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In the Mountains of Madness

The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of H.P. Lovecraft

List Price: $17.95

September 13, 2016 | Paperback | 6 x 9, 320 Pages | ISBN 9781593766474

"Must reading for both loyal Lovecraft fans and biography lovers." —Booklist

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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.

From a childhood wracked with fear and intense hallucinations, Lovecraft would eventually embrace the mystical, creating ways in which his unrestrained imaginary life intersected with the world he found so difficult to endure. The monsters of his dreams became his muses. Yet, Poole insists that Lovecraft was not the Victorian prude who wrote “squishy monster stories for boys.” Rather he was a kind of neo-romantic mystic whose love of the 18th century allowed him to bring together a bit of Isaac Newton with a bit of William Blake in a real marriage of heaven and hell.

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.

W. SCOTT POOLE, who teaches at the College of Charleston, has written widely about American history, horror, and pop culture. His books include Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror and his award-winning history Monsters in America, which received the John G. Cawelti Prize from the Popular Culture Association and was named among the “Best of the Best” by the AAUP for 2011. Poole is a regular contributor to Popmatters and his work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Religions Dispatches, and Killing the Buddha.

Praise

“A deep plunge into the Lovecraft-ian dark side. Poole enthusiastically explores how H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) influenced modern pop culture… Poole seamlessly weaves biography and criticism as he shows how the fodder of Lovecraft’s mental state was transformed into the eerie, occult-infused stories Nail Gaiman calls “where the darkness begins…” [T]horoughly enjoyable and highly readable.”—Kirkus

“Must reading for both loyal Lovecraft fans and biography lovers.” —Booklist

“This work by Poole makes Lovecraft’s story accessible to casual readers without forsaking the level of detail expected of a more scholarly work… this book entertains and surprises, as with Poole’s decision to write in the first person—he’s a wry and jovial narrator. He also takes pains to explore Lovecraft’s influence upon art and popular culture… This interesting biography also provides new perspectives on the author’s character that will incense the keepers of Lovecraft’s mythos.” —Library Journal

“A fascinating journey of H. P. Lovecraft’s visions of things to come. The secret of Lovecraft revealed a page at a time. A must read for all true fans of horror.”—Jonny Coffin, owner of Coffin Case

“As Poe was to the 20th century, Lovecraft is to the 21st, and W. Scott Poole’s book is his Horrible Holiness’s Gospels, his Revelations, and his Necronomicon, all in one, like some kind of twisted trinity guiding us deep into the mountains of madness.” —Grady Hendrix, author of My Best Friend’s Exorcism

“H.P. Lovecraft is having one hell of a resurgence. Luckily, the author of the man’s latest biography is the smart, shrewd, and insightful W. Scott Poole. In The Mountains of Madness gives a welcome accounting of Lovecraft’s career but, importantly, urgently, Poole also offers a new outlook on the women in Lovecraft’s life. His mother and wife, dismissed or vilified for so long, are cast as some of his most essential supporters. What a welcome new point of view this book offers about this issue and so many others. What a wonderful testament to the lasting power and influence of H.P. Lovecraft.” —Victor LaValle, author of The Ballad of Black Tom

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