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L'Affaire Charles Dexter Ward (The Case of Charles Dexter Ward)

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  8,435 ratings  ·  290 reviews
Incantations of black magic unearthed unspeakable horrors in a quiet town near Providence, Rhode Island. Evil spirits are being resurrected from beyond the grave, a supernatural force so twisted that it kills without offering the mercy of death!
Paperback, 182 pages
Published 1972 by J'ai Lu (first published 1927)
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Let me be clear at the outset of this review that when it comes to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, I am definitely one who drinks deep the kool-aid Cthulhu-aid. For me his stories are something to be savored and relished; succulent, meaty feasts of atmosphere, hyper-lush imagery and dark melodrama dipped in dread. If you’ve read other works by HPL and have not been impressed or fallen under his spell, this story is not likely to change your mind. However, if you are already a wanton Lovecraft gourm
mark monday
Dear Mr. Lovecraft,

I, Joseph Curwen, necromancer supreme, have rather a bone to pick (forgive my little joke). I have noticed many problems with your narrative The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. First of all: that title. Surely you realize that I am the protagonist of the tale - not the fey amateur Charles Dexter Ward? I do not think it is too much to ask that the title of your document correctly identify its leading personage. Second: I have noticed a strong bias against scholars of the so-called

" What the thing was, he would never tell. It was like some of the carvings on the hellish altar, but it was alive. Nature had never made it in this form, for it was too palpably unfinished. The deficiencies were of the most surprising sort, and the abnormalities of proportion could not be described."

That was just a sample of the type of writing found within this short novel by H.P. Lovecraft. Reading this reminded me how much I love this type of writing.

I hereby vow to read more of Lovecraft
⊱ Irena ⊰

Lovecraft must be the only author whose works I've read and don't mind certain things most readers seem to hate. Yes, it can be slow. Yes, he can be overly descriptive. Yes, there is an omniscient narrator. Yes, there is lots of retelling. And in most cases, some of those annoy me too.
However, all of it pales in front of his extraordinary imagination and the atmosphere you find in his stories. It doesn't matter if it is a short story or a longer one. He is one of a kind and The Case of Charle
“There is about certain outlines and entities a power of symbolism and suggestion which acts frightfully on a sensitive thinker's perspective and whispers terrible hints of obscure cosmic relationships and unnameable realities behind the protective illusions of common vision.”
That little passage explains why Lovecraft’s characters often go mad at the mere sight of blasphemous eldritch monstrosities from beyond; something I often wondered about. It is also a fine example of his penchant for con
Sep 26, 2014 Werner rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of "horror" and horrific science fiction
Shelves: science-fiction
Though Lovecraft is a favorite writer of mine, until now this book (one of only two novel-length pieces he ever wrote) has been one I hadn't gotten around to reviewing. It was recently nominated as a common read in my Supernatural Fiction Readers group; and though it wasn't the one chosen, that reminded me of it, and I resolved to correct the lapse. It's one of my favorite Lovecraft works, and certainly one I highly recommend to other readers who like this type of fiction.

The Goodreads descripti
Lovecraft is a special writer, capable of twisting the mind of the reader in ways that all of the visual horror we are forever shown in this day and age can never accomplish.

What WAS the thing at the bottom of the pit? What was it that the good Doctor saw? So many open questions to let our minds fill in the blanks with the things that horrify us above all else.

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is Lovecraft's longest work (at least that I've encountered) and there is so much in the meager 120 or so
“Do not call up that which you cannot put down.”
— H. P. Lovecraft, "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward"

I first read H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 short novel “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward” when I was 11 years old, in the tacky Del Rey edition pictured. At the time, I was surprised by the difference between the densely erudite content and the pulp cover art. A horror writer with high-literary roots, Lovecraft remains a unique and original artist; at his best, he combines the ethereal sensibilities of “d
[Name Redacted]
This was the first work by Lovecraft I ever read, but I have not re-read it in nearly 2 decades. I had odd tastes, even as a child. I remembered very little, aside from the broad plot-points, so you can imagine my consternation when, upon re-reading it this week, I discovered that I am merely one step away from following in the footsteps of young Charles; so many of the descriptions of him sounded like the man i have become and, as it happens, 3 years ago I began to dedicate myself to exactly th ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: HP Lovecraft fans
Shelves: horror-gothic
I'm rereading this based upon Stephen's review so if I do not appreciate it more, it will be entirely his fault :-)

In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward HPL ventures a novel-length story about his Elder Gods and one man’s tragic fate when he delves into mysteries better left unexamined. Charles Dexter Ward is the scion of a well established Providence family who begins investigating esoteric matters and discovers that an ancestor, Joseph Curwen, was killed by
Admittedly, a friend of mine and I were suppose to read—and of course finish—this last Halloween. Ha, what a turn of events; now that I have finished this.

This was my first time reading anything by H. P. Lovecraft even though I have quite plenty of his work on my to-read list, as well as physical copies waiting to be read. I can frankly say that I have enjoyed this one very much, the ending most of all. The descriptive and steady style of writing kept me thoroughly engaged in the story and I ca
Ken McKinley
This is my fourth HP Lovecraft story and, so far, it's my favorite. That says a lot. Because, I'm really enjoying discovering his writing and connecting his influences to my favorite horror authors of today. For some odd reason, Lovecraft wasn't happy with his novel. He wrote it in 1927 and he didn't try to get it published. It wasn't until after his death that August Derleth and Donald Wandrei published it in the May and July issues of Weird Tales in 1941 did the story see the light of day. I f ...more
Dec 05, 2011 Michael rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans, sci fi fans, goths
Recommended to Michael by: Dungeons and Dragons
Shelves: pulp-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Evan Leach
”From a private hospital for the insane near Providence, Rhode Island, there recently disappeared an exceedingly singular person. He bore the name of Charles Dexter Ward, and was placed under restraint most reluctantly by the grieving father who had watched his aberration grow from a mere eccentricity to a dark mania involving both a possibility of murderous tendencies and a profound and peculiar change in the apparent contents of his mind.”

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, the longest work by H.
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft is definitely one of his best works and this is a high compliment, as I have liked almost all that I have read from him.

This work, first published in 1927, combines most of the themes common to his works: occult, arcanery, unspeakable nighttime horrors, deep dark pits with unknown creatures, etc. even some hints of the Cthulu cult.


The other element of this book that is noteworthy is the scope of influence that Lovecraft created. Innumerable hor
My first HP Lovecraft book, it is a well rounded and interesting story, and the perfect introduction to the Lovecraft mythos.

Background: Lovecraft wrote during the 20's and 30's, after Freud, but before Jung. To many, the human unconscious mind was still scary, dark, uncharted waters with untold depths of the unknown lurking beneath the surface. King would later pick that up, in a time when humans were more accustomed to dealing with their unconscious, and conversation between conscious and unc
I really wanted to like this, but I got a bit bored waiting for the book's narrator to just come out and say what I was sure from the beginning had happened. The story is told by a doctor and is of a patient's decent into madness. The story behind the story, however, is of a long-dead(?) relative of Ward's who dabbled in the occult and black magic. Sounds good, right? I'd never read any Lovecraft before, and have a few more of his stories still yet to go, so possibly I'll enjoy another tale more ...more
Printable Tire
Being from Providence, I feel I have to like things associated with Providence, and thus be a H.P. Lovecraft fan (of course, I don't like Family Guy, but that's another story). Fortunately a story like this makes it easy to like him. It certainly helps that I know and walk the streets and locations mentioned in this book, read parts of the book in Salem where some of the story takes place, am a fellow alumni of the same school as the protagonist, and also, when I get lost in Cranston, feel inexp ...more
This is probably the best-known of H.P. Lovecraft's work. It follows his regular formula.... young man, curious about certain items and books that he discovers.

Long story short, these "items" are for calling up the "Old Ones." (These are the gods who ruled the earth before mankind came around.) They can be "summoned" with the use of this particular grimoire, and some of the aforementioned items. The "leader" of the Old Ones, Cthulu, is the biggest, baddest Old One, and he figures prominently in
Mar 18, 2015 Cᴀᴛʜᴜʀʏᴀ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cᴀᴛʜᴜʀʏᴀ by: Nadie
"Y, ojo por ojo y magia por magia, que el resultado mostrase hasta donde había aprendido la lección del abismo"

Como todos podéis intuir, este año me he propuesto –sin quererlo, la verdad– leer toda la obra de Lovecraft este año. Como no, no podía faltar esta novela corta, El caso de Charles Dexter Ward, la más extensa de todas las que escribió.

Todo comienza cuando Charles Ward indagando sobre sus ancestros, se topa con Joseph Curwen, un extraño individuo que huyendo de Salem se instala en
Please note: This novella is part of The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft , a copy of which omnibus can be picked up at the CthulhuChick website by anyone who wishes to have one.

Synopsis (slightly altered for correctness): Set in Providence, Rhode Island, the story concerns the fate of Charles Dexter Ward, a young man from a well-to-do family who has been installed in a mental asylum. The family doctor searches for the reason behind Ward's madness, learning in the process that he spent several
“P.S. Shoot Dr. Allen on sight and dissolve his body in acid. Don’t burn it.”

Drawing significantly on European and Jewish occult traditions (for some very in-depth insights take a look, being wary of potential spoilers, here) Lovecraft unfolds a grand story of macabre, grotesque and suspense with a passionate portrayal of Providence in the background.

As an already avid reader and fan of Lovecraft's tales I was simply astonished by the novel. I had already read all his major works and I would nev
I just finished reading this as part of a much longer collection, Lovecraft - Tales, a compilation of work put together by the Library of America, but wanted to comment specifically on this as a stand alone piece.

First, I should preface the review by saying that I thoroughly enjoy reading writers like Poe and the Gothic novel. I sometimes believe if such a thing as reincarnation exists, I previously resided in a dark and seedy 19th century London town, walking distance from a foggy graveyard. So
Matias Talevi
Quedé fascinado con la habilidad de Lovecraft para crear un relato de terror a partir de varios temas interesantes, ya sea química, alquimia, astronomía, ocultismo e incluso historia antigua. La forma de narrar y de unir cada elemento da un resultado perfecto creando una atmósfera de horror cósmico que te vuela la cabeza, no hay otra forma de expresarlo. Es el primer libro que leo de él y obviamente planeo seguir, muy recomendado.
"There is no evil to any in what I do, so long as I do it rightly."

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward chronicles the tale of a young antiquarian who becomes fatally drawn to the satanic opus of his infamous ancestor and unwittingly funnels an ancient evil into his home. The novella is off to a slow start as Ward's character is established, then picks up as as he begins piecing the life of the enigmatic Joseph Curwen, and remains fascinating as the narrative changes focus to one Marinus Bicknell Wil
I have such mixed feelings about this book, it was a very interesting and spooky story, but on the other hand reading it felt like work the entire way to the end. The denseness of prose, the utter lack of dialogue, the constant verboseness didn't lend themselves to an enjoyable read. I have to say I'm glad to have read it and I plan on reading Lovecraft in the future, though most likely sticking to his shorter works.
Maria Grazia
La magia di Lovecraft, il motivo per cui l'orrore da lui evocato persiste nella mente come una luce eccessiva sulla retina dietro le palpebre chiuse, è che nulla è descritto, ma tutto è evocato, e fa riusonare gli archetipi che ciascuno di noi si porta dentro.
Qui non siamo ancora alla perfezione, ma l'orrore puro è vicinissimo.
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
It's too long ago since I listened to this on podcast to review this properly, but I do remember enjoying it. I also remember thinking that it ran too long, though. It did seem a little repetitive in places. Nice and creepy though. It's Lovecraft after all.
Obra maestra del genio de Providence.

Nada más empezar a leer se nos cuenta que Charles Dexter Ward, de veintiséis años, se ha escapado de la clínica para enfermos mentales en la que estaba internado. El paciente contaba con unas características físicas (estructura y color de la piel fríos y toscos, desequilibrios orgánicos) y psicológicos (interés obsesivo por el pasado, olvidando el presente) fuera de lo normal. Un grupo de alienistas, entre los que destaca el doctor Willett, médico de la famil
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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a
More about H.P. Lovecraft...
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“Do not call up that which you cannot put down.” 12 likes
“Whilst never actually rebuffing a visitor, he always reared such a wall of reserve that few could think of anything to say to him which would not sound inane.” 6 likes
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