Call for Proposals
Giving Birth to Greatness: Pulp Fiction as Genesis of Genius
PCA/ACA and SW/TX PCA/ACA 2010
San Antonio, TX
Although often viewed as a site for literary works with little value and short shelf lives, pulp fiction has in reality been a very effective mechanism for launching the careers of authors who would become literary giants, many of whom would move on to publish novel-length works that have become embedded in the canon of American and British fiction. In spite of its status among the literati as being of little worth, the pulps—particularly those of the early 20th century—have played an important role in shaping popular genres of modern fiction, including detective, adventure, spicy, science fiction, horror, and fantasy. Further, these working-class fictions, with their focus on masculinity, action, and adventure, gave voice to the hopes and fears of the common working man in a way that was often ignored by so-called “literary” fiction. Pulp magazines have also often been the site for the introduction of new—and often controversial—cultural issues, such as space travel, alien abduction, drug addiction, homosexuality, sado-masochism, crime, and pornography.
As we inaugurate our Pulp Studies area this year, we encourage sessions that somehow address the surprising role that the pulps have played in the careers of the authors, artists, editors, and publishers.
Suggested authors and topics:
• Magazines: Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Wonder Stories, Fight Stories, All-Story, Argosy, Thrilling Wonder Stories, Spicy Detective, Flying Aces, Black Mask, and Unknown, to name a few.
• Editors and Owners: Street and Smith (Argosy), Farnsworth Wright (Weird Tales), Hugo Gernsback (Amazing Stories), Mencken and Nathan (Black Mask), John Campbell (Astounding).
• Influential Writers: H.P. Lovecraft, A. E. Merritt, Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Donald Wandrei, Clark Ashton Smith, and Henry Kuttner.
• Influences on Pulp Writers: Robert Bloch, H. Rider Haggard, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jack London, and Edgar Rice Burroughs were all influences, along with literary and philosophical figures such as Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edgar Allen Poe, and Herbert Spencer.
• Popular Heroes: Conan of Cimmeria; Doc Savage; Solomon Kane; Buck Rogers; Northwest Smith; Jiril of Jiory; Zorro; Kull of Atlantis; El Borak; The Shadow; The Spider; Bran Mak Morn; Nick Carter; The Avenger; and Captain Future, among others.
• Artists: Popular cover artists included Margaret Brundage (Weird Tales), Frank R. Paul (Amazing Stories), Virgil Finlay (Weird Tales), and Edd Cartier (The Shadow, Astounding).
• Periods: The dime novels; Argosy and the ancestral pulps; Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, and the heyday of the pulps; John Campbell’s reforms; the 1950s; the decline of the pulps in the 50s and 60s; pulps in the age of the Internet.
• Theme and Styles: Masculinity, femininity, and sex in the pulps; the ethos of plot and action; compact vs. purple prose; Social Darwinism; technocracy vs. naturalism; social roles; drugs and addiction; the aesthetic of violence; detective as hero; pornography and the cover girl; the savage as hero.
• Reinvention of the Pulps: Pulps in film, television, comics, graphic novels and other forms are especially encouraged. Possible topics could include film interpretations such as Conan the Barbarian, comic book incarnations of pulp magazines and series; “new weird” reinventions of the pulps such as the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Watchmen; fan films; and newer productions, including the recently released Solomon Kane and the forthcoming Conan.
These are but suggestions for potential panels and presentations. Proposals on other topics are welcome.
Final Submission Deadline: December 15, 2010
• When submitting your paper, abstract, proposal, or panel please include your name, affiliation, and email address. For those submitting a panel, include the name, affiliation, and email address for each participant and note who will be the principle contact and panel chair.
• Abstracts should be approximately 250 words in length.
• Indicate if presentation media is required. Projectors will be present in most locations, but presenters must supply their own computers.
• A preliminary version of the schedule will usually be posted on our website in January. Due to the number of panels and participants, we are unable to accommodate individual scheduling requests. We encourage participants to come for the entire conference. The final version of the schedule will be distributed in hard copy at the conference with addendums if needed. For privacy reasons we do not publish email addresses in the online version of the program.
• Only one paper is accepted from the same presenting author. All presenters, including invited panel speakers and session chairs, must register and pay the conference registration fee. If you need an early confirmation for visa or budgetary reasons, please indicate this in your submission.
Submit proposals to:
University of the Sciences
600 S. 43rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
West Chester University
Anderson Hall 119b
West Chester, PA 19383
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