En 1971 Sonia Greene envió a August Derleth un curioso y breve ensayo titulado The Psychic Phenomenon of Love (en castellano, El fenómeno físico del amor), que nunca llegó a ser publicado. En él, Greene incluyó fragmentos de una carta que recibió de su futuro esposo en 1922, en la que disertaba en torno a la idea del amor y que Derleth sí llegó a publicar, en un artículo que tituló Lovecraft on Love (Lovecraft enamorado), que apareció en el número 8, del invierno de 1971 de la revista The Arkham Collector, que publicaba su editorial, Arkham House. Una parte de la mencionada carta apareció citada en el ensayo H.P. Lovecraft. Contra el mundo, contra la vida (1991), de Michel Houellebecq, que es la que sigue:
Querida señora Greeen:
El amor recíproco de un hombre y una mujer es una experiencia de la imaginación que consiste en atribuir a su objeto cierta relación singular con la vida estética y emocional de quien lo experimenta, y depende de condiciones particulares que ese objeto ha de cumplir. (...)
La adaptación y su perfecto entendimiento llegan tras largos años de amor alimentado lentamente; los recuerdos, los sueños, los delicados estímulos estéticos y las impresiones cotidianas de una belleza de encueño se convierten en modificaciones permanentes gracias a la influencia que cada uno ejerce sobre el otro (...)
Hay una considerable diferencia entre los sentimientos de la juventud y los de la madurez. Hacia los cuarenta años, o tal vez los cincuenta, empieza a operarse un cambio completo; el amor alcanza una profundidad tranquila y serena fundada en una afectuosa asociación, junto a la cual el entusiasmo erótico de la juventud cobra un cierto aspecto de mediocridad y envilecimiento.
La juventud conlleva estímulos erógenos e imaginarios vinculados a los fenómenos táctiles de los cuerpos esbeltos en actitudes virginales y a la memoria visual de las formas estéticas clásicas, que simbolizan una especie de frescor y de inmadurez primaveral muy hermosas, pero que nada tienen que ver con el amor conyugal.
Aquí tenéis la carta casi completa que aparecía en el mencionado artículo de Derleth, en inglés:
Dear Mrs. Greene, [...]
The mutual love of man and woman for one another is an imaginative experience that consists of having its object bear a certain special relation to the aesthetic-emotional life of its possessor, and depends upon the fulfillment of certain aesthetic conditions by the object.
Love is generally linked with subsidiary conditions such as pride, admiration, eroticism, intellectual congeniality, etc., and in practice it may be taken for granted that all other things being equal, the possessor generally prefers to have the object close at hand, although a purely ethereal and imaginative force such as real love is sometimes independent of time, space or corporeal existence. True love thrives equally well in presence or in absence, proving that the force is an exalted and imaginative one, and directed toward the most permanent spiritual and aesthetically responsive part of the personality. It need not disavow a parallel erotic appreciation but it inwardly eclipses and transcends it.
Such love primarily presupposes a profound and sincere mutual attachment, possibly born of close propinquity, or sometimes taking fire instantaneously at the first meeting. When born and nurtured of slower time, its development embraces a sense of peace, tranquility, repose, confidence, security, protection, permanence, spiritual solace as well as physical proximity, assurance of permanent welcome home, and understanding, physical, mental, cultural and traditional harmony and a tacit assurance of effort exerted toward and for the well-being of the beloved.
Time, moreover, brings with it a powerful array of glamorous memories and tender associations. During a normal lifetime there are several stages of love: there is the love of Spingtime youth, of mature middle age, and that ripe, mellow love of the elder years. Each stage in progress has its specific kind and quality of love, some element of which may be found in all three stages and other stages developing or becoming modified with time.
With long years of slowly nurtured love comes adaptation and perfect adjustment; memories, dream-pictures, delicate, aesthetic stimuli and usual impressions of dream-beauty become permanent modifications through the influence of which each tacitly exercises upon the other. A familiar melody, a scene, an impression reaching down into the consciousness and memory of one or both when both live in the same mental and spiritual world; both harboring conceptions of life sufficiently similar to enable the two to share an existence in common, seeing the same thing when looking at the same object; each considering the life of the other as a natural and inevitable kind of life to live, so that it is not too abstract and visionary to have any significance for the tastes and temperaments and aspirations of the other.
It is important that each knows what the other is. Is life to one a series of delicate, illusive and fantastic adventure-visions beckoning the spirit to untrodden paradises and unattainable feats of creative arts, while to the other, life is something quite material, to be tolerated somehow while immersed in the plodding effort of commonplace living, thinking, feeling, and doing? thus, brutelike debasing life, though, sensibility and action instead of exalting and being exalted by them?
Does the quality of affection as manifested by the one, bear sufficient kinship to the quality of affection envisaged by the other, to form an adequate basis for mutual sentimental life?
One may think and love in dream-pictures of beauty and mystery; how nearly does such thinking and loving coincide with the normal thinking and loving as the other reckons such things? These, I believe, to be real points of love, and not such absurdly imaginative attraction as makes of love merely lust, and of the loved one an object of its expression and gratification.
There are so many separate branches of thought, mood and feeling in which each must be able to summon up a very strong and genuine quota of affection. There is the purely aesthetic, the domestic, the whimsical, and humourous, the childish and diminutive, and even the historic and geographic. Each must try to understand the sphere of the other, and these spheres themselves must not be too antipodal in their values, motive-forces, perspectives, and modes of expression and fulfillment to evoke an adequate appreciation of their purport. Yet each must frankly recognize the essential fixed limitations of the other and serenely abide by them. Nor must there be extravagant theoretical ideals of perfection which are impossible in view of probable basic differences which cannot be eradicated.
Very often ostentatious passion belonging to the exquisiteness of a few early years is erroneously regard as love and is essentially incompatible with maturity.
There is a universal difference between the romances of youth and maturity. By forty or perhaps fifty a wholesome replacement process begins to operate, and love attains calm, cool depths based on tender association beside which the erotic infatuation of youth takes on a certain shade of cheapness and degradation. mature tranquilized love produces an indyllic fidelity which is a testimonial to its sincerity, purity and intensity. At forty or fifty the more mental and deeply seated affected is a far more appropriate subject for sentimental interest and rhetorical celebration than in the undisguised animalism of youth.
Eros calls up visions of Springtime bowers and virginal delicacy. Hyman, of cheerful hearths, long shared dreams and little, familiar ways that time has made sweet and sacred; delicate ways and images of beauty and tenderness are built up through the many years of joint living and close companionship, creating an ineffable kindness and unflagging devotion such as hot and impetuous youth can never achieve.
Youth brings with it certain erogenous and imaginative stimuli bound up in the tactile phenomena of slender, virginally-postured bodies and visual imagery of classical aesthetic contours symbolizing a kind of freshness and Springtime immaturity which is very beautiful but which has nothing to do with domestic love.
No conservative man or woman expects such extraordinary physical exaltation except for a brief period in extreme youth; and any high grade person can soon transfer his or her psychic needs to other fields when middle age approaches; other forms of stimulation mean much more than sex-expression to such persons, so that they hardly give it more than a cursory thought. mature men and women might regard youthful beauty as an exquisite statue or carving, to be admired but not necessarily desired, while more mature or elderly persons would be regarded simply like themselves, interesting or otherwise, to be liked and admired or conversely - according to their personalities and sociability.
Love in extreme youth is more a matter of physiology, than psychology and wholly independent of the mature middle age. Since in most cases of youth, love has been imperfect or unsatisfactory, in later life there comes a wholesome craving for another chance to find true love which maturity alone seems capable of fashioning and keeping unimpaired without expecting to thrill with the physical exaltation which is the rightful heritage of Springtime youth only.