Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Gruesome Cargoes: Horror fiction 1925-1937
Thanks to the internet, we can now share what we have managed to preserve of the unique art that adorned the dust wrappers of the 1920's - 1930's horror and supernatural books. In most cases these covers are but rarely seen, as dust wrappers from that period, gracing books that were not even considered decent literature or collectible, are much rarer than one would think.
There are some excellent sites doing their best in preserving, documenting and generously sharing the art of these dust wrappers. There is, for instance, the section on rare books on Robert Weinberg's site with a choice selection, there is the excellent supernatural fiction database of Tartarus Press, and there is the art gallery on Jessica Amanda Salmonson's website Violet Books.
Today I stumbled upon the blog Grueseome Cargoes that is an absolute must if like me, you want to actually see what those covers look like and immerse yourself in that unique flavour of that particular era (yes, I like to watch the Hercule Poirot tv adaptations as they so graceously permit me to savour something of the style and social conventions of that pre-world war II period). And since in my case many books that I have collected over the years lack these spellbinding dust wrappers, it is a feast for the eyes and quite an aha-erlebnis.
Gruesome Cargoes is meant, as its mission statement reads, and I quote, to be a "celebration of Christine Campbell Thomson’s Not At Night Anthologies (1925 – 1936)... Gruesome Cargoes is also a celebration of Charles Lloyd Birkin’s Creeps series (1932 -1936)... similar obsessions to the above but with added unhealthy cannibalism and leprosy fixations."
Recommended! Now we can only dream of the day where we can actually buy or print, through the net, these covers in full colour high resolutions, to restore those books that we have that lack their jackets. It is already common practice, so let's hope that some enterprising collector starts such an undertaking one of these days... or should I say, nights?