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The Case of Charles Dexter Ward (H. P. Lovecraft #10)

4.21  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,928 Ratings  ·  349 Reviews
A NAMELESS TERROR CROSSED THE CENTURIES...

...and engulfed the soul of Charles Dexter Ward, a brilliant young New England antiquarian. Evil spirits, dark gods whose memory lived on in half-understood legends and fear-stricken superstitious whispers lurked in the vile catacombs beneath the surface of a blighted land. It was these loathsome horrors whom Ward was driven to lo
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Paperback, Third Panther Printing, 127 pages
Published 1970 by Panther (first published 1927)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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Stephen
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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
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Charlene

" 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
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Apatt
Oct 27, 2015 Apatt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
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Lyn
Feb 07, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Werner
Sep 26, 2014 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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⊱ Irena ⊰
Jan 09, 2015 ⊱ Irena ⊰ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
4.5

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
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Kristen
Feb 18, 2009 Kristen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, classics
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
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Stenwjohnson
Oct 06, 2012 Stenwjohnson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
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Kimberly
Jan 13, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, group-read
Classic.
Terence
Dec 04, 2011 Terence rated it liked it  ·  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 :-)
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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
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[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
Dahlia
Feb 23, 2015 Dahlia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-reading
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
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Meseceva Reka
Jan 16, 2016 Meseceva Reka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slučaj Čarlsa Dekstera Vorda je roman za uživanje u suptilnom osećaju jeze. Nema ovde prekrivanja očiju, skakanja sa stolice/kreveta i bacanja knjige, niti povremenog lupanja srca od pročitane groze, ali itekako ima dve stotine strana konstantno fino naježene kože. Atmosfera koju Lavkraft plete svojim bogatim književnim umećem i vrsnim poznavanjem okultnog je alfa i omega romana i zaslužuje duboko poštovanje.
Ken McKinley
Feb 21, 2015 Ken McKinley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
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
Michael
Dec 05, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Printable Tire
Oct 28, 2009 Printable Tire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
Sep 04, 2015 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Lovecraft's writing doesn't appeal to me in the way that a Margaret Atwood, Roberto Bolaño, or Cormac McCarthy does. It's a bit dated, and dry, and academic. But the funny thing is, it feels entirely appropriate to the literary theme and content. It feels like a fragment of the happenings of the story, an actual account dating from the actual time and place of these events. That really appeals to me: if this were bound in leather and written by hand, it would be even cooler.

The slowness takes a
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Bandit
Jul 21, 2011 Bandit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nathan
Feb 13, 2008 Nathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.
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Shaun
May 23, 2013 Shaun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
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Dani
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
Bondama
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
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ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ
Sep 23, 2015 ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ by: Nadie
4.0
"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
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Katy
Nov 02, 2012 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
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
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Davide Nole
Dec 19, 2015 Davide Nole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Con Lovecraft ormai è puro amore.
In questo romanzo breve è rachciusa praticamente tutta l'essenza dei racconti del ciclo di Cthulhu. L'analisi psicologica di C.D.Ward è portata avanti in maniera egregia e sempre con una voce narrante che risulta realistica in mezzo a un mondo tormentato dal sovrannaturale.
<3 <3 <3
Christopher
Oct 07, 2015 Christopher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this over at http://cthulhupodcast.blogspot.com/20...

The thing I love about Lovecraft is the realistic reactions of common people. In most stories, even if there is a moment of disbelieve that demons are around or magic is real or whatever, anyone told will soon be asking "what should we do now?" as they somehow buy into reality defying all experience. In Lovecraft, one gets the proper reaction to such things; "Off to the psych-ward with you."
Usako Rosales
Nov 15, 2011 Usako Rosales rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i just loved the writing, you're just going through the story without knowing for sure what's happening, because, the writer gives you ideas of what is happening, but not why it happened,, i don't know how to explain it , but there were things he never explained, you just had to make your own ideas and explanations about the situations and characters, i was confused at the beginning, perhaps because I've never read books like that, but i wasn't mad, actually i really enjoyed it, a lot!
Matias Talevi
Mar 10, 2016 Matias Talevi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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9494
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
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More about H.P. Lovecraft...

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“Do not call up that which you cannot put down.” 19 likes
“Memory sometimes makes merciful deletions.” 8 likes
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