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At the Mountains of Madness (The Horror of H. P. Lovecraft) Paperback – March 30, 2014

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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.”
CLIVE BARKER --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Howard Phillips "H. P." Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and only published in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century authors in his genre. Lovecraft was born in Providence, Rhode Island, where he spent most of his life. His father was confined to a mental institution when Lovecraft was 3 years old. His grandfather, a wealthy businessman, enjoyed storytelling and was an early influence. Intellectually precocious but sensitive, Lovecraft had begun composing rudimentary horror tales and had begun to be overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety by the age of 8. He encountered problems with peers in school, and was kept at home by his highly-strung and overbearing mother for illnesses that may have been psychosomatic. In high school Lovecraft found his contemporaries were accepting and he formed friendships. He also involved neighborhood children in elaborate make-believe projects, only regretfully ceasing the activity at 17 years old. Despite leaving school in 1908 without graduating—he found mathematics particularly difficult—Lovecraft's knowledge of subjects that interested him was formidable.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Horror of H. P. Lovecraft
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149749768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1497497689
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,734,721 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

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

85 of 91 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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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By djbrkns on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
One of the most amazing things I have ever read, made even more intriguing because I could not get it out of my mind that this book was written in 1936. It begins as a paleontological study set in Antarctica. Lovecraft writes almost as if this is a scientific documentary. It is convincing enough that within the first 20 pages I was researching what little was known about Antarctica in the 1930s and I was questioning what was known about paleontology at the time. The next 20 pages I was researching fictional citations of the Cthulhu Mythos and the Necronomicon. This book is ground breaking on so many levels.

`At the Mountains of Madness' is nonstop fascinating discovery. Every single page is a thrill and every single page builds, like a documentary, knowledge of this alien world on a mostly unknown continent - at the time of the writing - on our very planet.

This Modern Library Classics edition contains an introduction by China Mieville. I hope nobody tries to read the introduction before reading 'At the Mountains of Madness', but what a pairing is this story and Mielville's introduction. Mielville marvels at Lovecraft's art then takes Lovecraft, the man, apart. I love that these two pieces were put together. I closed the book at 1:30AM after reading the introduction and was sleepless for 2 hours despicably inspired. It is sickening and amazing to be human in all its variety. Beautiful.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) was a sickly child who early suffered from night terrors--a dream state in which the dreamer cannot awaken himself from a bad dream. Many scholars believe these night terrors gradually motivated him to write, and that he drew from them in the creation of his stories, many of which were published in well-known magazines of the day. But like his predecessor Edgar Allan Poe, Lovecraft found it impossible to support himself as a writer, and he gradually slipped into ever-deepening poverty. He died of a combination of cancer, Bright's disease, and (shockingly) malnutrition, unable to purchase food and unwilling to resort to charity.

AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS is one of Lovecraft's longer pieces, running approximately one hundred pages. It is the story of an expedition to the anarctic by a group of scientists who hope to take new core samples of ice and earth. In the process, a member of the group finds an odd fossil that leads him to push his party far from the home base. His discoveries continue, fascinating discoveries, strange and disturbing discoveries--and then the radio goes silent. At this point, narrator and geologist Dr. William Dyer and a graduate student named Danforth rush to the new encampment only to find absolute chaos and carnage, possibly caused by one of the men going unexpectedly mad, but also possibly caused by something the men unearthed in their exploration. As Dyer and Danforth continue to explore, they discover the ruins of a great city and, from carvings in the city, piece together a history of ancient alien invasion. They are unprepared for the possibility that any of these ancient aliens might still be alive and remarkably lethal, or that something even worse might exist on the other side of the mountain range.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Paul Brooks VINE VOICE on March 22, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
The short novel "At The Mountains of Madness"(1931) by H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) is one of his most ambitious works in which he utilizes his extensive knowledge of Antarctic exploration, mythology, geology and zoology as a backdrop to his story of an unfathomable encounter with archaic extraterrestrial entities.

Much to his dismay the story was rejected by Weird Tales magazine for, among other things, being too long and not convincing. Eventually it was published in Astounding magazine as a three part serial in 1936. Lovecraft was furious that the editor truncated paragraphs and changed sentences without consulting him. Credit to S.T. Joshi editor of "The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft" for this information on the publishing history.

"At The Mountains of Madness" is a lengthy story complete with the sentence structure, phraseology and arcane word use that Lovecraft aficionados find endearing and casual readers can find nearly impenetrable. For example: "Through the desolate summits swept ranging, intermittent gusts of the terrible Antarctic wind, whose cadences sometimes held vague suggestions of a wild and half-sentient musical piping, with notes extending over a wide range, and which for some subconscious mnemonic reason seemed to me disquieting and even dimly terrible."
First time readers should seek out the previously mentioned "The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft" with it's 233 footnotes for this story alone! My third reading of this story was on a Kindle with it's very helpful built in dictionaries.

The other fascinating or frustrating aspect of this story is Lovecraft's extensive references to his other stories, favorite authors, and place names. The Antarctic Expedition is funded by Miskatonic University and wireless reports are published in the Arkham newspaper.
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