In the Mountains of Madness

In the Mountains of Madness

The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft

Book - 2016
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"In the Mountains of Madness interweaves the biography of the legendary writer with an exploration of Lovecraft as a phenomenon. It aims to explain this reclusive figure while also challenging some of the general views held by Lovecraft devotees, focusing specifically on the large cross-section of horror and science fiction fans who know Lovecraft through films, Role Playing Games, and video games directly influenced by his work but know little or nothing about him. More than a traditional biography, In The Mountains of Madness will place Lovecraft and his work in a cultural context, as an artist more in tune with our time than his own. Much of the literary work on Lovecraft tries to place him in relation to Poe or M.R. James or Arthur Machen; these ideas have little meaning for most contemporary readers. In his provocative new book, Poole reclaims the true essence of Lovecraft in relation to the comics of Joe Lansdale, the novels of Stephen King, and some of the biggest blockbuster films in contemporary America, proving the undying influence of this rare and significant figure"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Berkeley, CA : Soft Skull Press, an imprint of Counterpoint, [2016]
ISBN: 9781593766474
Branch Call Number: 813.52 LOVECRAF POOLE
Characteristics: 296 pages ; 23 cm

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lukasevansherman
Jul 26, 2019

"The cosmos is a blind vortex; a seething ocean of blind forces. . ."
First of, Howard Phillips Lovecraft has maybe the best name of any horror writer. It seems made up, but it's not. There'a a bar named after him in Portland, although it's whole 80s goth playhouse vibe kinda misses the point. Lovecraft was uptight, old fashioned, hated the modern world and, oh yeah, was a racist. The last point makes the Lovecraft fan community, which can be rabid, uneasy and often aggressive. W. Scott Poole, to his credit, engages with the issue head-on, adding to the continued and fraught conversation about whether you can enjoy art made by someone who may have despicable views or be a terrible person. Poole, a professor, is less interested in the biographical facts of Lovecraft's life, which are rather unspectacular, than in how someone who was not very successful or well-known in his own lifetime became, arguably, the most influential horror writer of the 20th century, a pulp writer whose work is collected in a Library of America hardcover, putting him in the company of Henry James, Philip Roth, and Richard Wright. Poole traces this remarkable journey and delves into the themes, ideology, and style of his stories, finding in him a vision of humanity and the universe as bleak and despairing as any of the modernists whom he despised. Lovecraft's influence is pervasive and now that his racist views are widely known, a number of contemporary genre novels have deal with this unpleasant aspect of his character and writing, including "The Night Ocean," "Lovecraft Country," and "The Ballad of Black Tom," written by a black author. For further Lovecraft studies, you'll want to look into S.T. Joshi, probably the foremost Lovecraft scholar. Cthulhu for president!

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