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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward Mass Market Paperback – November 12, 1987


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (November 12, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345354907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345354907
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

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!

About the Author

Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an influential writer of horror, fantasy and science fiction. He was born on August 20, 1890, in Rhode Island to Winfield Scott Lovecraft and Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward ranks as one of Lovecraft's best stories he ever wrote.
"bookfreak13"
A recommendable book for everybody interested in good, well-(love)crafted horror stories, and certainly not only of historical interest.
michael maisch
Lovecraft leaves a lot to the imagination of the reader --- a device that works quite well in this story.
ZombiKitty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By ZombiKitty on January 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Charles Dexter Ward is a young man in Providence, RI who is fascinated by antiquities --- too fascinated, perhaps. He becomes obsessed with an ancestor, an alleged warlock named Joseph Curwen who escaped persecution in Salem over 200 years before and fled to Providence. A unusually long-lived ancestor, I might add.

If you aren't used to reading Lovecraft, or other writers of the same time period, the language and writing style might be a little tough at first, but it is well worth getting into. Lovecraft leaves a lot to the imagination of the reader --- a device that works quite well in this story.

This is one of my favorite novellas --- actually, one of my favorite stories, even. I first read when I was in high school, and I have re-read it every few years ever since. I re-read it again a couple of days ago and I still love it. This is Lovecraft at his best.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward has long been one of my favorite books. Charles Ward is an intellectual young recluse steeped in antiquarianism (much as Lovecraft himself was) who discovers horrible secrets about a distant ancestor, one consciously expunged from public records and histories at the end of his ill-begotten life. Ward engulfs himself in a genealogical and historical pursuit of knowledge of this man, a passion all the more emblazoned by each mysterious discovery he makes. This ancestor, Joseph Curwen, was reputably a dabbler in the black arts who fled from Salem in advance of the remarkable witchcraft trials in that town. Finding refuge in Providence, he lived a reclusive, mysterious life, made even more mysterious by his eternally youthful appearance. A recluse by nature, he spent most nights at a farmhouse in Pawtuxet. A continuing series of terrible cries and noises detected from that farmhouse, in conjunction with a number of missing locals and rumors of brutality against Negro slaves surreptitiously brought to that abode culminated in a raid by local citizens determined to put an end to whatever monstrous acts the strange man was committing. No member of that raiding party ever dared discuss what he saw or heard during that awful night. Ward's knowledge of Curwen is greatly advanced when he discovers an old painting of him (revealing a face virtually identical to his own) and a set of personal papers hidden behind that painting. He then launches into terrible studies of the occult at home and abroad, then returns home to put to use the arcane secrets he has learned.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward is one of the few old-fashioned horror books I have read, I found it quite interesting. The plot isn't as far-fetched as so many plots of modern-day horror stories are, but it's still fiction. The horror/action doesn't unfold too early in the story, but when it does you won't stop reading. The descriptions, in the book, of different regions are so clear and imaginable you will be able to draw pictures and design maps. The ending is unique, almost predictable, that's what makes you want to hurry-up and finish the book. Another thing I like about the book is the use of language. I think it goes perfect with the setting even though I had to read some lines over in order to understand them. To write this book in modern-day language would set it apart from other horror stories in that it wouldn't be as good.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Matt C. Stedman on July 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of THE Lovecraft stories to read alongside The Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, The Dunwich Horror, and The Shadow Over Innsmouth. No one writes horror like Lovecraft. His cold and analytical style somehow makes his works even more terrifying. It may be the shock of the rational scientific minds of his character's seeing something that goes beyond explanation that makes his stories so jolting, or the horrifying results of what happens to those rational, scientific, and inquisitive characters, like Charles Dexter Ward, who seek the truth and discover too much of it. But maybe the reason Lovecraft is so scary is because all positive human emotions such as love are abandoned leaving only fear. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is chock full of fear and little else as it takes you through the paranoia of the American colonial days, through the degeneration of a young man's sanity, and through the ancient catacombs of an old house where something inhuman screams from the bottom of a pit. The mystery aspect of the story isn't too hard to figure out, but that may not have been so back in the 1930's when it was first written, but the journey is absolutely terrifying. Lovecraft puts pure fear on paper and that's something no modern horror writer I can think of has been able to do since.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carrie Laben on February 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lovecraft definitely proves his worth as a flat-out horror writer with this tale of necromancy, intergenerational creepiness, and New England spookery. Modern readers will find it more Blair-Witch style scary than Freddy/Jason style gruesome, but in my book that can be a good thing. (And for you purists, yeah, it's much better than BWP, I'm just trying to draw an analogy here.)
The one big fault to be found is that an alert fan may be able to guess the ending before it's time, but that's not strictly old H.P.'s fault, but more to be laid at the feet of the hordes of imitators who have made some of his best ideas into cliches.
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