Norton Spotlight: The New Annotated H.P Lovecraft
We look back on some of our most successful titles and consider what makes them a classic. This week we highlight the success and the charm of The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft, edited by Leslie S. Klinger, with an introduction by Alan Moore. A perfect title for Christmas!
It’s that time of year when many of us have the urge to read something with a sinister edge, a spookiness to compliment the cold weather and the darker nights. We bring you the New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft (2014) which perfectly encapsulates the brooding menace and Freudian uncanny of early 20th C Decadent to Modernist literature. Stephen King named Lovecraft “the twentieth century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale” and his tales continue to warp the imagination.
Lovecraft’s “weird fiction” is a departure from the gothic style of his predecessors that focused mostly on ghosts, ghouls, and witches; instead he crafts a vast universe in which humanity is dwarfed by sublime yet alien creatures, godlike in their inscrutability. Part horror, part science fiction, these tales compel us through a chain of otherworldly voices, surreal situations and a continually beleaguered central consciousness that we must root for before it gives way to madness.
Alan Moore writes in his introduction, “With an increasing distance from the twentieth century…the New England poet, author, essayist, and stunningly profuse epistolary Howard Phillips Lovecraft is beginning to emerge as one of that tumultuous period’s most critically fascinating and yet enigmatic figures.” In this stunning edition, Leslie S. Klinger reanimates Lovecraft and charts the rise of the pulp writer. With nearly 300 illustrations and more than 1,000 annotations, this collection homes in on the evocative and wildly imaginative, sometimes perverse, nature of Lovecraft’s writing. Twenty-two of his most canonical stories are present here, including the chilling “Arkham” tales: “The Call of Cthulhu,” At the Mountains of Madness, “The Whisperer in Darkness,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” “The Colour Out of Space,” and others.
Lovecraft’s fiction is inventive, extreme, sensational, abstruse and profound. Some of the illustrations he himself drew are provided, including the ‘Wilcox sculpture’ above which could have been a creature straight out of a Doctor Who episode. And that is what provides the charm of Lovecraft’s work: its chameleonic and totally adaptable features. Some stories are playful and feel irresistibly cinematic, almost as though they were drafted for a futuristic film; some are like a Freudian unraveling of the psyche, deep and despairing without any hope of salvation.
The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft received glowing reviews when it was published last year:
“Norton’s new volume must surely be the definitive collection. It is meticulously and imaginatively edited, beautifully illustrated and immaculately produced, with a thought-stirring introduction by the graphic novel writer Alan Moore.”
“The actual book is as vivid as the stories themselves, and beautiful to boot, with its inky black cover and gold embossed tentacles. Perfect for anyone who enjoys exploring the outer regions of the imagination — and guaranteed to give you the shivers on a cold winter’s night.”
Sarah Vine, Christmas Books 2014, Daily Mail
“Lovecraft will now garner increased critical attention because of Leslie S. Klinger’s sumptuous The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft. While Klinger has supplied a sensitive introductory overview of the writer and his legacy, as well as marginal notes (mainly identifying the historical elements in the twenty-two selected stories), the great attractiveness of this volume lies in its illustrations.”
Times Literary Supplement
This is an ultimate classic, a beautifully rendered collection of atmospheric tales by a writer with an “incalculable influence on succeeding generations of writers of horror fiction” (Joyce Carol Oates).