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The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories [Paperback]

H. P. Lovecraft
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 4 1999 0141182342 978-0141182346
A definitive collection of stories from the unrivaled master of twentieth-century horror

"I think it is beyond doubt that H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." -Stephen King

Frequently imitated and widely influential, Howard Philips Lovecraft reinvented the horror genre in the 1920s, discarding ghosts and witches and instead envisioning mankind as a tiny outpost of dwindling sanity in a chaotic and malevolent universe. S. T. Joshi, Lovecraft's preeminent interpreter, presents a selection of the master's fiction, from the early tales of nightmares and madness such as "The Outsider" to the overpowering cosmic terror of "The Call of Cthulhu." More than just a collection of terrifying tales, this volume reveals the development of Lovecraft's mesmerizing narrative style and establishes him as a canonical- and visionary-American writer.

For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

Together, these books offer 30 "weird stories" by our nation's greatest horror writer. In addition to the title piece, Cthulhu includes "Rats in the Walls," "Herbert West Reanimator" (the basis of several fun B movies), and "The Haunter of the Dark." The Thing sports such standards as "The Dunwich Horror," "Pickman's Model," and "Beyond the Wall of Sleep." These corrected texts present the definitive versions of each tale. Each volume also contains notes and an introduction by scholar S.T. Joshi.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Call of Cthulhu during World War II March 18 2003
I first read the "Call of Cthulhu" during WW2. The Services distributed "pass-it-along" editions of many classic novels and the "Call" was one. It was so exciting, I kept my copy and took it home. Dog-eared after so may readers, my kids soon found and read it 15 years latter. Now, this yellowed and torn copy has been replaced by this new Penquin edition. Lovecraft's style is odd and sometimes overdone. He never wrote about romance and very little about science fiction. Modern Cthulhu mythos novels, like "The Riddle of Cthulhu", correct all these faults and are cool next books, after the "Call"!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nightmare Fuel Nov. 24 2002
This was my first exposure to the writings of H. P. Lovecraft, and I enjoyed it so much that half way through, I went out and bought another collection, THE THING ON THE DOORSTEP AND OTHER WEIRD STORIES. Lovecraft's prose is creepy in a way that I really hadn't experienced from other so-called horror writers. A lot of the stories follow the same basic structure, but that didn't distract from the fact that these were some of the wildest and most chilling stories that I have read in a very long time.
I had heard a lot about the types of stories that Lovecraft wrote, but I wasn't really prepared for how creepy they would be. A lot of them really shouldn't be as shocking as they are, but somehow Lovecraft gets away with it. He likes to use a lot of frivolous language and has the tendency to take short cuts by saying that the various creatures and entities are too frightening, too complicated, or too alien for the human mind to comprehend. While I'm usually the first person to roll my eyes at this sort of literary cop-out, I was completely enthralled by its use here. Lovecraft's command of language is precise and effective. The monsters and Gods that he describes truly seem fearsome and unnerving.
The actual plots of these stories seem to be vaguely repetitive. Since this is the first collection of Lovecraft that I have read, I'm not sure if these is indicative of his work in general, but it is certainly apparent that many of these stories follow the same basic structure. I didn't really find this to be a problem though. There are enough major differences in the stories that they don't all seem to blend together, despite their commonalities.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative June 12 2002
These are the strangest stories. They are less strong than Edgar Allan Poe's stories of a similar vein - almost childlike in some ways. Invariably the expose at the end of the story is tame, rather trivial. And I don't think I have ever read the words 'horrible' or 'horror' so often. To be truthful about it, I don't really like being told something is horrible - I need to be shown. Often Lovecraft absolutely declines to do this. Take for example 'The Statement of Randolph Carter'. This is a engaging yarn but we never know what the horror is, we just have cries of anguish reporting it. Is this carelessness or laziness? Or is it like a sound heard in the distance - peripherally - unrecoverable and disturbing, keeping you on the edge of the seat waiting just in case it sounds again?
Despite, for me, the poor structure of the stories and the weakness of their endings, I find it impossible to criticise Lovecraft's imaginativeness. These are very creative stories. It is commonly believed that Poe showed great psychological insight in his stories, but what does Lovecraft use as the trigger for his imagination? Is it a dread of science - an irrational fear? I'm not at all sure that I know and perhaps this adds to the intrigue of these stories.
I also enjoyed the notes to these stories with their historic and critical insights. (Although what this statement means puzzled both my wife and I: 'The seemingly straightforward story of an explorer ....... appears more complex than it seems.')
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4.0 out of 5 stars Influential master May 24 2002
Reading Lovecraft's stories today, it's hard to suppress the feeling that you've heard this one before. You probably have, of course - though in a different form and under a different name. While much of his work is plainly unoriginal (the ghosts of Poe and Lord Dunsany whisper just a little too loudly in places), it's no overstatement to say his comparatively small corpus has informed most of twentieth-century horror. And though many have tried, no one has quite matched the overblown pitch of his macabre, lugubrious little melodramas, nor rivaled the gloriously monstrous adjectival orgy of his prose.
More interesting, though, than his scenarios or style is the world view which inspired them. "Was I tottering on the brink of cosmic horrors beyond man's power to bear?" asks the narrator of 'The Call of Cthulhu' - a sentiment no doubt shared by many tired souls living through the godless pandemonium of the early twentieth century. While more 'serious' writers like T. S. Eliot responded to the apparent end of civilization with a sparse modernism and renewed religiosity, Lovecraft embraced a 'mechanistic materialism' which emphasizes man's ultimate cosmic insignificance. His monsters might not frighten you, but in tale after tale it is this which is most chilling.
Arranged in the order in which they were written - and supplemented by a solid Introduction, suggestions for further reading, and very detailed notes - S. T. Joshi's Penguin edition (like its companion, 'The Thing on the Doorstep') is a useful volume for those wanting to taste Lovecraft's mad genius, witness its development, and learn something about the man and his place in history.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A splendid introduction to Lovecraft.
This was the first Lovecraft book I ever read. In keeping with Penguin's tradition of scholarly presentations of literary masterpieces, this volume begins with an essay by Joshi... Read more
Published on June 18 2004 by Beeblebrox
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Horror Fiction
H.P. Lovecraft is without a doubt one of the best fiction writers of the 20th century. It's no surprise his writing techniques and stories still enthrall people today. Read more
Published on April 17 2004 by John Pennant
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairly good.
Lovecraft is one of those writers you either love or hate. Some of it is just personal preference. For example, Lovecraft's prose is a baroque and complex. Read more
Published on March 15 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic treatment of Lovecraft
Its interesting reading those who critise HP for being a bit dull. In my most humble opinion, HP LOvecraft is a true horror writer. Read more
Published on Dec 10 2002 by DeathfromAFar
2.0 out of 5 stars The Thing In Rockwell's Attic
What do Howard Phillips Lovecraft and Norman Rockwell have in common in 2002? Both artists are being newly appraised and embraced by the same establishments that officially shunned... Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2002 by The Wingchair Critic
5.0 out of 5 stars It has its moments...
But "weird" really does describe most of these stories. I remember liking these a lot more when I was younger. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2002 by Ensio N Mikkola
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best Books Ever!
This is undoubtedly one of the best books of all time. I've gotten little or no sleep the last few nights (but then I'm a nervous, jumpy person to begin with). Read more
Published on Nov. 11 2002 by Ben Zimmerman
4.0 out of 5 stars Created His Own World
I found it interesting that most of the stories by H.P. Lovecraft (at least in this volume) seem to take place within the same strange world. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 2002 by Slade Simon
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Mtv generation
I know Lovecraft is supposed to be the master of horror and all- I first heard his name from reading that Bradbury short story about the dead guy and the furnaces. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2002 by personalized signature
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Mtv generation
I know Lovecraft is supposed to be the master of horror and all- I first heard his name from reading that Bradbury short story about the dead guy and the furnaces. Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2002 by personalized signature
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