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S. T. Joshi’s H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Flames

Wildside Press has many excellent Cthulhu Mythos collections as well as a number of Weird Tales offerings. Today they launched H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West by Mythos scholar S. T. Joshi in eBook formats at DriveThruFiction.com.

The author writes:

This book began as an expansion of my essay, “H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West,” in The Weird Tale, but very quickly became something quite different, to the degree that the two works have little save the title in common. I have always been interested in Lovecraft the philosopher, and in my Starmont Reader’s Guide to Lovecraft (1982) I attempted a very compressed account of his philosophical views.

To treat so complex a thinker as Lovecraft in a few pages was obviously untenable, even though I think those few pages at least convey the unity of his thought — perhaps better than this fuller study does. One reviewer, however, was correct in noting that I did not sufficiently integrate Lovecraft’s thought and his fiction, and I have now attempted to remedy the failing.

I am still not convinced that I have really written one rather than two books here. Does Lovecraft’s fiction really depend upon his philosophy? I wrestle with this question further in my introduction, but here I can note that I had great difficulty deciding upon the proper structure for this book. I deal with four principal facets of Lovecraft’s philosophy — metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and politics — in Part I, and those same facets as applied to the fiction in Part II. It might have made more sense to juxtapose the corresponding chapters of each part, but I finally determined that this would be both methodologically and practically unsound; methodologically for reasons explained in the introduction, and practically because it would fail to demonstrate the interconnectedness of Lovecraft’s thought and because in Part II I frequently rely upon conceptions expressed throughout the whole of Part I.

In Part I, the author deals with four principal facets of Lovecraft’s philosophy: metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and politics. In Part II, he studies those same facets as applied to the fiction.

H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West is available in eBook formats at DriveThruFiction.com!

Other Cthulhu Mythos related eBooks available from Wildside Press include:

Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide to the Man and His Work, Second Edition

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) was a major writer of fantasy and science fiction during the first half of the twentieth century. Together with H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, Smith was one of the “Three Musketeers” of legendary Weird Tales magazine, and contributed some of the most distinctive (and controversial) fantastic fiction to ever appear in Hugo Gernsback’s Wonder Stories.

His “City of the Singing Flame” and “Vaults of Yoh-Vombis” are acknowledged classics in the field, but represent only two selections from a career that produced more than one hundred short stories and over five hundred poems. His imagination roamed the exotic realms of Zothique, Poseidonis, and Averoigne, settings for piquant and colorful tales of beauty and death–stories that value image and atmosphere over plot and action, told in a richly ornate prose-style that has won him ardent admirers, and has influenced such writers as Ray Bradbury, Jack Vance, and Bruce Sterling.

This Second Edition of the first book-length study of Smith–a substantial examination of his life and works, his artistic evolution and literary heritage–includes a supplementary suite of essays that delve into the most interesting aspects of Smith’s fiction, plus Smith’s own tale of Mars, “Mnemoka,” unpublished in his lifetime, but resurrected here from the fragments of its burned manuscript.

Drawing on unpublished materials and correspondence, and conversations with surviving friends and colleagues, critic Steve Behrends paints a portrait of Clark Ashton Smith as a gifted, stubborn iconoclast, one of the last surviving Romantics in the heyday of Realism–a man born outside his time, whose escape lay in the dream-journeys of his fiction and poetry.

Out of the Shadows: A Structuralist Approach to Understanding the Fiction of H. P. Lovecraft

James Arthur Anderson takes a structuralist approach to dissecting the horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937. This book offers both scholars and fans alike new insight into the work of the best-known American horror writer of the first half of the 20th century.

As S. T. Joshi states: “Anderson’s thorough familiarity with Lovecraft’s texts (essays and letters, as well as stories), and with the best scholarship on Lovecraft, is evident on every page; and the fluidity with which he weaves together critical approaches into a unified commentary is enviable.” Complete with chronology, bibliography, and index.

Find these and other tomes, including megapacks of classic stories from Weird Tales magazine, in eBook formats at DriveThruFiction.com.

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