Serious literary artists such as T.S. Eliot, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf loom large in most accounts of the literary art of the first half of the 20th century. And yet, working in the shadows cast by these modernists were science fiction, horror and fantasy writers like the “Weird Tales Three”: H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard.
They did not publish in artistically ambitious magazines like Dial, The Smart Set and The Little Reviewbut instead in commercial pulp magazines like Weird Tales. Contrary to the stereotypes about pulp fiction and those who wrote it, these three were serious literary artists who used their fiction to speculate about such philosophical questions as the function of art and the brevity of life.