Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lovecraftiana: Anna Helen Crofts

In The Tomb and Other Tales, Ballantine/Del Rey, 19th ed. 1992 > 1970 1st edition, some of Lovecraft's early tales are listed.

I'll have a great deal to say about The Beast In The Cave soon. I've explored this in depth, and have done a redaction analysis of it. I feel strongly that this (like other HPL stories) went through two editions. Joshi says the same, so I'm in outstanding company.

I also admire The Transition of Juan Romero. HPL turned his back on it, and evidence shows he didn't read Ambrose Bierce before he wrote it, but there are some very interesting similarities between it and Bierce. So we'll discuss that later, too. maybe he did know Bierce earlier than suspected.

However, what struck me odd is Derleth's inclusion of Poetry and the Gods as a Lovecraft work. If you know HPL, does this sound like him? " was, just after the close of the Great War, when Marcia found herself alone with strange thoughts and wishes ...". Hmm.

This was a collaboration with Anna Helen Crofts. HPL (and I promised, soon, I would show you some semiotic statistics of his writing) rarely spoke of women. Even in his collaborative work with women - and to some he was probably romantically inclined - the female perspective is weak or non-existent.

I went to Joshi & Schultz's An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia, for this blurb. [p. 208,209] "Written ... probably summer of 1920 ... published in the United Amateur (September 1920)... Nothing is known about the origin of the story (which HPL never mentions) nor about HPL's coauthor ... she may have written the tidbits of freeverse ... HPL despised free verse." Joshi concludes that "the prose of the rest of the story appears to be HPL's.

Lovecrafts modus operandi for revision work was to take minor snippets of the author's work and cycle some of his usual prose in whole cloth. It's likely that anything to do with daydreaming girlish thoughts and woozy passion was not HPL, but passages such as this one were his. "These the dreamer recognized ... the divine Maeonides, the avernian Dante, the more than mortal Shakespeare, the chaos-exploring Milton, the cosmic Goethe and the musalan Keats."

Polysyllabic obscuria and lengthy (overkill) listings were HPL's calling card.

I suspect that, "Many years have passed since Marcia dreamt of the Gods ... tonight she sits in the same spacious drawing-room, but she is not alone...", is Crofts work.

I found one note on the internet worth mention. To Autumn is listed as being published by her in Paul Cook's The Vagrant #7 of 1918. It seems to be a poem, but I can find no copy of it.

Her poetry would read like this excerpt, though:

"Moon over the tropics,
A white curved bud
Opening its petals slowly in the warmth of heaven ..."

Such intense and feminine sensuality! Gods of Pegana!

In fact, to be more lurid, I refer you to Joshi's A Dreamer and a Visionary [p. 128 - 130] that discusses the rumor that about the summer of 1920. Lovecraft was infatuated with one Winifred Virginia Jackson, 14 years his elder. She was having an affair at the time with a black poet, William Braithwaite, but HPL tended to be oblivious when he was in his own world.

It seems interesting that he was closely associated with two women from Massacusetts the same summer.

1 comment:

Bryant Burnette said...

I found this post while attempting to locate some info about "Poetry and the Gods." Thanks for writing it!


Blog Archive


Google Analytics