Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lovecraftiana: Winifred Virginia Jordan, Part III.

Howard Lovecraft was quite a dandy and apparently his company was sought after by the ladies in amateur journalism. If you are writer, you probably belong to an on-line writer circle. I belong to zoetrope, the Horror Library, and a few others. Back in the day, things were done by USPS (long delays in getting reviews back), telephone (very expensive), and get-togethers. The gatherings were events, but as a true Edwardian, Lovecraft was genteel and quite an antiquarian poseur. His carefully worded exposition of one event showed that the ladies were quite taken by him – if one reads between the lines.

In the August 31, 1921 letter to the Gallomo, he reveals, “Later there arrived … the Aonian W. V. J. {Virginia Jackson}. Having an interesting tiff with Mrs. Miniter in cattishly civil dialogue whose iciness was delectably veiled with politeness… Mrs. Miniter decided to introduce fiction into her account of the meeting, and has been telling the world that ‘W.J.V. did not speak to me for over an hour after she arrived’. Hell, how the cats fight! But I am outside it all – a cosmic being apart, as ‘tewer. Although I am of course on the … Jackson side in any real warfare {there were factions in the amateur movement}, I shall be civil to Mrs. Miniter as long as she is civil to me, despite the view of W.V.J. … that I ought to observe a more marked coolness as a mark of United loyalty. No mere poet can tell me anything about loyalty… Mrs. Miniter invited me to stay over at 20 Webster {an address – maybe hers}, but I was wretchedly tired and decided to omit the signal…” [1]

Joshi [2] relates that George T. Wetzel and R. Alain Everts report that it was widely known in the amateur circles that Virginia and Howard were an item and romantically linked. There is said to be a photograph of them at a Massachusetts beach.

Then, a third ‘girl’ enters the letter’s conversation. “Am now notified that I must act as host next Saturday .. when there will descend upon Providence no less a whirlwind than … Mrs. Sonia H. Greene … what can one do to entertain such a human dynamo … “
[1]

Lovecraft’s language tends to shift to colloquial jazz age when he is trying to be cute and cagey to impress the reader. He also introduces a dodge, but the truth seems to be that he enjoys being sought after. “Galba {i.e. Galpin} yuh’d orta hear what she {Sonia} says about you in her latest 12 pages! If your ma don’t watch out, she’ll kidnap yuh!” [1]





1. H.P.Lovecraft: Letters to Alfred Galpin, Joshi & Schultz, pp. 95-104.
2. Joshi in the Jackson entry in H.P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia.

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