Sunday, February 5, 2012

H.P. Lovecraft — Library of America

I have been an avid reader of H.P. Lovecraft since my teenage years. Only problem is I read all of his books in french (the french translation is great by the way). And so, for some time, I have been toying with the idea of re-reading Lovecraft in it's original english version.

If you read some of his short stories, you know it's pretty difficult to find a one-volume english compilation with an almost complete selection of his works. Not only that, I wanted to buy an edition with a hard cover, that is good looking.

I finally found out the Library of America have published a beautiful hardcover volume, that contains, in my opinion the best of H.P. Lovecraft. Here are included The Dunwich Horror, The Colour out of Space, At the Mountains of Madness. It's not complete and it would be great if Library of America published the rest of his work (including poetry and his letters to friends and writers). But it definitely is a beautifull edition, with lightweight paper, page markers and hardcover.


  1. I have so many Lovecraft-related titles that they need a separate bookcase at this point, but this is one of the gems of my collection. It's also a very important edition, I think, because it means that Lovecraft has become a part of the American literary canon. Which the Gentleman of Providence certainly deserves.

  2. It's sad that it is so complicated to get his entire work in english in a three tome compilation or something like that. Probably for legal reasons? In french you can get all of his work in a very nice three tome collection.

  3. As I understand it, these days it's easy to get it all in a few volumes in English, too. But I already have it all in various editions. The reason I have so much Lovecraftiana is that I also collect secondary literature (such as biographies, criticism and analysis) and the writings of other authors who write Lovecraftian tales (Derleth, Lumley, Bloch etc). There's also quite a few books now that look at Lovecraft's impact on religion, which is a big interest of mine.

    It's good to have things to obsess about!

    1. If you haven't read it I recommend Michel Houellebecq's essay: H.P. Lovecraft, Against the World, Against Life. It's great.

  4. I actually dislike that essay, I must admit. Ultimately, I think it's about Houellebecq and not Lovecraft. To me, Houellebecq seems to project his own character and preferences on to Lovecraft, and I think it's revealing that the translator can't find some of the text Houellebecq cites.

    There is something about Lovecraft that makes people who write about him lose perspective. ST Joshi does not do this, which is why his biographies are so good.

  5. I had fun reading it because I like both Houellebecq and Lovecraft. The problem with essays like that is that they have a theory and the whole essay is developed around it, sometimes trying really too hard to make a point.

    Lovecraft isn't portrayed like a very likeable character either...

    Yes I agree, it is more about Houellebecq than Lovecraft (and he definitely isn't a very likeable character)

  6. Lovecraft was, in my opinion, a problematic character. His rabid racism, for example, which was extreme even by the standards of his time, isn't quite to my taste to put it mildly.

    But I don't buy Houellebecq's thesis that Lovecraft - who loved travelling and having ice cream eating contests with his friends - hated not only the world, but life itself. I don't buy it.

  7. It's beyond the usual idiotic racism, it's xenophobia.