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The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – October 1, 2001

4.3 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Praise for Penguin Horror Classics:

“The new Penguin Horror editions, selected by Guillermo del Toro, feature some of the best art-direction (by Paul Buckley) I've seen in a cover in quite some time.” – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

"Each cover does a pretty spectacular job of evoking the mood of the title in bold, screenprint-style iconography." – Dan Solomon, Fast Company

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (October 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142180033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142180037
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Since there are so many different Lovecraft collections out there, it may be useful to prospective buyers to know what's actually in this one:
[By S. T. Joshi:] Acknowledgments; Introduction; Suggestions for Further Reading; A Note on the Text; [short stories, except where noted, by H. P. Lovecraft:] The Tomb; Beyond the Wall of Sleep; The White Ship; The Temple; The Quest of Iranon; The Music of Erich Zann; Under the Pyramids [a.k.a. Imprisoned with the Pharoahs]; Pickman's Model; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward [novella]; The Dunwich Horror; At the Mountains of Madness [novella]; The Thing on the Doorstep; [by Joshi:] Explanatory Notes
Unlike in THE ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT and MORE ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, also edited and annotated (though in the latter case co-edited and co-annotated) by Joshi, the equally copious annotations here are collected at the back of the book (thereby being what are technically known as "endnotes") rather than placed at the bottom of story pages where they're referenced (known as "footnotes"). And also unlike the "ANNOTATED" volumes, THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES lacks photographs that highlight the relationships between the subjects in the stories and the persons and places of Lovecraft's life; features smaller print, making it slightly harder to read but meaning more stories can be fit into the volume.
THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES is something of a sequel to THE CALL OF CTHULHU AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES, a similarly produced and arranged collection of Lovecraft fiction, with an introduction and endnotes by Joshi, put out by the same publisher, Penguin.
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Format: Paperback
If you have never read H.P. Lovecraft before, this is an excellent place to start. Each story gets a brief introduction by the Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi. The stories are the corrected versions, and the presentation is tasteful and classic.
"The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories" is packed with some of Lovecraft's best stories. "The Music of Erich Zann" stands out as one of the best short stories I have ever read. In Paris, in a street that can no longer be found, a student lodger is disturbed by unearthly violin music drifting from the top floors. Who is Erich Zann, and where does he learn these strange tunes?
Other classics in this collection are "The Dunwich Horror," featuring the infamous Necronomicon. "At the Mountains of Madness," Lovecraft's longest story is a mixture of Edgar Allen Poes "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket" and his own creatures from beyond. Set in the Antarctic, this has been the inspiration for several films. "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward" and "The Thing on the Doorstep" are both excellent. I wish this volume had been around when I first started reading Lovecraft. I am happy to have it now.
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Format: Paperback
"The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories" represents the second of three (to date) collections of H. P. Lovecraft's work edited and annotated by J. T. Joshi and published by Penguin. Like the preceding volume ("The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories") the stories unfold in the chronological order of their writing, allowing the reader to both observe Lovecraft's development as a writer, and the interlinking of his developing mythos. The only substantial differences between this volume and the former are that this one contains more stories within the Cthulhu Mythos, and it also contains Lovecraft's two longest (and to my mind best) works.

The book begins with an introduction from Joshi that readers of the first volume will probably find disappointing as it offers no meaningful difference to that books introduction. It seems odd that someone who has chronicled Lovecraft's life as intently as Joshi has couldn't find a different avenue of consideration, and it is unfortunate that the same facts are repeated, regardless of how important they may be to understanding Lovecraft's writing.

Fortunately, that is the only black mark against Joshi's work as he has provided exhaustive foot-noting of each story. Sometimes whimsical and sometimes critical, these observations open up an entirely new and deeper view of the stories in "The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories". In particular, residents of New England in general and Rhode Island in particular will appreciate the impression that regional history and geography had on Lovecraft's writing.
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Format: Paperback
The second Lovecraft collection released under the Penguin Classics imprint, "The Thing On the Doorstep and Other Weird Tales" introduces Lovecraft to a reading population that otherwise would not consider reading his works. Besides the title tale, "The Tomb", "The Dunwich Horror", "At Mountains of Madness" are among the Lovecraft gems included.
Edited by top Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi, the collection includes a wonderful brief biographical sketch of Lovecraft that goes beyond the usual scant information usually seen about the author and marvelously detailed notes that not only discuss references in the story itself but give a short history of each story's publication and further reading suggestions.
The number of stories included the Penguin editions may not be as vast as the recent Del Ray trade paperback editions. However the true Lovecraft devotee and those new to the Providence Gentleman will be thrilled with the vast amount of information contained between the covers.
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