The Age of Lovecraft

Edited by Carl H. Sederholm and Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock. Univ. of Minnesota, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-8166-9924-7
In this wide-ranging collection of essays, editors Sederholm and Weinstock seek to put a contemporary lens on the works of 20th-century “weird fiction” writer H.P. Lovecraft. The editors are quick to point out that while there have been some 33 previous monographs or edited collections of Lovecraft criticism, their work is the “first sustained analysis of Lovecraft in relation to 21st-century critical theory.” The contributors were posed the questions “Why Lovecraft?” and “Why now?”, and their answers are enlightening and on the cutting edge of contemporary literary theory. In 11 essays, this collection moves from James Kneale on how Lovecraft’s “infamously awkward style allows him to address the weirdness of reality itself” to coeditor Sederholm on the author’s reluctance to write about sexuality; another entry, by Jessica George, close-reads a Lovecraftian short story by Neil Gaiman. The strongest piece is “Lovecraft’s Cosmic Ethics,” by Patricia MacCormack. Her reflections on perspective, chaos, and posthumanism make for a challenging but rewarding read. The scholarship throughout is sharp, current, and often makes use of one of the greatest strengths of Lovecraft study: his abundant published correspondence. An appreciative foreword by horror author Ramsey Campbell and a brief concluding interview with New Weird fiction writer China Miéville round out this eclectic assortment. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/22/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 296 pages - 978-0-8166-9925-4
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