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H.P. Lovecraft's Favorite Weird Tales

– tekijä: Douglas A. Anderson (Toimittaja)

Muut tekijät: H. F. Arnold (Avustaja), Ambrose Bierce (Avustaja), Algernon Blackwood (Avustaja), Arthur J. Burks (Avustaja), Robert William Chambers (Avustaja)10 lisää, Walter de la Mare (Avustaja), M. L. Humphreys (Avustaja), M. R. James (Avustaja), John Martin Leahy (Avustaja), Arthur Machen (Avustaja), Abraham Merritt (Avustaja), Edgar Allan Poe (Avustaja), M. P. Shiel (Avustaja), Paul Suter (Avustaja), Everil Worrell (Avustaja)

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
773272,434 (3.82)27
H.P. Lovecraft's favorite horror stories, those that inspired and awed him! In 1929-30, H.P. Lovecraft made some lists of both literary and popular stories "having the greatest amount of truly cosmic horror and macabre convincingness." These lists of his favorite weird tales make for a truly landmark Lovecraftian anthology. We present Lovecraft's own favorites horror stories, including some well-known classics, alongside of a number of excellent rare tales by forgotten authors. Many of these stories are classics, inspiring several generations since of the world's best horror authors. Contributors include Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, M. R. James, Algernon Blackwood, M. P. Shiel, A. Merritt, Walter de la Mare, Paul Suter, M. L. Humphreys, H.F. Arnold, Everil Worrell, Arthur J. Burks, and John Martin Leahy. This is the anthology of favorite weird tales that Lovecraft himself hoped to compile! "To understand why Lovecraft regarded these stories as the touchstone for greatness in the literature of supernatural horror is to understand the significance of the genre itself. The classic works included in this collection, along with Lovecraft's own best tales, both justify and represent the essence of this form of human expression." - Thomas Ligotti… (lisätietoja)
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H. P. Lovecraft's Favorite Weird Tales, edited by Douglas A. Anderson, was a Christmas gift. I noted from the table of contents that only five of its eighteen stories were ones I knew I'd read before. Of those, only two were ones I've read many times. Good. I like Daniel Govar's cover with what appears to be Howard Philips Lovecraft himself making notes in a candlelit library. My copy has the shadow of a giant, reptilian tail on the wall instead of that of some probable devil.

The introduction explains how we know these eighteen stories were Lovecraft's favorites.

'The Fall of the House of Usher' by Edgar Allan Poe**** Still moody, still a good ending (not bad for a story I probably first read in high school), but I do wish we got to find out if the Ushers' servants made it out alive. Also, my pity is for Madeline Usher. I'd like to smack Roderick upside the head.

'The Suitable Surroundings' by Ambrose Bierce***½ It starts out in a promising way with the nameless farmer's boy in the scary woods after dark and the deserted house that isn't as deserted as it's supposed to be. Mr. Bierce lost me with the conversation between the author and his reader. It got interesting again in the last couple of pages, though. (I deny the rights of writers as declared by the fictional author. Furthermore, I remember being so terrified by H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Colour Out of Space' when I was 16 that the fact that there were plenty of lamps on in the living room, and my parents were reading their own books there couldn't keep me from closing my book and refusing to read it except by daylight.)

'The Death of Halpin Frayser' by Ambrose Bierce*** I suspect this story was much more frightening in 1891. As with the previous story, the ending is quite interesting. The relationship between young Halpin and his mother is a little too close for comfort. Yes, I'd be terrified if I had the same dream as Halpin, but my favorite urban fantasy heroines and heroes go through so much worse in their books that I'm not impressed.

'Novel of the Black Seal' by Arthur Machen***½ This time our narrator is a young woman, Miss Lally. She's a governess for Professor Gregg, our designated searcher into secrets best left secret. I wish that were the case, because Mr. Machen has Miss Lally tell this story after it happened. This robs us of some of the suspense from the start. The black seal itself, with its unknown characters carved on it, is interesting. Our heroine isn't stupid, just lacking in sufficient background knowledge and horror story reading to put the pieces together. There's some effective writing, but Gregg utterly infuriates me because he's not willing to wait for his children to be grown before he risks making them orphans. On the other hand, the ending suggests Miss Lally may not be a reliable narrator. The implication about what happened to a minor character, Mrs. Cradock, horrified me.

'Novel of the White Powder' by Arthur Machen***½ A young man, Francis Leicester, is studying too hard and it's ruining his health. Helen, his loving sister, makes him see a doctor. All might have been well had the brother not chosen to go to a particular apothecary -- at least not with that particular prescription. What happens is all the more terrible because absolutely no one in this story had bad intentions. Miss Leicester is the narrator.

'The Yellow Sign' by Robert W. Chambers***½ I read The King in Yellow decades ago. I hadn't remembered this story. It's set in New York City. Our nameless narrator is an artist whose One True Love, Sylvia, died some years ago. The artist lives next to a Catholic church. The church watchman is very creepy-looking. After seeing his face, our artist spoils the painting he's working on and can't understand why. His model is a sweet young girl named Tessie. What a pity they ever encountered the Yellow Sign.

'Count Magnus' by M. R. [Montague Rhodes] James**** I'll give the story its due even though it annoys me that this is the M. R. James story I've most often encountered in anthologies. It was never my favorite. Our nameless narrator has obtained the notes and log of a Mr. Wraxall, and turned them into a non-fictional account. Mr. Wraxall visited Sweden in 1863. It is there he learns about Count Magnus. Sadly for our traveler, not even his landlord's story about what happened to an Anders Bjornsen and Hans Thorbjorn 92 years ago isn't enough to make Mr. Wraxall pack his bag and leave in time. I don't care how well educated Mr. Wraxall was -- he had all the good sense of your average slasher flick character.

'The White People' by Arthur Machen**** The four stars is for the story that unfolds in the pages of a nameless 16-year-old girl's journal. If you are also a former victim of someone's evil, I would suggest skipping the drivel spouted by a man named Ambrose and start reading at 'The Green Book'. The girl had an interesting nurse who told her stories which I found enjoyable: the girl who entered the hollow pit, the hunter who followed a white stag, the strange gentleman
who tried to gate-crash a party in a hill, and the beautiful Lady Avelin versus the crafty Sir Simon. The girl takes a strange journey. The ending infuriated me, thanks to that twit, Ambrose.

'The Willows' by Algernon Blackwood***** I read this online only a few months ago because it was on the National Public Radio's 'Click if You Dare: 100 Favorite Horror Stories' by Petra Mayer. Rereading it so soon didn't blind me to the beauty of its words. Mr. Blackwood wrote so that I could almost imagine myself one of the two nameless friends canoeing down the Danube River. They picked the wrong island of willow bushes to camp on. We don't find out for sure what lives there, but that it is deadly we are left in no doubt.

'The House of Sounds' by M. P. Shiel**** Lovecraft himself compared this story to Poe's 'Fall of the House of Usher,' but there are plenty of differences. Haco Harfager has the Usher role. He shows his friend, the narrator, a printed story about his ancestors. The story shows a family so dysfunctional that they would be welcomed by any tabloid. Of course our narrator comes to Harfager's mansion on the island of Rayba.in the Zetlands. Harfager lives there with his mother, his aunt, Lady Swertha, and a mysterious servant named Aith. The building itself has a worse setting than the Usher mansion. It's also made very oddly. I wouldn't recommend staying there without serious ear protection. Why does Harfager periodically shout 'Hark!'? We do get the answer eventually and it's strange. I kept wishing for the narrator to get his old friend near the front door, knock him unconscious, and drag him out of the house. The author goes so far as to have the narrator do something that would have been indefensible if something else hadn't happened first.
**
''The Moon Pool' by A. Merritt***½ I'm docking half a star because of the racism. The cover of my girlhood ACE paperback of Andre Norton's Victory on Janus quotes the 'Chicago Tribune' as declaring the book to be 'In the tradition of A. Merritt,' so it's nice to finally read something by Merritt. I can see why Mr. Lovecraft liked it. This 1918 novelette uses words that remind me of Lovecraft's writing. We have a framing story involving a Dr. Walter Goodwin passing on what he knows about the ill-fated expedition of Dr. David Throckmartin, his wife, Edith, his associate, Dr. Charles Stanton, and Edith's childhood nurse, Thora Helversen. The natives Throckmartin hired to dig at an ancient island site made one stipulation that the scientists assumed was mere superstition. Too bad for them. The horror is nicely done. I wouldn't hold out any hope for rescue.

'Seaton's Aunt' by Walter de la Mare**** Withers is our narrator. For a time, he and Arthur Seaton attended the same school. Seaton wasn't popular, but Withers promised to spend a half-holiday at Seaton's house after Seaton gave him a present. Withers keeps his promise. Seaton's aunt is a rather strange lady who treats the guest well, but makes unpleasant remarks to and about her nephew. That night, Seaton tells Withers some peculiar things about his aunt. They move around in the hope of catching the aunt in the act. Years later, they run into each other. There's another visit. The third visit is not the charm.

The previous stories were grouped as literary weird tales. The last six are grouped as popular weird tales.
  JalenV | Jan 10, 2019 |
A lot of the stories I found a bit dragging to read, because of the more formal language used. While they were good, I didn't enjoy them too much. Still, there were a few that gave me a chill, including "The Floor Above" by M. L. Humphreys, "Bells of Oceana" by Arthur J. Burks, and "Seaton's Aunt" by Walter de la Mare. I think I enjoyed the popular tales more than the literary ones simply for the language used. ( )
  thioviolight | May 22, 2008 |
It's true that when you pick up an anthology of stories, you're getting a very mixed bag. In this book, there are several greats, some okays and a couple of hmmm...whatevers.

The book is divided into two parts: the "literary weird tale," and the "popular weird tale." Under literary you'll find a lot of writers with whom you are familiar. Here's the Part I contents list, with brief description of each story. Don't worry ... I have not left a single spoiler to ruin the reading experience.

Edgar Allen Poe: "Fall of the House of Usher" -- this one's very well known so I'll skip a description.

Ambrose Bierce: "The Suitable Surroundings" -- an author tells a friend that the best way to enjoy a work of supernatural horror is to place himself in the most suitable environment -- and that the author's works are meant to impart, under optimum conditions, the most chilling reading ever. Well...you'll have to read it and see what happens. This one was just okay ...different, for sure

Ambrose Bierce: "The Death of Halpin Frayser" -- A young man, very close to his mother, has a very odd dream about her which seems almost too real... this one may be a bit Freudian so beware. I enjoyed this one a lot.

Arthur Machen: "The Novel of the Black Seal" -- Machen is one of my favorite authors ever. This particular piece was written in his early writing days. A Miss Lally works as a governess for a Professor Gregg, whose research focuses on the search for the existence of primitive people in the hills of Wales. An amazing story -- also appearing in The Three Impostors.

Arthur Machen: "Novel of the White Powder" -- Another one of my favorite Machen tales, and a very well written story that will raise the hackles on the back of your neck. In this one, a man takes a mistakenly- prepared drug which leads to serious and frightening consequences. I would rate Machen up there on my favorite creepy story writers list.

"The Yellow Sign," by Robert W. Chambers -- A painter and his model are plagued by vivid dreams about a night watchman at a church that can be seen from his window. One of the best early tales of horror I've read in a long time.

Arthur Machen "The White People" -- a superb horror story . A young girl is slowly being introduced to otherworldly forces as set forth in her memoirs found in a book. Very eerie, and the descriptions are vivid, enabling the reader to capture in his or her mind the settings of the story. Simply a phenomenal story.

"Count Magnus," by M.R. James: An author who has gone to Sweden to research a book he is writing discovers the records of the de la Gardie family, finding that one of the early ancestors was a Count Magnus -- an evil man of whom no one in the present wants to speak. The author, Wraxall, won't leave well enough alone, much to his detriment. (I absolutely just can't tell the story...it will ruin it). A superb horror story which is best read at night by flashlight. I can't recommend this one enough!

Algernon Blackwood: "The Willows" -- Blackwood is another one of my favorite all-time writers of supernatural fiction. And in this story, you can really see the emergence of some Lovecraftian themes -- the meeting of worlds, the insignificance of human life to those in the other world, etc. Two friends decide to take a canoe down the Danube, and wind up in an area of flooded islands on which rest groves of willow trees. They both begin to feel the eeriness of the place, as well as the impression that something on the little island is after them. This is one of the best stories in the entire collection.

"The House of Sounds," by MP Shiel -- somewhat along the lines of "Fall of the House of Usher", the narrator receives a note to come to his old friend's family home. When he arrives, the friend is not the same as when he saw him earlier -- noises, even the smallest of them are deafening and act as a portent of destruction. Brilliantly written...another hackle-raiser.

A. Merritt: “The Moon Pool,” – I can see why HPL loved this story. I have the novel (as yet unread), but the original short story leaves a LOT to the imagination. In the story, which is narrated by Dr. Walter T. Goodman, who leaves behind a narrative in order to clear the name of a fellow scientist, Dr. David Throckmartin. It seems that Throckmartin, his wife, a friend/colleague and Mrs. Throckmartin’s old nurse Thora all set out to do research near Ponape (if I’m not mistaken, this is a location used by HPL as well). Throckmartin was picked up some time later by a ship, and Goodwin met him there. The three companions were never seen again. The story told by Throckmartin was eerie and loaded with references to something positively unearthly, but Goodwin never got a chance to fully question him because Throckmartin mysteriously disappeared off of the ship. A phenomenal story and one not to be missed.

Walter de la Mare: “Seaton’s Aunt” – a classic tale of psychic vampirism, which I’ve read somewhere else. Withers is an acquaintance of Arthur Seaton from their school days at Gummeridge’s. Seaton is very unpopular, but still invites Withers to come home with him for a holiday. While there, he meets Seaton’s aunt for the first time. Seaton claims she’s is in league with ghosts and perhaps even the devil. However, Withers isn’t buying it, and thinks that maybe Arthur’s a bit neurotic -- or is he? Fun story, but read carefully.

Part II, “The Popular Weird Tale,” consists of the following:
Paul Suter – “Beyond the Door” -- After a man’s uncle dies, the nephew finds some strange things at his home, including a diary detailing a very strange compulsion. Very creepy story.

ML Humphreys – “The Floor Above” – A friend (Tom) is called by another friend (Arthur) to come see him, noting that he’s “in a bad way.” Tom arrives and immediately notes some bizarre occurrences surrounding Arthur. The end sort of sneaks up on you – a very hackle-raising short tale.

H.F. Arnold – “The Night Wire” – This one reminded me in one sense of Stephen King’s “The Mist,” in which an odd fog rises up and blankets everything. But that’s as far as the comparison goes. Here, the narrator of the story is the night manager at a newspaper, and has an employee (Morgan) who has an incredible ability to pick up the night wire and transcribe what he hears into reports. On the night in which the story takes place, Morgan gets news from somewhere called Xebico, which has been obscured completely by a strange fog, virtually shutting the town down. I won’t go into what happens, but this is a very cool story that definitely you do not want to miss.

Everil Worrell Murphy – “The Canal” – A man finds a little girl in an old, abandoned boat on a canal at midnight, and when he learns the truth behind her story, it may be too late. This one was okay; fun to read but not one of my favorites.

Arthur J. Burks – “Bells of Oceana” – A ship full of service men turns out to become a ghostly voyage for some of the men as the ship passes through a mass of seaweed where it shouldn’t be. Fun story; not quite as good as the others, but still a fun read.

John Martin Leahy – “In Amundsen’s Tent” – this one, I thought, was the weirdest of the weird tale category here. An expedition to the South Pole by three explorers doesn’t go very well, as they find something horrible in a tent left behind by Amundsen from his expedition. Definitely not one of my favorites, but still worth the read.

Overall...a book I'd definitely recommend. I'm continuing to add more anthologies of weird tales to my library, and this one's a definite keeper. Some of the stories may seem a bit outdated but they still have the power to make your heart race a little faster and make your hair stand a bit more on end. ( )
1 ääni bcquinnsmom | May 11, 2008 |
näyttää 3/3
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (1 mahdollinen)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Anderson, Douglas A.Toimittajaensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Arnold, H. F.Avustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Bierce, AmbroseAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Blackwood, AlgernonAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Burks, Arthur J.Avustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Chambers, Robert WilliamAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
de la Mare, WalterAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Humphreys, M. L.Avustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
James, M. R.Avustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Leahy, John MartinAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Machen, ArthurAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Merritt, AbrahamAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Poe, Edgar AllanAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Shiel, M. P.Avustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Suter, PaulAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Worrell, EverilAvustajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Govar, DanielKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
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H.P. Lovecraft's favorite horror stories, those that inspired and awed him! In 1929-30, H.P. Lovecraft made some lists of both literary and popular stories "having the greatest amount of truly cosmic horror and macabre convincingness." These lists of his favorite weird tales make for a truly landmark Lovecraftian anthology. We present Lovecraft's own favorites horror stories, including some well-known classics, alongside of a number of excellent rare tales by forgotten authors. Many of these stories are classics, inspiring several generations since of the world's best horror authors. Contributors include Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, M. R. James, Algernon Blackwood, M. P. Shiel, A. Merritt, Walter de la Mare, Paul Suter, M. L. Humphreys, H.F. Arnold, Everil Worrell, Arthur J. Burks, and John Martin Leahy. This is the anthology of favorite weird tales that Lovecraft himself hoped to compile! "To understand why Lovecraft regarded these stories as the touchstone for greatness in the literature of supernatural horror is to understand the significance of the genre itself. The classic works included in this collection, along with Lovecraft's own best tales, both justify and represent the essence of this form of human expression." - Thomas Ligotti

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