Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ye New Annotated E'ch-Pi-El

When I chatted with Les Klinger as I was waiting for my ride home from WHC, he spoke of his forthcoming (October 13th) edition of Lovecraft's weird fiction, and he went into raptures, almoft to the point of giggling with glee, when describing the book's cover with its multitude of tentacles.  "And these will be embossed," he emphasized.  I had to fight ye urge to sneer--for I am an anti-tentacle bloke, & I hate ye fact that Lovecraft's art is so associated with these things.  I mean, what of his monsters actually had tentacles?  Wilbur and his brother, yes; certainly not Yog-Sothoth, and Cthulhu wears a modicum of them as beard.  Well, perhaps this cover will appeal to wou'd-be buyers of the book as it does not appeal to me.

I loved the three volumes of Klinger's THE NEW ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES, and did not mind at all his playful approach of treating the stories as factual records.  Some have express'd a great dislike for that approach and fear that it will be repeated with the Lovecraft book.  They are correct.


"I do expect that my approach is likely to play the Sherlockian 'game' with Lovecraft's stories, which may not please everyone.  The 'game' is to adopt the gentle fiction that Lovecraft was recording the truth in his stories, that these are historical documents and therefore it is my job to verify or correct the historical details.  For example, where is Arkham?  Kingsport?  What can we state factually about the Miskatonic River or Miskatonic University?  What evidence is there of the case of Charles Dexter Ward?  I hope that this approach will make the book original, enjoyable, but wholly accurate--I never make up any facts."

I confess I do not see the appeal to this approach from a critical point of view; but it is, in a strange way, completely Lovecraftian--for Lovecraft was himself very playful, & he suggested more than once that writing weird fiction should be approach'd as though one were producing a supreme hoax.  

I am attending, this coming week-end, S. T. Joshi Memorial Day Cook-Out, & I will be borrowing his galley of The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, so I'll be able to fully examine it.  I will also be displaying the galley in detail on a vlog at YouTube, so that y'all may examine the book with me and marvel at its design, its hundreds of illustrations, &c &c.  I really am quite excited about this tome, as I think it will be, as intended, an original, charming, informative and incredibly handsome new edition, and will serve to further establish H. P. Lovecraft's firm standing as a Classic of American Literature.  Selah.




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