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Eldritch Tales : A Miscellany of the Macabre [Anglais] [Relié]

H. P. Lovecraft

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Eldritch Tales A follow-up volume to NECRONOMICON, Gollancz's best-selling hardback of the year! Full description

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  8 commentaires
30 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A companion volume, not a standalone 16 août 2011
Par John Middleton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
If you only buy one volume of H P Lovecraft, don't buy this, buy Necronomicon by the same publishers. But if you want to buy more than one volume, make this the second. This is stuff "left out" of the Necronomicon, and while some is good, as a whole its not as good as the contents of that book. Ever bought a "Best of, Vol 2" album? Well, this is a little like that. A few hits, and some "not hits".

The stories are in published order - and includes some early stuff not professionally "published" at all. You can see the beginnings of Lovecraft's style in this early (1916 onwards) stuff, but it is clearly not his best work. There is a fair chunk of poetry here too, and as a rule there are a lot of very short stories, with some almost fragments of ideas. It is definitely interesting to compare this to Lovecraft's later work, and the later stories get better as you would expect.

There is also an interesting essay on writing horror by Lovecraft himself as well as the history of publishing Lovecraft in England by Steven Jones. All up this adds another 100 plus pages to 430 or so of prose and poetry. The inside covers have the distinctive Virgil Finlay commenmorative sketch of HPL in shades of blue, which is a really nice touch.

I finished up my review of the Necromonicon by saying I wasn't going to purchase more Lovecraft; but this Black Book changed my mind. I'm not really sorry about that, but this is a companion piece to a greater work, not a starting point for an introduction to HPL's works. If you are a HPL fan, grab a copy; if you are a more casual reader of HPL, don't shed too many tears if you miss it.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Every Story You Couldn't Find - Now in One Attractive Volume 27 septembre 2011
Par RipleyLV - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I have been trying to amass a complete Lovecraft omnibus for quite some time, and have had significant difficulty in finding print copies of a random array of lesser known stories. I received this volume a week ago as a gift from a friend, and was shocked when I read the table of contents. Every miscellaneous story I had been searching for was now in my hands, in one book.

How did I miss this? Because it was released a week or two ago. Much thanks to Stephen Jones for compiling the anthology every die-hard Lovecraft fan was desperately seeking!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Lots of Poetry 17 avril 2012
Par Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I love E'ch-Pi-El's so-called "lesser" writings as much as I enjoy his classic tales, & much of that secondary work may be found in this excellent volume. I had to laugh that the book is dedicated, in part, to S. T. Joshi, and yet much of its text is flawed. Still, it is a handsome volume and has much to offer a reader who is new to the brilliant Works of H. P. Lovecraft.
CONTENTS:
History of the NECRONOMICON
The Alchemist
A Reminiscence of Dr Samuel Johnson
The Beast in the Cave
Memory
Despair
The Picture in the House
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Psychopompous: A Tale in Rhyme
The White Ship
The House
The Nightmare Lake
Poetry and the Gods (with Anna Helen Crofts)
Nyarlathotep
Polaris
The Street
Ex Oblivione
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
The Crawling Chaos (with Winifred Virginia Jackson)
The Terrible Old Man
The Tree
The Tomb
Celephais
Hypnos
What the Moon Brings
The Horror at Martin's Beach (with Sonia H. Greene)
The Festival
The Temple
Hallowe'en in a Suburb
The Moon-Bog
He
Festival
The Green Meadow (with Winifred Virginia Jackson)
Nathicana
Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman)
The Last Test (with Adolphe de Castro)
The Wood
The Ancient Track
The Electric Executioner (with Adolphe de Castro)
Fungi from Yuggoth
The Trap (with Henry S. Whitehead)
The Other Gods
The Quest of Iranon
The Challenge from Beyond
In a Sequester'd Providence Churchyard Where Once Poe Walked
Ibid
Azathoth
The Descendant
The Book
The Messenger
The Evil Clergyman
The Very Old Folk
The Thing in the Moonlight
The Transition of Juan Romero
Supernatural Horror in Literature
Afterword" Lovecraft in Britain, by Stephen Jones
Other Collaborations and Revisions

The book is beautifully illustrated, with endpapers on a lovely blue stock on which Virgil Finlay's portrait of HPL in printed, and interior illustrations by Les Edwards (some of which, such as the full-page drawing for "The Picture in the House," are superb). I am glad to see "The Thing in the Moonlight" included; the beginning and ending portions are not by Lovecraft, but the core is taken from a letter that HPL wrote to Donald Wandrei, and it contains imagery that is pure horror, terrifyingly effective. All in all, a very diverse and imaginative collection shewing the wide range of Lovecraft's genius and originality.

[Just after typing the contents of the book, I found that another kind soul has done likewise in a discussion of the book. I love how dedicated people are to giving potential readers such needed information.]
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Woah ... Dude! 7 mars 2013
Par Ray - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is one bloody good edition! I was somewhat surprised after opening it and seeing the artwork especially Virgil Finlay's picture of Lovecraft on the front and back inner cover.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A Miscellany of the Macabre 9 juin 2014
Par Katherine - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Originally posted with links at Fantasy Literature.

For those who just can’t get enough Lovecraft, Blackstone Audio has just released this lovely collection of a significant portion of his work. It contains 56 of his horror stories, poems, letter excerpts, and essays. Notably missing are his longer works (e.g., “At the Mountains of Madness” and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”) and a few of his most popular short stories which are so often collected elsewhere (e.g., “The Call of Cthulhu,” and “The Dunwich Horror”).

Most of the stories in Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre are vaguely related to Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos, or at least his general premise that the universe is inhabited by a race of horrible ancient gods who sleep but are occasionally awakened by cultish worshipers from the darker regions of our planet… worshipers who usually eventually go mad.

Here are the stories and poems in Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre. I’ve copied this list directly from a page about this book on a website called The H.P. Lovecraft Archive which contains many (and perhaps all) of his writings online (thank you, Lovecraft Archive!). You can click the links here if you want to read these stories at that site. However, the audio version is so good, that I’m recommending it here, of course.

History of the Necronomicon
The Alchemist
A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson
The Beast in the Cave
The Poe-et’s Nightmare
Memory
Despair
The Picture in the House
Beyond the Wall of Sleep
Psychopompos: A Tale in Rhyme
The White Ship
The House
The Nightmare Lake
Poetry and the Gods (with Anna Helen Crofts)
Nyarlathotep
Polaris
The Street
Ex Oblivione
Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family
The Crawling Chaos (with Winifred Virginia Jackson)
The Terrible Old Man
The Tree
The Tomb
Celephaïs
Hypnos
What the Moon Brings
The Horror at Martin’s Beach (with Sonia H. Greene)
The Festival
The Temple
Hallowe’en in a Suburb
The Moon-Bog
He
Festival
The Green Meadow (with Winifred Virginia Jackson)
Nathicana
Two Black Bottles (with Wilfred Blanch Talman)
The Last Test (with Adolphe de Castro)
The Wood
The Ancient Track
The Electric Executioner (with Adolphe de Castro)
Fungi from Yuggoth
The Trap (with Henry S. Whitehead)
The Other Gods
The Quest of Iranon
The Challenge from Beyond
In a Sequester’d Providence Churchyard Where Once Poe Walk’d
Ibid
Azathoth
The Descendant
The Book
The Messenger
The Evil Clergyman
The Very Old Folk
The Thing in the Moonlight
The Transition of Juan Romero
Supernatural Horror in Literature
Afterword: Lovecraft in Britain by Stephen Jones

All of this takes just over 20 hours on audio! The stories are beautifully read by excellent readers, including several of my favorites: Tom Weiner, Simon Vance, Simon Prebble, Bronson Pinchot, Elijah Alexander, Malcolm Hillgartner, Sean Runnette, Stefan Rudnicki, Gildart Jackson, Robertson Dean, Pamela Garclickh, Armando Duran.

As I said, Lovecraft’s most popular stories aren’t included here (they’ve been collected so many times before), but fans will be interested in these, nonetheless, and many of them feature elements from those well-known stories. For example, the towns of Innsmouth and Dunwich are mentioned, as are the elder gods and the shoggoths. “History of the Necronomicon” gives us the fascinating history of Lovecraft’s famous fictional grimoire which, so he says, was originally written in Arabic and banned by the pope. This story sounds so authoritative that it’s no wonder many people think The Necronomicon is a real book!

Those familiar with Lovecraft will recognize the repetitive themes, character types, plots and imagery. There are men on the verge of madness, men who’ve been cursed (there are few women in these stories), creatures that seem half man and half ape, insane asylums, murderers, mysterious ancestry, secret mouldy tomes, lost and found academic papers detailing unexplained paranormal occurrences, fantastical landscapes, weird dreams and drug hallucinations (opium and hashish), thunderstorms, strange lights, barely heard demonic laughter or eerie music, decaying castles, secret subterranean rooms, burned down mansions, men who were mistakenly thought long-dead, frightening cultish practices in dark regions of Asia and Africa.

Sadly, many of these elements feel like stock items that are combined variously to produce (sometimes) eeriness and terror…. Let’s see, in this story I’ll have a college professor with a mysterious ancestry find the hidden papers of his colleague, now committed to a mental institution, who found an underground grave in Dunwich which contains a strange little statue of an unknown sea creature that causes people to hallucinate and become immortal when they touch it, but then he wakes up and wonders if it was just a dream…. (I just totally made that up). Lovecraft’s worst trick, though, is to explain that his character is screaming and has gone mad and that the horror that caused this was so indescribable that if we were told about it, we’d go mad, too. To me, this always seems like an easy out.

Some of Lovecraft’s repetitive character types get pretty annoying. For example, all of the “swarthy” people are dirty, unkempt, smelly, and untrustworthy. The story “The Street,” which tells of a street in New England which is, over the years, gradually populated by immigrants, is blatantly racist. But some white people fare no better with Lovecraft. One of his most common characters is the ignorant “white trash” (his words) from the backwoods or mountains. Those who live in rural areas are consistently characterized as primitive, stupid, savage, decadent, misshapen and ugly. Here’s an example from “Beyond the Wall of Sleep” (note the mental institution):

It was from a youthful reverie filled with speculations of this sort that I arose one afternoon in the winter of 1900–1901, when to the state psychopathic institution in which I served as an interne was brought the man whose case has ever since haunted me so unceasingly. His name, as given on the records, was Joe Slater, or Slaader, and his appearance was that of the typical denizen of the Catskill Mountain region; one of those strange, repellent scions of a primitive colonial peasant stock whose isolation for nearly three centuries in the hilly fastnesses of a little-travelled countryside has caused them to sink to a kind of barbaric degeneracy, rather than advance with their more fortunately placed brethren of the thickly settled districts. Among these odd folk, who correspond exactly to the decadent element of “white trash” in the South, law and morals are non-existent; and their general mental status is probably below that of any other section of the native American people.

Wow, that’s ugly, and it’s something I’ve noticed in much speculative fiction written by white men in the early 20th century. That, and the sexism, is what is, for me, most put-offish about old SFF.

A related issue is Lovecraft’s archaic wordiness which sometimes becomes hilarious:

By the time he had related this to me, I, emboldened by his torch and his company, began to reflect upon the strange beast which I had wounded but a short distance back in the darkness, and suggested that we ascertain, by the rushlight’s aid, what manner of creature was my victim. Accordingly I retraced my steps, this time with a courage born of companionship, to the scene of my terrible experience. Soon we descried a white object upon the floor, an object whiter even than the gleaming limestone itself. Cautiously advancing, we gave vent to a simultaneous ejaculation of wonderment, for of all the unnatural monsters either of us had in our lifetimes beheld, this was in surpassing degree the strangest.

Lovecraft’s poetry varies. I’m no expert, for sure, but some of it was eye-rollingly bad. However, some was nice, some was amusing (“The Poe-et’s Nightmare”), and I truly enjoyed the 36 sonnets that make up “Fungi from Yuggoth.”

After listening to H.P. Lovecraft for over 20 hours, I feel the need to comment on some of these recurring problems, but in actuality I did enjoy many of these stories including (thankfully) the longest one “The Last Test.” Others I enjoyed were “History of the Necronomicon,” “The Alchemist,” “The Electric Executioner,” “Ibid,” “The Transition of Juan Romero,”… and others (honestly, they’re starting to run together in my mind).

One of my favorite parts of Eldritch Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre was the essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” in which Lovecraft speaks extensively about the horror genre, praises and criticizes other horror writers, and makes suggestions for more reading. I find it amusing to think that when he wrote this, Lovecraft had no idea that the influence of many of those writers on horror literature would be completely overshadowed by his own. In case you want to know, Lovecraft is a particular fan of Arthur Machen and Lord Dunsany.

So, twenty hours of Lovecraft on audio! If you don’t go mad after that, I sincerely don’t know what it will take. Seriously, though, this is an important work and very well done. It’s a huge chunk of Lovecraft’s work read by some of the best narrators in the business. I recommend it both for fans and for those, like me, who just want to be more familiar with the work of such an influential writer.
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