Tuesday, May 5, 2009

10 Books A Day: #17

The Annotated H. P. Lovecraft...ed. S. T. Joshi...Dell Trade Paperback

More Annotated H. P. Lovecraft...S. T. Joshi and Peter Cannon...Dell Trade Paperback

The Transition Of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road To Madness...H. P. Lovecraft...Del Rey

The Best Of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales Of Horror and The Macabre...H. P. Lovecraft...Del Rey

Supernatural Horror In Literature...H. P. Lovecraft...Dover

The Dunwich Cycle: Where The Old Gods Wait...Robert M. Price, Series Editor...Chaosium Fiction

The Necronomicon: Selected Stories and Essays Concerning the Blasphemous Tome of the Mad Arab...Robert M. Price, Series Editor...Chaosium Fiction

Encyclopedia Cthulhiana...Daniel Harms...Chaosium Fiction

Lurker In The Lobby: A Guide To The Cinema Of H. P. Lovecraft...Andrew Migliore & John Strysik...Night Shade Books

H. P. Lovecraft: A Biography...L. Sprague de Camp...Barnes & Noble Books

The King Of Elfland's Daughter...Lord Dunsany...Del Rey Impact

The Complete Pegana: All the Tales Pertaining to the Fabulous Realm of Pegana...Lord Dunsany...Chaosium Fiction

The Great God Pan and The Hill Of Dreams...Arthur Machen...Dover

These are not, of, course, my only Lovecraft books. I have a whole raft of paperbacks got back in the day when they were as hard to find as hen's teeth. Now there are many fine quality editions that tempt me every time I go into a Border's.

Lurker in the Lobby is an interesting, well-illustrated analysis of movies based on and inspired by HPL's work; it also quotes a letter of Lovecraft's in which he tells of leaving the "dreary" 1931 Dracula and going out into the "fragrant tropic moonlight" of Miami, Florida! So established in my mind is the image of "the gentleman from Providence" as a hermit that I sometimes forget that he did travel. The image of Lovecraft in khaki shorts, flowered shirt, and straw drawstring hat popped into my head when I read those words, and I had to laugh out loud.

L. Sprague de Camp's biography seems to me a classic example of dissonance between biographer and subject. De Camp writes as if he knows better than HPL how he should have handled his writing, his life, and even his wife. What de Camp fails to realize is that without his indifference to what would sell in the contemporary markets, without his sense of the decay of culture, without his carelessness to the conventions and comforts of everyday life, Lovecraft would not have been Lovecraft and produced the work he did. It is why, despite de Camp's successful and adventurous career, we have the term "Lovecraftian" and not "de Campian."


AlanDP said...

I need to get all those annotated volumes that I don't have. I got only the first one that was released.

That is an amusing mental image of HPL as a tropical tourist.

Back when I used to participate in alt.horror.cthulhu on usenet, I found an almost universal contempt for the de Camp biography. Several people pointed out how some of the things de Camp wrote were flatly in error. Because of the stuff I read about it there, I've never been interested in reading it.

"Lurker in the Lobby" sounds interesting, too. I've enjoyed all the more latter-day movies, especially those with Jeffrey Combs, but the older movies that I've seen were all terrible. And not in a good way.

"The Dunwich Horror" especially was a total waste of 2 hours.

Brer said...

I would love to get a copy of S. T. Joshi's biography of HPL, but all the copies I've seen offered are pretty expensive.

AlanDP said...

That's the one that always got recommended on a.h.c.

By the way, it looks like there's no Lovecraft trivia quiz on that Facebook know-it-all thing. I might have to create one.