The Call of Cthulhu and Other Stories (H.P. Lovecraft)
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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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1890, Lovecraft was self-educated and lived in his birthplace all his life, working as a freelance writer, journalist, and ghostwriter. Using many pen names, he contributed his supernatural/horror and science fiction/fantasy stories to various pulp magazines but his reputation as a writer rests mainly on the 60 or so stories he published in Weird Tales starting in 1923. He died in 1937. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an excellent collection of Lovecraft stories with a lot of interesting notation and material on his background, his childhood, his inspirations for each story, and various other pieces of fascinating information. It is also, in my opinion, the strongest of the three current Penguin collections of his work, containing as it does the superb Colour out of Space, Shadow over Innsmouth, and Call of Cthulhu (my favourite). Each story is annotated with numbered reference points which can be a bit distracting at first but doesn't really get in the way of your enjoyment of the stories, and provides fascinating insight into the use of certain words, the origins of characters' names, towns and events that influenced the plot, etc. In addition, each of these stories are the definitive editions compiled by Joshi himself, making this currently one of the best Lovecraft collections in the UK. Highly recommended.
Consider this: Lovecraft's career ran parallel with that of Jon Dos Passos (Lovecraft was six years older). Dos Passos' first novel, 'Manhattan Transfer' was published in 1926, the same year as 'The Call of Cthulhu' made its debut appearance in the pulp magazine 'Weird Tales'. Yet while Dos Passos went on to achieve great acclaim for his subsequent novels, Lovecraft's writing remained ignored during his life outside a small group of enthusiastic magazine writers and readers. 'Cthulhu' when first published didn't even rate cover status in the magazine, that honour being granted to Elliot O'Donnell and some ridiculous piece of his called 'The Ghost Table'. At Lovecraft's early death in 1937 he was recognised as a modern master of the horror story by his friends but to the world outside he was invisible; no collections of his stories had been published, his work languished in the crumbling pages of the pulps.
Sixty years on, after the heroic efforts of August Derleth at Arkham House, who put his own money into publishing the first Lovecraft collections, Howard Phillips Lovecraft finally has his place in the sun (probably an inapt metaphor, he used to spend all day with the curtains drawn). The stories are in print all over the world, there's a growing body of critical writing about his work and spin-off items in the form of comics, games, films, music, etc. show how far his reputation has travelled.Read more ›
My favourite story is 'The Shadow Over Insmouth' which is like an expanded version of 'Dagon'. I have re-read this one many times. There are many other great works in this selection besides these two including the truly terrifying 'The Colour Out Of Space' and 'Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family' which has a horrible twist at the end.
Not every story is a classic and some strike me as resembling other better Lovecraft stories too much. However, this drawback has a silver lining in that the reader can clearly see Lovecraft's obsession with a relatively small number of themes and, in my opinion, obsession has its own special brand of power that is not all bad.
This book is fantastic in that it gives the reader a substantial taste of Lovecraft's work while still leaving a good portion of his work to be discovered afterwards if desired. It is thoroughly recommended!
Lovecraft was a cautious writer, and his style is exactly what he wanted it to be. If he is at times extravagant, it is because he so chooses. Some people have moaned at the style of "The Hound," but it seems perfect for the tale being told. I love the story and do not want to believe, as S. T. seems to, that it was written as partial parody of Lovecraft's style. Lovecraft came to dismiss so much of what to me is his really fascinating work, such as "The Outsider" and "The Hound." The wonderful and intriguing thing about what has been called Lovecraft's "lesser" work is that these tales are still extremely interesting and effective.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent edition. You do not know horror until you've read Lovecraft.Published 27 days ago by Graham
Quality edition. Though the quality of the tales within do vary considerably; but such was always the case with Lovecraft - you've got to take the rough with the smooth.Published 9 months ago by rab wilson
This seemed to be the best place to start when reading Lovecraft. It is the first of three collections of his work issued by Penguin, the later collections being 'The Thing on the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Phil B
H.P. Lovecraft is one of the greats of the Cosmic Horror genre and this collection contains eighteen of his short stories, all of which are quite enjoyable and interesting to read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by T. R. Alexander
I enjoyed very much reading The Call of Cthulhu. I found in it all the basic narrative motives that Jeff Vadermeer takes over and develops in the trilogy Southern Reach.Published 16 months ago by Giampaolo Lai