Monday, 10 September 2012

Robert E. Howard
When Robert E. Howard
got a rejection letter

While Farnsworth Wright was a veteran of World War I and a music critic for the Chicago Herald and Examiner, he was best-known as the firebrand editor of the pulp magazine Weird Tales, a man who often thrust rejection slips into the hands of famous writers and showed them the door. 

Wright regularly published sf, fantasy and horror stories by Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith in Weird Tales. However, he had a difficult relationship with the three authors, as this article tells you. It says, "Wright had a strained relationship with all three writers, rejecting major works by them, such as Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Over Innsmouth, Howard's The Frost Giant's Daughter, and Smith's The Seven Geases (which Wright dismissed as just 'one geas after another')." He also published most of their stories that made them famous.


Here's what Farnsworth Wright thought of Robert E. Howard's story The Frost-Giant's Daughter (1932), an early short story about Conan the Cimmerian which, I believe, was not published in Howard's lifetime. It was published in The Coming of Conan in 1953, seventeen years after he passed away.

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8 comments:

  1. I could handle some rejections like that. :)

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    1. Charles, for a moment I was trying to figure out the rejection.

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  2. Ouch! Well, I gues we've all been there - Lovecraft and Howard of course died quite young so this can't have helped much!

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    1. Sergio, I have a feeling writers back then took rejection letters in their stride. Given that both Lovecraft and Howard died young, their collective body of work is impressive.

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  3. Wright also consistently rejected the sword and sorcery stories of Fritz Leiber, despite that even as a beginner Leiber was a better writer than Lovecraft or Howard, and would soon become a better one than Smith. There are not a few of us who like his successor Dorothy McIlwraith's WEIRD TALES considerably better, for a variety of reasons...

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    1. Todd, now there's a few things I didn't know. I admit I haven't read Fritz Leiber yet and look forward to catching up with him soon.

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