Horror In The Museum

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#22
But the ridiculous ending! He continues writing WHILE the monster is dragging him to the basement!


I must admit that is what turns me against that particular story. There is much to like about the tale otherwise (though it is, at times, a bit excessively vague and given -- as with "The Temple" to a bit too much in the way of supernatural phenomena). Even though that ending (iirc) reflects Lumley's original -- see below -- it's one of those things I wish HPL had discarded....

Only about 10% of "the Night Ocean" was written by Lovecraft. The rest is a testimony to Barlow's emerging genius.
I know you've mentioned before about this, but I'm afraid I've not got the information on all of what has been discovered about it. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction?

I think it may be safe to say that they aren't the corrected versions.
Mmmm... yes, from the inclusion of "The Thing in the Moonlight", as well as some of the controversy surrounding the Wordsworth series, I was rather expecting that. Pity....

Thanks, j.d.! I've never seen these before!
You're more than welcome. Have you ever seen that extra issue of Crypt of Cthulhu containing the originals of some of the revisions? I'm especially curious, given your response to "The Diary of Alonzo Typer", which was one of those included....

Thanks for all the comments. I have the del-ray 2007 edition.
That should be the revised, expanded version, then -- with the addition of that intro by Jones. (I need to pick up a copy of this at some point, if only to read that introduction....)
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#24
Perhaps I should retract my statement and rephrase more clearly: it shouldn't be in print as a piece by Lovecraft; and having it listed on a table of contents in such a book gives a very erroneous impression.
Since it's a book that only contains collaborations, ghost-written pieces, etc. and nothing at all that is wholly Lovecraft's I don't know why anyone would get an erroneous impression. Especially since the first thing you see after the TOC is a list of Lovecraft's rates for revisions and ghost-writing.


Did Joshi go back to the original manuscripts in coming up with the "corrected versions" or did he use some other means of determining which parts had been heavily edited?
 
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#26
Since it's a book that only contains collaborations, ghost-written pieces, etc. and nothing at all that is wholly Lovecraft's I don't know why anyone would get an erroneous impression. Especially since the first thing you see after the TOC is a list of Lovecraft's rates for revisions and ghost-writing.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with you there, Teresa. While most of the tales in this book are indeed of that nature, this is something quite different. In all the other cases, both persons concerned had some say in the final version being submitted for publication, whereas Lovecraft was already dead when this was cobbled together by Miske, and therefore had no knowledge of the thing, let alone any input or opportunity to consent or otherwise. It isn't a ghost-written piece or a revision, it is a "posthumous collaboration" -- a questionable practice at best, even when the result is much better than is the case here. (Note: I am not entirely against such, but I am firmly of the opinion that these do need to be published as such, rather than as an actual collaboration or -- as was the case with this one for many years -- as the sole work of the deceased writer.)

In addition, this was not a finished piece of fiction, as were the other pieces in the book. It was an excerpt from a letter, written (as both HPL and those who witnessed his writing of letters have attested) with the same ease and fluent casualness as his speech; unlike his finished fiction, where he took almost infinite pains to find precisely the word or phrase for the effect he desired to achieve. And, though the introduction may make it clear that these were all collaborations, ghost-written pieces, etc., neither the front cover nor the back cover copy does so (in fact, from the back cover, the only one a reader is likely to realize is such is the Houdini piece); and that (along with the table of contents) is all many people will see until they have actually purchased a copy, given that the introduction is not available on the web, while the others are. Thus they are very likely to get the mistaken impression that this is "genuine Lovecraft".

Even those who may have a smattering of knowledge about HPL's revisions are likely to be led astray, given the general impression (fostered, with considerable truth in some cases, by August Derleth) that many, if not most of his "revisions", were in truth pieces of original fiction with, at best, a very vague plot germ or outline from the ostensible author -- and often not even that! In many cases, this is actually true -- "The Mound", "Medusa's Coil", "The Curse of Yig" and "Out of the Aeons" being prime examples.

Any way you slice it, the way it is handled here, "The Thing in the Moonlight" is likely to have quite a few people feeling they've bought a pig in a poke....

As to Joshi's methods of determining such... there were various methods used. Actual manuscripts for these tales are scarce; only two TMs exis (for "The Mound" and "Medusa's Coil"), which in both cases differ considerably from either the original publication or the later Arkham House reprintings, which themselves often differed from the original publication. This was only corrected in the editions released in the 1980s. There are also two AMs, ("Till A' the Seas" and "The Diary of Alonzo Typer"). In addition to these and the original publications (either in the pulps or, in no few cases, amateur journals), there is in correspondence (both by Lovecraft and others) and memoirs -- not to mention personal notes by such as Frank Belknap Long, who prepared the two typescripts mentioned above -- or the comments of the "collaborators", or clients, themselves --to indicate editorial alterations as well. Joshi has written quite a bit on this (rather arduous) process, not only in his note on the texts in the revised Arkham edition, but also in such pieces as "Who Wrote 'The Mound'?". (Incidentally, from what I've been able to gather, yes, the Wordsworth edition uses the old, highly-abridged Arkham House text of this one, rather than the restored version taken from the typescript....)
 

Ningauble

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#27
I know you've mentioned before about this, but I'm afraid I've not got the information on all of what has been discovered about it. Would you mind pointing me in the right direction?
Joshi mentions it in An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia -- a microfilm of the original Ms. was discovered among the papers of Barlow's literary executor George Smisor. A facsimile of this Ms. has been published as an EOD contribution by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr. In fact, there are now original manuscripts available for all six of Barlow's collaborations with HPL.

You're more than welcome. Have you ever seen that extra issue of Crypt of Cthulhu containing the originals of some of the revisions? I'm especially curious, given your response to "The Diary of Alonzo Typer", which was one of those included....
No, but that sure would have been fun! :)
 
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#28
Joshi mentions it in An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia -- a microfilm of the original Ms. was discovered among the papers of Barlow's literary executor George Smisor. A facsimile of this Ms. has been published as an EOD contribution by Kenneth W. Faig, Jr. In fact, there are now original manuscripts available for all six of Barlow's collaborations with HPL.
Ah. I'd not looked up the information on this one there. Thanks. Do you know how I can get my hands on a copy of this? As to the others... that's very helpful, indeed....

No, but that sure would have been fun! :)
Drop me a line -- I may be able to help with that....
 

Teresa Edgerton

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#29
JD, the front and back covers are certainly misleading in terms of all the stories, and anyone who reads the TOC without reading the introduction will come away with the idea that each and every story is the solo work of Lovecraft, so I still fail to see why you consider the inclusion of that one story especially deceptive.


In any case, we are talking about 2 pages out of 383. It seems a thin and fragile thread on which to hang the idea that many readers will feel they have been cheated on the basis of "The Thing in the Moonlight Alone."

As to Joshi's methods of determining such... there were various methods used. Actual manuscripts for these tales are scarce; only two TMs exis (for "The Mound" and "Medusa's Coil"), which in both cases differ considerably from either the original publication or the later Arkham House reprintings, which themselves often differed from the original publication. This was only corrected in the editions released in the 1980s. There are also two AMs, ("Till A' the Seas" and "The Diary of Alonzo Typer"). In addition to these and the original publications (either in the pulps or, in no few cases, amateur journals), there is in correspondence (both by Lovecraft and others) and memoirs -- not to mention personal notes by such as Frank Belknap Long, who prepared the two typescripts mentioned above -- or the comments of the "collaborators", or clients, themselves --to indicate editorial alterations as well. Joshi has written quite a bit on this (rather arduous) process, not only in his note on the texts in the revised Arkham edition, but also in such pieces as "Who Wrote 'The Mound'?". (Incidentally, from what I've been able to gather, yes, the Wordsworth edition uses the old, highly-abridged Arkham House text of this one, rather than the restored version taken from the typescript....)
Going by what you say, it sounds as though many of these "corrections" are simply further redactions, based on Joshi's extensive and no doubt excellent research, but nevertheless bound to be influenced by his own interpretations of the evidence, and therefore only conjecturally more "correct" than the originally published versions.

In those cases where the typescripts are available he stands on firmer ground, but what is the evidence (this is not a rhetorical question, because I am really interested to know) that these are the last and final drafts sent by Lovecraft to the publishers and that he played no part in altering them afterward? I know that I often keep early and not-quite-final drafts of my own work around for sentimental or other purposes (and that I am not the only writer who does this), and I wouldn't like to think that someone would come across one of them after I was dead and assume that what they had was the "real" story and that the published version was therefore incorrect.
 

Ningauble

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#30
Ah. I'd not looked up the information on this one there. Thanks. Do you know how I can get my hands on a copy of this? As to the others... that's very helpful, indeed....
According to the copyright page, it's available from Scott Connors at wwhateley (at) mindspring (dot) com, but that was in 2000. Only 200 numbered copies were produced. (Along with the Barlow facsimile, you also get a biographical essay on Barlow by Faig.)


Drop me a line -- I may be able to help with that....
Sure will! :)
 

Ningauble

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#31
Going by what you say, it sounds as though many of these "corrections" are simply further redactions, based on Joshi's extensive and no doubt excellent research, but nevertheless bound to be influenced by his own interpretations of the evidence, and therefore only conjecturally more "correct" than the originally published versions.
There is quite an advanced process involved of comparing various text versions against each other in order to determine the most reliable one. For example, for "The Rats in the Walls" there is no Ms. -- so what publication to use? The second publication of WT cut up the paragraphs compared to the first one; but as Joshi demonstrates in "Textual Problems in Lovecraft" (mandatory reading -- it's in the Wildside Press edition of Discovering H. P. Lovecraft by Darrell Schweitzer) Derleth and Wandrei had a knack for picking the most unreliable versions -- reprints of reprints of reprints, with encrustations of typos and what have you -- and these are the versions that have been most commonly spread around.

Joshi's only changes to the text once the most reliable publication has been determined is reinserting Lovecraft's idiosyncrasies in spelling and punctuation: shew, coöperate, etc.


In those cases where the typescripts are available he stands on firmer ground, but what is the evidence (this is not a rhetorical question, because I am really interested to know) that these are the last and final drafts sent by Lovecraft to the publishers and that he played no part in altering them afterward?
Where the revisions are concerned, there isn't, of course. Still, these typescripts are the closest we can get to HPL's own pen; hence these versions are preferable to later edits (especially in the case of "The Mound", in which the edits largely consists of Derleth removing entire pages from the typescript -- not to mention his ridiculous crypt/room change...).

I know that I often keep early and not-quite-final drafts of my own work around for sentimental or other purposes (and that I am not the only writer who does this), and I wouldn't like to think that someone would come across one of them after I was dead and assume that what they had was the "real" story and that the published version was therefore incorrect.
Something like this had to be done with "At the Mountains of Madness" (the corrected version). For this, we have Lovecraft's first A.Ms., his first T.Ms., and his corrected copies of Astounding Stories (HPL was so upset at the slaughter of his tale that he corrected his copies of the magazine by hand, using a small knife and a pen, but since he didn't have access to his own final script anymore he didn't correct all the mistakes).
However, Lovecraft made significant changes in the final T.Ms. due to new scientific finds in Antarctica, so this would be the preferred version; but this Ms. has been lost. Hence, Joshi has had to work from the remaining sources to create a hybrid text that comes as close to the lost T.Ms. as is humanly possible.

But I can't summarise this well enough, I'm afraid. "Textual Problems in Lovecraft" in Discovering H. P. Lovecraft -- that's the thing.
 

Randolph

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#33
I'd never heard that there was a final version of ATMOM that was lost. That's a shame.

I apologize if this has already been covered, but all I have is an ancient (1970's?) hardcover version of The Horror in the Museum, and was wondering if there are significant variations between that and the new edition when it comes to The Mound and The Curse of Yig. I've always thought those two stories were great examples of Lovecraft, but they both felt like something was missing...
 
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#34
I'd never heard that there was a final version of ATMOM that was lost. That's a shame.

I apologize if this has already been covered, but all I have is an ancient (1970's?) hardcover version of The Horror in the Museum, and was wondering if there are significant variations between that and the new edition when it comes to The Mound and The Curse of Yig. I've always thought those two stories were great examples of Lovecraft, but they both felt like something was missing...
Not so much with "The Curse of Yig" -- iirc, all such are very minor there; but "The Mound" is quite another matter, as a good-sized chunk of the story is missing in the older versions -- several pages' worth, as Martin noted above. "Medusa's Coil" has a great many differences, as well. I went through both versions about a year and a half ago, and was amazed at just how many differences! Sometimes, it was simply a slightly different emphasis, or a different word; at other times, entire sentences were vastly altered or missing, causing a completely different reading in many cases. And, of course, there is the infamous original ending which Derleth excised for PC reasons.... (It is quite justly infamous, I'd say; but nonetheless it is an example of Derleth's unwillingness to let Lovecraft stand on his own in such cases....)
 
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#36
And could you tell us what that ending is ?
Aside from her relationship to Cthulhu, Lovecraft ended with the following:

It would be too hdeous if they knew that the one-time heiress of Riverside [...] was faintly, subtly, yet to the eyes of genius unmistakably the scion of Zimbabwe's most primal grovellers. No wonder she owned a link with that old witch-woman Sophonisba -- for, though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a negress.
Granted, this ties in with other elements in Lovecraft's evolving views of what we now call the Cthulhu Mythos (the poem, "The Outpost", for example), but modern readers are not likely to find it anything but distasteful....
 

Ningauble

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#37
Granted, this ties in with other elements in Lovecraft's evolving views of what we now call the Cthulhu Mythos (the poem, "The Outpost", for example), but modern readers are not likely to find it anything but distasteful....
To be fair to Lovecraft, that ending probably originated in the original draft that he was revising, according to the surviving story notes -- but I'm sure he had no problem with it. :eek:
 

Ningauble

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#38
I'd never heard that there was a final version of ATMOM that was lost. That's a shame.
Well, it wasn't QUITE lost, since that was the version that Astounding Stories published; however, "that hyaena Tremaine", as Lovecraft called him, completely slaughtered the text, ruined Lovecraft's style and pacing, cut up sentences (such as putting the end of one sentence onto the start of another) etc., to the point that HPL considered it "unpublished". There is a very amusing letter from HPL to Barlow in which he pours his bile over Tremaine and Astounding.

I apologize if this has already been covered, but all I have is an ancient (1970's?) hardcover version of The Horror in the Museum, and was wondering if there are significant variations between that and the new edition when it comes to The Mound and The Curse of Yig. I've always thought those two stories were great examples of Lovecraft, but they both felt like something was missing...
I haven't read those versions myself, but as I mentioned, there are significant chunks missing from "The Mound". Plus, Derleth made at least one mindbogglingly stupid change that Joshi mentions in his article:

Joshi said:
His changes in "The Mound" amount to excisions of about 500 words, and countless changes in spelling and punctuation (some resulting in incoherence; hence in a sentence reading "And if any room for doubt remained, that room was abolished...." Derleth changed the second "room" to "crypt", destroying the idiom and producing nonsence).
In a note, Joshi writes that "'Crypt' appears in the Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1943) text; in The Horror in the Museum (1970) text the word 'doubt' is substituted for 'crypt', a makeshift change which at least preserves the sense."
 
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#39
To be fair to Lovecraft, that ending probably originated in the original draft that he was revising, according to the surviving story notes -- but I'm sure he had no problem with it. :eek:
Indeed, it would appear so, given his detailed notes (though we no longer have the original material sent him for revision or ghost-writing). And, given his note there ("woman revealed as vampire, lamia, &c. &c. -- & unmistakably (surprise to reader as in original text) a negress" -- Collected Essays Vol. 5: Philosophy, Autobiography & Miscellany, for those interested in looking these up), to be just in his handling of such, he did manage to make it a surprise, though there are subtle hints enough throughout the text.

As for his having no problem with it -- well, to be honest, while I find it a gratuitous and distasteful touch, I'm afraid I'm not as disconcerted by this as many, simply because such is far from unusual even with the advanced thinkers of HPL's day; it was gradually becoming something other than the norm, but it was still quite common, even among writers not overly given to ethnic prejudice (cf. Asimov's comments on P. Schuyler Miller's "Tetrahedra from Space" in Before the Golden Age as a good example of how prevalent it still was). My complaint with it is that it does seem to be gratuitous and unnecessary; it is "gilding the lily" (if such a phrase may be used in conjunction with such a theme); not because of the sentiments expressed. To be quite so disturbed by such from a writer of his time (rather than ours, where it is looked on disparagingly) is to attempt to make that writer's views of our time, not his (or hers). Distasteful and unpleasant as it may be to us, if we held such against writers, there's scarcely a handful throughout history who would escape censure....
 

Lobolover

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#40
I wonder what could have actualy lead him personaly to such observations. I dont know if there were any writers of the era who were black in his region, but I would be surprised had not one such a person ever sent him a leter of complaint .
 

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