In the Mountains of Madness: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft

W. Scott Poole. Soft Skull, $17.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-59376-647-4
Historian Poole (Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror) turns his scholarly attention to H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937) in this highly readable, informal biography, which also surveys the iconic horror writer's place in today's popular culture. Acknowledging the work done on Lovecraft by S.T. Joshi and other critics in recent decades, Poole takes pains to point out where his views differ from theirs. In particular, Poole stresses the importance of the women in Lovecraft's life, notably his mother, Sarah, and his wife, Sonia, to whom he was effectively married for only two years. Sarah may have had a detrimental psychological influence on her son, Poole concedes, but "at every opportunity, she let his imagination run in its wildest directions," encouraging his pursuit of such hobbies as chemistry and astronomy. In addition to putting in a good word for Sonia, Poole cites an anecdote that will be unfamiliar even to those steeped in Lovecraft lore: a document among Sonia's papers at the John Hay Library in Providence, R.I., suggests that Lovecraft enjoyed watching his wife dance to a recording of "Danse Macabre," the Camille Saint-Saëns tone poem. For Lovecraft neophytes wanting to learn more about the man and his work, this is a fine starting point. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-61902-856-2
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5993-9
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