Re-reading Lovecraft

Fried Egg

Well-Known Member
Nov 20, 2006
There's a lot of threads asking the question of where to start with Lovecraft when reading for the first time (including one of mine I think way back). But how about approaching his stories again for the second time?

Which of his stories offer most to the reader on second (or subsequent) readings?

I read the three Penguin collections between 2006 and 2009 and since then I haven't really gone back to his work. I have re-read "Rats in the Walls" and ""Nyarlathotep" a while back and have just started "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" again. I am tempted to just go back to my favourites but are there any in particular that reward a re-read?
I have only read one or two of his stories ever (and a long time ago) I have pre-ordered the new collection in hardback that is due out at the end of the month. I'm looking forward to reading it
Because almost all Lovecraft's tales are so readable and effective, I don't think it much matters where one begins. It is interesting to read the stories in the order that he wrote them, and for this the Barnes & Noble COMPLETE FICTION is the finest edition. THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, just publish'd, is a fine edition for both new readers to Lovecraft and us older readers who have returned to the stories again and again for decades; the presentation in this new annotated edition makes it a very pleasurable reading experience, and it showcases the wide range of scholarly material that has been written about the fiction.

I haven't stopped reading Lovecraft for years now, because my full-time job is the writing of weird fiction that is influenced by his work, and I find myself utterly compelled to return to his tales and study them in depth. I am so slow in seeing obvious things. One of my favorite tales is "The Festival," but I have only now noticed the obvious worm imagery of the story. One of the reasons I so love Lovecraft scholarship is because it teaches dense clods like me how to read Lovecraft's tales, it opens the stories up and points to aspects that I would never have noticed on my own. With each new revelation I see, more and more, that Lovecraft knew exactly what he was doing, that he had specific things in mind for various tales, that he had more than one prose style and was extremely careful in the writing of his fiction. He was, in short, a true literary artist.

I've just re-read "The Lurking Fear" in S. T.'s new mammoth hardcover anthology, A MOUNTAIN WALKED, and enjoy'd it more than ever.
Well, I finished "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" and I think I enjoyed it as much as I did the first time. I have to say that, as per the first reading, I found the section in which he listens to Zadok incredibly difficult to follow. I realise that this is supposed to be a phonetic reproduction of a traditional regional dialect but I found much of it indecipherable. The key to reading dialogue written phonetically I think is to be able to visualise it internally in the mind's ear as it were. But if you are completely unfamiliar with it that is impossible to do. Consequently I found much of what was being said lost due to plain incomprehension.

This time around, I didn't find the last part tacked on as I did the first time. There are clues and hints in the narrative as to the eventual direction the story will take even if it still does seem quite a remarkable coincidence.

Anyway, after briefly contemplating "Herbert West: Reanimator", I plumped instead for "The Colour Out of Space" as I couldn't remember too clearly what happened in that story. One thing that struck me initially is the British spelling of the word "colour". Is this just demonstrating the extent of Lovecraft's anglophilia?
One thing that struck me initially is the British spelling of the word "colour". Is this just demonstrating the extent of Lovecraft's anglophilia?

Yes and no. Lovecraft spelled like that because he grew up reading 18th-century books from his grandfather's library. It came natural to him and wasn't a result of his Anglophilia (at least not directly).
I enjoyed my re-read of "The Colour Out of Space" although I'm not sure I got anything more out of it than I did the first time I read it.

Now I'm on to "At the Mountains of Madness" and am loving that once again...
Nearing the end of "At the Mountains of Madness" now and I still think it is one of his greatest stories. I love the way the story begins and we follow the scientific expedition into unexplored realms of Antarctica but I do think that it has a few flaws. The exploration of the ancient city is just too long and laborious and for me, despite Lovecraft's best efforts, somewhat hard to visualise.

I also can't help wondering if the suspense would not be that much deeper for the reader if they weren't made aware right at the beginning that the protagonist and Danforth both escape with their lives (if not their sanity) at the end. Perhaps if it was written today it would be presented in a journal format?
Finished "ATMoM" and I think that with a little careful editing of the later half of the story, it would have been a perfect masterpiece. I forgot how much knowledge Lovecraft had of the (then) contemporary sciences which he employed to great effect.

Now I'm reading "The Shunned House", an unexpected favourite of mine when I read it the first time around. Let's see how well it holds up for a second read.
That was brilliant, just as good as the first time. Pretty damn close to perfection is "The Shunned House". One of his straight out and out scary stories. A good one to recommend to someone new to Lovecraft I think.

Now, for my last Lovecraft re-read (for the time being) I am going with "The Shadow Out of Time"...
I love the end of "The Outsider" (I think it's called that?) when the stories protagonist sees a horrible decaying figure standing before him.
He reaches out to it as it reaches out to him only to have his fingers encounter the hard cold surface of glass.
It's then he realizes he's standing in front of a mirror!
I enjoyed "The Outsider" when I read it. Haven't yet given it a re-read so it will be interesting to see if I enjoy it as much a second time when I know how it ends...

I finished "Shadow Out of Time" and didn't quite enjoy it as much this time just felt a little laboured.

I had some unanticipated extra time with Lovecraft so I re-read "Pickman's Model" and "In the Vault" as well. Now I'm definitely taking a break from my Lovecraft re-reads...
The Color of Space one of the best horror short stories ever written. Ive re read it few times. It never gets old.(y)

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