The Hell… ?! (XXIX) – Howard Phillip Lovecraft, Romance Writer

Lovecraft 001
“What do you mean, smile? I am smiling.”

During the course of one’s life, one occasionally encounters things that stagger the imagination. Things that take one’s view of the world and toss it into the nearest trash can.

I’m not sure if this qualifies. I’m not sure that it doesn’t qualify. All I know is that today I learned that Howard Phillip Lovecraft, writer of Call of Cthulhu, The Rats in the Walls, and other classic works of Horror also wrote at least one work of romantic comedy. And I’m not sure what to think.

I read his God damn biography! You’d have thought that little tidbit might have come up. But nopers. I was left up ready for the shock when I read it in this Cracked article.



Not that Lovecraft would have liked any film based on his work, mind.  The man was persnickety about film.
This particular picture captures Lovecraft as he was thinking of a very funny joke. Look at him unable to withhold his mirth.

Oil and water, people! Lovecraft and romance are like oil and water!

I just can’t wrap my brain around it.

Look at the man! Does he look like he has any business writing a comedy? Really?

It doesn’t make sense.

The story is called Sweet Ermengarde. The provided link takes you right to it. The Wikipedia article suggest it’s also a satire of a popular writer of the time.

Have I read it yet? No. Oh no. I’m going to. Sooner or later. I am. But the first part is sort of… well… Here’s the opening lines:

Ermengarde Stubbs was the beauteous blonde daughter of Hiram Stubbs, a poor but honest farmer-bootlegger of Hogton, Vt. Her name was originally Ethyl Ermengarde, but her father persuaded her to drop the praenomen after the passage of the 18th Amendment, averring that it made him thirsty by reminding him of ethyl alcohol, C2H5OH.

He put the chemical formula right there at the end. Not me. Him.

I can’t decide if that’s bad writing or the most brilliant thing I’ve seen out of him.

Then there’s this:

“But, Jack, since it is really I whom you adore, let us waive all needless circumlocution. Jack – my darling – my heart has long been susceptible to your manly graces. I cherish an affection for thee – consider me thine own and be sure to buy the ring at Perkins’ hardware store where they have such nice imitation diamonds in the window.”

“Ermengarde, me love!”

“Jack – my precious!”

“My darling!”

“My own!”

“My Gawd!”

My Gawd indeed.

And look at the first paragraph there. Bear in mind that Sweet Ermengarde’s lover’s name is (I kid you not) Jack Manly. So he’s hitting you twice there. Assuming it’s intention.


Sometimes in life there’s a The Hell… ?! moment that leaves to speechless. This, obviously, wasn’t one for me. But it was close. So close.

So very close.


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