And your first Lovecraft tale was ....?

Joined
Apr 5, 2006
Messages
3,335
Location
Curiosity was framed. Ignorance killed the cat.
#42
I liked the open endedness of the tale. It left so many possibilities open to the imagination. It was indeed a well-crafted tale and I like the madness and pining of the music. I think music is a good tool to work with when building a tale to a pitch and Lovecraft played this piece very well.

In my case the attraction to Pickman's Model lies in what's outside the main story line though that interesting in itself. I like all that Lovecraft did to build a picture of Pickman's style of painting. All the references to other artists and the comparisons. The tale is like a mini thesis of art.
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,483
#43
Yeah, I love both those stories. They are amoung my favourites in the collection "The Thing on the Doorstep and other weird stories". Mind you, I still have two to read as yet ("Mountains of Madness" and "Thing on the Doorstep")...
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#44
I must admit that "Erich Zann" is among my personal favorites, too. I know a fair number of people who have a bit of trouble with the ending (especially what it is the narrator sees out the window), but I've always found the tale quite satisfying.

As for At the Mountains of Madness... that one really does seem to cause a lot of people trouble, especially if it's their first exposure to Lovecraft. Even S. T. Joshi found that one a bit much, when he first encountered HPL. I think that is, in part, because so much of it is dependent on his walking a fine line between very precise, clinical writing such as one finds in a scientific paper, and the more impressionistic aspects of the tale... all that "dry" scientific stuff in the beginnins is absolutely necessary to lay the groundwork for the violation of known reality that follows, otherwise it wouldn't have the same emotional impact. A very carefully crafted tale.

"The Thing on the Doorstep" is a bit more conventional in some ways, and one of the few examples of grue in Lovecraft... but, despite having some signs of haste here and there, it's a good tale, nonetheless... and the quiet, even laconic final paragraph seems, to me, to make what goes before even more ghastly in contrast....
 

Addy

Win awards!
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
352
#45
As for At the Mountains of Madness... that one really does seem to cause a lot of people trouble, especially if it's their first exposure to Lovecraft. Even S. T. Joshi found that one a bit much, when he first encountered HPL. I think that is, in part, because so much of it is dependent on his walking a fine line between very precise, clinical writing such as one finds in a scientific paper, and the more impressionistic aspects of the tale... all that "dry" scientific stuff in the beginnins is absolutely necessary to lay the groundwork for the violation of known reality that follows, otherwise it wouldn't have the same emotional impact. A very carefully crafted tale.
You can count me among the 'troubled' ones. Not that I didn't enjoy the story. I did (I haven't even finished yet though), but I found it a bit dry indeed. But that may have a lot to do with the fact that I read half of it at the doctor's waiting room (I was a few hours there, actually, and in a foul mood because of the long wait).

I stopped reading it a quarter way through, and haven't had a chance to resume it yet. Maybe I should have began the book with one of the other shorter stories.

It's interesting how many writers choose to begin their short stories collections with longer pieces, like Stephen King did, for example, in his Skeleton Crew.

I'd much rather have the longer stories further to the end, like in Dubliners.
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#47
I recall, when I was younger, that it was a trend to begin with a couple of shorter pieces, then include one of the major pieces, then add in a few shorter, another long, etc.... leavening the major works with shorter ones.

On the other hand, earlier collections I've read tended to be shortest pieces at the beginning, gradually building to the longest pieces... something I've seen again in recent years here and there (Simmons' Lovedeath, for instance). Personally, I think it should be arranged so that each story's placement best fits the mood of the collection at that point, either by building such a mood or contrasting with for increased effect....
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,483
#48
AS far as I know, no collections of Lovercraft's stories were published in his lifetime. It would have been interesting to have seen, would it not, which stories he would have gathered together and how he would have arranged them?
 

Addy

Win awards!
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
352
#49
I suppose they decided to place At The Mountains Of Madness at the beginning of this particular collection both because the collection IS titled At The Mountains Of Madness And Other Tales and because it's the work of greater importance in there.
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#50
AS far as I know, no collections of Lovercraft's stories were published in his lifetime. It would have been interesting to have seen, would it not, which stories he would have gathered together and how he would have arranged them?
Actually, while no collections were published, there were various times he was approached by publishers. He did, however, draw up a list or two of what he would have liked to see in a collection of his work. If you're interested, I'll dig them up and post them (always assuming one of the other Lovecraftians on here doesn't beat me to it....:p)
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,483
#52
I suppose they decided to place At The Mountains Of Madness at the beginning of this particular collection both because the collection IS titled At The Mountains Of Madness And Other Tales and because it's the work of greater importance in there.
The funny thing is that, in my collection, the story the collection was named after ("The Thing On The Doorstep") was placed at the end...:confused:
j. d. worthington said:
Actually, while no collections were published, there were various times he was approached by publishers. He did, however, draw up a list or two of what he would have liked to see in a collection of his work. If you're interested, I'll dig them up and post them (always assuming one of the other Lovecraftians on here doesn't beat me to it....:p)
Yes, it would be interesting to see. Did he just pick the ones he liked more or did he think of a theme?
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#53
As I recall, he chose more for those he thought best represented different phases of his work, at least in one case. But, as he had a rather low opinion of so much of his work (despite the immense effort he put into them, as one can see from his manuscripts, as well as his letters)... he was seldom satisfied with anything he'd done for very long... "The Colour out of Space" and "Erich Zann" being among the few exceptions... and even the latter of these two he liked "more for what it hasn't got than what it has".
 

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2006
Messages
3,483
#54
As I recall, he chose more for those he thought best represented different phases of his work, at least in one case. But, as he had a rather low opinion of so much of his work (despite the immense effort he put into them, as one can see from his manuscripts, as well as his letters)... he was seldom satisfied with anything he'd done for very long... "The Colour out of Space" and "Erich Zann" being among the few exceptions... and even the latter of these two he liked "more for what it hasn't got than what it has".
Well, I imagine that if he was more easilly satisfied, he would not have put in as much effort as he did so for that I can only be thankful.
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#56
If this is the one I'm coming up with on WorldCat, the contents are:

At the Mountains of Madness
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
"The Shunned House"
"The Dreams in the Witch House"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
"The Silver Key"
"Through the Gates of the Silver Key"

in which case it is identical to the Arkham House volume... and in which case MM introduces certain elements that show up in later stories (the crinoid Old Ones in "Witch House" for instance). However, Kadath introduces that reference, which is noted in MM, and so on....
 

Addy

Win awards!
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
352
#57
If this is the one I'm coming up with on WorldCat, the contents are:

At the Mountains of Madness
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
"The Shunned House"
"The Dreams in the Witch House"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
"The Silver Key"
"Through the Gates of the Silver Key"

in which case it is identical to the Arkham House volume... and in which case MM introduces certain elements that show up in later stories (the crinoid Old Ones in "Witch House" for instance). However, Kadath introduces that reference, which is noted in MM, and so on....
Hm, that seems to be it. Mine's a 1968 edition with a cover I haven't seen anywhere else on the net. It's a close-up of a guy's face. One of his eyes is almost falling out of orbit, and in the other he's wearing an eye patch.

So you mean I'd profit from reading Kadath first?
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#58
Hmmm. Not necessarily, especially as people are divided when it comes to his Dunsanian pieces (which Kadath is). You just might keep the name in mind when you go to reading that one, as it may add some implications and shadings to MM. (On the other hand, if you feel like reading it first, go for it. If you like it -- and it is a charming tale, in many ways, though for most I'd advise taking it in bits, as the style can be cloying for some -- then you might check out some of his other pieces written under Dunsany's influence, such as "The Cats of Ulthar", "The Quest of Iranon", "Celephaïs", etc.... these are less concerned with horror than with the appeal of a fable or fairy-tale... though they often do have horrific elements as well.)
 

Addy

Win awards!
Joined
Jun 6, 2007
Messages
352
#59
If this is the one I'm coming up with on WorldCat, the contents are:

At the Mountains of Madness
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
"The Shunned House"
"The Dreams in the Witch House"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
"The Silver Key"
"Through the Gates of the Silver Key"

in which case it is identical to the Arkham House volume... and in which case MM introduces certain elements that show up in later stories (the crinoid Old Ones in "Witch House" for instance). However, Kadath introduces that reference, which is noted in MM, and so on....
I just check, and it's got:
At the Mountains of Madness
The Dreams in the WitchHouse
The Statement of Randolph Carter
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The Silver Key
Though the Gates of the Silver Key


So it's two stories short in relation to what you mentioned.
 
Joined
May 9, 2006
Messages
13,869
#60
Okay... tracked down the information on this:

In 1926, Farnsworth Wright had postulated publishing a collection of Lovecraft's work from Weird Tales. Though this came to naught, HPL did draw up a list for this:

"The Outsider"
"Arthur Jermyn"
"The Rats in the Walls"
"The Picture in the House"
"Pickman's Model"
"The Music of Erich Zann"
"Dagon"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
"The Cats of Ulthar"

plus one of the following:

"The Colour out of Space"
"The Call of Cthulhu"
"The Horror at Red Hook"

Joshi also notes "and, as 'fillers', some of his shorter tales, such as 'The Festival', 'The Unnamable', or 'The Terrible Old Man'". One thing Joshi also mentions is this quote from Lovecraft's letter on the subject:

As for the title -- my choice is The Outsider and Other Stories. This is because I consider the touch of cosmic outsideness -- of dim, shadowy, non-terrestrial hints -- to be the characteristic feature of my writing.
(Joshi, p. 432)​

Two other lists he drew up for different potential collections were these (again, the choice of title of the first is the same):

The Outsider and Other Stories

"The Music of Erich Zann"
"The Outsider"
"The Temple"
"Dagon"
"Arthur Jermyn"
"The Rats in the Walls"
"The Tomb"
"The Statement of Randolph Carter"
"The Picture in the House"
"The Shunned House"
"The Unnamable"
"The Festival"
"The Terrible Old Man"

The Colour out of Space

"The Call of Cthulhu"
"The Horror at Red Hook"
"Cool Air"
"The Lurking Fear"?
"The Colour out of Space"
"In the Vault"
"The Thing on the Doorstep"
"Pickman's Model"
"The Haunter of the Dark"
"The Silver Key"
"The Strange High House in the Mist"
"The Cats of Ulthar"

These lists are included (with some extra detail and information) in Collected Essays 5, p. 365.
 

Similar threads

Top