I see that S. T. Joshi’s H. P. Lovecraft: The Decline of the West was made available as a Kindle ebook since the end of summer 2018, and now sports a very reasonable pocket-money price.

It’s the fullest account of ‘Lovecraft the philosopher’ and his wide range of influences in that field. Also the influence on him of what might be called ‘the phantasm of decline’ — that strangely popular but nebulous apparition that haunts gloomy intellectuals, and which leads them to believe that civilisational collapse is forever just around the corner. (As a corrective, see heavyweight books such as: Ridley’s The Rational Optimist; Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals; Herman’s The Idea of Decline in Western History, and my ongoing 2020 blog). Perhaps also Staring Into Chaos: Explorations in the Decline of Western Civilization; and The Perennial Apocalypse: How the End of the World Shapes History.

Joshi writes clearly and precisely as usual, and the book is usefully untainted by airy academic genuflections toward the latest idols of literary-political theory. The Decline of the West was previously available as an oversize paperback, which has a two-column layout — which some may prefer for the task of ploughing through dense philosophical triangulations. On the other hand, the ebook is keyword-searchable, which means that Lovecraft scholars may want to own both editions — though you may chuckle at such a heavyweight ebook having a toy-like ‘stop-motion Cthulhu’ on the front cover. Such are the demands of trigger-finger ebook marketing today, I suppose — ‘no monster, no sales’.

Purchasers will also want to have on their Kindle the texts available from my 2014 blog post Lovecraft as Philosopher, these being a sniffy review of Decline of the West and Joshi’s magisterial demolition of the review.