Rediscovered: ERB in the Papers, Too

The noted book and pulp collector Kevin Cook sent in some additional thoughts and info on the idea of writers such as Hammett getting a ton of newspaper action with reprints — lots of reprints — from their backlog. Kevin approaches the subject via Tarzan scribe Edgar Rice Burroughs.    

“With the newspaper reprints the most interesting things the Burroughs fans found was additionally unknown illustrations by major artists like J. Allen St. John — the same may happen as enough different Hammett newspaper reprints are discovered, although illustrations for Hammett have never been a major focus for his collectors.

“Plus” Kevin continues, “some textual differences. 

“For instance, additional text for Burroughs’ Beyond Thirty was found in newspaper printings that was not included in the All Around Magazine printing — and the newspapers were provided with their text from Burroughs’ manuscript rather than magazine tear sheets.

“Therefore, the missing text was written by ERB and edited out by Street and Smith editor A.L. Searles.

“The most important point is what you noted about more people reading Hammett in newspapers than the pulps, and the same was undoubtedly true for ERB as well.” 

It may well be that the entire perception of the history of pulp fiction — or at least some of the major writers to emerge from the pulps — must be redone, taking all these newspaper appearances into the account.

Too bad figures such as H. P. Lovecraft or Robert E. Howard never got in on the newsprint. But newsprint could be a deciding factor alongside book publication that made some of the pulpsters famous more quickly.

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