Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Today's Pulp

With The Hermit being under the weather, I wanted to keep his Blog active, so thought I would post one my own messages today.
Tom

After reading Johnston McCulley’s 1913 story in TOP-NOTCH Magazine, “Force Inscrutable”, I was struck by the difference in the moral acceptance within stories from that period to the heyday of the pulps, just two decades later. In this story, Betty Gladstone and Dick Wellington worry over the fact that traveling together by train could be construed as immoral, since they were only betrothed, and not married. Now jump ahead twenty years, to 1933, when Dick Wentworth and Nita Van Sloan are apparently living together – betrothed but not married.  In the teens, we were treated to gentlemanly thieves, which gave way to the violent Roaring Twenties, molls and gun rule. With the 1930s came the heroes and heroines, who were equally as tough as the mobs, and we now saw a milder drop in the moral appearance between men and women. This would be the ground rule for the next two decades, until the pulps began to fade, and the age of the paperbacks brought sex and language to the printed stories. It wasn’t long until the aggressor novels threw out all semblance of morality in the new fiction. Today’s new pulp appears to be anchored in a mixture of the original and the modern, sometimes difficult to recognize, but the readers in 1913 likely felt that away about the 1930s.
Tom

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