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The Road to Madness by H. P. Lovecraft

The Road to Madness (edition 1996)

by H. P. Lovecraft

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783711,764 (4.17)4
Title:The Road to Madness
Authors:H. P. Lovecraft
Info:Del Rey (1996), Edition: 1st ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:awesome, classics, fantasy, fiction, horror, Lovecraft, short stories

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The Transition of H. P. Lovecraft: The Road to Madness by H. P. Lovecraft



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I must admit that this was the first time I actually came across the author H. P. Lovecraft. I found this book at the Strand Bookstall in Mumbai after it fell on my head as I was rummaging through a bookshelf containing some other great books on philosophy.

I was taken aback when I read on the back cover of the book that Lovecraft had inspired many of my own favourite authors of the macabre like Anne Rice, Stephen King & Clive Barker. As I poured over the stories at night UNDER my study table with the table lamp on, I was transported to a realm quite different from my own understanding of terror & fantasy. Lovecraft's ideas were not only macabre but also quite morbid & blood chilling. True that his works are steeped in grand descriptions which normally puts a casual reader of, but a true lover of literature & horror will certainly realize after reading Lovecraft's works like 'At The Mountains Of Madness', 'Reanimator', 'Imprisoned With The Pharaohs' etc that, the descriptions are all meaningful to completely realize the actual horror behind it all.

As Barbara Hambly stated, H.P. Lovecraft struggles to bring out his ideas to the reader....it is his idea that is powerful & extraordinary. His pseudo - Poe short stories take on another turn as they get more original & more bizzare as the years go by. Lovecraft's characters too keep on undergoing transformations & at times reappear in other stories. He in the bargain creates a niche for himself in the horror & fantasy genre which no one can rob.

He is excellent as I have observed in first person accounts of the story, making the reader grip the book tightly in a cold sweat as he administers the opiate of fear into our system....almost like his warped character Herbert West does by administering a special powder into the veins of dead bodies or organs to bring them to life in the 'Reanimator'(this was better than Frankenstein). Most of Lovecraft's protagonists I have observed are men (its always men !!!) who are :

1] Well educated

2] Intelligent

3] Believe in the dark forces & works of very sinister personalities (eg., the constant repition of the book Necronomicon by the Arab Abdul Alhazred who was a genius par excellance)

4] Have this constant habit of getting into trouble inspite of their intelligence

No doubt that at times his stories have a certain amount of Racism present in it, never the less, Lovecraft still pens his stories with a masterstroke of a true wizard of the terrible. Most of his main characters as I have stated before are common scholars or scientists except for 'Imprisoned With The Pharoahs' where the poor person imprisoned is the world famous escape artist (got to love him) Harry Houdini.

My personal favourites in this book were ;

1) The Transition Of Juan Romero

2) The Temple

3) The Terrible Old Man

4) Reanimator (lots of gross descriptions & lots of blood....too good !)

5) Imprisoned With The Pharaohs (I love Houdini)

6) The Horror At Red Hook (out of this world !) &

7) In The Walls Of Eryx (he co -authored this with Kenneth Sterling)

Lovecraft refers a lot to Edgar Allen Poe in most of his early works especially in 'The Shunned House' where it looks like he really was enamoured by the original creator of the macabre.

All in all.......a thumbs up for Lovecraft & his 'madness'. Now I am going to check out all the movies that have been based on this stories. Indeed, many movies have found their genesis in the works of this master of ghastly descriptions.

I shall post some more information & links after I finish my research. Got to get my students to check this guy out.
( )
  pathan.fiza | Oct 14, 2013 |
The centerpiece of this collection is At the Mountains of Madness, which is excellent and maybe Lovecraft's very best work. The other stuff in this volume is really scraping the bottom of the Lovecraft barrel. Most of the best short stories are published in other Del Rey volumes. ( )
  josh314 | Dec 18, 2012 |
Magnificent Jungian/Alchemical horror where narrators are driven mad by the impossibility of integrating The Other -- "At the Mountains of Madness" a vast, pre-human city in Antarctica destroyed by it's own creative genius; "The Horror at Red Hook" a white supremacist tale -- could be rewritten today about the tinderbox issue of illegal immigration; "In the Walls of Eryx" a grail quest that ends at an invisible labyrinth; "Herbert West -- Reanimator" (made into the most bizarrely comical horror movie I have EVER seen) existential horror -- there is no unifying spirit or meaning -- "life" is separated pieces of animated tissue --

"... the sense of latent mystery in existence ... concealed rotteness ... terrors behind the commonest shapes and objects..." pg. 223

Edgar Allan Poe's only novel, THE NARRATIVE OF ARTHUR GORDON PYM, published in 1838, is an Antarctic adventure with a startling and puzzling ending. The book inspired at least 3 writers to create their own versions of Pym's quest for the South Pole. Each book is a fun read in its own way.
THE SPHINX OF THE ICE REALM by Jules Verne, 1897
PYM: A NOVEL by Mat Johnson, 2011
  Mary_Overton | Nov 6, 2012 |
I read "At the Mountains of Madness," Lovecraft's weird, visionary tale of abandoned cities in Antarctica, on the day of a blizzard, laying in a recliner next to a cold window, sandwiched between two thick blankets, and weighed down by two fat cats. In those days, reading was my life and I knew how to do it right. ( )
1 vote Coach_of_Alva | Sep 20, 2011 |
One of Lovecraft's most riveting tales. He keeps the reader turning the pages in anticipation of something... anything and then leaves us all wondering. ( )
  BrendanCarroll | Mar 1, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
H. P. Lovecraftprimary authorall editionscalculated
Palencar, John JudeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description

The Man Who Loved His Craft an introduction by Barbara Hambly
The Beast in the Cave
The Alchemist
Poetry and the Gods
The Street
The Transition of Juan Romero
The Book
The Tomb
The White Ship
Arthur Jermyn
The Temple
The Terrible Old Man
The Crawling Chaos
The Tree
The Moon-Bog
Herbert West – Reanimator
The Lurking Fear
The Festival
The Unnamable
Imprisoned with the Pharaohs
The Shunned House
The Horror at Red Hook
Cool Air
At the Mountains of Madness
In the Walls of Eryx
The Evil Clergyman
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345384229, Paperback)

"There is a melancholy, operatic grandeur in Lovecraft's most passionate work," writes Joyce Carol Oates in The New York Review of Books, "... a curious elegiac poetry of unspeakable loss, of adolescent despair, and an existential loneliness so pervasive that it lingers in the reader's memory, like a dream, long after the rudiments of Lovecraftian plot have faded." Del Rey has reprinted Lovecraft's stories in three large-format paperbacks. This third volume collects one poem, one story fragment, and 26 tales not included in the first two, including "Herbert West--Reanimator," "The Lurking Fear," "Dagon," "The Unnameable," and the classic short novel "At the Mountains of Madness." Introduction by Barbara Hambly. Beautiful cover art by surrealist John Jude Palencar.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:02 -0400)

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