JMU Special Collections Events – Fall 2016

JMU Special Collections continues it’s Speakers Series with three lectures for Fall 2016. And if that wasn’t enough, we’re hosting the inaugural Pulp Studies Symposium: Sensational Scholarship on October 7-8. Here’s the schedule of events:

Weird Tales

Weird Tales was not the most valuable property of the pulp era, but it does have an interesting history. It ran initially from 1923 to 1954. It reprinted the works of many classic authors, playwrights, and poets including Oscar Wilde, John Keats, and Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. Its genres of choice were horror and fantasy, with a dash of the macabre. The somewhat risqué cover art by Margaret Brundage drove up dwindling circulation numbers. Weird Tales encountered a range of financial challenges, nearly succumbing to bankruptcy several times. Its most celebrated contributor was science fiction author H.P. Lovecraft. Lovecraft was even approached with a lucrative offer to take on the position of editor, but he declined. While Lovecraft died in obscurity, he posthumously gained great fame for his influential works of horror fiction. His only published work in his lifetime was in the pages of pulp magazines. Weird Tales is unofficially known as “the magazine that never dies”, because it was revived after each downturn in readership or content. Its most recent revival occurred in 2011 when a new publisher bought it. To learn more about Weird Tales and all the other fantastic pulps, JMU Libraries encourages you to Continue reading Weird Tales

Pulp Studies Symposium

Looking for something to do in October? JMU Libraries will host the first Pulp Studies Symposium the weekend of October 7, 2016. To help get the word out about the Symposium, Library staff filmed members of the JMU community reading aloud from pulp magazines. Pulp magazines are called “pulp” because they were made from wood pulp, the cheapest form of paper. This allowed them to be sold for very low prices, giving them the additional name of “dime fiction”. Pulps were sold from 1896 through approximately 1955. Their publication spanned expansive social change in the United States, as well as two world wars. Authors that later became famous in their own right such as Raymond Chandler, Isaac Asimov, H.P. Lovecraft, and even L. Ron Hubbard (founder of Scientology) were first featured in pulp magazines. The pulp being featured in these videos is publisher Street and Smith’s most valuable property, Love Story, which ran from 1921-1947. It claimed the distinction of being the most popular pulp in its era, with a peak circulation of 600,000 readers. The stories skew towards melodrama. The narratives run amok with love triangles, scandalous affairs, star-crossed couples, and a litany of romantic confessions. They are great fun to Continue reading Pulp Studies Symposium