Thursday, August 30, 2012

Another Peter Haining Fraud



The prolific anthologist Peter Haining (1940-2007) is known not only to have cut corners in filling up his anthologies, but to have gone so far as to make up references and fabricate texts.  Both of these serious problems are especially visible in his collections of Bram Stoker materials, where he has given deliberately false citations as well as having significantly re-written some of the texts he has supposedly reproduced. I’ve written elsewhere of a few other instances of his outrageous frauds (for one, where he lifted one author’s story from an early Weird Tales and claimed it was by Dorothy Macardle and from an Irish magazine, see here).  

Now I’ve happened upon yet another example of Haining’s premeditated deceit. I’ve recently been looking closely into the writings of Guy Endore (1900-1970), author of The Werewolf of Paris (1933).  In Haining’s anthology Werewolf: Horror Stories of the Man-Beast (London: Severn House, 1987) there is a story “The Wolf Girl” bylined “Guy Endore”.  Haining notes:

“The werewolf theme had evidently fascinated Endore for some years for, when barely out of his teens, he wrote the story, “The Wolf Girl”, which is included in this book.  It was originally published in The Argosy magazine in December 1920 and, despite its stylistic failings, is interesting in that it is based on an Alaskan legend, as well as demonstrating an early stage of Endore’s exploration of the narrow dividing lines between horror and sexual attraction.”
All of which sounds well and good.  But it doesn’t bear scrutiny.  No story of such title appeared in any of the December 1920 issues of The Argosy (nor in any of the surrounding years), nor did Endore’s byline appear at all in The Argosy, as can be confirmed in Fred Cook’s The Argosy Index 1896-1943. In any case, Guy Endore’s earliest known works all appeared as by “S. Guy Endore”, the first initial standing for Samuel.  This byline appeared on several novels he translated—including Alraune (1929), by Hanns Heinz Ewers—beginning in 1928.  Endore’s first known short stories published in periodicals appeared in 1929. He stopped using the initial around 1930.


The story “The Wolf Girl” also poses questions. First, it reads nothing like Endore’s much more polished and literary style.  Second, it is basically a pulp-styled retelling of a portion of Clemence Housman’s “The Were-Wolf”, first published in 1890, with the setting superficially shifted to Alaska (though there is nothing about “The Wolf Girl” that makes it characteristically Alaskan). It is possible that Haining found "The Wolf Girl" in some obscure magazine, and thought no one would contest his claim of source and author. It is also possible that Haining himself adapted the Housman story into this inferior filler, which he then passed off as by Guy Endore (whose name might help to sell a few more copies of Haining’s anthology).  A few things are, I think, certain, and one is that the story did not appear where Haining said it did. Another is subjective but (I think) no less certain: Guy Endore didn’t write “The Wolf Girl”.  Finally, it has become increasingly apparent that you can’t trust Peter Haining on anything. 

10 comments:

  1. Good investigating. Haining is waning in my estimation.

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  2. It all makes you wonder how much of this has been going on for years. How many frauds and sloppy research have been published in other anthologies?

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    1. In my experience most anthologists are fair and honest, and some are exemplary (e.g., Mike Ashley and Richard Dalby). Haining is the odd one out, in many ways.

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    2. I know only too well how easy it is to make mistakes when putting together anthologies of older stories. In my book 'The Supernatural Solution', I carelessly mis-titled the Manly Wade Wellman contribution by relying on my fallible memory instead of double-checking my sources! As for Peter Haining, I think he sometimes may have been misled by 'over-zealous' literary agents keen to place stories (especially of obscure provenance) with him. When I read his 1980 collection,'The Gaston Leroux Bedside Companion', I had a nagging feeling that I had read one of the stories, 'The Waxwork Museum', somewhere else as by another author. Eventually I realised I was thinking of a French play, 'Figures de Cire', by Andre de Lorde and Georges Montignac, the text of which I had read in the British Library. Intrigued, I did further research and found that Andre de Lorde had turned his play into a short story wth the same title. Comparing the French text of that story with the 'Gaston Leroux translation' which appeared in Haining's book, I was able to establish that they were indeed the exact same story. The book's copyright page credits B.P. Singer Features Inc (a syndication agency supplying 'fillers' to newspapers and magazines) for permission to reprint the translation by one Alexander Peters. It is entirely possible that Haining may have been convinced by the agency that he was buying bona-fide translations of Leroux stories. The president of B.P. Singer was, incidentally, Kurt Singer, himself the editor of many horror anthologies.

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    3. > It is entirely possible that Haining may have been convinced by the agency that he was buying bona-fide translations of Leroux stories.

      As you say, it is _possible_ but owing to the frequency of this kind of fraud in Haining's oeuvre, I'd suspect him first. I don't have the _Gaston Leroux Bedside Companion_ (1980), but I do have the Haining-edited _The Real Opera Ghost and Other Tales_ by Gaston Leroux (Sutton, 1994), which I suspect is close to the 1980 volume, though the 1994 one gives no hint there was ever a previous book. Its Acknowledgements page notes: "Both 'The Waxwork Museum' and 'The Real Opera Ghost' have been newly translated by Alexander Peters for _Fantasy Book_ (1969) and reprinted by permission of B.P. Singer Features Inc." Typically, Haining does not give any original French source, and the "Alexander Peters" is apparently one of his own pseudonyms (his full name was Peter Alexander Haining). And for that matter, I can't find anything titled _Fantasy Book_ that was published in 1969. There were two US magazines of the time, one from the 1940s and the other from the 1980s, but they are not relevant here. And Haining's acknowledgements often contain fiction, so even though he credited B.P. Singer Features, that may just have been decoration for effect. Thus red flags are omnipresent on this one. It bears more research, but I'm pleased to know that you have identified the earlier source of the tale.

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    4. A little further digging shows that the "Alexander Peters" translation is lifted word-for-word from the appearance under the title "Waxworks" in the 1933 Creeps volume, _Terrors_, where it is correctly attributed to Andre de Lorde.

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    5. Well, if, as appears to be the case, PH mis-attributed an Andre de Lorde story to the better-known Gaston Leroux, while giving credit for someone else's translation to one of his own pseudonyms, that does seem inexcusable. This revelation made me wonder about the authenticity of another of the stories in Haining's Leroux collection: 'The Woman in the Velvet Collar.' What roused my suspicions is that there are at least two similarly-titled stories that I know of - one by Washington Irving, the other by Alexandre Dumas - and all three stories share the same basic plot. However, after locating the original French text of the alleged Leroux story, I'm glad to confirm that it is indeed a genuine Gaston Leroux story, originally published in the magazine, 'Le Cyrano' in 1924.

      I haven't yet been able to locate my copy of Haining's 'The Real Opera Ghost and Other Tales' (Sutton, 1994), but, relying once again on my fallible memory, I'm 99% sure that the contents are the same as in the 'Gaston Leroux Bedside Companion' (Gollancz, 1980.) What I find particularly odd is that in this volume, PH extends his thanks to four collectors/bookdealers (including Ken Chapman and Bill Lofts) for their "help...and information." He must have been aware that any of these four gentlemen might have been able to spot his deception and point it out. I find this whole thing baffling and really quite sad.

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    6. Using a library catalog description of the contents of _Gaston Leroux's Bedside Companion_ it seems that Haining expanded it in 1994 by adding the short novel (86 pp.) _The Haunted Chair_ which he claims is the text from its serialization in Weird Tales in December 1931-February 1932. At a glance this appears to be the case, but as the text was also published in hardcover by Dutton in 1931, an edition I don't have, I can't check if the text is identical there.

      I also wondered about the text of "The Real Opera Ghost" since Haining claims it to be a new translation by "Alexander Peters", but the text is lifted word for word from the prologue to _The Phantom of the Opera_ from English language editions of the 1920s era, which I consulted, minus a few ending paragraphs which are simply dropped. I don't know whether the prologue appeared in French editions, but the translation Haining reprinted is simply not new.

      > I find this whole thing baffling and really quite sad.

      That's precisely true. Why did he do these things? The Stoker examples are particularly egregious. In _Midnight Tales_ he claimed the story "A Criminal Star" "was first published in America in Collier's Magazine in October 1904" (p. 144) which is simply not true. I've paged through Collier's from 1903-1909, and nothing by Stoker appears in there. What Haining did was to take the text from _Snowbound_ (published in London by Collier's in 1908), and _edit and rewrite it_. Also in _Midnight Tales_ he printed some anecdotes as the “Midnight Tales” which he lifted out of Stoker's nonfictional biography of Henry Irving and expanded. Again in _Midnight Tales_ he printed a story which he called "The Dream in the Dead House" which is actually a rewritten version of "Dracula's Guest". Haining bizarrely claims that this is "restored just as Stoker has intended it to appear in his novel"--which is simply not true. Curiously, Haining adds a frontispiece to the collection labelled "The Dream in the Dead House". It was drawn by Warwick Reynolds, but below his signature, you can faintly read the date "1912" which was incompletely erased before reproduction. So here Haining is presenting an illustration lifted out of a 1912 magazine as an illustration to a story that was not published until 1914. Haining pulled a similar stunt with this story in his earlier collection of Stoker _Shades of Dracula_ (1982). In this volume "Dracula's Guest" is retitled "Walpurgis Night" and Haining states on page 110 that it was published in "The Story Teller Magazine of May 1914". This is not true--no Stoker story appears there.

      Also in _Shades of Dracula_ is a story called “In the Valley of the Shadow”, which actually appeared in The Grand Magazine, June 1907, as Haining stated, but it appeared anonymously, and there is no reason whatsoever to connect it with or attribute it to Stoker. There are further problems with Haining’s statements and sources as given in both _Shades of Dracula_ and _Midnight Tales_, but from the above you get a good idea of what he was doing. And the closer you look at Haining’s other anthologies, you see these patterns all too frequently.

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  3. Maddening. I wish there were a master list somewhere for keeping track of Haining's nonsense. Such a shame. FYI Michael Dirda reviewed a new edition of THE WEREWOLF OF PARIS in the Washington Post recently, probably accessible on-line.

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  4. This is all very depressing - since Haining was the person asked by Souvenir Press(with whom he had a close association) to read my first manuscript ('Ghost Train') which he subsequently recommended for publication.

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