Jump to content
Pookie

[Radio 4] Talk to Me: HP Lovecraft

Recommended Posts

Pookie

The strangest story of all HP Lovecraft's 'weird tales' isn't fiction at all: it's true. It concerns his marriage to Sonia Greene, a successful businesswoman whose family had fled Ukraine to make a life in the United States.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001137

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Galbraith

I've just listened to it - it's a pretty cool piece of work. I will definitely recommend it to others. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
sasori

Thanks for the link!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moomin

Did anyone (UK Based) Catch this Drama yesterday? I enjoyed it :) it's a unique take on the private life of H.P focusing on his doomed marriage to Sonia Greene. I have included the blurb below and a link to the BBC Radio 4 Web page, enjoy :)

 

Talk to Me: HP Lovecraft

Drama

By Sara Davies and Abigail Youngman.

 

The strangest story of all HP Lovecraft's 'weird tales' isn't fiction at all: it's true. It concerns his marriage to Sonia Greene, a successful businesswoman whose family had fled Ukraine to make a life in the United States.

 

The story is revealed through interviews with Lovecraft and his friends and family by producer Mary Ward-Lowery.

 

Howard Phillips Lovecraft's horror fiction has achieved cult status in recent decades, but was admired only by a small circle of friends in his lifetime. Lovecraft's eminent New England family indulged his genius, his eccentricities and his prejudices. He favoured human contact by letter, rarely left his home, and even then, only at night, delighting to walk streets empty of people. He preferred the company of men and hated foreigners and Jews: the ‘mongrel hordes’ of New York were anathema to him.

 

But his relationship with Sonia Greene transcended these prejudices, for a while at least. She swept Lovecraft up in her enthusiasm for his work and her romantic ideas about the man himself, rationalising his beliefs in pursuit of her own beautiful, idealised creation, a fiction of a husband. To the shock and dismay of his family, they married and moved into Sonia’s New York apartment, where she planned to create him anew, as a glittering literary success. But it seems the horrors that make Lovecraft’s fiction so skin-crawlingly effective were not simply a product of his imagination: they have their origins in a terrible family secret.

Bad blood will out.

 

HP Lovecraft...John MacKay
Sonia Greene...Tracy Wiles
Samuel Loveman...Carl Prekopp
Lilian Clarke...Sarah Parks
Florence Greene...Martha Godber

Music by Tom Constantine
Producer...Mary Ward-Lowery

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001137

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PoC

[Threads merged.]

 

It's getting some good reviews.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GBSteve

It was a bit weird.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Robin
On 07/11/2018 at 17:20, Moomin said:

Talk to Me: HP Lovecraft

Drama

By Sara Davies and Abigail Youngman.

 

Howard Phillips Lovecraft's horror fiction has achieved cult status in recent decades, but was admired only by a small circle of friends in his lifetime. Lovecraft's eminent New England family indulged his genius, his eccentricities and his prejudices. He favoured human contact by letter, rarely left his home, and even then, only at night, delighting to walk streets empty of people. He preferred the company of men and hated foreigners and Jews: the ‘mongrel hordes’ of New York were anathema to him.

 

Can't wait to read Joshi's response to that. (Well, I can wait, but you know what I mean).

 

Regards,

 

Robin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yronimoswhateley

Same here. 

 

I listened to it the other day - it was entertaining, but you're dealing with a Gothic horror drama based on an exaggeration of some outdated or dubious Lovecraft cliches:  the drama's Lovecraft was a complete shut-in, cloudcuckoolander that talked (or mumbled) like his stories' narrators (complete with references to eldritch horrors and quotes from the Necronomicon), innuendo that he was sort of a closeted homosexual who apparently married Sonia only to cover up scandalous shenanigans at the "KLM Club", portrayal of Lovecraft as a sort of mad raving prophet of the KLM cult whose members would follow him around and hang on every weird non-sequitur he utters, his aunts depicted bragging about dressing Lovecraft as a little girl and showing off pictures to prove it and cautioning everyone who might talk to him that he's fragile and maybe dangerous, poor Samuel Loveman got a make-over as a camp '70s sitcom stereotype with a huge crush on Lovecraft and almost suicidal disappointment that Sonia Greene married him first, implications that Lovecraft and his mother caught syphilis from Lovecraft's father....

 

Sonia's role in the play is that of the Gothic heroine (which is fair enough, I think, as in real life she really seems to have put up with a lot of nonsense in that marriage); the aunts play a role roughly equivalent to the creepy old guy in a slasher movie that tells the kids not to go to Camp Hack-n-Slash (or, perhaps, the wise old Chinaman from Gremlins who kept trying to warn everyone that mogwai was not for sale); Howard Lovecraft was the deranged, raving, syphilitic, racist, misogynist, homosexual monster of the story; Samuel Loveman was a sort of comic relief character and also a weird clue that something was wrong with Lovecraft in spite of his followers' insistence that he was simply a misunderstood genius....

 

It all stacks up to perfect material for a Gothic drama full of barely-concealed sleaze to reveal, and shocking Victorian horrors to faint at, but I've a feeling Lovecraft's more serious biographers will have a difficult time resisting the urge to start their responses with a facepalm and a groan....

 

For my part, I enjoyed it alright as entertainment - it was so far over the top, I just stopped trying to object to anything or over-think all the ways it didn't match the impression I've gotten from Lovecraft's various conflicting biographies, and just rolled with the play on its own terms as a Gothic drama.  On those terms, it was mostly fun to listen to, the production was OK, the script serviceable, the acting ranged from pretty unconvincing to fair (one wishes the drama had been better rehearsed, but I think it can be forgiven as being about average for any radio plays I've heard.)

 

I just hope nobody takes this version of the "Lovecraft story" at face value, because I didn't feel like it succeeded as an accurate biography (mileage may vary, I guess, but I'd be surprised to see many Lovecraft biographers disagreeing with me.  This is probably fair enough - I don't think it was intended as an accurate biography....)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sign in to comment.

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×