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The Necronomicon Files: The Truth Behind Lovecraft's Legend Kindle Edition
The Necronomicon Files, revised and expanded further, reveals the hoax of the Necronomicon. Harms and Gonce show that the apocryphal history of the Necronomicon was concocted by Lovecraft to lend it verisimilitude in his fiction. The magical text was transformed into an icon among Lovecraft's literary circle, who added to the book's legend by referring to it in their own writing. People became convinced that it was a real book and its references in literature and film continue to grow. The book also examines what people have undergone to find the Necronomicon and the cottage industry that has arisen over the past three decades to supply the continuing demand for a book that does not exist.
Scholarly yet accessible, humorous and intriguing, The Necronomicon Files illuminates the depth of the creative process and the transformations of modern myth, while still managing to preserve much of the romance and fascination that surrounds the Necronomicon in our culture.
About the Author
Daniel Harms (Upstate New York) holds two masters’ degrees, one in anthropology and one in library and information science. His major area of research is magic from antiquity to the present, and he has been published in the Journal for the Academic Study of Magic and the Journal of Scholarly Publishing. Harms is also the author of two books on horror fiction and folklore.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B00PVAQ8UU
- Publisher : Weiser Books (July 1, 2003)
- Publication date : July 1, 2003
- Language : English
- File size : 9347 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 616 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,770,892 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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I would certainly say the book is worth it just for Daniel's section (though I wish that were longer). Just, don't be surprised that John's section seems longer and isn't necessarily worthwhile (though not necessarily worthless). know what you are getting into.
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. (The one thing I missed seeing here was a catalogue of all the other non-existent companion titles dreamed up by Bloch and Smith and Derleth and the crew.) A reasonably complete list of published titles purporting to be the Necronomicon, with summaries and evaluations, is here too.
Then Mr. Gonce picks up the story from the perspective of the impact of the idea of the Necronomicon on the occult subculture. Of the many supposed "Necronomicons" on offer, only a few claim to include usable spells and rituals. And of these, only the Simon volume is sufficiently explicit and complete to have enticed any significant number of readers to try the contents out. The results have been, as Warren Zevon might have put it, not that pretty at all. So the core of the book devotes itself to untangling the origins of the Simon version, explaining why it is a hoax, and looking at the phenomenon of the many cults, most of them very tiny, that have sprung up around that hoax. Its grimoire is a pastiche from many incompatible cultures and some invokings invented out of whole cloth. As a practicing pagan, Gonce believes many of these individual spells "work", but the incoherence of the whole system means they don't work very well, and amateurs will get into magickal trouble because the book doesn't indicate how to banish what is invoked. For practicing skeptics in his readership, he provides sobering examples of manipulative cults and even murders, which show that you don't need to believe in magick to know that in the hands of alienated teens the Simon edition is bad juju.
All this is rounded off with a hilarious roll call of films and TV shows that have played off the Necronomicon meme. Many of the film reviews are several pages long, with plot synopses probably more entertaining than the movies themselves. And then each is scored for fidelity to Lovecraft.
If you have only one book about Lovecraft in your library, other than a biography, this is probably the one you want. If your circle of friends includes dabblers (or adepts) in magick, it definitely is.
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