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The Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

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

Nov 2004 Penguin Classics

One of the masters of 'weird fiction', H. P. Lovecraft expanded the vast boundaries of the horror genre with his vividly imagined stories of exotic and fantastical otherworlds, nightmarish dreamscapes or the supernatural terrors lurking beneath the surface of small-town America.

The shadow of New England's witch-hunting past hangs over many of the tales, as in 'The Shunned House' and 'The Dreams in the Witch House', in which malevolent spectres return to haunt the region. Others, such as 'From Beyond' and 'The Shadow Out of Time', depict the catastrophic results when cosmic channels of time and space are opened, while stories such as 'Polaris' and 'The Doom that Came to Sarnath' portray the downfall of mythical civilizations.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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The Dreams in the Witch House: And Other Weird Stories (Penguin Classics) + The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics) + The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories (Penguin Modern Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780142437957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437957
  • ASIN: 0142437956
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 410,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Horror master Lovecraft (1890-1937) frequently used dreams in his tales of the supernatural to evoke fantastic worlds inconceivable to the conscious mind. He wrote many essays and poems early in his career, but gradually focussed on the writing of horror stories.

S.T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. Among his critical and biographical studies are The Weird Tale (1990), and H.P. Lovecraft: A Life (1996). He has also edited Lovecraft's The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories for Penguin.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More from the Master of Horror 30 Aug 2007
Much like The Call of Cthulhu, The Dreams in the Witch House sees another great collection of stories ranging from the "far out crazy" stuff like Polaris, to the more conventional horror stories like Dreams... or the Shunned House.

The edition itself is great value for money. It is clear that Joshi possess an large pool of knowledge on the life and works of Lovecraft. Every story contains several notes with references to other works of Lovecraft himself or other authors for further reading.

Horror stories are meant to be just that, stories, not novels or books or trilogies. Lovecraft follows more on the tradition of Poe and Dunsany than Stoker. And for my money, I'll take Lovecraft over Poe any day.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Weakest of Penguin's Trilogy 3 Sep 2009
Having read Penguin's Call of Cthulhu and The Thing on the Doorstep, I felt obliged to buy the final instalment of the series.

If you're new to Lovecraft, the Penguin series is an excellent place to start, being one of the few publishers to produce attractive editions of his collected stories. They are also well annotated with S T Joshi's informative, unobtrusive endnotes.

Joshi, an academic who seems to have made Lovecraft his primary interest, does not seem to think very highly of many of the stories in this collection. "Cannot be ranked among his better later efforts", Joshi says of the title story. He has similar doubts about many of the other stories herein. (So had Lovecraft it seems, though often the writer was too harsh on himself).

I tend to agree with Joshi: many of the stories in this collection are hard going (to say the least). The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath borders on unreadable: at around 100 pages long, Lovecraft's elaborate, uninterrupted prose quickly wears very thin.

It made me miss the shorter, simpler stories from the earlier volumes. There are simply too many stories about dreamt cities here, and not enough "creepy tales" like The Colour out of Space or The Music of Eric Zahn (two of Lovecraft's best stories).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Collection 29 May 2010
This third and last collection in the Penguin Classics H. P. Lovecraft annotated series combines much of Lovecraft's "lesser" fiction and some of his finest classics. This is the very first collection of Lovecraft's work that contains the corrected text of "The Shadow out of Time" since the discovery of Lovecraft's manuscript in January of 1995. (The remarkable story of that discovery is recounted in the fabulous edition of THE SHADOW OUT OF TIME published by Hippocampus Press, still available.) The story has been hailed as Lovecraft's supreme masterpiece, and it is an excellent example of Lovecraft's blending weird (but not supernatural) fiction with the then-new genre of science fiction.

Many of these early tales shew the influence of Dunsany, and some of them have been called Lovecraft's "Dreamland" tales. The matter of which of HPL's tales are actually set in the Dreamlands has been exhaustively examined by editor Joshi in his essay, "The Dream World and the Real World in Lovecraft" (which may be found in his collection of essays from Hippocampus Press, PRIMAL SOURCES--ESSAYS ON H. P. LOVECRAFT). Other tales, such as "The Terrible Old Man," and "The Strange High House in the Mist," are set in the mythical towns of Lovecraft's invention (such as Dunwich, Arkham and Kingsport), and they reveal Lovecraft's growing fascination with the legends of New England.

One of my favourite of Lovecraft's tales is "The Nameless City," which was never sold professionally during his lifetime. It is one of the very early tales that mentioned Abdul Alhazred (but does not yet link him to ye dreaded Necronomicon). In this book we also find "The Lurking Fear," which Lovecraft wrote as a serial to be published in sections in a semi-professional magazine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars True, not on the peak of the mountain.... 2 May 2011
I feel I must agree with the other reviewers who say that this volume is somewhat weaker then the other two.
I, however say that some of the short stories really let this volume down. They simply do not have neither that weird feel nor the skin-crawling provoking elements. Though in many places, this volume borders on extremes.

Very weak stories such as "The horror at Red-Hook", "The lurking fear" or "The shunned house" are ballanced by great ones such as "Polaris", "The nameless city" or "Hypnos".

In regards to "The dream quest...", I have a positive view towards it, even though I agree it could have been a little shorter. But overall I tend to see in it a fantastical and mythical inner journey of a lucid dreamer who confrunts alien landscapes and "other planes" of reality and entities.

What really boosts this volume up, however, are the final four stories- "The Silver key" and "Beyond the gates of the Silver Key" (both which are real jewels), and especially "The dreams in the withch house" and "The shadow out of time". These last stories have it all- alien entities, mythical entities such as Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth or Nyarlathotep, occult and magical experiences, entering through portals towards other dimensions, time travel and every other typical Lovecraftian experience.
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