Below is the combined timeline containing the publication information of both “The Temple” and “The Call of Cthulhu”, followed by a short analysis. The display of the information has been modified to make it more readable due to the large number of publications it would otherwise present. Publications with multiple printings from a single publisher have been combined into single time span entries, and all of the entries are have sorted and placed into one of three categories based upon what story appears in the publication, with “Both” being reserved for publications which contain both short stories.
In looking at the combined timeline the most notable observation is in how it emphasizes the popularity of “Call of Cthulhu” over “The Temple,” but it also brought to light several things which had previously remained invisible to me. Notably, after “The Temple’s” initial publication in the September, 1925 issue of Weird Tales, it only appeared three times over the next 40 years until it’s inclusion in 1965’s Dagon and Other Macabre Tales, an Arkham House publication. That Arkham House, a small boutique publisher founded in 1939 specifically to release the works of H.P. Lovecraft, would not republish “The Temple” for 26 years after it founding, suggests the story’s lack of important and prominence within Lovecraft’s body of work. The timeline corroborates this idea, for while it does appear in 27 collections, at no point is it the title story. Further evidence of its lesser status can be found in its inclusion in only five anthologies not focused on Lovecraft, something which also serves to indicate a lack of interest in the work in the wider horror landscape.
In contrast to “The Temple’s” lack of popularity, “Call of Cthulhu” has a much more active publication life. While there are two noticeable gaps in publication, 1929 to 1939, and again from 1951 to 1958, it has been published far more often. Appearing in 72 anthologies, with 12 of those being non-Lovecraft focused horror anthologies, it has been published nearly once a year since 1963. Much like “The Temple”, it was included in Arkham House’s first publication, 1939’s The Outside and Other Stories, but unlike “The Temple,” it has gone on to be the titular story in at least instance—in addition to Cthulhu appearing in title of 16 publications. It’s prominence in the title suggests, despite its ready availability in a wide variety of collections, publishers view Cthulhu and “Call of Cthulhu” as a draw for audiences, and are more than willing to use it as the centerpiece for collections of Lovecraft’s work.