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The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind The Legend Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Red Wheel / Weiser (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578632692
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578632695
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #956,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Harms is an author, librarian, and scholar who deals with topics ranging from the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft to roleplaying games to books of magic. He lives in upstate New York with a cantankerous ball python.

Customer Reviews

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So my mind has definitely been open to taking it seriously.
Royce E. Buehler
The Necronomicon and maybe this book are must reads for those seriously interested in the occult.
Joseph Johnson
Excellent use of scholarly sources, such as the works of Dan Clore....
Dan Clore

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Royce E. Buehler on April 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've been rereading and enjoying Lovecraft, man and boy, for fifty years now. I haven't been a full-blown fan, but I've absorbed several volumes of discussion and criticism. In depth of detail, documentation, readability and balance, this one is head and shoulders above anything else I've seen. Once I track down Daniel Harms' Encyclopedia Cthuliana, I'll be able to toss my old Lin Carter. Hey, it was about to start flaking and putrescing anyway.
I snapped up the Simon version of the Necronomicon the month Avon released it in 1980. I won't bore you with the tale here, but so many unsettling synchronicities attended the purchase that I didn't have the nerve to read through it for over a year. So my mind has definitely been open to taking it seriously. At the same time, I was familiar enough with HPL's descriptions of the mad Arab's book to know it didn't match up, and was at least partly hoax. What a pleasure to find that nearly a third of this book discusses Simon's opus, exploring it from just about every angle. I found the authors' conclusions completely convincing.
Harms is a Lovecraft scholar; he gets almost a third of the book to discuss the history of the Necronomicon as an artifact of the fiction written by HPL and his circle. Even if you are one of those fans who share Howard's complete confidence that the only things that ever really go bump in the night are turns of bad plumbing, this part of the book alone justifies its space on your shelf. There's a bit of biography, a look into the evidence on sources, and a masterfully clear timeline of how, story by story, the notion of the Necronomicon was fleshed out. Harms sticks to business, discussing the Cthulhu mythos only to the extent that it bears directly on some detail about the book.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Kennedy VINE VOICE on February 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
I've read just about everything BY Lovecraft and lots of stuff ABOUT Lovecraft, and this is one of the most valuable books, aside from HPL's own writing, that I have come across. In my early days I was haunted by the feeling that underneath Lovecraft's fiction were hints of something horribly TRUE, that his work has endured not only because of its artistic merits, but because he had somehow synthesized his voracious reading and vivid dreaming into content that tapped into archetypal sources of human fear. I spent a lot of time hunting for books he mentioned in his stories on his occultist characters' shelves - to ascertain for myself how much of what Lovecraft told was the "truth" and how much he made up - and I found, much to my relief, that many of those books do not exist.

But a few of them do: The Golden Bough, The Witch Cult in Western Europe ... and the Necronomicon. I actually own a number of published books claiming to be "the Necronomicon." There's a list of them in The Necronomicon Files, and I was amused to note that I own most of the publications on that list. I realized early on that none of these books are actually THE Necronomicon from Lovecraft's stories. That book isn't real, never was, and never will be. The question that remained for me was: how "real" are the various Necronomicons that are floating around out there?

The answer to that question, (at least as far as regards the notorious "Simon" edition - now published by Avon,) according to Harms and Gonce, is "real enough to be dangerous in the hands of the foolish." Gonce's section of this book is a wealth of information on the history and theory of Magick. Even if I hadn't been interested in the Necronomicon, this section would still be fascinating to read.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Samuel E. Burns on January 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
As you can probably tell from the ratings, this book impresses those of us who have actually READ it (as the single reviewer giving it the low rating obviously has not . . . not even the dust cover or back of cover comments, apparently)!
Harms and Gonce have performed a scolarly study of the legendary tome of dreaded lore known as the Necronomicon. In their research, they examine the facts, the legends, and the history . . . and they place it firmly right where it belongs: a creation that originally sprang from the mind of fantasy/horror author Howard Phillips Lovecraft.
This book examines many facets of the "Necronomicon legend:"
* How Lovecraft came up with the idea and what might have inspired him;
* The popularization of Lovecraft's fiction and the subsequent arising of a popular opinion that he had been quoting an actual ancient codex;
* The production of the many modern faux versions of the Necronomicon, some firmly tongue-in-cheek and others carefully-reworded versions of extant ancient occult texts (none of which were originally titled "Necronomicon"), in response to the popularity of the title;
* The inclusion of references to the Necronomicon in films and television episodes in addition to written fiction.
The material presented is well-researched and factual, accompanied by proper citations where appropriate, and presented in some detail. In fact, it might well be presented in TOO much detail if the reader happens to be new to the "Necronomicon debate!" The amount of detail presented on both the literary origins and presentations of the Necronomicon, and the connections of the tome to modern Magick, will likely be far too in-depth for anyone interested solely in one and not the other!
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