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H. P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America) Hardcover – February 3, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Two of H.P. Lovecraft's Fungi from Yuggoth sonnets appeared in the Library of America's American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Vol. I (2000). Now Lovecraft (1890–1937), the most important U.S. horror writer since Edgar Allan Poe and a big influence on nearly every major figure in the genre after his day, has been honored with a volume of his own in this prestigious series. Drawing from scholar S.T. Joshi's definitive texts, Peter Straub, the bestselling author of In the Night Room, has selected 22 works of fiction, ranging from such traditional ghostly tales as "The Outsider" and "The Rats in the Walls" to such lengthy cosmic narratives as "The Call of Cthulhu" and "At the Mountains of Madness." This edition represents the latest scholarship, including a recently discovered missing passage from "The Shadow Out of Time" and a few new minor corrections. Some may quibble over the inclusion of the pulpish "Herbert West—Reanimator" and the even worse "The Lurking Fear," though they're of interest as rare examples of Lovecraft aiming to please an audience other than himself. Still, all the best fiction is here in a book sure to help reinforce Lovecraft's place in the American literary canon.
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About the Author

Peter Straub is one of America’s foremost authors of supernatural and suspense fiction. He is the New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels, including the horror classic Ghost Story and The Talisman, which he cowrote with Stephen King. His latest novel, Black House—also written with King—is a #1 New York Times bestseller. A past president of the Horror Writers of America and multiple award winner, he lives in New York City.

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of America (Book 155)
  • Hardcover: 850 pages
  • Publisher: Library of America; First Edition edition (February 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931082723
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931082723
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #348,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Library of America is to be commended for publishing this splendid collection of H. P. Lovecraft's fiction. I have been a major fan of Grandpa Theobald's "junk" (as he liked to call it) for something like 35 years now, and this is easily the best one-volume Lovecraft collection I have ever seen. It beats the socks off the "bloodcurdling" Del Rey volume - not only because it's in hard cover, but also because it contains Lovecraft's two longest fictional works: "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" (never published in HPL's lifetime) and what is probably his masterpiece, "At the Mountains of Madness". In fact, ALL of the Old Gentleman's truly great fiction is here in one volume, for the first time in my lifetime. A desert island book, for sure.

I know, I know - there have been some complaints because the editor (Peter Straub) also selected some of HPL's not-so-great fiction for this collection. I refer to some of the stories Grandpa penned specifically for a pulp magazine audience, such as "Herbert West: Reanimator", "The Lurking Fear", and "The Horror at Red Hook". Why, some readers wonder, sully such a classic collection with stuff that would cause HPL's ghost to die of embarrassment (if ghosts can die)? Well, the eldritch and hideous truth (as Lovecraft might put it) is simply this: Peter Straub was given an 800-page maximum limit for the collection by the Library of America, and there just ain't 800 pages worth of truly classic Lovecraft fiction in existence. I assume Straub was determined to put in as much stuff as possible - right up to the limit imposed on him - and after including all of the great stories, he still had 100 pages or so left over. He chose to fill the space with some of HPL's more "pulpish" efforts.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although I consider myself well read in the horror genre, I have to confess that, until recently, I had never read an H. P. Lovecraft story all the way through. Yes, despite numerous attempts beginning in my teens, I had never finished a single story by one of the most influential horror writers of the early twentieth century. Oh, I owned many of the myriad Lovecraft collections that had been issued over the years, including those beautiful Arkham House editions, but all they did was accumulate dust. And yes, I knew what the word "Lovecraftian" meant, having read many of the pastiches, takeoffs, satires, homages, etc. that have been published over the years. Thus, I knew to shudder at the mention of Cthulhu (even if I didn't know how to spell it), or to laugh knowingly when someone mentioned old Howard Philip's excesses as a writer. Sadly, it was all a sham. To paraphrase Woody Allen, it was a mockery of a travesty of a sham of two mockeries of a sham.

Thinking, like Seinfeld's Cosmo Kramer, that I had "missed my chance" (I held the opinion that Lovecraft was one of those writers one had to embrace in his teens or not at all), I had reconciled myself to the fact that I probably would never read the old master.

Enter Peter Straub and S.T. Joshi.

I list Straub first because he served as the editor for the Library of America volume on Lovecraft, the one that intrigued me enough to start thinking about sampling Lovecraft again. But it was S.T., a Lovecraft scholar's Lovecraft scholar who actually coaxed me to read it.

I contacted S. T. (whose corrected HPL texts were used in the book) seeking a nudge, and a nudge I got.
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Format: Hardcover
As a long-time admirer of HPL, I find it deeply gratifing to see a collection of his best fiction from the prestigious Library of America. Though a bit pricy, this impressive volume stands as the best "core collection" of Lovecraft's work to date, superseding Joyce Carol Oates' thoughtfully-edited "Tales of H.P. Lovecraft."

Still, there are a few flies in the ointment. By all that's right and just, this volume should have been edited by the pre-eminent Lovecraft scholar, S. T. Joshi, rather than by the poor man's Dean Koontz. Lord knows Joshi has earned the honor of editing the Library of America Lovecraft edition many times over. Even so, Joshi's indespensible work in establishing the pure Lovecraft texts --the texts that make up this collection-- is fully acknowledged in the end papers. Also, I would have preferred that "The Hound" and "The Silver Key" had been included in addition to/instead of "The Lurking Fear" and "He." Then this one-volume core collection of Lovecraft's "Tales" would be perfect to my mind.

Still, you won't go wrong in getting this book. I can only hope --in vain, I suppose-- that a companion to "Tales" will one day be issued --"Poetry, Essays, Letters." This volume would include, among others, The Fungi from Yuggoth, Supernatural Horror in Literature, and a carefully chosen selection of Lovecraft's most fascinating and insightful correspondence. Editing this volume would be a task well beyond the means of even an avid and appreciative fan like Peter Straub, and could only fall to S. T. Joshi. Publishers of the Library of America series, please take note.
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