The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

by H.P. Lovecraft
Reviewed date: 2004 Aug 12
Rating: 3
127 pages
cover art

Synopsis: Young Charles Dexter Ward's intense interest in the past and of his hideous ancestor Joseph Curwen leads him ever further into realms of horror and evil. He succeeds in calling up things from other spheres, and this leads to his madness and eventual placement in a hospital for the insane.

Lovecraft's erudite and intricate style holds up well in short stories and for novelettes, but at novel length it becomes tedious. The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a short novel, but it feels much longer. And indeed, even were it only a short story, it is not one of Lovecraft's best works. It has some good parts, but mostly it is dull, predictable, and the imagery is forced. The freedom and horror present in The Dunwich Horror and The Call of Cthulhu is not present here.

H. P. Lovecraft once again shows his command of the English language by introducing me to a new preposition: anent. Thank you, Mr. Lovecraft. I am forever in your debt.

The Case of Charles Dexter Ward rates a three out of five. I recommend it to only the most serious of Lovecraft fans.

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