|Weird Tales Oct. 1925|
Also in 1925, a new writer appeared in the Unique Magazine: Robert E.
Howard’s “Spear and Fang” appeared in the July
issue, which it shared with one of Quinn’s “Servants of Satan” articles; so did
“In the Forest of Villefere” which appeared in the August Weird Tales. The two men never met, nor is there any record of
their correspondence, yet it was impossible for them not to have noticed and
formed an opinion of one another. Quinn, writing from Brooklyn, and Howard,
writing from Cross Plains, were from that moment on in constant, if polite
competition—for sales, for the cover spot, and for first place among the
affections of Weird Tales readers.
Yet Quinn would also, in many ways, be a formative influence on Howard.
Lovecraft, who was one of the few to correspond with both men, compared them
|Weird Tales July 1925|
It is, therefore, piquant & enjoyable to exchange ideas with Two-Gun or to read his stories. He is of about the same intelligence as Seabury Quinn—but Yuggoth, what a difference! (LRB 256-257)
Seabury Quinn was born in Washington, D.C. in 1889, attended Washington National University, and had graduated with a degree in law. He practiced law only for a short time, and joined the army for World War I. After his discharge he returned to practicing law and handled a libel case involving mortuary jurisprudence. He won the case, and they took him on as legal advisor—and so he got his start for The Casket, a trade journal for morticians. Quinn was given progressively more work with The Casket until he became its managing editor; and in 1921 Quinn married his first wife, Mary Helen Molster. In January 1925, The Casket merged with the mortuary journal Sunnyside, and Quinn became editor of the combined magazine The Casket & Sunnyside, which job necessitated moving to New York. (Schwartz & Weisinger 1-2, Ruber 336, Ruber & Wyrzos ix)
|Seabury Quinn (1889-1969)|
One evening in the spring of 1925, I was in that state that every writer knows and dreads; a story was due my publisher, and there didn’t seem to be a plot in the world. Accordingly, with nothing particular in mind, I picked up my pen and literally making it up as I went along—wrote the first story [...] As with The Horror on the Links, so with all other adventures of de Grandin. (CA 1.xxi)
Quinn may have been fudging a little; the French occult detective with his more incredulous counterpart Dr. Samuel Trowbridge probably owes something to Agatha Christie and her Belgian investigator Hercule Poirot and companion Arthur Hastings, who first appeared in The Murder on the Links (1923), but both were patently working in the same mold as Arthur Conan Doyle’s Watson & Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe’s C. Auguste Dupin. Whatever the case, “The Horror on the Links” was quickly followed by “The Tenants of Broussac” (WT Dec 1925) and “The Isle of Missing Ships” (WT Feb 1926)...and a fan letter in “The Eyrie”: