A Discovery Among Lin Carter’s Papers

Ohio State University has a collection of Lin Carter’s papers.  It  has recently come  to light that some important lost Howard poetry typescripts were among those papers; Paul Herman enlightens us (posted at Conan.com):

To start off, let me say, no new stories were found. But still, pretty interesting.

Eric Johnson, an English Lit guy and REH fan, recently moved to start working at the Ohio State University Rare Book library. He has purchased books from the REH Foundation before, so we know the guy. One day he sends me an email pointing out that when he was browsing through the OSU collections, he saw that Lin Carter’s papers had been donated there. I asked him to go see if any REH materials had made it into those papers, ya never know, and Lin didwork on some unfinished Conan and Kull stories.

Well, nothing interesting there, but then he thought to check the library database, and lo and behold it says there is a stack of REH typescripts of poetry! So I dutifully order copies of everything, and give it a read.

Most interesting. Without boring you with the forensic details (unless you’re a CSI fan), Patrice and I are pretty confident that the bulk ofthese papers were prepared between 1957 and 1961, by Glenn Lord, and represented what was known at the time as all the remaining unpublished REH poetry, 75 pages of it. Glenn most likely loaned this hand-typed stack to Lin Carter either in the mid 1960s or early 1980s, and Lin just never got around to returning them. In many cases, these typescripts represent the oldest and likely closest to original version of a bunch of REH poems that we don’t have original REH typescripts for, and hence, will be used in proofing  The Collected Poetry book we’re working on. And indeed, after only reviewing a few of them, we are finding all sorts of differences between these texts and the published versions, including things like missing lines.  

So boy oh boy are we glad we found out about these now instead of after the book was printed. It will knock back the release date a couple more weeks while we get these corrections loaded, but getting it as close to right as we can is what we’re doing.