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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – October 1, 1999
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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.
About the Author
H. P. Lovecraft was born in 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island, where he lived most of his life. Frequent illnesses in his youth disrupted his schooling, but Lovecraft gained a wide knowledge of many subjects through independent reading and study. 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.
S. T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. He has edited Penguin Classics editions of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (1999), and The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (2001), as well as Algernon Blackwood’s Ancient Sorceries and Other Strange Stories (2002). Among his critical and biographical studies are The Weird Tale(1990), Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination (1995), H. P. Lovecraft: A Life(1996), and The Modern Weird Tale (2001). He has also edited works by Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, and H. L. Mencken, and is compiling a three-volume Encyclopedia of Supernatural Literature. He lives with his wife in Seattle, Washington.
Top customer reviews
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This collection contains a mixture of tales from both his early and later periods, both long and short works, with several lesser known and harder to find stories thrown in for good measure. Most of the stories directly concerning Cthulu or its followers are here collected ("Dagon", "The Call of Cthulu", "The Shadow Over Innsmouth"), as well as many other tales that have long been considered classics in the Lovecraft corpus ("The Colour Out of Space", "The Whisperer in the Darkness", "Herbert West - Reanimator", "The Rats in the Walls"). What's more, the collection also contains extensive endnotes by editor S.T. Joshi, who not only provides insights into the writing of these works but also explains obscure references and even points out how many of Lovecraft's stories directly relate to one another; even those reasonably familiar with Lovecraft's work will find new insights and connections that they hadn't realized existed.
Overall I think this is a very good collection, among the best Lovecraft anthologies currently in release. I would recommend it to anyone interested in H.P. Lovecraft with absolutely no reservations.
The notes and introduction are also illustrative. Joshi makes the intriguing point that the "Cthulhu mythos" is in fact a sort of anti-mythology; while the world's religious myths seek to justify the ways of god(s) to man, the Cthulhu mythos proposes instead that they should stay as far away from one another as they can, and suggest that the powers that rule the universe are utterly alien and hostile or indifferent.
The faithful of Lovecraft's mythos seem predestined by a sort of perverse grace to seek knowledge they ought not seek. When they at last know, it destroys them. This note --- the quintessentially Lovecraftian note --- is perhaps the key to Lovecraft's significance and continuing popularity. On the one hand, it links Lovecraft to the New England Puritan heritage of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Cotton Mather that runs so strongly through his tales. On the other hand, it ties him to the broader themes of contemporary U.S. popular culture, the -X-Files-, -The Matrix-, and dozens of similar productions. HPL deserves more credit than he is usually given for these things.
The dialogue is extremely complex, which is why I've heard of some people not being really able to understand the stories because Lovecraft himself was very well educated. It has been argued that the works of his are reserved for people of similar social standing. But if you consider yourself a fan of horror, original horror then it's something to definitely look into.
I was surprised many times at how some of the stories ended up, it's not a typical horror story and how they end. Due to Lovecraft's own experiences in life he had to make his stories very unique in order for people to want to read them and for him to find work in the writing field in the early 20th century.
This is one of the best books I have ever, or will ever buy and read.
If can, spend the cash, it's worth every penny. Only thing is the very thorough use of proper English vocabulary. A bit thick at times and difficult to wade through (my generations lack of good word usage). But hell! Its good linguistic exercise!
Still yet. Great reading from an amazing imagination!