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Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2020 09:42AM

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 5 November, 2020 10:08AM
I ordered this one from Hippocampus Press a few days ago, and I'm looking forward to cracking the pages. The related volume of letters between CAS and George Sterling was an interesting peak into CAS' early development as an artist, and I hope the letters with Derleth will provide similar insights into CAS' mature creative years.

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2020 11:29AM
I've started reading through Eccentric, Impractical Devils, and while there's a lot of fairly uninteresting chatter about the business of getting stories published in pulp magazines, CAS does express some interesting viewpoints here and there on the craft of writing.

For anyone interested, I wrote a blog post about one of CAS' observations on the work of Charles Baudelaire in relation to the works of Poe and Lovecraft. CAS' ability to capture the essential differences between those writers very succinctly is quite impressive.

[www.desertdweller.net]

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2020 08:52PM
This is interesting.

I've never actually consider Poe's work as a whole, but have given some consideration to HPL's.
In what works do we find "...cosmic vastness which I find in Poe"? I am not sure I see this, on a superficial consideration.

--Sawfish

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"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."
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Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2020 09:06PM
Hah! An additional subjective observation re French authors...

I've read some of Les Fleurs du Mal and Flaubert, Satre, Houellebeq. With Rabelais, you can't tell, but with Villon you can. My gut impression is that all of them (except Rabelais, maybe) have a certain subjective perception: they talk about how phenomena affect the *individual*--usually themselves, rather than the broader perspective of humanity as a whole.

So I don't expect much in the way of a cosmic POV from the Frenchies...

How about you?

--Sawfish

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 15 November, 2020 10:28AM
Sawfish Wrote:
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> In what works do we find "...cosmic vastness which
> I find in Poe"? I am not sure I see this, on a
> superficial consideration.

I think "cosmic vastness" is largely present in Poe's works in verse and prose poetry (not so much in his better-known short fiction). The best examples I know are the long poem "Al Aaraaf" and "Eureka - A Prose Poem" (both linked below). The latter is a challenging read, but fascinating nonetheless.

If you're as geeked out on this stuff as I can be at times, the third link below is to Francis Antosca's M.A. thesis "Tamerlane to Eureka: The Evolution of Poe's Cosmic Myth". Despite being an academic work, Antosca's thesis is quite readable, and his analysis of cosmic themes in Poe's verse is excellent.


[poets.org]

[xroads.virginia.edu]

[digitalcommons.uri.edu]

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 16 November, 2020 04:14PM
Thanks, Oldjoe!!!

Speaking of "geeked-out", I am teaching myself Python. I had a brief project writing a shell script to massage some metadata in digital image files, and I wanted to sorta "Rosetta Stone" the shell script to Python because it would really help me to more quickly understand the language.

I expect to be able to participate more on the ED forum.

--Sawfish

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 17 November, 2020 09:44AM
Sawfish Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Speaking of "geeked-out", I am teaching myself
> Python. I had a brief project writing a shell
> script to massage some metadata in digital image
> files, and I wanted to sorta "Rosetta Stone" the
> shell script to Python because it would really
> help me to more quickly understand the language.

Sounds like a fun project Sawfish. I use Python every day in my working life, and compared to other programming languages that I used earlier in my career, Python is truly a joy to work with, given its tendency to concise expression and self-documenting code.

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Sawfish (IP Logged)
Date: 18 November, 2020 05:21PM
My only quibble so far is that the conditional blocks are not explicitly delimited, being reliant on levels of indentation.

But I'll get used to it, like I do with most other stuff...

--Sawfish

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 21 December, 2020 10:23AM
I just finished reading Eccentric, Impractical Devils (it's a big book!) and was quite moved by the following passage from CAS' wife Carol to August Derleth, written shortly after CAS' death:

Quote:
Carol Smith
He was so far above the ordinary man in development, he will surely go on to a higher form of life, unimpeded by our earthly bodily needs, and crude instincts to kill, maim, and otherwise pollute the earth's surface, air, and water.

A simple tribute, but really quite moving as a remembrance from one who was so close to CAS.

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 23 December, 2020 07:10PM
That may be the one and only time I've ever read a direct quote from Carol Smith, and those are the words only someone strongly devoted would say! Has she said anything else of interest?

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 24 December, 2020 03:11PM
Hespire Wrote:
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> Has she said anything else of interest?

The volume of CAS/Derleth correspondence contains only excerpts from a few letters between Carol Smith and Derleth, mostly written after CAS' death. The conversation generally revolves around Carol's belief that Arkham House was not doing enough to promote CAS' work to a wider audience (such as via paperback publication), but not surprisingly Derleth was able to make thoughtful arguments about CAS' appeal to only a limited audience.

However, Carol Smith does make a good point in one of her letters to Derleth that she believed CAS' works might be more popular in Europe (France especially) than in the US. It seems she was correct, since I believe French translations of CAS have been in publication at least since the mid-1970's.

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 26 December, 2020 02:59AM
That's fascinating. I had no clue CAS had any kind of strong following outside this country. I understand he's been published in other countries, and I have a friend in Japan who loves and illustrates his work, but that French news still surprises me. I wonder what makes CAS so suited for European, or at least French, tastes. Could it be his romantic and classical themes?

Re: Smith/Derleth correspondence
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 26 December, 2020 09:43AM
Hespire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder what makes CAS so suited
> for European, or at least French, tastes. Could it
> be his romantic and classical themes?

I'm not surprised by CAS' popularity amongst French speakers, given the whole fin de siècle movement, Baudelaire, and the enduring popularity of both Lovecraft and Poe in France. Any country that could originate the Grand Guignol certainly has a taste for the weird!

I've been re-learning my French recently and some day I hope to buy one of the beautiful French-language CAS volumes from Les Éditions Mnémos. What could be better than reading the Averoigne stories in French!

[www.mnemos.com]



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