Gawsworth, John

Tagged: Author | Editor | Critic

Pseudonym of UK editor and writer Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong (1912-1970) for most of his work of genre interest, though he signed some work Fytton Armstrong and some T I Fytton Armstrong. He was a close colleague of M P Shiel, and followed him as "ruler" of the mythical Caribbean kingdom of Redonda in 1947, calling himself King Juan I; he created a competent Shiel checklist in the bibliographical Ten Contemporaries: Notes Toward Their Definitive Bibliography (1932) and edited The Best Short Stories of M.P. Shiel (coll 1948); a John Collier checklist appears in Ten Contemporaries: Notes Toward Their Definitive Bibliography: (Second Series) (1933). He was savvy about Wyndham Lewis in Apes, Japes and Hitlerism: A Study and Bibliography in Wyndham Lewis (1932), and The Life of Arthur Machen (2005) remains surprisingly useful, though it was drafted in the 1930s.

Gawsworth's poetry, however, was not only traditional but mediocre, and his occasional stories are of relatively little interest; his importance to sf and fantasy lies primarily in the large Anthologies he assembled in the 1930s, including Strange Assembly: New Stories (anth 1932), Full Score (anth 1933) as T I Fytton Armstrong, New Tales of Horror by Eminent Authors (anth 1934) edited anonymously, Thrills, Crimes and Mysteries: A Specially Selected Collection of Sixty-Three Complete Stories by Well-Known Writers (anth 1935) edited anonymously, Thrills: Twenty Specially Selected New Stories of Crime, Mystery and Horror (anth 1936) edited anonymously, Crimes, Creeps and Thrills: Forty-Five NEW Stories of Detection, Horror and Adventure by Eminent Modern Authors (anth 1936) edited anonymously, and Masterpiece of Thrills (anth 1936) edited anonymously. Most of these anthologies were published in large numbers and were priced cheaply; their influence – though understandably diffuse, because such productions were deemed sub rosa in the literary world – was in fact considerable. Gawsworth himself obtained little or no credit for this work at the time of its appearance – only the first two volumes were signed. [JC]

Terence Ian Fytton Armstrong

born London: 29 June 1912

died London: 23 September 1970

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