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Dissecting Cthulhu:
Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos

Edited by S.T. Joshi

Back Cover Text


The Cthulhu Mythos is H.P. Lovecraft’s most dynamic invention. His bold vision of a cosmos filled with baleful “gods,” forbidden books of occult lore, and a constellation of richly imagined New England cities was the perfect vehicle to express his “cosmic indifferentism.” The Mythos has become one of the most imitated tropes in horror literature, and hundreds of writers have made their own extrapolations on it.

But many misconceptions remain about the Cthulhu Mythos. Its very name was not invented by Lovecraft, but by his disciple August Derleth. Derleth altered the Mythos in significant ways, and it is only recently that scholars and writers have returned to the purity of Lovecraft’s own vision.

This collection of essays, gathered by pre-eminent Lovecraft scholar S.T. Joshi (Black Wings, The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, I Am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft) prints many of the seminal essays on the Cthulhu Mythos, ranging from pioneering articles by Richard L. Tierney and Dirk W. Mosig that strip away Derleth’s misconceptions about Lovecraft’s pseudomythology, to penetrating studies by Robert M. Price, Will Murray, Steven J. Mariconda, and others probing key elements of the Mythos—its use of gods, books, and topography; the influences that Lovecraft absorbed in fashioning it; and its wide dissemination by generations of later writers. All told, this book provides an invaluable guide to Lovecraft’s most intriguing but most misunderstood creation.


Introduction by S.T. Joshi
I. Some Overviews
  • The Derleth Mythos by Richard L. Tierney
  • H. P. Lovecraft: Myth-Maker by Dirk W. Mosig
  • Who Needs the “Cthulhu Mythos”? by David E. Schultz
  • Lovecraft Waits Dreaming by Simon MacCulloch
  • The Cthulhu Mythos: Lovecraft vs. Derleth by S. T. Joshi
  • Toward a Reader-Response Approach to the Lovecraft Mythos by Steven J. Mariconda
II. The Books
  • Genres in the Lovecraftian Library by Robert M. Price
  • Higher Criticism and the Necronomicon by Robert M. Price
  • The Lurker at the Threshold of Interpretation by Dan Clore
III. The Gods
  • Demythologizing Cthulhu by Robert M. Price
  • The Last Vestige of the Derleth Mythos by Robert M. Price
  • Behind the Mask of Nyarlathotep by Will Murray
  • On the Natures of Nug and Yeb by Will Murray
IV. The Landscape
  • Arkham Country: In Rescue of the Lost Searchers by Robert D. Marten
  • Where Was Foxfield? by Will Murray
  • Lovecraft’s Two Views of Arkham by Edward W. O’Brien
V. Influences
  • Hali by Marco Frenschkowski
  • Cthulhu’s Scald: Lovecraft and the Nordic Tradition by Jason C. Eckhardt
  • The Origin of Lovecraft’s “Black Magic” Quote by David E. Schultz
  • Robert E. Howard and the Cthulhu Mythos by Robert M. Price
  • Divers Hands by Stefan Dziemianowicz
Suggestions for Further Reading

Bibliographic Information

Dissecting Cthulhu: Essays on the Cthulhu Mythos. Edited by S.T. Joshi. Lakeland, Florida: Miskatonic River Press; 2011; ISBN 978-0-9821818-7-4; softcover; 280 pages.

Purchasing This Book

This book may be purchased in softcover from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher, Miskatonic River Press.

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