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How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: cathexis (IP Logged)
Date: 12 September, 2011 02:55PM
Greetings,

If you're on the East Coast like me I know you're enjoying a respite from the recent deluge.

The question in the title could've been a reply to Martinus' Errata list re: B&N "The Complete Fiction"
that was discussed in my recent thread on the $500.00 HPL book. But that thread is already 4 pages long
and that's enough of that.

Right now I've beening enjoying a re-reading of "Mountains of Madness" in my previously stated favorite
manner; In Bed, book in right hand, snack in left. I don't go to bed until I'm sleepy so I last about 20
minutes a night (your mileage may vary). I strongly prefer the Modern Library's, "Definitive Edition" but
you guys have me wondering how accurate it is.

A couple of comments on "Mountains of Madness" FWIW -
It is very much my favorite HPL story. I really wish someone would put out a good annotated version.
I had forgotten the reference to CAS! Also, the para beginning on page 27 of this version (about a page
and a half into chapter III) that begins with, "The sailor Larson was first to spy,..") is superb. Classic
HPL. Required several re-reads and pondering as the Ancient Ones lulled me to hora somnis.


-Cathexis

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: K_A_Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 12 September, 2011 03:33PM
I don't know anything about what's definitive and what isn't--but I cannot resist commentary! I, myself, own the annotated 3-book set from Penguin, edited by Joshi--I suppose anything edited by him has got to be pretty definitive?

For the most part, I've only read all of HPL once, finished about a year and a half ago (but over the span of quite a bit of time), and I'm kind of itching to reread some of my favorites... HPL made me the writer I am, and I think there is much to gain from rereading him--especially now that I'm familiar with the mythos, and am a more or less seasoned writer, who can better appreciate the subtleties of style, which is so important in HPL. A first go through HPL can be a bit disorienting--I must go back through it all to truly savor it!

And I have him to thank for discovering CAS--I read "The Double Shadow" in a collection of stories based after recommendations in his "Supernatural Horror in Literature," and I was completely mesmerized, and am still reeling from the effect (over a year later!). Needless to say, I subsequently gorged myself on all the CAS I could acquire (probably half of his stories--most of the better ones).

As for "At the Mountains of Madness"--good, but not my favorite. In my memory, the ending was a bit dissatisfying--but overall, a thoroughly weirdly absoring read--definitely a rereader. I'd have to list "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" as my favorite--I love the part where the Innsmouth folk are trying to get into his room, and he escapes out the window! A very, very action-packed read for an HPL story! I could go on forever about HPL--so I'll just cut myself off right here!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12 Sep 11 | 03:56PM by K_A_Opperman.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 12 September, 2011 04:09PM
It has been several years since I read the Modern Library edition, but checking on the copyright page, I find that the texts for this were prepared by S. T. Joshi, so they are the properly restored texts, though there may be some typos which slipped in, as usually happens these days in preparing a new edition of darned near anything....

However, Martin would be able to answer much more certainly just what problems, if any, this volume has.

You might want to look up Joshi's essay, "Textual Problems in Lovecraft", in Discovering H. P. Lovecraft, ed. by Darrell Schweitzer, and the "Note on the Texts" sections of the various Arkham House volumes, through library copies, for more information.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 07:41AM
Quote:
I suppose anything edited by him [Joshi] has got to be pretty definitive?

Most definitively not! You should see Martinus's errata list for the Penguin volumes. Whose fault the errors are is a matter for debate, but the errors are legion.

Beyond that, there's no need to rehash the pro- and anti-Joshi arguments that have appeared in this forum (I am misclassified here as a "Joshi hater", but that is untrue. I just call his work as I see it, and, for some, anything less than breathless adoration equates to "hate"), but they are easily found through the search function.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: cathexis (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 08:32AM
I should see it, but I don't.

Perhaps I'm just missing the obvious (wouldn't be the first time).
But for me the original link by Martinus to his errata list failed.
I found it with only a little effort on my part - it is under the
entry on the B&N "Complete Fiction" entry. I haven't stumbled on any
other errata lists however and I did try clicking around the same site
to find them.

The site does give this answer to what's definitive:

Quote:
Arkham House is the definitive source for Lovecraft’s fiction and letters.
His stories have been edited and corrected by S.T. Joshi based on Lovecraft’s original
autograph and typewritten manuscripts.

So I suppose I could buy the Arkham editions but in this case (Modern Library's
Definitive Ed.) the source is that same Arkham House and credit is given to S.T.
Joshi as well. The copyright page is unclear but seems to imply he helped with the
Modern Library version since the ("definitive") Arkham House editions were first
copyrighted when he was still six years old.

Therefore the bottom line in, "What is definitive?" seems to be the Arkham House Editions.
I would gladly accept correction if needed.

-Cathexis

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: priscian (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 09:39AM
cathexis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I should see it, but I don't.
>
> Perhaps I'm just missing the obvious (wouldn't be
> the first time).
> But for me the original link by Martinus to his
> errata list failed.
> I found it with only a little effort on my part -
> it is under the
> entry on the B&N "Complete Fiction" entry. I
> haven't stumbled on any
> other errata lists however and I did try clicking
> around the same site
> to find them.

Martin posted some of his errata for the Penguin volumes in this thread and mentioned publication in the EOD, but I don't recall whether he's publicly posted the errata anywhere. Maybe he'll comment on this; I'd like to see them myself.

-- Jim J.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 03:18PM
If it is based on the Arkham House text that was published in 1985, it should be OK. However, later printings -- the LoA edition and later -- replaces the name "Daniels" with "Danforth" in one spot (because of something I said, in fact).

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 03:20PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It has been several years since I read the Modern
> Library edition, but checking on the copyright
> page, I find that the texts for this were prepared
> by S. T. Joshi, so they are the properly restored
> texts, though there may be some typos which
> slipped in, as usually happens these days in
> preparing a new edition of darned near
> anything....
>
> However, Martin would be able to answer much more
> certainly just what problems, if any, this volume
> has.

Alas, it's one of those I haven't got! (BTW, I got my freebie copies of the B&N book today!!)

>
> You might want to look up Joshi's essay, "Textual
> Problems in Lovecraft", in Discovering H. P.
> Lovecraft, ed. by Darrell Schweitzer, and the
> "Note on the Texts" sections of the various Arkham
> House volumes, through library copies, for more
> information.

I'll second that. "Textual Problems in Lovecraft" is indispensable for understanding the differences between the older, corrupt texts and the corrected ones. It devotes quite a lot of space to "At the Mountains of Madness", in fact.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 September, 2011 03:26PM
priscian Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > Martin posted some of his errata for the Penguin
> volumes in this thread and mentioned publication
> in the EOD, but I don't recall whether he's
> publicly posted the errata anywhere. Maybe he'll
> comment on this; I'd like to see them myself.

I have never done a complete comparison of the Penguin books and any lists that I have released -- here or by e-mail (I don't think I've posted any of them anywhere) -- are to be considered work in progress. Very slow progress.

(Come to think of it, that is not entirely true. I think that my list for The Dreams in the Witch House and Other Weird Stories is complete, but those corrections have already been entered into later printings, so that it applies only to the first printing. And Azathoth have mercy, there were some baaaaaaad ones!)

In general, the Penguins seem fairly OK -- the Dell books are certainly worse -- but what errors there are, are usually of the terribly annoying kind, such as "know in their heads" instead of "know in their hearts" in "The Festival". Alas, the LoA book seems to have the same problems.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 03:32AM
Lovecraft is best read in the Arkham House volumes. I also think one should favor and support small press like Arkham House.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 03:36AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I also think one should favor and support
> small press like Arkham House.

Let that be read as support quality small press.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 03:54AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Lovecraft is best read in the Arkham House
> volumes. I also think one should favor and support
> small press like Arkham House.

On the other hand, no Arkham House volume to date has had the corrected texts of "The Shadow out of Time" and "Hypnos", and then there is that "and thou wouldst" in "The Quest of Iranon" that should be "an thou wouldst", and so on.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 04:31AM
Martinus Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On the other hand, no Arkham House volume to date
> has had the corrected texts of "The Shadow out of
> Time" and "Hypnos", and then there is that "and
> thou wouldst" in "The Quest of Iranon" that should
> be "an thou wouldst", and so on.

Perhaps they can't afford to update, because they are on a decline? Either because lack of reader support. Or because Arkham House was August Derleth's och Donald Wandrei's baby, and the heirs are less motivated.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Absquatch (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 07:45AM
I support whoever releases the best and the least corrupted texts, period.

Re: How *do* we know the definitive HPL texts are just that?
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 September, 2011 10:26AM
Joshi's efforts for the corrected Arkham House volumes are good enough for me. Those are great publications. Once one start walking down the uncreative path of perfectionism, it's easy to get caught and sink in the mire of nitpicking pedantery which has no bottom.

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