Saturday, August 20, 2011
Today may be the anniversary of H.P. Lovecraft's birth, but the gent writer from Providence is the one who keeps on giving. Thanks to a broadening fan base and easy access over the web, several previously rare photographs have surfaced. The Tentaclii blog deserves credit for sharing the first two images.
A weathered looking H.P. Lovecraft stands next to Maurice Winter Moe, a fellow poet, in this little known picture from 1936. Perhaps it's a mere camera trick, but HPL looks exceptionally gaunt and upright in this pose. Since it was taken just a year before his death, one wonders if the ultimately fatal intestinal distress wasn't already playing on Lovecraft's health. However, this seems a little early, before serious symptoms began to rage, according to sources like S.T. Joshi's exhaustive biography, I am Providence: The Life and Times of H.P. Lovecraft.
Meanwhile, a dated photo of New York City's Double-R Coffeehouse appears. In the 1920s, this cafe was a sanctuary for H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. He's not present in this snapshot, but it gives a good indication of this hangout's environment during its heyday. Given his miserable time in the Big Apple, it must have constituted a rare escape from the frightful phobias and disappointing modernity that plagued Lovecraft at every turn. At one point, he penned a poem to it, "On the Double-R Coffeehouse."
Finally, an unknown photo of a true rarity: Lovecraft without a suit and tie on. This jacketed outfit proves beyond any doubt that the Providence author was capable of expanding his wardrobe and mixing it up, whenever the occasion was right. Only odd instances frozen in time, like his visit to see Robert H. Barlow, captured HPL without his coveted formal wear, as I noted in another post about rare Lovecraft photos. It's always interesting to see the human side of this man, even if it raises the risk of detracting from the mystique.