Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Mary Elizabeth Counselman, author of the classic weird tale "The Three Marked Pennies" (written when she was a teen) and others, was born on this day a hundred years ago in Birmingham, Alabama.  Although her output was small -- three dozen or so weird tales, plus some mystery and adventure stories for the pulps, as well as work for the slicks -- her work was well respected for its Southern Gothic sensabilities and its imagination.  She worked as a newspaper reporter and was a creative writing teacher.  She spent most of her life in Gadsden, Alabama, living on a houseboat.  She passed away six days before her 84th birthday in 1995.  (One source puts her death on May 3, 1994.)

     Counselman's best known book was Half in Shadow, a collection of 14 weird stories published in Britain as a paper back in 1964; 14 years later, August Derleth published a revised version for his Arkham House press, eliminating six of the original stories and replacing them with six others.  Her other books include African Yesterdays:  A Collection of Native Folktales (1975; expanded, 1977), Move Over -- It's Only Me (poetry, 1975), Everthing You Always Wanted to Know About the Supernatural -- But Are Afraid to Believe (1976), SPQR:  The Poetry and Life of Catullus (1977), The Eye and the Hand (poetry, 1977), New Lamps for Old (1978), and The Face of Fear and Other Poems (1984).

     A definitive collection of her work would be very welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Oddly, WEIRD TALES and its writers tend to be ill-represented, with few exceptions. There hasn't even been a fully representative collection of Fritz Leiber, for goodness's sake, though some such as THE GHOST LIGHT and the four big 1970s retrospectives (BEST OF, WORLDS OF, BOOK OF and SECOND BOOK OF) taken together, almost almost did Curtis's big sloppy collection.

    And with nearly a dozen or so WT extraction volumes, still none quite gets the range.