Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A. Merritt Art Gallery-The Pool of the Stone God

"The Pool of the Stone God" by A. Merritt
(as by W. Fenimore) in
 The American Weekly, Sept. 23, 1923

From 1912 until his death in 1943, Abraham Merritt was on the staff of The American Weekly, a Sunday magazine inserted into the newspapers of the Hearst chain. In 1923, Merritt's story "The Pool of the Stone God" was published in The American Weekly. It might have been unseemly for a staff member to have his story published under his own name, thus Merritt used a pseudonym, W. Fenimore. At least I think that's the reason. A source on the Internet says (without attribution or citation) that the name is derived from James Fenimore Cooper from whom Merritt was supposedly descended.

"The Pool of the Stone God" is a very brief story designed for quick reading on a Sunday afternoon. According to Sam Moskowitz, the story is not definitely Merritt's. After reading through issue after issue of The American Weekly, the bibliographer George Wetzel (1921-1983) came to the conclusion that it was indeed the work of Abraham Merritt, and everyone after him seems to have accepted that. See Moskowitz's introduction to the story in Horrors Unknown (1972) for more on that topic.

I don't have an image for the issue in which "The Pool of the Stone God" appeared, September 23, 1923. Instead, here is an issue from two months later, November 25, 1923. This image doesn't really give you an idea of the scale of the thing, but The American Weekly was large, approximately 15 by 21 inches or about tabloid-size. The cover artist was C.D. Mitchell. You can see more covers at the following URL:


http://www.bpib.com/illustra2/various2.htm

and on a very good blog called Stripper's Guide, conducted by the comic strip historian Allan Holtz. 

"The Pool of the Stone God" was reprinted in Horrors Unknown, an anthology edited by Sam Moskowitz and published in three editions in the early 1970s. According to The FictionMags Index, it was also reprinted in this issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, dated February 1988. I don't know the name of the cover artist.

Captions copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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