M. P. Shiel (1865-1947) was a British author of many novels and tales, all written in a distinctively rich and mellifluous prose, and H. P. Lovecraft's discovery of the work of Shiel in 1923 was electrifying. Overwhelmed with the brilliance of "The House of Sounds," Lovecraft wrote an enthusiastic letter to Weird Tales, calling it "the most haunting thing I have read in a decade." Lovecraft also relished several other stories from Shiel's story collections, Shapes in the Fire (1896) and The Pale Ape (1911), including such tales as "Xélucha," "Huguenin's Wife," and "The Bride." In 1927 Lovecraft was engulfed by The Purple Cloud, rhapsodizing over its breathtaking vision of a world bereft of nearly all human and animal life. This volume, part of the Lovecraft's Library series, presents the first major selection of Shiel's work in thirty years. Reprinting the works that Lovecraft prized most highly among Shiel's bountiful output, it allows the modern reader to imbibe of that "high level of horrific magic" which Lovecraft himself found so rapturous.
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