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Tales of H.P. Lovecraft Paperback – September 19, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A collection of ten prototypical stories by Lovecraft (18901937), the influential myth-and monster-maker of Providence, Rhode Island, whose extravagantly gothic tales have spawned and inspired such latterday disciples as Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell. It's ingenuous for Ecco to claim that ``Now, at last'' we have a representative Lovecraft (considering all that several publishers have done over the years to keep even his ephemera in print). Still, here are some of his best, including such comparatively little-known triumphs as a harrowing depiction of a surrender to madness (``The Dreams in the Witch-House'') and a superb haunted-house tale (``The Shunned House''). Oates's brief, incisive introduction suggestively compares Lovecraft's experiences and temperament with those of his mentor Poe, and helpfully summarizes the content of the former's apparently immortal ``Chthulu Mythos.'' One misses only Lovecraft's hair-raising novella ``The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.'' But even without it this attractive volume offers a fine chance to sample Lovecraft's ghoulish pleasures. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"H.P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." -- Stephen King
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; 1st ed edition (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060957905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060957902
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,470,053 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
With so many different Lovecraft collections out there, it may help prospective buyers to know what's actually in this one:
[By Joyce Carol Oates:] Introduction; [by H.P. Lovecraft:] The Outsider; The Music of Erich Zann; The Rats in the Walls; The Shunned House; The Call of Cthulhu; The Colour out of Space; The Dunwich Horror; At the Mountains of Madness; The Shadow over Innsmouth; The Shadow out of Time
This is an excellent introductory selection of short fiction -- Lovecraft didn't write any other kind -- by one of the major figures in the history of what is nowadays called horror fiction (though a very good case can be made that, as with his idol Poe, Lovecraft belongs among the ranks of literary greats, period). Still, there are comparably fine collections available, e.g. THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD TALES, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD TALES (both of which, unlike the collection being reviewed here, have endnotes), THE DUNWICH HORROR AND OTHERS, and AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS AND OTHER NOVELS.
What makes this particular collection a marketing novelty -- indeed, why it was ever published in the first place -- is that it's edited and introduced by a well-established, much-respected mainstream literary fiction writer, namely Oates. The publisher's hope may have been that some of those who wouldn't otherwise consider reading an oldtime pulp horror writer like Lovecraft will finally give him a try, what with Oates's more widely intellectually respected name attached. As one who believes Lovecraft deserves a much higher rank in the proverbial literary pantheon than the literary establishment generally accords him, I have no complaint about trying that approach.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this collection a superb introduction to the works of H. P. Lovecraft, starting with some shorter tales and including such Lovecraft classics as "The Dunwich Horror" and "At the Mountains of Madness". The unitiated can obtain a taste of the unholy,foetid, dripping putrescence of Lovecraftian descriptions to determine if one's interest into further perusal of the Chthulu Mythos, the Great Old Ones, and the works found in the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred's "Necronomicon" is warranted.
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Format: Paperback
If you're just getting into Lovecraft, this is, without a doubt, the best way to get started with your favorite old god, Cthulhu. It contains a perfect list of Lovecraft standards: The Outsider; The Music of Erich Zann; The Rats in the Walls; The Shunned House; The Call of Cthulhu; The Colour out of Space; The Dunwich Horror; At the Mountains of Madness; The Shadow over Innsmouth; and The Shadow Out of Time. You'll love every one, and crave more.

If you're torn between this and the Penguin editions, I'd recommend you start with this. The three Penguin volumes are complete, but each is a mixed bag of great stories with...not so great. Go for those after you read through this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Distinguished author Joyce Carol Oates has taken the opportunity to carefully select ten of H.P. Lovecraft's major works to new audiences and longtime fans alike, with the publishing of "Tales of H.P. Lovecraft--Major Works Selected and Introduced by Joyce Carol Oates" (The Ecco Press). "Of all the major works in this volume," Oates writes in her extensive Introduction, "it was 'The Rats in the Walls' and 'The Dunwich Horror' I first encountered at about the age of thirteen and seem not to have forgotten in the intervening years, in the way that recurring nightmares of childhood are never wholly forgotten. Whatever the mythic underpinnings of such wild tales, whatever symbolic and thematic meanings the author may have intended, it can be argued that the surface of a tale is the tale; 'myth' is its residue, its penumbra. The immediate appeal of the successful gothic tale is visceral for, as Lovecraft observed: 'The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.'"

Ms. Oates excerpted a letter written by Lovecraft in 1921, where he details why 'The Unknown' was endlessly fascinating to him: "I could not write about 'ordinary people' because I am not the least interested in them. Without interest there can be no art. Man's relations to man do not captivate my fancy. It is man's relationship to the cosmos--to the unknown--which alone arouses in me the spark of creative imagination. The humanocentric pose is impossible to me, for I cannot acquire the primitive myopia which magnifies the earth and ignores the background."

The Top Ten Tales of HPL that Joyce Carol Oates selected for this volume:

The Outsider
The Music of Erich Zann
The Rats in the Walls
The Shunned House
The Call of Cthulhu
The Colour Out of Space
The Dunwich Horror
At the Mountains of Madness
The Shadow Over Innsmouth
The Shadow Out of Time
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By A Customer on February 10, 1998
Format: Hardcover
While this is an attractive volume, well-printed andwell-bound, and does include a nice selection of Lovecraft's best, Iwould not recommend it. I really enjoyed Ms. Oates' notes in the front of the front of the book: interesting and well-written, so what's my problem? She provides synopses of the stories, giving away the plot and ending. What fun is it to read a novel, when you've been told the ending in advance?
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