft. For those readers like myself who are relatively new to Lovecraft, this collection offers a nice broad brush look at some of his better know works. At the same time, the extensive commentary and foot-noting means that even long time fans should find something new in this collection.

For those entirely unfamiliar with Lovecraft, this collection serves the additional purpose of explaining why one should read this enigmatic author. Put simply, Lovecraft's merit lies as much in the ideas behind his stories as their actual execution. In fact there are many who argue (with some merit) that Lovecraft wasn't much of an author. He routinely uses far too many words to make his point, an error compounded by his tendency to repeat himself, and many of his plot lines border on self satire. Nonetheless, he is revered because he reshaped the face of modern horror/fantasy. He removes man from the focal point of all previous storytelling, and finds horror in our insignificance. He creates a mythology (perhaps best personified in Cthulhu) in which beings both vastly older and infinitely more powerful than humans have lived and fought over untold eons. It is their complete indifference and capriciousness the mankind that inspires horror.

At his best, Lovecraft captures this fear of the unknowable or unfathomable with an air of palpable menace. By arranging the stories found in this collection in chronological order, Joshi allows the reader to see Lovecraft's growth as a writer, something that makes the final five entries all the more impressive.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was my first exposure to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and I enjoyed it so much that half way through, I went out and bought another collection, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES. Lovecraft's prose is creepy in a way that I really hadn't experienced from other so-called horror writers. A lot of the stories follow the same basic structure, but that didn't distract from the fact that these were some of the wildest and most chilling stories that I have read in a very long time.
I had heard a lot about the types of stories that Lovecraft wrote, but I wasn't really prepared for how creepy they would be. A lot of them really shouldn't be as shocking as they are, but somehow Lovecraft gets away with it. He likes to use a lot of frivolous language and has the tendency to take short cuts by saying that the various creatures and entities are too frightening, too complicated, or too alien for the human mind to comprehend. While I'm usually the first person to roll my eyes at this sort of literary cop-out, I was completely enthralled by its use here. Lovecraft's command of language is precise and effective. The monsters and Gods that he describes truly seem fearsome and unnerving.
The actual plots of these stories seem to be vaguely repetitive. Since this is the first collection of Lovecraft that I have read, I'm not sure if these is indicative of his work in general, but it is certainly apparent that many of these stories follow the same basic structure. I didn't really find this to be a problem though. There are enough major differences in the stories that they don't all seem to blend together, despite their commonalities.
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58 of 65 people found the following review helpful By R. MCCOSKER on December 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Since there are so many different Lovecraft collections out there, it may be useful to prospective buyers to know what's actually in this one:
[First, preliminary material by S. T. Joshi:] Introduction; Suggestions for Further Reading; A Note on the Text; [Hereupon stories by H. P. Lovecraft:] Dagon; The Statement of Randolph Carter; Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family; Celephais; Nyarlathotep; The Picture in the House; The Outsider; Herbert West--Reanimator [a collected magazine serial]; The Hound; The Rats in the Walls; The Festival; He; Cool Air; The Call of Cthulhu; The Colour Out of Space; The Whisperer in Darkness; The Shadow Over Innsmouth; The Haunter of the Dark; [By Joshi again:] Explanatory Notes
Unlike in THE ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT and MORE ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, also edited and annotated (though in the latter case co-edited and co-annotated) by Joshi, the equally copious annotations here are collected at the back of the book (thereby being what are technically known as "endnotes") rather than placed at the bottom of story pages where they're referenced (known as "footnotes"). And also unlike the "ANNOTATED" volumes, THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES lacks photographs that highlight the relationships between the subjects in the stories and the persons and places of Lovecraft's life; features smaller print, which makes it a bit harder to read but means more stories can be packed into the volume.
THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES now has out a sequel, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES, a similarly arranged collection of Lovecraft fiction with an introduction and endnotes by Joshi and put out by the same publisher, Penguin. Each of these Penguin volumes, as well as the two "ANNOTATED" volumes published by Dell, presents its selection of stories in the order they were written, a practical advantage when reading Lovecraft.
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