Books and Stories and Poems That Influenced H P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard

  1. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    I was initially going to make it about Lovecraft only . But I thought , why not all three? Since the three of them were tied to gather by a distant/close friendship of correspondence . What writers and their, books and stories , poems , influenced them, made them who they are ? And how do you think their interactions with each other effect each of them and their writings?
     
    Jul 29, 2015
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  2. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    Hoo, boy.... You have opened up one heck of a HUGE subject here, and it would take volumes to answer the question. You want to know about which ones influenced HPL? Try reading an anthology titled Lovecraft and Influence, edited by Robert H. Waugh, for starters. (Yours truly has a piece in there about the influence of the Augustans on Grandpa Theobald.) Here's a link for more information:

    http://www.hplovecraft.com/study/litcrit/lihps.aspx

    Then look up a copy of Lovecraft's Library: A Catalogue, or any number of issues of Crypt of Cthulhu, Lovecraft Studies, or the Lovecraft Annual. The man was extremely widely read, and was influenced by a staggering number of people in one way or another. (For example, not only was he influenced by Ovid, particularly The Metamorphoses, which he read in the original and, in fact, translated at least a portion of, but also by that "wonderful literary mosaic" set of translations known as Garth's Ovid. There are traces of this piece in a number of his stories, including "The Dunwich Horror".) And that doesn't even touch on those in the weird field which influenced him....

    Smith? He was also an astoundingly widely-read man, having read encyclopedias and dictionaries from cover to cover, as well as most of the major and no few minor poets and novelists of both the classical tradition and contemporaries. Some of his major influences would be George Sterling, Charles Pierre Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe, H. P. Lovecraft, T. E. Lawrence, Omar Khayyam, Ambrose Bierce, and Nora May French.

    And, like the two above, Howard was also widely read, at least as much so as his placement would permit. He read just about everything which he could lay his hands on, even (according to some sources) breaking into the schools during summer break to get books to read. His influences? Again, a wide range, particularly when it comes to history and poetry (the influence of the old sagas and eddas, for instance, would seem undeniable). And in fiction? Jack London, Talbot Mundy, H. Rider Haggard, and Harold Lamb come immediately to mind, as does Robert W. Chambers for his tales of the Native Americans of the Northeast. And, again, Poe also formed a notable influence.

    Seriously this is a very good question, but it is also one which could engage one in a lifetime of research, particularly if you wish to get beyond the smack-you-in-the-face-obvious answers such as Poe, Dunsany, etc.

    If you'd be interested in taking a look at some of the things which influenced Lovecraft, you might start by looking up a ten-volume set edited by Julian Hawthorne (son of Nathaniel), The Lock and Key Library. Most of this is available online, and in fact copies of the original printing can be had for surprisingly reasonable prices. (Some years ago I bought an entire set in near-mint condition for about $70.00.)
     
    Jul 30, 2015
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  3. lynnfredricks

    lynnfredricks Well-Known Member

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    I see that there's mention of translations he did, but I haven't seen them posted anywhere online. Do you have any links to them? Im curious as to what artistic license he took with them (if any).
     
    Jul 30, 2015
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  4. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    J. D. has engaged for many years with Lovecraft's reading. I've focused on C. S. Lewis's reading.*

    Lewis writes infectiously all his life about his enjoyment of reading. I've written about, I suppose, over 50 books that Lewis commented on or, at least, that were in his library as catalogued a few years after his death. Some of the books may have come from his wife's collection -- although she didn't write sf or fantasy herself, she hung out with people who did (such as Fletcher Pratt).

    Here's something, from a piece on de Camp and Pratt's Land of Unreason, on how Lewis's library overlapped so much with the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series that Lin Carter started editing a few years after Lewis died (1963):


    Land of Unreason is one of a bunch of books Lewis owned that were to be reprinted in 1969-1974, when Tolkien's American paperback publisher, Ballantine, cast about for additional material for the fantasy market. Lewis's library and the approximately 60 titles of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, edited by Lin Carter, both include William Beckford's Vathek, five James Branch Cabell books,* Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, F. Marion Crawford's Khaled, Roger Lancelyn Green's From the World's End (the Ballantine edition was called Double Phoenix and included a work by another author), Rider Haggard and Andrew Lang's The World's Desire, Haggard's The People of the Mist, William Hope Hodgson's The Night Land (two volumes as printed in the Ballantine series), George MacDonald's Phantastes and Lilith (also some shorter MacDonald fantasies, gathered by Lin Carter for a book called Evenor), George Meredith's The Shaving of Shagpat, Hope Mirrlees' Lud-in-the-Mist, and William Morris's The Water of the Wondrous Isles and The Wood Beyond the World. (Interestingly, Morris's The Well at the World's End, praised by Lewis, was not in the 1969 catalogue of his library. Perhaps he owned a copy that was later acquired by someone as a keepsake. The Well was reprinted by Ballantine in two volumes.) Also, the Lewis library included eleven titles by Lord Dunsany, an author mined for six Adult Fantasy releases. Richard Hodgens, a member of the New York C. S. Lewis Society, translated a portion of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (“Vol. 1: The Ring of Angelica”), the whole of which Lewis read in the original Italian. The Lewis book collection also included fantasy by Mervyn Peake, E. R. Eddison, and David Lindsay that Ballantine reprinted just before the launching of the Adult Fantasy series proper. Lin Carter would have been impressed by Lewis’s collection. Most of the material reprinted in Carter's series that Lewis did not own belonged to the American Weird Tales magazine tradition (e.g. four volumes of stories by Clark Ashton Smith) or had never been published before (e.g. Sanders Anne Laubenthal's somewhat Charles Williams-y Excalibur or Joy Chant's somewhat Lewisian-Tolkienian Red Moon and Black Mountain).

    The Lewis library catalogue lists two other books by the co-author of Land of Unreason. The Well of the Unicorn (1948) is listed as by G[eorge]. U. Fletcher - - the pseudonym used for this book by Fletcher Pratt. Pratt's World of Wonder (1951) is an anthology. Such gatherings of science fiction and fantasy stories were then uncommon publishers’ fare, although the Lewis library included two of the earliest ones, Strange Ports of Call (1948), edited by August Derleth, and Donald A. Wollheim’s Pocket Book of Science Fiction (1943).

    .......I realize this thread is for discussion of HPL, CAS, REH, but I thought this would be a worthwhile tangent.

    *I wish we knew more about J. R. R. Tolkien's avocational reading. We have only one book of his letters (it is a superb book); perhaps if we had a more complete collection of his letters, we would find some intriguing book talk. However he doesn't seem to have written a lot of book chat, unlike his friend Lewis. Still, there are interesting discoveries to be made as regards JRRT. For example, from the critical edition of his extremely important treatise On Fairy-Stories, I learned that Tolkien had read M. R. James's Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. It is possible that he was influenced in the creation of Gollum by a McBryde illustration for James's "Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book."

    https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/548478/
     
    Jul 30, 2015
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  5. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Here's something that needs to be remembered -- we fans and scholars are likely to overlook old anthologies and even school text books. These are books that most libraries, understandably, weed from their collections eventually; the books aren't used by patrons, and the books aren't obvious ones to keep as works of classic authors. But such forgotten books may have been treasure chests for some authors who did not have access to big collections of Haggard, Wells, Dunsany, MacDonald, and others. I'll give you an example. A few years ago I noticed that my university library had discarded a collection with examples of fantastic poetry. The Blue Poetry Book, edited by Andrew Lang, probably around 1900. It was copiously illustrated by Lancelot Speed and others, as I recall. Now this book could have been epochal for someone like Howard, living without easy daily access to libraries with strong collections of the literature of the fantastic -- and not just for the text but for the art. But unless he were to mention it in a letter, how would we know about his reading in it -- how would we even know, perhaps, that the book existed?

    I wouldn't be surprised if such books were sometimes important for our favorite authors, but we will never be able to trace those books. Most libraries will have discarded their copies, and it's not feasible for fans/scholars to go through the stacks in some research library that keeps "everything," combing the books for "finds."

    Not to end on a grim note -- one author whose work shouldn't be overlooked by people interested in influence on fantasists is Walter de la Mare, not just his own poetry and stories, but his anthologies, which actually have a decent chance of remaining on some library shelves. The man was deeply read in the kind of literature likely to appeal to the more poetic fantasist. It would seem reasonably likely that some of our authors would have found things to their taste in de la Mare's anthologies, which used to be pretty widely available, I believe.
     
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  6. Randy M.

    Randy M. Well-Known Member

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    Good point, Extollager. A somewhat later example, W. Somerset Maugham's Tellers of Tales, published in 1939 (2 years after HPL's death). I have a copy on my desk at work, haven't dug into it deeply, but picked it up at a library sale. It includes:
    "Rip Van Winkle" (Irving); "La Grande Breteche" (Balzac); "The Gray Champion" (Hawthorne); "The Three Strangers" (Hardy); "The Jolly Corner" (H. James); "Markheim" (Stevenson); "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" (Doyle); "The Monkey's Paw" (Jacobs); "The Coach" (Hunt); "The Man Who Would be King" (Kipling); "The Door in the Wall" (Wells); "Tobermory" (Saki); among others. (For full contents, https://archive.org/details/tellersoftales1000maug)

    Anthologies of that time were intended for broad audiences since reading was a dominant form of entertainment, so frequently included mysteries or ghost stories or other not-strictly realist writings. There's no telling what HPL, REH or CAS might have read from such books.


    Randy M.
     
    Jul 30, 2015
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  7. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    There are whole series of inexpensive reprints that guys like Lovecraft would be likely to have encountered but that many of his fans today wouldn't be aware of.

    Everyman's Library

    https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/552032/

    Oxford World's Classics

    https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/552049/

    Cape's Traveller's Library

    https://www.sffchronicles.com/threads/552050/

    But there were many more.* The American publisher A. L. Burt seems to have reprinted a fair bit of stuff of likely interest to HPL & Co. -- e.g. Arthur Conan Doyle. What were some of the things reprinted by these publishers that are mostly forgotten? Some reprints were published in cheap paper and were intended, I think, for individuals who had little money, but not for library purchase.

    However, actually I doubt that HPL & Co. read much in the fantastic genre that hasn't been traced by fans/scholars who owned files of the old magazines and were assiduous collectors of books. Some of the earliest fan publishing was bibliographic. But I suspect that some that HPL & Co. read outside the magazines was in books whose particular editions might be of interest, but hard for us to ascertain. In most cases that probably doesn't really matter. And there is the possibility of odds and ends that have slipped out of our awareness but that would be interesting to know about.

    I guess the main thing about their reading is this, that we would like to know what was available, so that, in the absence of Lovecraft's own word (or REH or CAS, etc.), we might make a guess about the probability of such a thing coming his way. Let's say that someone reads a story by HPL and is struck by how it suggests a passage in a Dunsany story. Well, in the absence of something written by HPL, what grounds might we have for supposing the Dunsany story would still have come his way? If it was anthologized in a widely available anthology, we might think it quite possible that the story came his way through that venue.

    One more thing. What were the visual things that came the way of these authors? They were not immersed as we are in fantastic imagery. Who were the artists whose work might have stirred them? We remember Sidney Sime, Maxfield Parrish, J. Allen St. John, N. C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle, et al., but Lancelot Speed (whom I mention above)? The Project Gutenberg editions of Rider Haggard's books give us the texts, but I think in many cases the original books had, at least, frontispieces, perhaps more art...


    *I was just looking at a scrubby little reprint of Robert Louis Stevenson's Familiar Studies, surely a reprint -- published by the New York firm of Sully and Kleinteich. Whoever heard of them??
     
    Jul 30, 2015
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  8. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    The Dark Chamber by Leonard Cline . Lovecraft found this book to be of interest. He likely read Jeremias Gotthelf's The Black Spider . Both books would have also found favor with Howard and Smith as well.


    I wonder if the three of them knew of the works of Stefan Grabinski?


     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
    Jul 31, 2015
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  9. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Extollanger. It's a very interesting tangent. and if anything, it adds to the discussion. :)
     
    Jul 31, 2015
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  10. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    I don't know of any online sources for these, but Hippocampus Press has issued a new edition of his complete poetical works, incorporating not only some which were previously unknown or thought to not survive, but also an appendix which includes both poems to which HPL wrote responses, and classical poems and the like of which he wrote imitations or did his own translations. As it is quite easy to get hold of a copy either by purchase or through a library, I would suggest this as your best bet.

    Sobering thoughts, but one should not forget the resource for such information provided by the increasing publication of the letters of such figures, which often include references to their reading material, particularly things which they found of particular interest. For example... there is a book which Lovecraft did not own, but consulted at the New York Public Library, Gertrude Selwyn Kimball's Providence in Colonial Times. It's not an easy book to track down, as there were not that many copies printed (550), most of which are now in private hands or in collections where they cannot be removed. I managed to get my own copy (no. 394 of the lot), but I've not come across it for sale otherwise. This book not only turned him from doing a proposed book on Salem to one dealing with Providence, but provided a great deal of inspiration for and actual information included in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. One should also keep in mind such folklore studies as Charles M. Skinner's Myths and Legends of Our Own Land (2 vols.) or John Fiske's Myths and Myth-Makers, from both of which HPL drew inspiration which he used in, e.g., "The Shunned House". (Though he was familiar with S. Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages -- see his praise of it in Supernatural Horror in Literature -- and in fact was inspired in certain aspects of "The Rats in the Walls" by it, it was not for some time following his penning of "The Shunned House" that he read Baring-Gould's The Book of the Werewolf, upon which Fiske drew for the story of Roulet.) And there is that macabre bit of New England history which he incorporated into "The Shunned House" and Ward concerning vampirism; a genuine bit of history which is mentioned by J. Earle Clausen in his long-running column "These Plantations" which was originally published in the Providence Journal. (This particular essay was also included in a collection of these pieces, and may be found on pp. 67-69.) This may or may not have been the source for HPL's knowledge of it, but as a regular reader of the Journal, it is likely that it helped spark the inspirational aspect of it. And even such a seemingly unrelated book as Hugh Elliot's Modern Science and Materialism fired HPL's imagination and provided the philosophical underpinnings and basic scenario for "From Beyond", as well as helping to influence other, more important works from his pen. Few of these would be known about were it not for reference to Lovecraft's letters. Now that we are seeing collections of Howard's and Smith's letters, we are likely to find ourselves with a brand-new, wide-open field for scholarly research into the sources for certain aspects of their work.

    The above-mentioned Lock and Key Library was a mixture of suspense, mystery, detective, and fantasy/horror tales, for example. yet it provided HPL's main source for quite a few things mentioned in his history of the weird tale. Best Psychic Stories, edited by Joseph Lewis French, introduced HPL to "Fiona Macleod's" (William Sharp) "The Sin-Eater", from which he drew that vituperative bit of Gaelic for "The Rats in the Walls" (which, as it was deemed unlikely to emerge from that particular locale, prompted REH to write to Lovecraft, thus beginning the correspondence which lasted until Howard's death).

    Several points of interest here. Yes, a lot of these editions are either unknown to today's readers, or overlooked by them because they are looking only for the weird or fantastic material which, as you and Randy have pointed out, was often included in anthologies or collections of widely varying nature; see, for example, Edward Lucas White's The Song of the Sirens or Lukundoo, much of which would simply not be on the radar of most readers of these writers -- let alone such an oddity as Lloyd's Etidorpha, which provided some fascinating ideas connected to The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and, possibly, At the Mountains of Madness. And who ever reads anything by, say, Irvin S. Cobb these days, save for the single story, "Fishhead"? Yet Lovecraft was quite a fan of Cobb's work, apparently. He also read a tremendous amount of humorous writing in the magazines, and praised no little of such from the Munsey publications. And then there was The Railroad Man's Magazine, of which he read the entire run....

    Other inexpensive editions he and the others are likely to have been aware of would include those of the Black's Readers Service Company, which provided very inexpensive yet fairly attractive hardbound editions of a very wide range of literature, and the Haldeman-Julius Blue Books (both the Big and Little books):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Blue_Book

    Unlikely he read Gotthelf's piece -- at least, I know of no indication he was aware of it. He did, however, read some of the works of Hanns Heinz Ewers, which are only now beginning to emerge from under the shadow of his Nazi affiliations, including "The Spider", which was included in an anthology edited by Dashiell Hammett (which also included Lovecraft's own "The Music of Erich Zann"). And, so far as I know, none were aware of Grabinski.
     
    Jul 31, 2015
    #10
  11. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    I don't know of any online sources for these, but Hippocampus Press has issued a new edition of his complete poetical works, incorporating not only some which were previously unknown or thought to not survive, but also an appendix which includes both poems to which HPL wrote responses, and classical poems and the like of which he wrote imitations or did his own translations. As it is quite easy to get hold of a copy either by purchase or through a library, I would suggest this as your best bet.

    Sobering thoughts, but one should not forget the resource for such information provided by the increasing publication of the letters of such figures, which often include references to their reading material, particularly things which they found of particular interest. For example... there is a book which Lovecraft did not own, but consulted at the New York Public Library, Gertrude Selwyn Kimball's Providence in Colonial Times. It's not an easy book to track down, as there were not that many copies printed (550), most of which are now in private hands or in collections where they cannot be removed. I managed to get my own copy (no. 394 of the lot), but I've not come across it for sale otherwise. This book not only turned him from doing a proposed book on Salem to one dealing with Providence, but provided a great deal of inspiration for and actual information included in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. One should also keep in mind such folklore studies as Charles M. Skinner's Myths and Legends of Our Own Land (2 vols.) or John Fiske's Myths and Myth-Makers, from both of which HPL drew inspiration which he used in, e.g., "The Shunned House". (Though he was familiar with S. Baring-Gould's Curious Myths of the Middle Ages -- see his praise of it in Supernatural Horror in Literature -- and in fact was inspired in certain aspects of "The Rats in the Walls" by it, it was not for some time following his penning of "The Shunned House" that he read Baring-Gould's The Book of the Werewolf, upon which Fiske drew for the story of Roulet.) And there is that macabre bit of New England history which he incorporated into "The Shunned House" and Ward concerning vampirism; a genuine bit of history which is mentioned by J. Earle Clausen in his long-running column "These Plantations" which was originally published in the Providence Journal. (This particular essay was also included in a collection of these pieces, and may be found on pp. 67-69.) This may or may not have been the source for HPL's knowledge of it, but as a regular reader of the Journal, it is likely that it helped spark the inspirational aspect of it. And even such a seemingly unrelated book as Hugh Elliot's Modern Science and Materialism fired HPL's imagination and provided the philosophical underpinnings and basic scenario for "From Beyond", as well as helping to influence other, more important works from his pen. Few of these would be known about were it not for reference to Lovecraft's letters. Now that we are seeing collections of Howard's and Smith's letters, we are likely to find ourselves with a brand-new, wide-open field for scholarly research into the sources for certain aspects of their work.

    The above-mentioned Lock and Key Library was a mixture of suspense, mystery, detective, and fantasy/horror tales, for example. yet it provided HPL's main source for quite a few things mentioned in his history of the weird tale. Best Psychic Stories, edited by Joseph Lewis French, introduced HPL to "Fiona Macleod's" (William Sharp) "The Sin-Eater", from which he drew that vituperative bit of Gaelic for "The Rats in the Walls" (which, as it was deemed unlikely to emerge from that particular locale, prompted REH to write to Lovecraft, thus beginning the correspondence which lasted until Howard's death).

    Several points of interest here. Yes, a lot of these editions are either unknown to today's readers, or overlooked by them because they are looking only for the weird or fantastic material which, as you and Randy have pointed out, was often included in anthologies or collections of widely varying nature; see, for example, Edward Lucas White's The Song of the Sirens or Lukundoo, much of which would simply not be on the radar of most readers of these writers -- let alone such an oddity as Lloyd's Etidorpha, which provided some fascinating ideas connected to The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath and, possibly, At the Mountains of Madness. And who ever reads anything by, say, Irvin S. Cobb these days, save for the single story, "Fishhead"? Yet Lovecraft was quite a fan of Cobb's work, apparently. He also read a tremendous amount of humorous writing in the magazines, and praised no little of such from the Munsey publications. And then there was The Railroad Man's Magazine, of which he read the entire run....

    Other inexpensive editions he and the others are likely to have been aware of would include those of the Black's Readers Service Company, which provided very inexpensive yet fairly attractive hardbound editions of a very wide range of literature, and the Haldeman-Julius Blue Books (both the Big and Little books):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Blue_Book

    Unlikely he read Gotthelf's piece -- at least, I know of no indication he was aware of it. He did, however, read some of the works of Hanns Heinz Ewers, which are only now beginning to emerge from under the shadow of his Nazi affiliations, including "The Spider", which was included in an anthology edited by Dashiell Hammett (which also included Lovecraft's own "The Music of Erich Zann"). And, so far as I know, none were aware of Grabinski.
     
    Jul 31, 2015
    #11
  12. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Picked up a Anthology The Big Book of Adventure Stories It has some interesting stories listed even has a Harold Lamb story The Mighty Manslayer . Howard liked him. Ive never read Lamb. :)
     
    Aug 2, 2015
    #12
  13. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Here are the contents for Baylor's book --

    https://books.google.com/books?id=d...ig book of adventure stories contents&f=false

    I thought "To Serve Man" was an odd choice for an "adventure stories" anthology -- not the sort of story one is looking for when one wants an adventure story, is it? Most of these I haven't read, but of the one I have, well, something like "Leiningen vs. the Ants" seems like a great choice. Fifty years ago it might have been too obvious, but who's read it now?
     
    Aug 2, 2015
    #13
  14. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Modern audiences would love Leiningen vs the Ants , It's a great story .(y)
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
    Aug 2, 2015
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  15. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    I just finished Harold Lamb's The Mighty Manslayer. What a great story. I can understand why Robert E Howard like his stories . :)
     
    Aug 3, 2015
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  16. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    Oh, yes, Lamb is great fun. Right up there with Talbot Mundy (another of Howard's favorites) for sheer exuberant storytelling. As for "Leiningen vs. the Ants"... Oh, that story. One of the greats, and one I still have trouble making my way through. (I have a personal experience which has colored my view of ants since I was a very young child. Suffice to say that I was held down in a large ant-bed until I was covered with the things; enough so that when I was put in a tub, the entire surface of the water was red with their bodies. Needless to say, that much of their venom had me extremely ill for several days....)
     
    Aug 3, 2015
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  17. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    J D really sorry to hear that . That is horrific. I hope the person or persons who did that to you got severely punished . :mad:
     
    Aug 3, 2015
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  18. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator

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    This was a loooong time ago -- slightly more than half a century. As for his punishment... I don't know what his parents did, but the next time I saw him, I picked up a large chunk of a cinder-block and clonked him over the head with it. No one felt like reprimanding me, either....
     
    Aug 4, 2015
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  19. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    And I suspect , he never bothered you again. :)
     
    Aug 4, 2015
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  20. BAYLOR

    BAYLOR There Are Always new Things to Learn.

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    Ive read two of Mundy's novels , King of the Kyber Rifles and Om Secret of Arbor Valley both of the good reads. :) Haven't read anything else by him.

    In This anthology that I've found there is a Talbot mundy short story The Soul of the Regiment . That one I'm going to check out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
    Aug 4, 2015
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