Goto Thread: PreviousNext
Goto:  Message ListNew TopicSearchLog In
A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2014 05:35PM
John Haefele's paperback (and affordable) version of A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos is out, and I've done a review of it on Amazon. It's a very solid book in nearly every regard, and I think adds considerably to the scholarly analysis of Derleth with regards to Lovecraft and weird fiction.

One thing that did catch my eye, which was too small to really note in the review, are the relatively frequent references to Clark Ashton Smith in the text. I don't mean that Haefele really relied on Smith to justify Derleth's fiction or business practices to much extant - but like Derleth, Smith was a writer in the Mythos who had been contemporary (and eventually outlived) both men, and so forms sort of a common point of reference in how they developed their individual parts of the Mythos. I would, one day, like to read more on Derleth and Smith's business and personal relationship - I've read their letters that have been published, but I imagine there are more, and it would be interesting to see more of what they talked about back in the day, and the circumstances surrounding the creation and sale of Smith's books at Arkham House.

Re: A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: Geoffrey (IP Logged)
Date: 25 October, 2014 10:44PM
Thank you for your review. It sounds like a fascinating book. I've asked my local library to purchase it.

The back cover says that the "notorious Black Magic quote" is covered in "unprecedented detail". What insights does the book give on this matter?

Re: A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2014 08:45AM
There's basically a chapterette on it; Haefele basically looks very closely at David Schultz' "The Origin of Lovecraft's 'Black Magic Quote'" and Joshi's commentary on it - Joshi in his review of the book took Haefele to task on a few points - but most of the chapter is given over to how the quote could have been perceived as genuine by Derleth, and promulgated in good faith, rather than the "charade" which Joshi claimed. A large part of the chapter, for example, is dedicated to showing how much Lovecraft used magic in his stories, which could have led Derleth to believe it. It's not a bad point to make, and Haefele also points out that not all of the Lovecraft-Harold Farnese correspondence exists, so there remains the slim possibility that Lovecraft did write the quote or something to that effect (though Haefele and Joshi agree probably not).

It's...indicative of the problem I had with the book. Written as a rebuttal, it is almost more concerned with proving Joshi & co. wrong than it is with informing the reader with the unvarnished facts (at least as far as they are known) at any point.

tl;dr: Never trust the back cover copy.

Re: A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: deuce (IP Logged)
Date: 15 November, 2014 09:13AM
As AH notes, Haefele's book is a "rebuttal". How could it not be, considering the roughly 40yrs that Joshi has had to posdthumously defame Derleth?

Let us all remember that Derleth kept CAS in print (to no great profit) during a very bleak period.

Clark Ashton Smith is mentioned again and again in A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos[i][/i]. How not, since CAS was instrumental in the foundation of the Cthulhu Mythos (distinct from the "Lovecraft Mythos")?

Speaking as a former "anti-Derlethian", I can say that Haefele makes an excellent case for Derleth being a "co-founder" (in an active, direct sense) of the Cthulhu Mythos, right along with HPL. Smith and REH, being actual peers of Lovecraft, were already contributing. Derleth, aided and abetted by HPL (as is shown in numerous quotes), ran with the concept.

Contrary to what Joshi/etc have said, Derleth did NOT write reams of "Mythos" tales year in, year out. In fact, there were years-long gaps. Derleth was no saint. He did what he had to do to keep Arkham House afloat. Doing so put CAS (and Lovecraft and Howard) in quality hardcovers. That bridged the gap to the '70s when all three were able to stand on their own merits.

Re: A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 15 November, 2014 10:26PM
CAS was in no way "instrumental" in the foundation of the Cthulhu Mythos. He played with it some few times, but his work is, to my mind, deliciously his own, unique and ingenious.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

Re: A Look Behind the Derleth Mythos
Posted by: redcoffe (IP Logged)
Date: 3 January, 2015 07:18AM
Derleth was no saint. He did what he had to do to keep Arkham House afloat.












_________________________
Fut coins



Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.
Top of Page