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When he died in 1937, destitute and emotionally and physically ruined. H.P. Lovecraft had no idea that he would come to be regarded as the godfather of the modern horror genre, nor that his work would influence an entire generation of writers, including Stephen King and Anne Rice. Now, at last, the most important tales of this distinctive American genious are gathered in one volume by National Book Award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates. Combining the nineteenth-century gothic sesibility of Edgar Allan Poe with a daring internal vision, Lovecraft's tales foretold a psychically troubled century to come. Set in a meticulously described, historically grounded New England landscape, his harrowing stories explore the collapse of sanity beneath the weight of chaotic events. Lovecraft's universe is a frightening shadow world where reality and nightmare intertwine, and redemption can come only from below. In her preceptive and penetrating introduction, Oates, herself a virtuoso of the Gothic style, explains how Lovecraft's singular talents fused the supernatural and mundane into a terrifying complex, exquisitely realized vision.