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In their time they were thought to be puerile, debauched, and injurious to all morality. But pulp magazines are now considered iconically American, and one of the genres finest practitioners, H.P. Lovecraft, is even seen as a literary giant. This and the fact that Lovecrafts house was actually located on Browns campus prompted the Brown public humanities program to mount a retrospective of pulps impact on early twentieth-century U.S. society and culture.84.30520.finally.jpg

Americans unleashed their collective imagination in the pages of the pulps, says organizer Scott Tiffany, a graduate student in the humanities program. These magazines helped solidify the pop genres of sci-fi, the hard-boiled detective, and the modern horror story.

The Argosy All-Story Weekly typically contained stories about aliens and spaceships, fights in the old West, crime, and horror. During its original ninety-six-year run, which began in 1882, the Argosy published some of Edgar Rice Burroughss Tarzan stories and works by P. G. Wodehouse, Horatio Alger, Louis LAmour, and Dashiell Hammett.

By the 1940s the magazine had turned to more male-friendly fare running true-life accounts of jungle adventurers and combat soldiers, and then featuring soft-core porn. Today the Argosy Quarterly is a highbrow literary journal (http://coppervaleinternational.com/?page_id=9).

Go figure.

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