Thursday, September 01, 2016

Lovecaftian Thing a Day No. 245: In Lovecraft's Shadow

If I'm honest, The Lovecraftian Thing a Day has become a little pedestrian of late - in part due to my being particularly busy during this time of the year. Excuses aside, over the past weeks keeping this blog updated daily has come to feel like a bit of a chore, such that I've tended to grab some random object from my shelves and scribble a few ineffectual lines about it. The bad news is that this may continue for the next few days; the good news is that, as of early next week, I mean to assert more rigorous quality control over the content during the final four months of the series. That said, today's offering is another random shelf-grab: In Lovecraft's Shadow: The Cthulhu Mythos Stories of August Derleth, published by Moran & Mycroft in 1998. Regardless of what one might thinks of Derleth, this is a beautifully produced volume with cover art and interior illustrations by Stephen Fabian. Although it should be added that is not a complete collection of Derleth's Mythos tales.

For all of Derleth's faults - especially his attempt to authoritatively define the Mythos in a distinctly counter-Lovecraftian manner - I retain a soft spot for his writing, which I consider to be not-too-terrible. In addition to which, the criticism levelled at Derleth of trying to assert absolute interpretive jurisdiction (not to mention proprietry rights) over Lovecraft's work is something which one or two well-know and vocal contemporary Lovecraft scholars might productively reflect on. Especially as far as their self-assured assumption of unquestionable expository ownership over his life and work are concerned...

On a less controversial (and more personal) note, I believe this may have been one of the very last books I purchased from the long-lamented Fantasy Centre - which used to be one of the UK's best genre/specialist bookshop - before that fine establishment closed its doors for good. Sad times.

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