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The Road to Madness Paperback – Oct 1 1996

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • The Road to Madness
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  • Dreams of Terror and Death: The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft
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  • Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey (Oct. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345384229
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345384225
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #150,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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"There is a melancholy, operatic grandeur in Lovecraft's most passionate work," writes Joyce Carol Oates in The New York Review of Books, "... a curious elegiac poetry of unspeakable loss, of adolescent despair, and an existential loneliness so pervasive that it lingers in the reader's memory, like a dream, long after the rudiments of Lovecraftian plot have faded." Del Rey has reprinted Lovecraft's stories in three large-format paperbacks. This third volume collects one poem, one story fragment, and 26 tales not included in the first two, including "Herbert West--Reanimator," "The Lurking Fear," "Dagon," "The Unnameable," and the classic short novel "At the Mountains of Madness." Introduction by Barbara Hambly. Beautiful cover art by surrealist John Jude Palencar.

From Publishers Weekly

H.P. Lovecraft. Del Rey, $10 (384p) ISBN 0-345-38422-9 Lovecraft's transformation from beginner to master horror writer is the theme behind this collection of macabre tales, the third in a Del Rey trilogy of Lovecraft's work. It certainly succeeds in this design, making it both easy and informative to follow his development. But the works included here range from abysmal to excellent, with most occupying the weaker end of the range. Certain selections show Lovecraft at his gripping and imaginative best?particularly the important novella, "At the Mountains of Madness," which deals with dreadful life encountered in the Antarctic wasteland (creatures who were "above all doubt the originals of the fiendish elder myths which thing like the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Necronomicon affrightedly hint about."). But earlier works are less impressive. The first five stories, labeled "early tales" by their author, are among the few youthful writings that Lovecraft preserved. Three show the promise of talent to come, but the inclusion here of the xenophobic tract, "The Street," is barely justifiable. Beyond these, there are many one-note and predictable tales, often additionally marred by grotesque racism. It clearly took Lovecraft a while to develop the subtlety required for suspenseful storytelling. Editorial remarks beyond the existing one-page introduction could have added much, as would dating of the pieces. Serious Lovecraft fans, however, will not want to miss this collection, if only for the few gems included and later tales that bear on the Cthulhu mythos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My original review for "The Transition of H.P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness" was posted on January 10th 1999. The title and review was written as follows:
A true master of the macabre.
My only complaint about the writings of H.P. Lovecraft would be that many of his stories are of a similar nature and theme. Irregardless of this I found most of his stories to be extremely impressive works of fantasy and horror.
H.P. Lovecraft is a true past master. If you like anything that has ever dealt with horror, fantasy, or sci-fi, then you would be doing yourself a great disservice to not read a collection of Lovecraft stories at least once in your life.
I was very, very impressed by my first encounter with Lovecraft's work. I will read more of his material before my life is over.
End of original review.
I am very pleased with my original review and have re-reviewed it to properly put it under my correct name and Amazon.com identity.
The only thing new that I would like to add to this re-review would be this: the last story in this collection is called "At The Mountains of Madness." This story is hands down the best horror story I have ever read in my entire life. Nothing I have read since has equaled it, and nothing ever will. I consider it a profound pleasure that back in 1999 I read a horror story that will stand for the rest of my life as the greatest horror story I have ever read.
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Format: Paperback
Most people thinks that a man with a knife chasing teenagers is scary. This book proves them wrong! All of these stories were written back in the 1920s, but just because they're old doesn't mean they're not scary. His stories tell of civilizations that existed before man and creatures that drive people insane. They tell of aliens that have supernatural qualities and creatures that are really evil. His stories are almost believable. Some people actually believed his stories! I think it's because his ideas and writing are so perfect. You won't find a bad story in this book. It's worth the price.
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Format: Paperback
My first experience with Lovecraft was reading "The Lurking Fear" and "The Outsider". His descriptions, his prose, his gift for getting even the least creative reader inside his stories...it's pure genius. These tales are guaranteed to send a chill down your spine. Whether a fan of the genre or not, one cannot fal to appreciate his skill at vividly creating an aura of creepiness no other modern author has been able to duplicate.
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Format: Paperback
Literary theorists swear up and down to their youthful, naive charges that there are only three conflicts in fiction: Man versus Man, Man versus Nature, and Man versus Himself.
Providence recluse and Grandmaster of Horror H.P. Lovecraft, while proving handy at mastering all three of the aforementioned timeless old chestnuts, suggests there is a fourth category: Man versus Thing.
Any connoiseur of the frenzied scribblings of old Adbul Al-Hazred in the Necronomicon will find this second Del Rey collection indispensable as 1) a grimoire chock-full of searingly useful material on the recondite pursuits of those lovable, tentacled beings we know and love as the Elder Gods---mind your manners, sonny boy, they were devouring souls and mastering the Time-Space Quanitplex back when your ancestors were hobnobbing with euglena and paramecium; and 2)Scaring yourself silly.
Man versus Thing, indeed.
Lovecraft was a God among insects, a true literary Giant in the Earth, and the potent, vicious, soul-unhinging madness flowing from his deliciously warped mind is astonishing. Lovecraft took the great disillusionment that stemmed from the Great War and ratcheted it up to the next step, pounding the final nail in the coffin of scientific positivism, and his horror is Cosmic; therein lies his peculiar brilliance. Lovecraft is more than purpled prose and tentacles, in that he has created a world peopled with bloodless, bookish men of science and set them up against uncaring stellar horrors, leaving them with no appeal to God or Goodness. The crucifix won't help you against the horror bubbling out of *that* particular crypt, my good man!
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Format: Paperback
"Transition", the third in a series of books documenting the complete range of HP Lovecraft's works, offers a prespective look at the author's earliest stories, and constrasts these with the pieces that would eventually seal his cult popularity. While many of the early pieces (with "The Beast in the Cave" being a notable exception) are hardly worth the read, this volume does contain a fair of amount of Lovecraft's more exceptional offerings. "At the Mountains of Madness", a short novel in itself, is a fantastic example of both horror and wonder found at the ends of the earth. "Arthur Jermyn", an indelible favorite, chronicles the lineage of one man's twisted family history, and finds a rotten apple on the family tree. "Cold Air", an unsually straight horror yarn about the apartment upstairs, gets ugly when the air conditioning suddenly goes on the brink. And of course, the infamous "Herbert West - Re-animator", where a power mad doctor is forced to reconcile the consequences of a legion of walking atrocities created by his own hands. 29 Stories are includced in this volume, but unfortunetly alot of the real spine tinglers (such as "Pickman's Model") were already compiled in the first two volumes of the series. LoveCraft's writing is at times more than a little thick, and the early 20th century cadence of the english requires time to digest, but worth it in the end. Unfortunately, his works are grotesuely racist and culturally xenophobic, but given the date these stories were written one must oblige to take it in with a grain of salt. Lovecraft's stories are not neccesarily for everyone, but those who like him tend to love him, and for those people, this book is a better than average compendium. On a side note, the illustrations, both on the cover and inside the book, are fantastic.
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