Thursday, May 21, 2020

Marjorie Bowen Explains Her Pseudonym

In looking through my Marjorie Bowen files for a friend, I turned up a photocopy of a stray piece by Bowen--that I happened upon many years ago--which seems worth sharing. For the February 1926 issue of The Writer, a number of authors were asked to explain their use of one of their pseudonyms--a pseudonym by which they were better-known than by their regular names. The below is Marjorie Bowen's contribution.

It Entirely Depends on the Author—”Marjorie Bowen”

The pseudonym “Marjorie Bowen” was chosen for me, and not by me. I was just six­teen when my first published book was writ­ten, and to please the publisher, as well as to give a definite girlish atmosphere to the advertisement of the work, with my mother’s sanction the name “Marjorie Bowen” was used. The name Bowen is an old family name of my mother’s, her father being Moravian Bishop of Jamaica, and since the first settlement of the Moravian Church in England my ancestors have been connected with it. Per­sonally, I do not like pseudonyms, and would have much preferred to have “Margaret Campbell,” which was my name then, attached to the book. Later “Marjorie Bowen” did not seem to fit, as a goodly number of my works are serious historical novels, but I the fear the name will now always be attached to my work, as, of course, the publishers will have it as a selling asset.

As to the wisdom of using a pseudonym, it entirely depends on the author. If one’s name is pleasing to the ear and easy to say, by no my means use a pseudonym, especially if one’s own name is in keeping with the type of literature the author is giving to the public.

Mrs. Arthur Long

Monday, May 4, 2020

Collecting Robert Aickman, by R.B. Russell

Here's another in Ray Russell's video series about collecting, this time about Robert Aickman.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Discovering Sarban, by R.B. Russell

Here's another fine short (9 minutes 22 seconds) video documentary on "Discovering Sarban" by R.B. Russell.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The complete "Collecting Arthur Machen" series: Parts One through Seven, by R.B. Russell

Click here to watch part one on the original Youtube channel.

Update: part two has now been posted.  Click here.

Update: part three has now been posted.  Click here.

Update: part four has now been posted. Click here.

Update: part five has now been posted.  Click here.

Update: part six has now been posted. Click here.

Update: the final part seven has now been posted.  Click here.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A plagiarism in early Weird Tales

In the March 1925 issue of Weird Tales, which Farnsworth Wright had been editing since the November 1924 issue, there appeared a short three-page story entitled "The House of Fear" bylined as by "Albert Seymour Graham."  Within a few weeks Wright had discovered that the story was a plagiarism, and the same "author" had submitted to him as original work three further plagiarisms, of an early H.G. Wells story, of Fitz-James O'Brien's "What Was It?", and of a section of Sax Rohmer's The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu.  None of the further stories were published, and the name of "Albert Seymour Graham" appears only one other time in a pulp magazine, closely contemporary to the Weird Tales appearance, in a list  of correct respondents to a cypher contest in Flynn's for 17 January 1925.  There Albert Seymour Graham is noted as being from Chicago, Illinois.

The name is unusual enough that I can find in genealogical sources only one Albert Seymour Graham, a young African-American boy who was aged 15 in 1925.  He was born in Manhattan on 10 November 1909, the younger son of Albert M. Graham (born around 1876 in Virginia) and Carrie E. Seymour (born around 1881 in Connecticut).  The older son, Charles, was three years older than his brother. Between the 1910 and 1920 Censuses, the family moved to Chicago, where the father's profession is given in 1920 as "usher, railway station" and in 1930 as "porter, railroad car."  In 1930, the two sons were employed as follows:  Charles, age 23, "mail clerk, railroad company" and Albert, age 20, "elevator operator." In his 1940 registration for the draft for W.W. II, Albert was living in Chicago (5' 4" and weighing 140 pounds), and his wife's name is given as "Eula Handson Graham." A later wife was named "Alma Bernice Strong." Albert Seymour Graham died in Chicago on 15 May 1994. 

And what of his plagiarized short story?  It has some touches of Poe but otherwise (like Farnworth Wright) I don't recognize any direct source. Does anyone?  I have scans of all three pages below (click on the scans to make them larger).

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Gavin Selerie remembers Glen Cavaliero

Gavin Selerie's elegy, "Silent Glabber," in memory of Glen Cavaliero, is now available in issue 16 of the online journal Noon: Journal of the Short PoemThis link should bring it up on page 14. 

Thursday, February 6, 2020

A New Issue of Biblio-Curiosa

Chris Mikul has published a new issue of his wonderful zine Biblio-Curiosa, devoted to unusual writers and strange books. I always enjoy these very much. This issue (#8) has articles on Dulcie Deamer and Gabriele D'Annunzio (including "A Visit to the Vittoriale"--D'Annunzio's ideal home overlooking Lake Garda in northern Italy; D'Annunzio was clearly an inspiration for Robert Aickman's novel Go Back at Once, reviewed here). Each issue of Biblio-Curiosa has numerous illustrations, of people, places, books and dust-wrappers, mostly in color. I show a scan of the cover of the new issue below, along with a listing of the contents. Ordering information can be gotten directly from Chris Mikul at chris.mikul88 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Biblio-Curiosa [#8 (2020)] (Chris Mikul, 44pp, digest s/s)
2 · “The Devil's Saint” by Dulcie Deamer · Chris Mikul · ar [Dulcie Deamer]
12 · The Seductions of Gabriele D'Annunzo · Chris Mikul · ar [Gabriele D'Annunzio]
26 · A Visit to the Vittoriale · Chris Mikul · ar [Gabriele D'Annunzio]
32 · "The Human Bat" and "The Human Bat v the Robot Gangster" by Edward R. Home-Gall · Chris Mikul · ar [Edward R. Home-Gall]
38 · "Malombra" by Antonio Fogazzaro · Chris Mikul · ar [Antonio Fogazzaro]

The contents of the previous issues are listed in the FictionMags Index here.