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The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft

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A Slate, and San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2014

From across strange aeons comes the long-awaited annotated edition of “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale” (Stephen King).
"With an increasing distance from the twentieth century…the New England poet, author, essayist, and stunningly profuse epistolary Howard Phillips Lovecraft is beginning to emerge as one of that tumultuous period’s most critically fascinating and yet enigmatic figures," writes Alan Moore in his introduction to The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft.  Despite this nearly unprecedented posthumous trajectory, at the time of his death at the age of forty-six, Lovecraft's work had appeared only in dime-store magazines, ignored by the public and maligned by critics. Now well over a century after his birth, Lovecraft is increasingly being recognized as the foundation for American horror and science fiction, the source of "incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction" (Joyce Carol Oates).
In this volume, Leslie S. Klinger reanimates Lovecraft with clarity and historical insight, charting the rise of the erstwhile pulp writer, whose rediscovery and reclamation into the literary canon can be compared only to that of Poe or Melville. Weaving together a broad base of existing scholarship with his own original insights, Klinger appends Lovecraft's uncanny oeuvre and Kafkaesque life story in a way that provides context and unlocks many of the secrets of his often cryptic body of work.

Over the course of his career, Lovecraft—"the Copernicus of the horror story" (Fritz Leiber)—made a marked departure from the gothic style of his predecessors that focused mostly on ghosts, ghouls, and witches, instead crafting a vast mythos in which humanity is but a blissfully unaware speck in a cosmos shared by vast and ancient alien beings. One of the progenitors of "weird fiction," Lovecraft wrote stories suggesting that we share not just our reality but our planet, and even a common ancestry, with unspeakable, godlike creatures just one accidental revelation away from emerging from their epoch of hibernation and extinguishing both our individual sanity and entire civilization.

Following his best-selling The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, Leslie S. Klinger collects here twenty-two of Lovecraft's best, most chilling "Arkham" tales, including "The Call of Cthulhu," At the Mountains of Madness, "The Whisperer in Darkness," "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space," and others. With nearly 300 illustrations, including full-color reproductions of the original artwork and covers from Weird Tales and Astounding Stories, and more than 1,000 annotations, this volume illuminates every dimension of H. P. Lovecraft and stirs the Great Old Ones in their millennia of sleep.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 25, 2014 – Klinger's most controversial claim in this new compilation is that the late horror maestro Lovecraft's work encapsulates the fears of the average man. Stories such as "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" and "At the Mountains of Madness" seem at best tangentially related to the unifying theme of the "Arkham cycle" that Klinger advances. His outline of the historical evolution of horror literature provides useful insight into the influences on Lovecraft's style and the evolution of the pulp magazine industry that gave him a literary outlet. The biographical entry skims the surface of a complex individual's life, but the presence of several apparently clashing views illustrates the difficulty and ultimate futility of rendering a single verdict on a writer. Despite Klinger's stated goal of expanding Lovecraft's audience, the exhaustive historical background and biographical information he supplies (familiar to readers of 2004's The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes) will appeal more to the fan than the neophyte, and with Lovecraft's 125th birthday just around the corner, in 2015, committed enthusiasts may prefer to discuss new scholarly analysis rather than revisit familiar ground.
The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft
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  • $22.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Classics
  • Published: Oct 13, 2014
  • Publisher: Liveright
  • Seller: W. W. Norton
  • Print Length: 928 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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