Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's gloomy and ashen and crimson all over?

I spend a lot of time in the past. Ironically, I've got no taste for nostalgia, which is an easy distinction to make when you think of history as this living, monstrous thing. The past is only ever as distant as it wants to be and will bite you in the ass the moment you begin to take its appetites for granted. In the immortal words of Henry David Thoreau: "History shows again and again/how nature points out the folly of man/Go-go Godzilla."

April 2, 1924
During the course of my archival spelunking, I found an interesting classified ad purchased in 1924 by one H.P. Lovecraft (above). The writer lived briefly in Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1924 to 1926, first at Parkside Avenue before moving to Flatbush Avenue.

Lovecraft was married to Sonia Greene at the time, a marriage that technically lasted longer than anyone might have guessed. Lovecraft and Greene agreed to a divorce around 1926, but it was later discovered that H.P. never got around to filing the necessary papers to legally end their marriage. Oops.

While at the Parkside Avenue residence Lovecraft put up for sale ... well, just about everything save for the clothes on his back. Lovecraft might have sold these items more quickly had he added a bit of Lovecraftian flourish to the text, possibly referring to the Corot print as an "eldritch beauty" or something equally anachronistic. Is that joke tired yet? It feels tired.

The classified ad at the top of this post was published April 20, 1924, in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Below is a screenshot from Google Maps showing Lovecraft's Parkside Avenue address as it looks today-ish.

Source: Monster Serial

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