Farnsworth Wright

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Farnsworth Wright (1888 – 1940) was the editor of the pulp magazine Weird Tales during the magazine's heyday. Jack Williamson called Wright "the first great fantasy editor".[1]

Life and career[edit]

He was born in California, and educated in the University of Nevada and the University of Washington.[2] Wright, a veteran of World War I, was working as a music critic for the Chicago Herald and Examiner when he began his association with Weird Tales, founded in 1923.[3] At first serving as chief manuscript reader,[4] he replaced founding editor Edwin Baird in 1924 when the latter was fired by publisher J. C. Henneberger.[5]

During Wright's editorship of Weird Tales, which lasted until 1940, the magazine regularly published the notable authors H. P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. Yet Wright had a strained relationship with all three writers, rejecting major works by them — such as Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness and The Shadow Over Innsmouth,[6] Howard's "The Frost Giant's Daughter,"[7] and Smith's "The Seven Geases" (which Wright dismissed as just "one geas after another").[8]

Wright also anonymously edited an anthology of WT stories, The Moon Terror (1927), as a bonus for subscribers. However the anthology's contents are generally regarded as poor and the book took years to sell out. Wright also edited a short-lived companion magazine, Oriental Stories (later renamed Magic Carpet Magazine) which lasted from 1930 to 1934.[9]

Wright (nicknamed "Plato" by his writers) was also noteworthy for starting the commercial careers of three important fantasy artists: Margaret Brundage, Virgil Finlay, and Hannes Bok. Each of the three made their first sale to, and had their work first appear in, Weird Tales.

E.F. Bleiler describes Wright as "an excellent editor who recognized quality work" in his book The Guide to Supernatural Fiction. [10]

Wright developed Parkinson's disease in 1921; by 1930, he was unable to sign his own letters. His failing health forced him to resign as editor during 1940, and he died later that year.[3]

Wright's granddaughter was the Hollywood actress Paula Raymond.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Williamson, in Gombert, (p. ix).
  2. ^ Weinberg, pg. 4.
  3. ^ a b Joshi and Schultz, p. 304.
  4. ^ "The Authors", Weird Tales: The Unique Magazine
  5. ^ Carter, pp. 37, 46.
  6. ^ Joshi and Schultz, p. 305.
  7. ^ Hoffman and Cerasini, pp. 93-94.
  8. ^ Murray, p. 13.
  9. ^ Encyclopedia of Fantasy, p. 1037. See also Weinberg, p. 5.
  10. ^ Bleiler, p.369.
  11. ^ Parla & Mitchell, p. 198.

References[edit]

  • Mike Ashley, "Wright, Farnsworth" in: Encyclopedia of Fantasy, John Clute and John Grant, eds., New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
  • E.F. Bleiler, The Guide to Supernatural Fiction, Kent State University Press, 1983.
  • Lin Carter, Lovecraft: A Look Behind the Cthulhu Mythos, New York, Ballatine, 1972.
  • Richard W. Gombert, World Wrecker: An Annotated Bibliography of Edmond Hamilton. Wildside Press LLC, 2009 ISBN 1434457265,
  • Charles Hoffman and Marc A. Cerasini, "The Strange Case of Robert Ervin Howard", in: The Horror of It All, Robert M. Price, ed., Mercer island, WA, Starmount House, 1990.
  • Paul Parla and Charles P. Mitchell,

Screen Sirens Scream!: Interviews with 20 Actresses from Science Fiction, Horror, Film Noir and Mystery Movies, 1930s to 1960s. McFarland, 2009, ISBN 0786445874.