Friday, April 18, 2014

The Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction: H. P. LOVECRAFT



This is the second volume of the new Centipede Press Library of Weird Fiction.  The theme of this series is just that: weird fiction, no fantasy, mystery, of science fiction.  Therefore, there are none of the Dunsanian tales by Lovecraft in this thick volume of 859 pages.

CONTENTS:
Introduction by S. T. Joshi
Dagon
The Statement of Randolph Carter
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
Nyarlathotep
The Picture in the House
The Outsider
The Music of Erich Zann
Herbert West--Reanimator
The Lurking Fear
The Rats in the Walls
The Festival
The Shunned House
Cool Air
The Call of Cthulhu
Pickman's Model
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Colour out of Space
The Dunwich Horror
The Whisperer in Darkness
At the Mountains of Madness
The Shadow over Innsmouth
The Thing on the Doorstep
The Shadow out of Time
The Haunter of the Dark
Bibliography

From S. T.'s Introduction:  "I have determined that Lovecraft's 'Dunsanian' tales--beginning with 'The White Ship' (1919) and culminating with The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath (1926-27)--are less central to the weird tradition than his tales of supernatural horror, including those tales that verge on science fiction.  Accordingly, all the Dunsanian tales, for all their and merit, have been excluded.
"I have also been compelled to be selective in regard to the short, macabre stories of the first decade of Lovecraft's literary career (1917-26).  Entertaining and significant as some of these tales are, they are dwarfed in importance by the longer tales of Lovecraft's final decade of writing.  I have therefore included only a small number of the pre-1926 tales, focusing on those that are of intrinsic merit and those that have had significant influence on subsequent weird writing."

The stories are arranged in order of writing rather than publication.  It was originally planned that some of Lovecraft's weird verse would also be included, but the publisher felt that there was not sufficient space, and so no poetry appears in the book.  It's a very handsome, solid book, with a sewn-in red ribbon marker.  One nice wee feature is Lovecraft's signature embossed on the front board.  The book is available for pre-order at Amazon for a significant savings of $20--I believe the price at Centipede Press will be $60.  

It is strange that so many editions of Lovecraft's fiction are coming forth this year.  This is the first, and will soon be followed by the individual illustrated volumes of nine of Lovecraft's tales from PS Publishing.  Then we will have S. T.'s THE VARIORUM LOVECRAFT in three volumes.  And finally, the huge THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT edited by Leslie Klinger.  (Leslie is sending me one of the galleys of the NEW ANNOTATED HPL, so I'll be able to shew that on YouTube.)  One ponders:  who is going to buy all of these various editions?  Hopefully, Lovecraft is popular enough that there are plenty readers with different preferences for the kindof editions they desire, and all of these books will find homes.


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