|Genre(s)||Parody short story|
|Published in||Arkham House|
"Sweet Ermengarde" is a short comic story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft under the pseuodym "Percy Simple". It was probably written between 1919 and 1921; Lovecraft scholars state it is "the only work of fiction by HPL that cannot be dated with precision." It was first published in the Arkham House collection Beyond the Wall of Sleep (1943).
The story is a parody of romantic melodrama, centering on Ermengarde Stubbs and her relationships with villainous mortgage-holder 'Squire Hardman, would-be rescuer Jack Manly and fiance Algernon Reginald Jones. Daniel Harms calls it "a take-off on the Horatio Alger 'rags-to-riches' genre". An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia suggests that a more precise target for Lovecraft's satire was writer Fred Jackson, whose novels often "have exactly the sort of implausibility of plot and sentimentality of action that is parodied in 'Sweet Ermengarde'."
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An H. P. Lovecraft Encyclopedia describes the story (with A Reminiscence of Dr. Samuel Johnson and Ibid (short story) as one of a trilogy of Lovecraft's "comic gems". Harms describes it as "actually quite funny at places."