Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The Gault Papers: Talbot Mundy's Tibetan Stories

One of the writers whose work first prompted me to launch a pulp-related Website was Talbot Mundy. So it feels right for me to kick off this PulpRack blog with R.T. Gault's Mundy information.

The following information was compiled and posted to the Internet by the late R.T. "Ditch" Gault under the title "Bibliographic Information on Talbot Mundy's Tibetan, Jimgrim, and Tros Story Series." After Gault's death, the site disappeared. Yet the info it contained is quite valuable to readers of Talbot Mundy, and several sites had linked to Gault's information. Thanks to Carl William Thiel, who had saved the info from Gault's site, I was able to present it at my original PulpRack Website, and I'm pleased to be able to present it here. I've edited it slightly to provide some consistency in mechanics and grammar.

Also, to make using the information easier, I've broken the single, long file into four documents: "Mundy's Tibetan Stories," "Mundy's Jimgrim Saga," "Mundy's Tros Saga," and "Omnibus Editions & Nonfiction." I'll post each section separately to the PulpRack.

As each post goes live, you'll be able to click on the tags at the bottom of the post to go to the sections you wish to see.

With thanks to Mike Chomko, once upon a time the publisher of the pulp fanzine Purple Prose and now one of the organizers of the PulpFest pulp convention, I was able to contact the Gault family. Karen Gault kindly responded in this manner:

"What a pleasant surprise to get your EMail! I enjoyed looking through your site and am happy that someone saved Ditch's site info on Mundy and is using it to reach an interested audience. You may use it with my blessing."

Our thanks to Mike and especially to Karen.

Now, onward to R.T. Gault's info. -- Duane

Bibliographic Information on Talbot Mundy's Tibetan Story Series

Talbot Mundy (born William Lancaster Gribbon in 1879) was one of the most interesting and colorful of the writers during the great age of adventure pulp fiction. Mundy worked as a British colonial civil servant, journalist, and later a poacher and a general scoundrel until his arrival in New York in 1909. I suspect (but cannot prove) that he may have also been an agent for the British Colonial Secret Service at some time in his somewhat shady history. After his arrival in America he became a U.S. citizen under the name Talbot Mundy, and began a new life as a writer of "cracking good tales," mostly for the pulp magazine Adventure.

Another important step for Mundy was his long association with Katherine Tingley's splinter Theosophist commune at Point Loma, California. He died in 1940.

The definitive biography of Talbot Mundy is by Peter Barresford Ellis, The Last Adventurer: The Life of Talbot Mundy (Donald Grant, 1984), and the definitive bibliography of his works is by Donald Grant, ed., Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny (Donald Grant, 1983). [Not published at the time Gault wrote his essay, but available now is Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure: A Critical Biography by Brian Taves (McFarland & Company, 2005). -- Duane

Most of the information presented here was developed as a result of my interest in Mundy as a "mystical novelist."

These three series -- his Tibetan novels, his JimGrim series, and his Tros of Samothrace stories -- contain or relate to most of the more mystical of Mundy's work, though I have surely missed a few. Most of the bibliographic information comes from Donald Grant's exhaustive Mundy Bibliography (noted above), but much of the organization and comments are mine. I have also attempted to add any new printings and information that have become available since 1983. Comments and corrections are welcomed.

Talbot Mundy's Tibetan Novels

Early Tibetan novels:

Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley, written at Point Loma, Ca., in late 1922, early 1923.

Published in Adventure, 10 October - 30 November 1923.

First American Edition: Bobbs-Merrill Co. (1924) 352 pgs. First British ed.: Hutchinson & Co. (1925), 352 pgs.

- Reprints:
MacKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie: *(NOTE 1) (circa 1924), 393 pgs, with frontis. photo of Mundy.
Theosophical Press (Point Loma, 1931), 392 pgs. Crown Publishers (1962), 392 pgs, pb.
Avon Books (1967), 336 pgs, pb.
Cedric Chivers, Ltd (London), 348 pgs.
Point Loma Publications (1980), 392 pgs. trade pb.; with intro by Peter Barresford Ellis; opening poem "squeezed" onto one page.
Carroll and Graf (1984), 392 pgs, pb.; opening poem "squeezed" onto one page as in the Point Loma (1980) ed., suggesting that it was reproduced from that ed. *(NOTE 2)

The Devil's Guard, published in Adventure under the title Rasmden, 8 June 1926 - 8 August 1926.

First American ed: Bobbs-Merrill Co. (1926) 335 pgs, identified as the first edition. First British ed., as Rasmden (Spring 1926), 286 pgs.

- Reprints:
A. L. Burt Co (1927), 335 pgs.
The Oriental Club (Philadelphia 1945). 291 pgs; with Foreword by Milton F. Wells.
Avon Books, (1968), 255 pgs, pb.

Jimgrim, published in Adventure under the title King of the World, 1 December 1930 - 15 February 1931.

First American ed.: The Century Co.(March 1931) 385 pgs.; identified as first printing.
Hutchinson & Co. (April 1931) 312 pgs.

- Reprints:
A. L. Burt (1933), 385 pgs.
Royal Books (New York), as Jimgrim Sahib, 319 pgs, pb.
Avon Books (1968), 288 pgs. pb.

Later Tibetan novels:

Thunder Dragon Gate published in American Weekly, 8 installments, beginning 24 January 1937.

First British edition: Hutchinson & Co. (March 1937). First American ed.: D. Appleton-Century Co. (1937), 335 pgs. First Canadian ed.: Ryerson Press (1937). Pagination different for all eds.

Old Ugly Face, published in Maclean's (Canada), 3 installments beginning 15 April 1938.

First Book ed: D.Appleton-Century (Feb 1940). First British Ed.: (London, Hutchinson) June 1940. Canadian ed.: (Toronto, Ryerson Press), 1940; same pagination as the Appleton ed.

(Philadelphia, Wells & Shakespeare), 1950; same pagination as the Appleton ed.

Sequel to Thunder Dragon Gate.

Old Ugly Face is the last work of major fiction that Mundy published before his death in 1940. It is the only novel that Mundy wrote in longhand first. Neither Grant nor Ellis seems to have noticed (or mentioned) that Thunder Dragon Gate and Old Ugly Face are related to each other.

Relating to the Tibetan novels, Mundy wrote nonfiction pieces for Adventure providing background to his stories. These usually appeared in a regular feature entitled "The Camp Fire." *(NOTE 3)

- 10 January 1923, "The Camp Fire"; background on Ommany to tie in with short novel Treason.

- 10 October 1924, "The Camp Fire"; 2,000-word essay on background of Mahatmas, Ahbor Valley, and ancient wisdom. An extract from this was published in The Theosophical Path (Point Loma) in the February 1925 issue. Some selective quotes in Grant and Ellis.

- 8 June 1926, "The Camp Fire"; 4,000-word essay on eastern theology, dugpas, and philosophy to tie in with serial Rasmden (book title: The Devil's Guard). *(NOTE 4)

- by R.T. Gault


1. Grant, Talbot Mundy, p. 214: "Nine Talbot Mundy titles were published by McKinlay, Stone and Mackenzie in matched bindings. McKinlay, Stone and Mackenzie was an affiliate of Review of Reviews (Hearst), and sales of these editions were primarily mail order."

2. The Carroll and Graf ed. is not listed in Grant's bibliographies of Mundy material (see note below)

3. Penn State Library's Rare Books and Special Collections owns the Arthur Sullivan Hoffmann papers. Hoffmann was the editor of Adventure for many years, and the man most responsible for Mundy's long-running success in that magazine. Ellis' biography makes great use of Penn State's Hoffmann papers.

4. All bibliographical material from Donald M. Grant, Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny (1983) unless otherwise noted.


Om: The Secret of Ahbor Valley seems to be out of print. There may be some used copies of various editions available at Amazon

Last Adventurer: The Life of Talbot Mundy by Peter Beresford Ellis is also available from Amazon. This biography may be in short supply. 

Talbot Mundy: Messenger of Destiny by Donald M. Grant is also available from Amazon. This book may be in short supply. 

Talbot Mundy, Philosopher of Adventure: A Critical Biography by Brian Taves is also available from Amazon

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