Call of Cthulhu and Other Dark Tales (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)
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Lovecraft's fiction is now enjoying the same broad dissemination through trade publishing houses and their classics imprints that was once reserved, as American horror fiction goes, for Lovecraft's main inspiration, Edgar Allan Poe. To the minds of many, that's as it should be. His influence on other writers, which was immediate, has proved to be unending and fruitful.
The call of Cthulhu and other dark tales
In some ways, though, Lovecraft's reach is more encompassing than Poe's. The Cthulhu Mythos, a myth cycle distilled from his fiction that is to the Lovecraft universe what Middle-earth is to Tolkien's fiction, has been a fertile and fecund subgenre of horror fiction since before Lovecraft's death in , and hundreds of writers over the decades have contributed tales written in Lovecraft's style, infused with its philosophy of cosmic pessimism, or full of references to the entities, books of occult lore, and unhallowed smalltowns that are its signifiers—among them Straub, Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Poppy Z.
Last year, Dark Horse brought out Lovecraft Unbound, an anthology of original stories, edited by Ellen Datlow, penned by leading writers of fantasy and science fiction, all of which evoke the spirit, if not the specifics, of Lovecraft's writings, and capture what Datlow refers to as "the deep dread and fear of the unknown" that distinguishes Lovecraft's tales of horror for her. And P. Publishing, the U. These books form the tip of an iceberg made from scores of similar anthology excursions into Lovecraft-land that began building back in when Arkham House, once the exclusive publisher of all things Lovecraftian, released Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos, a compilation of horror stories by Lovecraft's pulp colleagues put together by Lovecraft's disciple August Derleth.
A revised version of this volume is still in print, in paperback, under the Del Rey imprint.
Lovecraft's presence is proliferating not only in the field of fiction but in graphic arts publications as well. Lovecraft, earned a nomination for the World Fantasy Award.
The call of Cthulhu and other dark tales
The book is an exhaustive exploration of artistic interpretations of Lovecraft's fiction, from the earliest renderings that accompanied Lovecraft's stories in the pulp magazines of the s and '30s, through the postwar comics and paperback explosion and up to contemporary times, with reproductions of work by Lovecraft-inspired luminaries including Frank Frazetta, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Mignola of Hellboy fame , H. Giger, and Gahan Wilson, among others. In , Lovecraft merited his own volume of multiartist interpretations of his fiction in Eureka Publications' Graphic Classics series. Studios that extrapolates Lovecraftian themes into an apocalyptic horror saga, hits stores.
Lovecraft has been referenced in Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's Locke and Key comic book series, and is a fixture in numerous independent comic book series both in America and abroad. His presence in graphic media, and in Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu, a bestselling fantasy role-playing game now almost three decades old, ensures that Lovecraft will find a foothold with a younger generation raised on graphic novels, manga, computer games, YouTube clips, and Twitter feeds, and who may discover Lovecraft through extraliterary media before they even know he wrote fiction.
Lovecraft's name is so ubiquitous in publishing these days that almost no one thinks it necessary, as it once was, to give his backstory—an attitude that might leave those still not familiar with him or his achievements in the dark. So, who exactly is H. To some, he was a writer who lived a life that would have made him the perfect character in an H. Lovecraft story—and, not surprisingly, there is a well-established subgenre of fantastic fiction in which Lovecraft figures as a character, ranging from PW Reviews editor Peter Cannon's The Lovecraft Chronicles Mythos Books, , which speculates about the books Lovecraft might have written and the literary associations he would have forged had he not died prematurely in , to David Barbour and Richard Raleigh's Shadows Bend Ace, , one of many novels that situate Lovecraft in a world where the supernatural horrors he imagined are real.
Born in in Providence, R. At an early age he discovered Poe's fiction and cultivated a taste for tales of the macabre. He began writing fiction in his adolescence and placed some of his earliest work with amateur publications. Lovecraft's early years coincide with the explosion of the pulp fiction magazine market, which provided inexpensive escapist reading for mass consumption in the first half of the 20th century.
By the s and '30s, there were genre-specific pulps to suit just about every taste, and, given his passion, Lovecraft gravitated toward Weird Tales, the long-lived magazine that shaped the modern American horror tale. Lovecraft cracked Weird Tales with his first professional sale in , and though he would sell to other pulp markets, it became the magazine with which he and his work were most closely associated. From the start, Lovecraft's stories were noticeably devoid of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and other traditional supernatural monsters appearing in the work of his pulp contemporaries.
Though written in a somewhat mannered gothic style and prose empurpled with words like "eldritch" and "squamous," his atmospheric tales strove to express a horror rooted in humanity's limited understanding of the universe and humankind's arrogant overconfidence in its significance in the cosmic scheme. In , Weird Tales published "The Call of Cthulhu," his tale of an extradimensional monster whose unpronounceable name suggested its incomprehensible alienness, and whose devastating emergence in our world overwhelms the humans who encounter it with an awareness of humanity's puniness and powerlessness against such threats.
Lovecraft attracted little attention during his lifetime. Indeed, outside of a small circle of admirers and readers of the pulp magazine Weird Tales in the s and 30s, few had ever heard of him. And yet today he is recognized as one of the most important horror authors of the twentieth century, with authors from Stephen King to Clive Barker to Neil Gaiman acknowledging his influence on them.
He was the only child of Winfield Scott Lovecraft, a traveling salesman for a silversmith company, and Sarah Susan Phillips Lovecraft, who could trace her ancestry back to colonial New England.
The Call of Cthulhu and Other Dark Tales : H.P. Lovecraft, : : Blackwell's
Lovecraft, a precocious but sickly child coddled by his overprotective mother, began composing poetry at age six and short horror tales and musings on science at age seven. Later in his life, the works of the Irish fantasist Lord Dunsany and Welsh fantasy writer Arthur Machen would also exercise considerable influence on his artistic development.
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Lovecraft contributed poetry and essays to UAPA journals and published thirteen issues of his own journal, the Conservative— a periodical that reflected his own conservative cultural views. Then, at the urging of colleagues, Lovecraft began to submit his tales to the celebrated pulp magazine Weird Tales , which was founded in and which included the early work of notable authors such as Ray Bradbury, Fritz Leiber, Henry Kuttner, C. Moore, and Theodore Sturgeon. Weird Tales became the principle publication venue for Lovecraft.
In the early s, Lovecraft also began to build up an ever-expanding network of correspondents that led to his becoming one of the most prolific letter writers of the twentieth century—letters which Joshi speculates may one day be recognized as in fact his greatest achievement. His mother had died in as a result of complications from gallbladder surgery, so he moved in with his two maternal aunts.
His last years were lamentably plagued by poverty and hardship.
In , he was saddened by the suicide of his correspondent Robert E. Howard, author of the Conan the Barbarian stories, and Lovecraft himself succumbed to cancer of the intestine on March 10, , at the age of forty-seven, having never seen a true book publication of his work. As preeminent Lovecraft scholar S. Joshi has remarked, Lovecraft initially found in the stories of Edgar Allan Poe a model for both style and plot structure, and his early work, nearly devoid of dialogue, built around narration, and overloaded with adjectives, clearly reflects this influence.
In this brief tale, three thieves who intend to loot the home of a strange Old Man get their comeuppance through apparently supernatural means. In , Lovecraft discovered the work of Lord Dunsany, an Irish fantasy writer and dramatist, and for two years after, he did little but write Dunsany imitations. The story actually consists of three separate stories linked together by the narrator who discovers the notes of his deceased relative, and it culminates with the characteristically Lovecraftian realization that human beings are not the center of the universe and it is only our ignorance of our true insignificance that keeps us from going mad.
Publisher Series: Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading
Despite the absence of any real critical acclaim during his lifetime, H. Indeed, if one takes his admirers at their word, Lovecraft, a man whose literary output consisted of less than seventy tales and who never saw a book of his stories published in his lifetime, is Shakespeare and Elvis rolled into one! Giger—to acknowledge and celebrate its influence?
He was a man who simultaneously felt that he belonged to an earlier era, whose views for better and worse reflected those of his own time, and whose literary themes were ahead of their time in their anticipation of existentialism and post-modernism. Lovecraft as a product of the early twentieth century is most evident in his oft-remarked and notorious racism.
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He shared the commonly held view of the period that Anglo-Saxons occupied the pinnacle of the evolutionary ladder and non-Anglos were simply biologically and culturally inferior. Lovecraft everywhere associates non-European and mixed ethnicity with intellectual inferiority, physical deformity, and vice. Condition: Fine. Condition: Very Good. No Jacket. Trade Paperback in Near Fine Condition. Introduction by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. These stories introduce readers to Lovecraft's pantheon of "gods", his fictitious New England geogrsphy and the Necronomicon, Lovecaft;s fictional book of occult secrets.
Condition: UsedAcceptable. Condition: New. Home Lovecraft, H. Seller Rating:.
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