Longstanding and painstaking H.P. Lovecraft editor S. T. Joshi wonders what in the netherworld is going on with Oxford University Press's single-volume Lovecraft edition, recently praised in the Los Angeles Times (via Salon) as an overdue "short form, one-volume critical edition" when we are awash in one-volume Lovecrafts (including Library of America's) and the meaning of "critical edition" is elastic enough to include using pulp magazine texts rather than the author's typescripts, as this Oxford edition does.
The ordinarily calm and collected Joshi bounces off the catacomb ceiling in a review to be published in an upcoming Lovecraft Annual:
[Roger Luckhurst, author of the Oxford volume] tries to justify his use of the Astounding texts by declaring that he wants to “retain some of the pulp energy that Astounding Stories wanted to inject into Lovecraft’s tales.” This is, I humbly submit, blithering idiocy. The only reason Astounding chopped up the long paragraphs in both stories is that, in the two-column format of the magazine, the paragraphs would seem even longer than on an ordinary printed page, and therefore would presumably be intimidating to the brainless sods who would be reading the stories. And if Luckhurst really wanted to give present-day readers a taste of “how they [the stories] were first encountered by their audience in the Golden Age of science fiction,” he should have printed the Astounding version of At the Mountains of Madness intact, without [August] Derleth’s restoration of the paragraphing and of the passages omitted toward the end.
Library of America, Joyce Carol Oates, and Derleth's imprint Arkham House all used Joshi's texts, based on comparisons of the magazine versions with Lovecraft's typescripts. If Lovecraft "belongs in the canon," as the LA Times belatedly suggests, a logical step in that process might be to have some agreement on what constitutes a definitive text, rather than having random professors chasing after pulp energy.
Speaking of pulp-to-canon, Joshi's blog also points to a philosophical movement inspired by Lovecraft:
...Graham Harman [, in an article] in the Spring 2012 issue of New Literary History, “The Well Wrought Broken Hammer: Object Oriented Literary Criticism” ... writes of a relatively new philosophical movement called speculative realism. Harman remarks: “The speculative realists have all pursued a model of reality as something far weirder than realists had ever guessed. It is no accident that the only shared intellectual hero among the original members of the group was the horror and science fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft.”
Harman has put these ideas in book form in Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (Zero Books, 2012). Looking forward to perusing this.