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The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror

Studies in Supernatural Literature: Book 8

Justin Everett
Jeffrey Shanks

When the pulp magazine Weird Tales appeared on newsstands in 1923, it proved to be a pivotal moment in the evolution of speculative fiction. Living up to its nickname, "The Unique Magazine," Weird Tales provided the first real venue for authors writing in the nascent genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. Weird fiction pioneers such as H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, Catherine L. Moore, and many others honed their craft in the pages of Weird Tales in the 1920s and 1930s, and their work had a tremendous influence on later generations of genre authors.

In The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales: The Evolution of Modern Fantasy and Horror, Justin Everett and Jeffrey Shanks have assembled an impressive collection of essays that explore many of the themes critical to understanding the importance of the magazine. This multi-disciplinary collection from a wide array of scholars looks at how Weird Tales served as a locus of genre formation and literary discourse community. There are also chapters devoted to individual authors--including Lovecraft, Howard, and Bloch--and their particular contributions to the magazine.

As the literary world was undergoing a revolution and mass-produced media began to dwarf high-brow literature in social significance, Weird Tales managed to straddle both worlds. This collection of essays explores the important role the magazine played in expanding the literary landscape at a very particular time and place in American culture. The Unique Legacy of Weird Tales will appeal to scholars and aficionados of fantasy, horror, and weird fiction and those interested in the early roots of these popular genres.

Table of Contents:

  • ix - Introduction: Weird Tales -- Discourse Community and Genre Nexus - essay by Jeffrey Shanks and Justin Everett [as by Justin Everett and Jeffrey H. Shanks]
  • 3 - "Something That Swayed as If in Unison": The Artistic Authenticity of Weird Tales in the Interwar Periodical Culture of Modernism - essay by Jason Ray Carney
  • 15 - Weird Modernism: Literary Modernism in the First Decade of Weird Tales - essay by Jonas Prida
  • 29 - The Lovecraft Circle and the "Weird Class": "Against the Complacency of an Orthodox Sun-Dweller" - essay by Dániel Nyikos
  • 51 - Strange Collaborations: Weird Tales's Discourse Community as a Site of Collaborative Writing - essay by Nicole Emmelhainz
  • 63 - Gothic to Cosmic: Sword-and-Sorcery Fiction in Weird Tales - essay by Morgan Holmes [as by Morgan T. Holmes]
  • 83 - A Nameless Horror: Madness and Metamorphosis in H. P. Lovecraft and Postmodernism - essay by Clancy Smith
  • 105 - Great Phallic Monoliths: Lovecraft and Sexuality - essay by Bobby Derie
  • 119 - Evolutionary Otherness: Anthropological Anxiety in Robert E. Howard's "Worms of the Earth" - essay by Jeffrey Shanks [as by Jeffrey H. Shanks]
  • 131 - Eugenic Thought in the Works of Robert E. Howard - essay by Justin Everett
  • 153 - Pegasus Unbridled: Clark Ashton Smith and the Ghettoization of the Fantastic - essay by Scott Connors
  • 173 - "A Round Cipher": Word-Building and World-Building in the Weird Works of Clark Ashton Smith - essay by Geoffrey Reiter
  • 187 - C. L. Moore, M. Brundage, and Jirel of Joiry: Women and Gender in the October 1934 Weird Tales - essay by Jonathan Helland
  • 193 - Weird Tales, October 1934 (cover) - (1934) - interior artwork by Margaret Brundage (variant of cover art for Weird Tales, October 1934)
  • 194 - The Black God's Kiss - (1934) - interior artwork by H. R. Hammond
  • 201 - Psycho-ology 101: Incipient Madness in the Weird Tales of Robert Bloch - essay by Paul W. Shovlin
  • 211 - "To Hell and Gone": Harold Lawlor's Self-Effacing Pulp Metafiction - essay by Sidney Sondergard