Horror In The Museum

w h pugmire esq

Well-Known Member
Jan 11, 2009
I linger within ye shadows of Sesqua Valley, dream
I love "The Thing in the Moonlight" and it has certainly inspired a lot of Lovecraftians, including my own tale, "A Vestige of Mirth." The portions by HPL are quite potent. Has anyone read the pornographic novel by Edward Lee, Trolley No. 1852? It was howled about by S. T. and others who have not read it at last year's HPLFF, and thus I felt deliciously rebellious in proclaiming it an excellent and authentic Lovecraftian novel of cosmic horror.

I recently bought a copy of the 1944 Arkham House book, Marginalia, where "Medusa's Coil" was included in ye contents. Lovecraft's original last line, as was restored and first published in the S. T. Joshi text for the 1989 Arkham House edition, is:

"No wonder she owned a link with that old witch-woman Sophonisba--for, though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a negress."

When Derleth originally sold this story to Weird Tales, he changed that last line, perhaps in order to conceal HPL's racism. And yet I find Derleth's version far more insulting to a black woman than Lovecraft's:

"No wonder she owned a link with the old witchwoman Sophonisba--for, though in deceitfully slight proportion, Marceline was a loathsome, bestial thing, and her forebears had come from Africa."

There is a group of critics who like to dismiss Derleth's Lovecraftian writing and dismissively call it "the Derleth Mythos." And yet -- "The Horror in the Museum" has always seemed to me a very Derlethian Mythos tale! I think it's an awful story, and yet I always enjoy re-reading it!

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