In the 1920s and ?30s H.P. Lovecraft pioneered a new type of weird fiction that fused elements of supernatural horror with the concepts of visionary science fiction. Lovecraft?s tales of cosmic horror revolutionized modern horror fiction and earned him the reputation as the most influential American writer of weird tales since Edgar Allan Poe.
"This story, as is well known, is an almost exact transcript of a dream that Lovecraft had in December 1919, as recorded in a letter of December 11. In the dream, however, the setting seems to be New England; in the story Lovecraft has apparently transferred the locale to Florida, if the mention of the Gainsville Pike and Big Cypress Swamp are any indication. Lovecraft introduces Randolph Carter in this tale; his colleague, Harley Warren, is a stand-in for Samuel Loveman, the poet and amateur journalist who figured in Lovecraft's dream. Lovecraft also introduces the element of the 'forbidden book.' The story first appeared in the Vagrant (May 1920)."
As an Addendix which reprints mostly Juvenilia, we also find the very first publication of a recently discovered version of "The Mysterious Ship" (both known versions of the tale are included here), and the discarded draft of "The Shadow over Innsmouth," which is fascinating. The book also reprints "Supernatural Horror in Literature," Lovecraft's monumental essay of the genre.