Your first Lovecraft book

GOLLUM

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#21
Well I'm not going to list the Lovecraft I have like some folk around here but stick to the original question...:p

My very first Loveraft was a Lin Carter 1971 Ballantine edn. entitled The Doom That Came To Sarnath and Other Stories.

Whilst it's a pre-Joshi publication, it's still remains for me one of the best collections of his work that I own.

When I purchased the item in question I knew little of this fellow called Lovecraft other than by reputation and the few stories I had read in anthologies up to that point. In that light, I recall I selected the book more for its cover than the author. My perspective has since been rudely shifted....:rolleyes:

 

Lobolover

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#22
J.D. - you have the original Mask with the good cover ? I have a paperback version and that's kind of the same blind "Giant Octopus rising from the sea" cover like 99 % of all Lovecraft related ilustration nowadays .
 

Brian G Turner

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#25
First were the Penguin 1-3 omnibus editions, which I got for Christmas when I was 18, as myself and friends were really into the Call of Cthulhu role playing game.

It's the third volume which really impressed - read as a very polished set of stories. Colour Out of Space I think is the best horror story ever written, not least because of the inability for any protagonist to overcome any of the events happening. Would love to see a faithful film reproduction of that some day.
 
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#26
Mr. G: Well, Nesa asked, so...

Incidentally, I accidentally left out those two Lin Carter-edited volumes, The Doom That Came to Sarnath and The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath; but I also have his The Spawn of Cthulhu, which is an anthology of tales by HPL and others.

J-WO: Yep. That was one of the first I read, as well. At least it is a rather good one, save for the abrupt left turn with the final section....

Brian: Let's see... there have been 3? attempt at adapting that one? Each of which captured some part of it, but none have managed to come close to the original... which certainly wouldn't be that expensive, or that difficult (save for figuring out how to depict that alien color). It is certainly his best, and high on the list of best horror tales, I think, as it is almost an extended prose-poem, and very complex emotionally, as much awe, wonder, and pity as horror....

Lobo: I don't know for certain which edition you are talking about. The one I have is the Beagle Boxer edition (the cover of which can be seen in that link I included for W. H. Pugmire earlier). The original, however, was an Arkham House book, which I have only come across once, at a bit too steep a price for me to afford....
 
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#28
One attempt at adapting The Colour Out Of Space that I've seen was Die Monster Die!, a film starring a very old Boris Karloff. They muddle things up quite a bit even if there are some effective visuals amongst the dross; the blasted plain, the horribly fecund glasshouse and the twisted creature in the cage, the veiled, Havisham-like mother. Moments are all this film has though - by and large it swaddles a good story in too many extraneous cliches and offers a somewhat trite science-triumphs-over-evil storyline.
 
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#29
One attempt at adapting The Colour Out Of Space that I've seen was Die Monster Die!, a film starring a very old Boris Karloff. They muddle things up quite a bit even if there are some effective visuals amongst the dross; the blasted plain, the horribly fecund glasshouse and the twisted creature in the cage, the veiled, Havisham-like mother. Moments are all this film has though - by and large it swaddles a good story in too many extraneous cliches and offers a somewhat trite science-triumphs-over-evil storyline.
Weeelll... I will grant that it is one of the poorer Lovecraftian adaptations; yet upon viewing it again about a year ago (for the first time in probably fifteen or twenty years), I feel that it is actually a bit more effective than that. It does, for one thing, manage a nice atmosphere that is rather close to Lovecraft; and there are elements of the tale it does quite well, though taking them in a different direction. Incidentally, I wouldn't call it a "science-triumphs-over-evil storyline", as the science here is a large part of the problem. What finally triumphs is simply the tendency of whatever that meteor corrupts to itself disintegrate, occasionally (at least) with rather combustive results....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#30
Only the copy of The Tomb I mentioned. I also have 70s pbacks of a couple of Derleth's pastiches, one of which, The Shuttered Room is credited to Lovecraft and Derleth on the cover. The other is The Trail Of Cthulhu, the best thing about it is the cover art!
I have been tempted to purchase the Arkham House edition of The Trail of Cthulhu just because I so love Richard Taylor's magnificent jackets that he prepared for Arkham House -- I especially love the eerie script he devised for titles and authors' names. The main reason I finally bought Dreams and Fancies is because of that awesome jacket.
 

w h pugmire esq

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#31
Have any of you purchased the Lovecraft edition from Centipede Press, in their Masters of the Weird Tale series? It is certainly the most beautiful edition of Lovecraft that I have ever seen, leather-bound, filled with illustrations, sewn-in silk book ribbon, 1221 large folio-sized pages. It is a stunningly handsome book. The only real flaw--but it is a flaw-- is that the book doesn't include either "The Hound" or "The Unnamable"! Yet it includes that ghastly "The Horror in the Museum"! Many of the illustrations are in color. There is an amazing 32-page introduction by Barton Levi St Armand, and I have been having a frustrating time because I cannot find my copy of H. P. Lovecraft: New England Decadent -- and it almost seems that this book's introduction is a reprinting of that text! Since St Armand's wee book now sells for about $70 or more, this in itself makes the Centipede edition quite valuable in its own right.

It comes in a sturdy box, with a second wee edition of photographs, rare photographs of H. P. Lovecraft (many of which are very rare indeed) and then photos of Providence that are the artistic work of J. K. Potter. These latter photos are simply brilliant -- they evoke Lovecraftian horror. There is one of an antient house, it could easily be the house mentioned in "The Picture of the House;" there seems to be a light on in the upper window, which also reminds one of that tale. And the sky -- Great Yuggoth! -- the sky is the most foreboding sky I have ever seen.

If you have the money, I highly recommend this edition of Lovecraft.
 
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#32
Yes, Taylor's jacket art has always been something I've liked -- at least, his Arkham House volumes (I don't recall seeing any other). While there is a distinct sense of humor to them, they also have an eeriness and feeling of uncomfortableness and hints of something truly awful lurking to them. Very nicely done.

As for the Centipede Press edition of HPL (and Long, and that collection of letters from Weird Tales writers)... if I could cough up the money, I'd definitely pick them up. Had I known about them about four ago, I would have been able to do so, but now... barring a miracle, I'm afraid it ain't gonna happen anytime soon. Still, for those who can, I would agree that they would be beautiful things to have....

Oh, and if you do come across your copy of St. Armand's book and compare the two, I woul appreciate knowing if it is a reprinting of New England Decadent, even if in abridged form. I have that particular volume (as well as The Roots of Horror), and both are things I return to periodically. While I don't always agree with him on certain points, these are among the most stimulating and fascinating explorations of Lovecraft I've read, and are simply darned good books to boot....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#33
Here are the opening sentences for each section of the Introduction from the Centipede book, so you can compare them to New England Decadent:
"Introduction. The popular conception of Lovecraft, and the image which HPL himself consciously projected in his later years, is that of the staunch New England gentleman, a gentleman of decidedly Puritan extraction. 'I thank the powers of the cosmos that I am a Rhode Island Englishman of the old tradition!' he often exclaimed in his letters to younger friends, even though the fact is that Lovecraft was rejected by his more prosperous and prominent Yankee relatives, who thought of him as a 'queer duck,' 'crazy as a bedbug,' and an inveterate ne'er-do-well."
"II. Lovecraft's reaction to the prospect of a doomed and crumbling universe was also exactly the same as that of the patrician youths of the eighteen-eighties and nineties. This was Aestheticism, or 'art for art's sake,' a term associated with Oscar Wilde and his most exquisite creation, Dorian Gray,' who countered the curse of 'that terrible taedium vitae, that comes on those to whom life denies nothing,' by alternating the actual physical decadence of sensual overindulgence with the rarified delights of the supreme collector and connoisseur."
"III. It is as an artist of the afterglow of Decadence, the twilight of the Gods, that Lovecraft must be judged. Here a paradox exists relative to Lovecraft's connection with the tradition of weird and fantastic art, of which he had little or almost no knowledge until relatively late in his career. Rather, the brilliance of Lovecraft's emerald cities and non-Euclidian worlds came instead from the vividness of his dreams and the actual cosmic horrors of his nightmares, which alternate between scenes reminiscent of Coleridge's 'Kubla Khan,' at one pole, to the apocalyptic canvasses of a Hieronymus Bosch, at the other."
"IV. What Lovecraft continues to stress in his fiction, in spite of the imaginative revels we are presented with here, is precisely the effect of this confrontation with ancient evil."

It certainly reminds me of New England Decadent, but the Introduction seems a bit too abrupt to be the first portion of a book discussing Lovecraft and his texts. J. D., do you have Lovecraft -- A Study in the Fantastic, by Maurice Levy, in S. T.'s translation? I have an extra copy in need of a home, & if you wou'd like it, PM me your mailing address and I shall send it as a gift. It, too, is a work to which I constantly return.

The book on Weird Tales writers is not a collection of letters, I think, but of essays by those writers about writing for WT. Or so I think. When I glanced through the book at WFC I saw that the portion by H. Warner Munn was an article that I had Harold write for me for a fanzine I was planning, but that was eventually published elsewhere. It is a huge, wonderful book, with delightful artistic renditions of the writers discussed and reprinted.
 
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#34
It certainly reminds me of New England Decadent, but the Introduction seems a bit too abrupt to be the first portion of a book discussing Lovecraft and his texts. J. D., do you have Lovecraft -- A Study in the Fantastic, by Maurice Levy, in S. T.'s translation? I have an extra copy in need of a home, & if you wou'd like it, PM me your mailing address and I shall send it as a gift. It, too, is a work to which I constantly return.

The book on Weird Tales writers is not a collection of letters, I think, but of essays by those writers about writing for WT. Or so I think. When I glanced through the book at WFC I saw that the portion by H. Warner Munn was an article that I had Harold write for me for a fanzine I was planning, but that was eventually published elsewhere. It is a huge, wonderful book, with delightful artistic renditions of the writers discussed and reprinted.
Taking your last point first: thank you for the correction. I had got the information on that one wrong somehow. That makes me wish even more that I could get my hands on the darned thing.... Ah, well, I can be patient....

Second: Thank you very, very much for the generous offer. However, I do have a copy, and yes, I, too, find myself returning to it again and again. Yet another very rich entry in the field. As a side note: it seems to me that, of all the literary criticism I have read over the years, some of the best -- in the sense of genuinely intriguing, well-written, and enjoyable as well as "revisitable" -- has come out of the field of Lovecraft criticism. I don't think this is just my interest in the man and his work, either; I have books of such criticism on other writers in whom I am very much interested, but few of them have managed to hold my attention to this degree; Colin Greenland's The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British 'New Wave' in Science Fiction being high among them. Instead, I think it has something to do with what I have said earlier: that such a strong interest in Lovecraft tends to cause some of his painstaking attitudes when it comes to writing to "rub off" on those dealing with him as a subject, so that their work itself becomes multi-layered, textured, and not infrequently simply elegantly (and eloquently) written.

And last: thank you also very much for the excerpts. Yes, those are directly from New England Decadent, which makes me wonder if it isn't a reprinting of the thing, albeit perhaps in slightly abridged form. (Though the book itself isn't of that great a length; notes and illustrations included, it is only 56 pages overall; so in a book of larger dimensions or with a different typeface, it is possible that it is the entire text... which is very nice for those acquiring the volume; a definite added plus. Now if someone would only bring back into print his Roots of Horror....
 

w h pugmire esq

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#35
Well, now I won't be so frantic to find my misplaced copy of New England Decadent. Oh, you were partially correct about the Weird Tales writers book, it contains essays and letters. But, damn me eyes! When I went to the Centipede Press site to check out its contents, the memory of how wonderful it looked when I thumbed through it at the convention instill'd within me a keen desire to own it -- so I just order'd a copy!!!! O Gawd & Yuggoth save my pocketbook!!!!!!
 
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#36
Well, now I won't be so frantic to find my misplaced copy of New England Decadent. Oh, you were partially correct about the Weird Tales writers book, it contains essays and letters. But, damn me eyes! When I went to the Centipede Press site to check out its contents, the memory of how wonderful it looked when I thumbed through it at the convention instill'd within me a keen desire to own it -- so I just order'd a copy!!!! O Gawd & Yuggoth save my pocketbook!!!!!!
LOL! Oh, believe me, I know what you mean....:D
 

J-WO

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#37
J-WO: Yep. That was one of the first I read, as well. At least it is a rather good one, save for the abrupt left turn with the final section....

/QUOTE]

I seem to recall a tale of some strange child being born that the hero digs up in his researches. Bat-like in form, maybe. Would I be right in thinking that bit was wholly written by Lovecraft and then sewn into Derleth's tale? In my memory it seems more like what I would later find to be authentic HPL.
 

Ningauble

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#38
I seem to recall a tale of some strange child being born that the hero digs up in his researches. Bat-like in form, maybe. Would I be right in thinking that bit was wholly written by Lovecraft and then sewn into Derleth's tale? In my memory it seems more like what I would later find to be authentic HPL.
You are correct. This section has been published in its un-Derlethised glory in Collected Essays 5.
 
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#39
What Ningauble said. That, by the way, is a book well worth having, as it includes quite a few notes, fragments, and sketches -- such as HPL's own drawings of the Old Ones from At the Mountains of Madness and the Great Race from "The Shadow Out of Time" -- which both give insight into the finished product and, where the notes were never fully developed into a story, are often fascinating bits of weird dreaming themselves.
 

dask

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#40
My first "book" by HPL was THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, anthologized in NIGHT'S YAWNING PEAL (abridged paperback) edited by August Derleth. Decades later I'm still hoping to come across the unabridged edition somewhere cheap. (I've never seen a copy.)
 

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