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The Road to Madness Paperback – October 1, 1996

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"There is a melancholy, operatic grandeur in Lovecraft's most passionate work," writes Joyce Carol Oates in The New York Review of Books, "... a curious elegiac poetry of unspeakable loss, of adolescent despair, and an existential loneliness so pervasive that it lingers in the reader's memory, like a dream, long after the rudiments of Lovecraftian plot have faded." Del Rey has reprinted Lovecraft's stories in three large-format paperbacks. This third volume collects one poem, one story fragment, and 26 tales not included in the first two, including "Herbert West--Reanimator," "The Lurking Fear," "Dagon," "The Unnameable," and the classic short novel "At the Mountains of Madness." Introduction by Barbara Hambly. Beautiful cover art by surrealist John Jude Palencar.

From Publishers Weekly

H.P. Lovecraft. Del Rey, $10 (384p) ISBN 0-345-38422-9 Lovecraft's transformation from beginner to master horror writer is the theme behind this collection of macabre tales, the third in a Del Rey trilogy of Lovecraft's work. It certainly succeeds in this design, making it both easy and informative to follow his development. But the works included here range from abysmal to excellent, with most occupying the weaker end of the range. Certain selections show Lovecraft at his gripping and imaginative best?particularly the important novella, "At the Mountains of Madness," which deals with dreadful life encountered in the Antarctic wasteland (creatures who were "above all doubt the originals of the fiendish elder myths which thing like the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon affrightedly hint about."). But earlier works are less impressive. The first five stories, labeled "early tales" by their author, are among the few youthful writings that Lovecraft preserved. Three show the promise of talent to come, but the inclusion here of the xenophobic tract, "The Street," is barely justifiable. Beyond these, there are many one-note and predictable tales, often additionally marred by grotesque racism. It clearly took Lovecraft a while to develop the subtlety required for suspenseful storytelling. Editorial remarks beyond the existing one-page introduction could have added much, as would dating of the pieces. Serious Lovecraft fans, however, will not want to miss this collection, if only for the few gems included and later tales that bear on the Cthulhu mythos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345384229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345384225
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #296,325 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

Top Customer Reviews

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This is an anthology of some of the best works of Howard Philips Lovecraft (HPL), a pulp horror- and science fiction- writer of the 1920s and 30s. Lovecraft had a distinctive style of writing, meant to convey through description an atmosphere of awe and wonder of the universe, which he believed a rational mind would experience as horror. His works have influenced generations of writers including Stephen King, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell, and Robert Howard. The content of THE ROAD TO MADNESS is some of HPLs most evocative, chilling, and enduring tales. And I almost missed them.

You see, I thought I had everything by Lovecraft. But I would catch allusions to things like the "Martense kin", "the U-Boat", and Arthur Jermyn. I couldn't find these references in any of my books, when I realized I was missing THE TOMB. Rather than buy this out-of-print book, I picked up ROAD TO MADNESS. It has served me well as a general collection of the most enduring elements of Lovecraft's fiction. The 3 Del Rey collections (ROAD TO MADNESS, BEST OF HP LOVECRAFT, DREAM CYCLE OF HP LOVECRAFT) are pretty comprehensive of HPLs corpus. I am posting below a list of the contents of THE ROAD TO MADNESS under the heading of other sources for the same stories, to let you decide how much overlap it has with other anthologies you might own.
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By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent for mature readers 12+. When kids (like me, I'm 14) find that ghost stories start to seem a little childish... these stories are a step up. After I read this book, I would sometimes find myself staring off into space, thinking about one of the stories... this book will put so many ideas into your head, you will look at the entire world differently. Lovecraft is a master author.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I heard about HP Lovecraft a little while ago, but never read any of his works until about a month ago when I bought the Best Of collection from Del Rey. I loved it, so I bought this book after getting through most of the first one. After reading The Beast in the Cave, I was hooked on this too.
The best thing about Lovecraft's storytelling is the way he describes things so vividly, and yet leaves a lot to your own imagination. Although he can drag on at times, the stories always come together in the end. One of my favorites is Dagon, with an incredible introduction and conclusion. My personal favorite was probably Memory. It was one page, and it gives you just a taste of Lovecraft's brilliant imagination.
One last note: the cover on this book is incredible. John Jude Palencar is a great artist.
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Format: Paperback
This collection of stories by H.P. Lovecraft apparently was put together for hardcore collectors, but it does have many treasures for those who are just beginning to discover his work. The book begins with several "Early Tales" from Lovecraft's formative period. Some go as far back as his teenage years. In these early stories Lovecraft was still nailing down the style that would later become so influential. Unfortunately some of these tales aren't very good, especially the very predictable "The Beast in the Cave," and the others are high on stiff prose and low on ideas. So this early stuff is a real treasure for collectors but may be a struggle for everyone else. However, once you get over that hurdle, this book starts to pick up steam with a steady supply of fascinating and freaky tales of horror and the supernatural. As the title indicates, most of these short stories contain people going mad, and you may be wondering about your own sanity at the end. Highlights include the Frankenstein-style tales "Herbert West-Reanimator" and "Cool Air." My favorites appear toward the end of the book, with the sci-fi style "In the Walls of Eryx," in which Lovecraft shows a surprising flair for conceptual science fiction. The mini-novel "At the Mountains of Madness" may be Lovecraft's all-time best - a masterpiece of occult history that leaves you with a very spooky feeling afterwards. For those who are just discovering Lovecraft: while you're reading the stories, sometimes you'll find yourself struggling through his dense, slow-moving prose (which hardly ever contains dialogue), and his obscure references to the occult. But once you put the book down, and the stories work their way to the back of your mind, you'll start feeling creeped out. VERY creeped out.
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Format: Paperback
Many of Lovecraft's villains and heroes, which he so smoothly incorporates into his tales, are none other than scholars who are dangerously treading the realms of forbidden knowledge; and hence, desperately attempting to reveal the occult secrets derived from 'actual' hidden and historical documents of the past. He so cleverly weaves these yarns with both fact, fiction and legend, and mysteriously arrives at the ultimate conclusion that "yes, the world and its inhabitants are basically living in a totally unknown void of time and space, yet they are afraid to acknowledge it." One reading these gruesome short stories is left at the threshold of what is and what really may be. Most of these tales are earlier works written in his teens, but are nevertheless disclosing pieces of art prior to his becoming into one of the masters of horror - if not thee master. Mr. Lovecraft hinted at alot more than he outright stated in his writings, and many firmly believe he was either onto something or most likely, something was onto him, which very well may have drove him to the road to madness and to ultimately persuade him to produce the 29 chilling tales of horror encapsuled within this book. GET THESE!!
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