The H.P. Lovecraft Wiki

This subject is written on a topic in the real world and reflects factual information. This subject contains information from the "Lovecraft Circle" Myth Cycles, and while guided by HPL are not based on his work alone. This subject contains information from the Expanded Cthulhu Mythos, and not based on H.P. Lovecraft's works directly. "The Book" is an unfinished short story by H. P. Lovecraft, believed to have been written in late 1933. It was first published in the journal Leaves in 1938, after Lovecraft's death. It has been posthumously completed by Martin S. Warnes as "The Black Tome of Alsophocus".[1]

In the story fragment, the narrator is given an ancient book by a strange bookseller, and when he takes it home and examines it, weird and sinister events ensue.

Lovecraft considered "I am at a sort of standstill in writing--disgusted at much of my older work, & uncertain as to avenues of improvement. In recent weeks I have done a tremendous amount of experimenting in different styles & perspectives, but have destroyed most of the results." (HPL: Selected Letters 4.664)

The H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia suggests that "The Book" was one of the undestroyed experiments—an attempt to translate Lovecraft's poem sequence Fungi from Yuggoth into prose. (The completed fragment corresponds to the first three sonnets, which form more of a coherent narrative than the rest of the sequence.)(EXP: An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia)

"The Black Tome of Alsophocus", first published in New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1969), turns the fragment into a tale of possession by Nyarlathotep.


  1. Ramsey Campbell, "Introduction", New Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos.