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
Music by Tom Constantine
The weirdest of HP Lovecraft's stories is true. By Sara Davies and Abigail Youngman.
Drama from BBC Radio 4