Lovecraft As Published By Scholastic

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Lovecraft As Published By Scholastic

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1artturnerjr
Ago 28, 2011, 3:58 pm

This slays me every time I come across it. How many children of the 70s are in therapy now due to a too-early exposure to these eldritch horrors? :D

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom1231/3072797198/

2JeffreySinclair
Ago 28, 2011, 8:37 pm

huh?

3artturnerjr
Ago 28, 2011, 9:10 pm

It's a collection of H.P. Lovecraft's stories that was published by Scholastic Books in 1971. Scholastic is a publisher of children's books, mostly (I believe) aimed at grade-school aged kids and often sold through public schools. For example, my daughter, who just started 1st grade, gets a lot of Scholastic books that she orders via catalog from her school.

The amusing part for me comes in trying to picture some 3rd- or 4th-grader in the early '70s trying to get their head around a story like "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" or "the Colour Out of Space". I know how disturbing these stories can be for adults, so the notion of an 8- or 9-year old kid reading them just boggles my mind.

4paradoxosalpha
Ago 28, 2011, 9:19 pm

"The Shadow over Innsmouth" seems especially unsuited to younger readers. It scared me as a teenager.

5artturnerjr
Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 9:44 am

When Lovecraft got the effects he was after, he was (to me, anyway) just about without peer in terms of creating a fictional atmosphere of helplessness and dread. This doesn't seem to be the type of thing you want to expose your young child to. Of course, there's also the question of whether the average grade-school kid could get through the masses of "Cyclopean"s, "foetid"s, and "non-Euclidean"s in HPL's fiction. :D

6JeffreySinclair
Editado: Ago 28, 2011, 9:59 pm

did scholastic really target Lovecraft to youngsters? his vocabulary would have appealed to many an indefatigable pre-adolescent!

7artturnerjr
Ago 28, 2011, 10:35 pm

>6 JeffreySinclair:

I don't really know. I would love to find out if this was marketed more toward grade schoolers or junior high/high school kids.

8bibliorex
Ago 28, 2011, 11:07 pm

I have this one. The cover art is fairly bizarre, isn't it? Sadly, I didn't discover this one as a grade schooler (though I did read plenty of other Scholastic books, including at least one by Poe). My local library did house Lovecraft's work in the children's section, though, which in hindsight was a decidedly odd choice. Oh well, they had a full set of Arkham House hardcovers which I discovered at the age of thirteen and never looked back.

If anyone is curious, the contents of this Scholastic edition are: The Colour out of Space; The Outsider; Imprisoned with the Pharaohs; The Transition of Juan Romero; In the Walls of Eryx; The Festival; and The Shadow over Innsmouth. Not a bad selection at all. The volume also includes a five-page introduction that briefly discusses Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos as a whole, plus each story is preceded by a one-paragraph introduction specific to the story.

9artturnerjr
Ago 29, 2011, 9:33 am

>8 bibliorex:

Many thanks for the info, bibliorex. I would love to have this edition even though I'm pretty sure I have all the stories in other volumes, just as a weird (no pun intended) objet d'art.

Speaking of strange shelving choices, my local public library has Naked Lunch in its Young Adult section. Seems a bit intense/disturbing/difficult for that age group to me, but what do I know?

10paradoxosalpha
Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 9:36 am

> 9

Holy crap. I got about 25 pages into Naked Lunch as a college student and abandoned it because it was giving me physical nausea.

To clarify, I don't believe in "protecting" kids from literature, but the idea of promoting these particular works to juvenile readers by choosing to shelve them in library areas dedicated to kids ... seems flawed.

11JeffreySinclair
Editado: Ago 29, 2011, 5:14 pm

I agree, paradoxosalpha. While I think it unwise to restrict what younger readers can read, I think some books (American Psycho and Naked Lunch come to mind) should certainly not be actively marketed to them...and certainly shouldn't be shelved next to Fox in Socks.