By H.P. Lovecraft
Edited and with notes by Peter Straub
Dust Jacket Text
A 20th-century successor to Edgar Allan Poe as the master of “weird fiction,” Howard
Phillips Lovecraft once wrote, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the
oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” In the novellas and stories that he
published in such pulp magazines as Weird Tales and Astounding Stories—and in
the work that remained unpublished until after his death, including some of his best
writing—Lovecraft adapted the conventions of horror stories and science fiction to express an
intensely personal vision, cosmic in its ramifications and fearsome in its pessimistic view of
This volume brings together 22 tales, the very best of his fiction. Early stories such as
“The Outsider,” “The Music of Erich Zann,” “Herbert
West—Reanimator,” and “The Lurking Fear” demonstrate Lovecraft’s uncanny
ability to blur the distinction between reality and nightmare, sanity and madness, the human and
the non-human. “The Horror at Red Hook” and “He” reveal the fascination and
revulsion Lovecraft felt for New York City; “Pickman’s Model” uncovers the
frightening secret behind an artist’s work; “The Rats in the Walls” is a terrifying
descent into atavistic horror; and “The Colour Out of Space” explores the eerie impact of
a meteorite on a remote Massachusetts valley.
In such later works as “The Call of Cthulhu,” “The Whisperer in Darkness,”
“At the Mountains of Madness,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and “The
Shadow Out of Time,” Lovecraft developed his own nightmarish mythology in which encounters
with ancient, pitiless extraterrestrial intelligences wreak havoc on hapless humans who only
gradually begin to glimpse “terrifying vistas of reality, and our frightful position
therein.” Moving from old New England towns haunted by occult pasts to Antarctic wastes that
disclose appalling secrets, Lovecraft’s tales continue to exert a dread fascination.
Peter Straub, editor, is a novelist and short story writer. His works include Ghost
Story, Floating Dragon, Houses Without Doors, The Throat, Lost Boy Lost
Girl, and In the Night Room, as well as two collaborations with Stephen King, The
Talisman and Black House.
H.P. Lovecraft: Tales. By H.P. Lovecraft, edited and with notes by Peter Straub. New
York, NY: The Library of America; 2005; ISBN 1-931082-72-3; Hardcover, 850 pages.
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