The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces
by H.P. Lovecraft
When it comes to championing 'weird fiction,' Arkham House leads the way. Founded in tiny Sauk City, Wisconsin, (population 3,109 in 2000), Arkham will always be famous for printing the work of H.P. Lovecraft – the king of weird fiction.
This publisher's books are highly sought-after by collectors who adore horror, supernatural fiction and writing generally designed to scare the bejesus out of people. Arkham's memorable bindings have also played a major role in adding to the collectability of these books. Most print runs were limited to a few thousand copies – further enhancing the collectible status.
Weird fiction is a little hard to define. It's a sub-genre of speculative fiction (eg genres like science fiction and horror) and often uses ghost stories and other supernatural elements, mythology and macabre plots.
August Derleth and Donald Wandrei founded Arkham House in 1939. Wandrei left the press after World War II but Derleth continued, editing collections and writing himself. The Arkham House name comes of a fictional city in New England widely used by Lovecraft, who is famous for creating the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft's writing has influenced countless modern writers from Stephen King to Neil Gaiman, and Arkham played an important role in promoting the author's work. Lovecraft died in 1937.
Aside from Lovecraft, Arkham also printed work by Robert E Howard, Ray Bradbury, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Bloch. Disciples of Lovecraft – such as Ramsey Campbell – were also published as were the likes of William Hope Hodgson, Arthur Machen, J. Sheridan Le Fanu and Algernon Blackwood.
A host of notable illustrators produced chilling cover art for Arkham's books, including Ronald Clyne, Frank Utpatel, Richard Taylor and Hannes Bok. August Derleth died in 1971 and by the mid-1970s the firm had expanded into science fiction. Family-run Arkham House still exists and has had huge influence on weird fiction and horror generally over multiple decades. Sadly, April Derleth, daughter of August Derleth, died earlier in 2011.
1952, collection of 15 stories, 4,500 copies.
1943, limited to 1,200 copies, Arkham's second Lovecraft omnibus.
1960, collection of 15 stories, 2,060 copies
1947, thought to be limited to just over 3,000 copies
1962, 2,500 copies - episodic novel of 5 parts inspired by Lovecraft. Richard Taylor jacket.
1950, scarce book of 47 poems – 553 copies only.
1970, collection of stories & novellas, 4,000 copies, cover by Gahan Wilson.
1962, limited to 2,000 copies, jacket art by Richard Taylor.
1953, a series of Lovecraftian stories, jacket by Ronald Clyne.
1966, cover art by Frank Utpatel, 3,500 copies.
1944, around 2,000 copies.
1959, bibliography of publisher's early years. Frank Utpatel cover design.
1963, collection of 11 short fiction, 2,000 copies, cover by Lee Brown Coye.
1948, 15 stories, limited to 3,000 copies. Jacket art by Frank Wakefield.
1945, 2,000 copies, 21 stories, Ronald Clyne jacket.
1946, 3,000 copies, collection of stories. Jacket by Hannes Bok.
1949, 3,000 copies - stories, essays, memoir & notes, contains portrait of Lovecraft as a boy.
1954, 1,200 copies, vampire novel with Frank Utpatel art.
1947, 10 stories, 3,000 copies, Ronald Clyne jacket.
1944, Arkham's fifth book, 1,600 copies
1946, collection of supernatural tales, jacket by Ronald Clyne, 3,000 copies
1964, short stories, Campbell's first book at 18, 2,000 copies, Frank Utpatel cover.
1939, limited to 1,200 copies, Virgil Finlay jacket.