Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Comparison of 1945 and 1961 Lovecraft Memoirs by Muriel Eddy: Part 1

Chrispy is fortunate to now own both the 1945 memoir in Rhode Island on Lovecraft and the 1961 memoir found in the 2001 Gentleman From Angell Street. Here is a little "side by side" comparison. Commentary later.

A glimpse of how Muriel Eddy expanded her 1945 Lovecraft memoir in 1961.

A review shows that Muriel clearly had her original (1045) text in front of her as she wrote. Many passages are nearly identical. I’ll take the first few paragraphs of the 1945 memoir and show the differences, similarities, and expansions in 1961. The emphasis here is clearly on the closeness and intimacy that the Eddys had with Lovrcraft, and his idiosyncratic reaction to heat.

(1945) It was in the middle of August, 1923, that the late Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Esquire, first made his personal appearance in our lives.

(1945) …we settled in the tiny parlor at our Second Street home … in the stifling parlor …

(1945) We gasped when we realized that with the thermometer on 90 degrees … he wasn’t even perspiring. When we knew Lovecraft better, we realized that he could stand heat in any proportion, but not cold at al.

(1961) It was so hot that Sunday afternoon in August that the roses in our little garden were drooping from the excessive heat. It seemed that even the birds in the trees surrounding our house on Second Street, East Providence, Rhode Island, had forgotten how to sing. … that roasting hot Sunday in August … I led the way into the house. We sat in the living room … It became quickly apparent to us both that the man didn’t mind either the heat or the humidity
(1945) The first thing we noticed about Lovecraft was his eyes, which, behind their spectacles, beamed uponus in friendliness – they were gentle, benign, smiling, such a deep brown that they seemed almost black.

(1961) Also he wore spectacles and behind their eyes, gentle and brown, regarded us in a most cordial, friendly fashion. {further in the narrative} … behind his glasses his eyes sparkled.

(1945) He wore a straw sailor hat, an immaculate light gray Palm Beach suit, a white shirt and a black four-in-hand tie.

(1961) At a glance, we saw that he was immaculately, though conservatively, dressed in a neat gray suit, white shirt, and black neck-tie; he wore a Panama hat… When he removed his hat we saw that his hair was carefully groomed and a glossy jet black.

(1961) When he removed {the hat} that roasting hot Sunday in August, we noticed that his hair was dark as a Raven’s wings, and meticulously parted on the side.

(1945) At that time he was inclined to plumpness …

(1961) At that particular time, Howard was inclined to plumpness, though those who knew him later seemed to only remember him as thin.

(1945) …and despite an unmistakeable “lantern jaw” his face seemed cherubic in its contours.

(1961) …we knew that his “lantern jaw” made him far from attractive to the opposite sex…

(1945) … Extending lean white fingers in what we came to regard as a typical Lovecraftian gesture …

(1961) He extended lean white fingers in what we came to regard as a typical Lovecraftian gesture, and we shook hands with a man destined by Fate to become a really great writer of the weird and macabre…

(1945) … we noticed that, although the day was extremely hot and sultry, his hands were cold.

(1961) Although the day was insufferably hot, his hands were cold, almost clammy; and I recall wondering how anyone’s hands could be so frigid in an atmosphere of almost a hundred degrees.

1 comment:

Gary Morris, ed. said...

I think it's FINE full-page review.

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