WOLFSHEAD is the title of a short story about lycanthropy by Howard, first published in the April 1926 issue of Weird Tales. The title was also used for a posthumously-published collection of seven novelettes by the same author, named after the story “Wolfshead”, which it also includes. The collection spans and blends the genres of weird fiction, horror, Norse mythology, sword and sorcery, fantasy, supernatural fiction, historical fiction, and the weird West. It was first published by Lancer. Five of the novelettes had previously been published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, and one each in Avon Fantasy Reader and Strange Tales.

The story was voted second best in that issue by the readers of Weird Tales. It is a sequel to ‘In the Forest of Villefere‘.

Fun fact: Howard made a parody of his own story with WOLFSDUNG, calling the fictional magazine: Wearied Tails Megazeen.

In a letter (#033) to Tevis Clyde Smith, dated October 1925, Howard wrote:

By the way, I sold another story, same company. “Wolfshead,” twenty-five pages, $40.00. After reading it, I’m not altogether sure I wasn’t off my noodler when I wrote it. I sure mixed slavers, duelists, harlots, drunkards, maniacs and cannibals reckless. The narrator is a libertine and a Middle Ages fop; the leading lady is a harlot, the hero is a lunatic, one of the main characters is a slave trader, one a pervert, one a drunkard, no they’re all drunkards, but one is a gambler, one a duelist and one a cannibal slave.

Circa March 1926 Howard wrote a letter (#040) published in The Eyrie (Weird Tales May 1926):

From The Eyrie:

Robert E. Howard, author of Wolfshead, suggests the old Norse sagas as a rich field for our series of reprints. “The Saga of Grettir the Outlaw,” he writes, “while told in plain, almost homely language, reaches the peak of horror. You will recall the terrific, night-long battle between the outlaw and the vampire, who had himself been slain by the Powers of Darkness.”

Another interesting fact is that on January 20, 1926, Wright wrote Howard asking for a carbon of the manuscript for “Wolfshead,” as the artist (E.M. Stevenson of New York) had not returned the original to him and it had to be turned over to the printer.

Here is the letter from Farnsworth Wright to Howard, dated January 20th, 1926:

Dear Mr. Howard:-
I hope you have a carbon copy of “Wolfshead.” If so, will you
please forward it to me at once by special delivery?
The reason for this request is this: Every bit of copy for the
April issue is set except The Eyrie (which I hold off until the last
minute) and “Wolfshead”; and so far the artist has not sent me the
manuscript of “Wolfshead.” He sent me the black and white art
heading last week, and today I wired him to rush the manuscript
to me, as the cover (I enclose an engraver’s proof) is on the press
and I cannot possibly substitute another story for it now. I do not
know that he has lost it, but it should have been in my hands last
week, and I haven’t got the ms. to give to the printer. If it should
turn out to be lost, and you haven’t a carbon copy, then Lord help
us! The artist (E. M. Stevenson, of New York) has done so good a
job on the “Wolfshead” cover that I have commissioned him to do
the June and July covers for us.
If you receive a sudden wire from me, you will know that I
have heard from the artist and that he has mislaid or lost the ms.
(something that has never occurred on Weird Tales so far); but to
hasten matters, I will be grateful if you will rush the carbon copy
to me any way, at once. Will you do this?

Howard replied in a letter (#038) on January 23:

Dear Sir;

I have no carbon copy of “Wolfshead”. I wrote this story while engaged upon a longer one, which I have not yet submitted to you, and I failed to make an extra copy.

I certainly hope that the mss. is not lost, but am today beginning to re-write it from memory. Kindly let me know whether the story is lost, immediately upon receiving this letter. If necessary, I can mail you the re-written ms. within twelve hours from the time I hear from you.

And Howard did rewrite the story from memory, but Wright got the original back from the artist. For the trouble, he paid Howard an extra $10. 

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