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The Horror in the Museum [Paperback]

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

25 Sep 2007
“H. P. Lovecraft has yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”
–Stephen King

“Lovecraft’s fiction is one of the cornerstones of modern horror.”
–Clive Barker

Some tales in this collection were inspired by H. P. Lovecraft, others he revised, two he co-authored–but all bear the mark of the master of primordial terror.

The Horror in the Museum–Locked up for the night, a man will discover the difference between waxen grotesqueries and the real thing.

The Electric Executioner–Aboard a train, a traveler must match wits with a murderous madman.

The Trap–This mirror wants a great deal more than your reflection.

The Ghost-Eater–In an ancient woodland, the past comes to life with a bone-crunching vengeance.


Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey Books; Reprint edition (25 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345485726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345485724
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One of the means by which Lovecraft supported himself was in revising stories written by younger, would-be writers. These revisions are problematic because it is virtually impossible to say how much of Lovecraft himself is to be found in them. I believe that, with a few exceptions, the master of the macabre did not lend much of his influence in the retelling of these inferior tales, but a certain few of them do possess sufficient traces of Lovecraft to make them of interest to those followers in his footsteps. Oddly enough, the two stories that actually list Lovecraft as co-author, The Crawling Chaos and The Green Meadow, are the worst of the bunch. Both of these Elizabeth Berkeley stories are flights of fancy which forego any real plot in favor of lofty, dream-enshrouded flights of fancy which cannot even begin to compare to the Dunsanian, dream-cycle myths that Lovecraft perfected on his own. William Lumley’s The Diary of Alonzo Typer is a rather formulaic tale of ancient evil and the discovery of a stranger’s ancestral lineage upon his return to the home of a dead forebear. It gives lip service to such Lovecraftian gods as Shub-Niggurath but falls short of dramatically gripping the reader. Wilfred Blanch Talman’s Two Black Bottles is another unoriginal attempt to horrify the reader by invoking a soul-reclaiming restless spirit from the confines of a dark, defiled church’s cemetery; this story succeeds rather well but possesses no real pizzazz. Adolphe de Castro contributes The Electric Executioner, a rather enjoyable story that cannot but ultimately disappoint in regards to its highly improbably ending.
The revised work of two authors, Hazel Heald and Zealia Bishop, do merit a closer look.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nobody Does It Better, But... 12 Jun 1998
By A Customer
I'm not sure how much input Lovecraft had in these stories as Carrol & Graf give absolutely no information regarding where the revisions are. Two writers (represented by 5 stories) Hazel Heald and Zealia Bishop really do show some talent, but they are at their best when they are not doing Lovecraftian-style writing. I guess I got spoiled by "The Annotated Lovecraft", edited by S.T. Joshi. There is no lack of info. in that book, (merely a lack of stories).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ye Arkham House Corrected Text Edition 21 July 2011
[I reproduce below S. T. Joshi's "A Note on the Texts" for this edition:]

In this corrected edition of H. P. Lovecraft's revisions and collaborations, we have attempted not merely to restore the texts but to arrange the tales in accordance with the presumed degree of Lovecraft's involvement with them. What we have called "primary" revisions are those that were wholly or almost wholly written by Lovecraft (although a plot-germ or occasionally an actual draft was supplied by the revision client); the "secondary" revisions are those in which Lovecraft merely touched up--albiet sometimes extensively--a preexisting draft.

The two collaborations with Winifred Virginia Jackson, "The Green Meadow" and "The Crawling Chaos," are interesting in that they are among the few works (the others are "Poetry and the Gods," "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," and "In the Walls of Eryx") where Lovecraft affixed his name along with that of his collaborator, even though here both used pseudonyms. Nevertheless, there is little evidence to suggest that Jackson contributed any prose to either tale.

For the two tales revised for Adolphe de Castro, "The Last Test" and "The Electric Executioner," we have de Castro's original versions; they were published in his collection IN THE CONFESSIONAL (1893), under the titles "A Sacrifice to Science" and "Automatic Executioner." Lovecraft has rewritten both stories completely, preserving only the skeleton of each work. It should be noted that in Lovecraft's only reference to the first tale he calls it "Clarendon's Last Test"; it is not certain whether he or someone else made the change. Lovecraft also speaks in letters of a third story revised for de Castro, but this has evidently been lost.
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1.0 out of 5 stars HPL fails to make silk purses from sows' ears 24 April 2013
For all his faults, HP Lovecraft was capable of very good writing, especially when his tales were set in New England, the one place he knew well. However, being much less successful in his own lifetime than posthumously, he was compelled to support himself by ghost-writing, and this collection in fact consists of his "collaborations" with far less talented authors who paid him to improve upon their works, even to the extent of complete rewriting. This is not made clear on the cover, which closely resembles its companion volume "The Whisperer in Darkness" which IS entirely written by HPL. I don't condemn HPL for doing ghost-writing to make ends meet, however the authors whose work he was attempting to improve show no discernable literary talent. As the saying goes, you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. For this reason, I cannot recommend this book to anyone who likes (or even quite likes) HP Lovecraft's own work. And if you don't even like HPL you certainly wouldn't appreciate this collection of third-raters.
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3.0 out of 5 stars some gems to be found 10 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This rather patchy collection is definitely not the place to start investigating Lovecraft's work. If you are new to HPL go and read the recent Gollancz "Necronomicon" first, then come back here.
Most of Lovecraft's earnings came not through his own fiction but from revising the works of other authors. "The Horror in the Museum" contains 24 such revisions, divided into two categories. The "primary" revisions feature a lot of input from HPL, some being completely re-written by him from an idea by the original author; these stories form the bulk of the book. The remainder of the volume consists of "secondary" revisions, in which it is thought that Lovecraft's contribution was to tidy up the original prose.
Let's deal with the less attractive features of the book first: First of all it has to be said that the majority of the stories fall well below the standards of HPLs own work. The "secondary" revisions in particular reflect the lesser literary gifts of their writers. Much more disappointing, however is the lengthy "primary" revision "The Last Test", which Lovecraft authority S.T. Joshi states- though I can scarcely believe- was re-written by HPL from an original draft by Adolphe de Castro. This tale is tedious, badly written and filled with just about every tired cliche imaginable.
Equally galling is the spectre of racism which infects several of the stories, especially "Medusa's Coil". The knowledge that such attitudes reflect the culture of HPLs time does not make them any less lazy or more attractive.
So why should confirmed Lovecraft fans want this volume, apart from completion?
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