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An H P Lovecraft Encyclopedia Paperback – 1 Mar 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Hippocampus Press (1 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097487891X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974878911
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 471,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


.,."an exhaustive reference filled with an impressive wealth of biographical and literary lore about one of the best-known writers of supernatural horror in the 20th century....An extensive, scholarly reference especially for Lovecraft enthusiasts, An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia is an essential, core, indispensable reference work for students of Lovecraft's life and work."-MBR: Internet Bookwatch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

S.T. JOSHI is the author of H.P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West (1990), Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination (Greenwood, 1995), H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996), and Ambrose Bierce: A Bibliography of Primary Sources (Greenwood, 1999), which he compiled with David E. Schultz. He has edited the standard edition of Lovecraft's fiction (1984-89, 4 vols.) and many other editions of Lovecraft's work. He is the founder and editor of Lovecraft Studies and Studies in Weird Fiction. DAVID E. SCHULTZ is a technical editor with an environmental engineering firm. He has edited a critical edition of H.P. Lovecraft's Commonplace Book (1987), and with S.T. Joshi has edited various annotated editions of Lovecraft's letters. He and Joshi also compiled Ambrose Bierce: A Bibliography of Primary Sources (Greenwood, 1999). --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "serosedserio_uk" on 4 Jun 2003
Format: Hardcover
Okay, first things first; this book IS expensive. Very expensive in fact. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it's worth every single penny.
It truly is one of the best reference materials for H.P. Lovecraft. It offers information on his family, friends, letters, employment history as well as providing a synopsis of most of his works. Clearly, a massive amount of research has been carried out in the writing of this book and it shows. The gigantic amount of information featured inside truly is of huge interest to anyone even vaguely interested in the life and writings of Lovecraft.
If you're looking for an invaluable resource on the man, and his work then buy this book. You will not be disappointed by what it has to offer. Highly recommended.
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. on 30 May 2010
Format: Paperback
Night had descended, silently. I bent over my wee keyboard, attempting to compose my new tale of Lovecraftian horror. Aye, I admit it -- I pen weird fiction "in the tradition" of H. P. Lovecraft. Not a very honourable occupation to some, but it suits me to the core of my soul. You may ponder, why would anyone want to write stories that sound like those of another writer? The trick is to try and be influenced by Ec'h-Pi-El but not rob his fictive grave and rip-off his ideas. So -- I am bent over me keyboard, trying to work on my novel that is a sequel of sorts to "Pickman's Model," and I required a reference. I am trying to express, in a misty suggestive manner, an incident that takes place before the artist's unexplained disappearance. You've read Lovecraft's original tale, no doubt about the queer duck who painted graveyards and their weird inhabitants; painted them with such...conviction...that they seemed to be representations of that which breathes and hungers in actual reality. I was confused over a slight matter, needed elucidation.

I reached for -- The Book.

And I heard an eldritch wailing that sounded like an end to mortal time; and I asked myself, "What dripping eidolon of cacodaemonical ghastliness could sound such a spectral ululation?" The book was in my trembling hand -- its pale purple cover containing a ghostly image of Ye Master of Cosmic Horror -- and he looked every inch a horror author. Oh, it was he that I wished to emulate in mine own humble weird fiction -- it was his titan elbow beneath which I groveled, insignificantly.

I turned to page 204 and read the middle passage:

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
53 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Painstaking but idiosyncratic reference work 7 Jan 2002
By R. MCCOSKER - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For scholarly-minded Lovecraft readers who can manage the hefty price (this volume is put out by a publisher specializing in reference books for libraries, such books usually being very expensive because of low print runs and then storing these titles on inventory for many years rather than remaindering them), this is a "must-have" reference and research tool. Joshi and Schultz are, respectively, THE leading figure and one of the leading figures in Lovecraftian scholarship, and they've assembled something that is most helpful, that merits high praise for accuracy and assiduousness.
That said, the priorities of AN H.P. LOVECRAFT ENCYCLOPEDIA are somewhat perverse and leave something to be desired.
Astoundingly, there's no discussion whatsoever of Lovecraft's philosophical beliefs, a matter that coauthor Joshi has elsewhere written, and nearly all contemporary Lovecraftian scholars agree, is essential to an understanding of Lovecraft's works and life. Why not? In the preface, Joshi and Schultz write: "No separate entry on Lovecraft's philosophical thought is included here, as the topic is too complex for succinct discussion." (p. xi.) How "succinct" are we talking here, one wonders? General information encyclopedias manage to summarize the "thought" of the great original figures Western philosophy in articles ranging from a few sentences to a few pages. Surely something calling itself AN H.P. LOVECRAFT ENCYCLOPEDIA could muster a few paragraphs or a few pages about the nature of the "philosophical thought" of Lovecraft himself. (By such reasoning, there shouldn't even be such a thing as general information encyclopedias, since the sum of human knowledge is assuredly "too complex" to fit into a work of 30-odd volumes.)
This unwillingness here to do the obvious may be the flipside of a trait of the authors: a difficulty with being succinct when the situation calls for it (which is what encyclopedias are all about in the first place). A huge portion, if not most, of the book is occupied by astonishingly long synopses of Lovecraft's fictional works.
There is, of course, good reason to include synopses of Lovecraft's writings in an encyclopedia devoted to him: to help the scholarly-minded reader sort out his various writings, and to jog the reader's memory as to what transpires in the fictional works. But Joshi and Schultz detail so much that it's as if they're addressing those who've never read the texts and never plan to. Succinctness seems to be a hard pill indeed for the authors to swallow.
So what's the harm in long synopses? First, if the reader's goal is just to have his memory jogged, the amount of reading entailed is so great that a synopsis may be little more help than simply skimming through the text itself. Second, publishers impose page limits on a book like this, and so space used inappropriately is space subtracted from other things.
Already discussed has been how this work incongruously omits any discussion of philosophy. But also omitted are entries for the various supernatural (or, often really, alien) beings in Lovecraft's fiction, because, argue the authors, they "do not figure as 'characters' in any meaningful sense in the tales", despite the fact that fictional persons and places in Lovecraft's works receive entries. There seems to be some unexplained double-standard at work here.
I have a suspicion as to why this double-standard is there. The authors are justly contemptuous of the August Derleth-inspired "Cthulhu Mythos" bunk that so lamentably remains in circulation, and so may be revolted that any highlighting of the likes of Cthulhu, the Old Ones, etc. could be taken as buttressing the spurious notion that there's a Derlethian pantheon of "gods" on which Lovecraft and his colleagues had collaborated.
If that's Joshi's and Schultz's underlying motivation for treating these entities differently from other proper names, then they're to be faulted for letting the "Mythos" help define Lovecraftian studies. Moreover, scholarly-minded Lovecraftians should be able to use a Lovecraft encyclopedia as part of their arsenal to debunk misconceptions, and so including entries on Lovecraft's supernatural/alien entities that set the record straight as to what they're each about may be the most important components of that arsenal.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Inconsistent and Horribly Incomplete 21 Jun 2007
By K. Tkacs - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this inch-thick book three stars because it IS full of good information, well researched, and will certainly be just what some people are looking for. For me, however, it was not at all what I expected (or wanted).

I was hoping that a 'Lovecraft Encyclopedia' would shed light on the fictional elements within his works. However, this encyclopedia concerns lovecraft's life, acquaintances, influences, etc.


It's inconsistent; if you look up "Azathoth," you get two paragraphs about the stories "he/it" appears in and those that inspired, but learn absolutely nothing about what Azathoth actually *is*. "Cthulhu" provides pages of info, but really nothing more than the geneology of the name "Cthulhu Mythos," and absolutely nothing at all about the character.

But if you look up "Lake," "Atwood," "Dombrowski" ... you at least do get a sentence or two about these fictional characters, though not much, really. Why include relatively unimportant fictional characters but include no information about the "heavy-hitters"?

Seriously diappointing; there's room for another book here.

I would have been happy if the book at least gave definitions for certain archaic words, such as "eldritch" and the like, words not found in a contemporary dictionary. But no. Or perhaps even a pronunciation guide for commonly mis-pronounced words.

I guess for now, if you want to know something about the entities in HPL's works, you have to buy a book related to the "Call of Cthulhu" role playing game or something.

If you need to do a term paper on the life of HPL, you may find some gold here; if you enjoy his stories but would like to understand them better, this will be of no help.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Scholarly and excellent 26 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Both this book, AN H.P. LOVECRAFT ENCYCLOPEDIA and its companion volume issued at the same time by Greenwood, THE COMPLETE H.P. LOVECRAFT FILMOGRAPHY are highly recommended. Both books are scholarly, authoritative and well written. These two excellent works encompass the highest level of scholarship about Lovecraft and should be read by every fan and student of Lovecraft. Bravo to Greenwood for these two volumes.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
a work for all seasons 25 Mar 2006
By Enrique Gonzalez-prats - Published on
Format: Paperback
Although this excellent piece of work is more suited to Lovecraft's fans or people with some background on his work, it serves equally well the interests of newcomers into the subject.I shall just point out the utmost care and respect for the Master's original work, the passion and scholarship pervading every single line of the encyclopedia.I did not grade it with a fully deserved 5 stars,though....because only the Deep Ones are perfect...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Invaluable Companion 21 April 2009
By Dr. H - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This sweeping volume covers, more than adequately, the elements and workings beyond the wall of Lovecraft's writings. After casually sampling some of Lovecraft's best, I decided to seriously pursue his fiction as well as the man himself. This fine work has proven a wonderful guide, and its insights have greatly augmented the pleasure of the journey. I must emphatically recommend this work to anyone with more than a casual interest in Lovecraft's marvelous writings.
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