Can't say I was too enamored of this story ether. It does have a few interesting points, however. An obvious antecedent, other than TGGP, is H. Rider Haggard's She
in which [SPOILER ALERT]
the titular character - a very ancient and apparently immortal woman who is basically wisdom, sex appeal and general awesomeness personified - decides to go for some Highlander-esque Ultimate Prize by immersing herself once again in the beam of mystical woo that originally conferred her powers and longevity, which causes an awesomeness overload that leads to a fate like that of the Nazi who drank from the wrong Holy Grail. [END SPOILER]
I've got more to add when I get home but the discussion of class in these old stories, that kicked off with the Machen story, got me thinking. Yes it seems grotesque to modern readers but just to play Nyarlathotep's advocate for a moment, how is it that liberal or left-leaning readers get hacked off with the unexamined depiction of privilege and the class system yet give HPL a free pass every time on his constant, rabid racism? Or, if not give him a free pass exactly, at least just acknowledge that it's bad, make an executive decision to ignore it and then carry on enjoying the other aspects of his writing? Or to put it another way, is anything in Machen's story or Benson's any worse than the usual backing cast(e) of evil mulattoes, degenerate negro cultists and superstitious Catholics that populate virtually every HPL tale?
Edit: just listening to the podcast - haha, if you're in your fourth decade then you're in your thirties, not your forties, C&C.