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August Derleth
Posted by: rutledge_442 (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2006 04:34PM
I am looking for the complete works from August Derleth in pdf format, can anyone help me?

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 24 September, 2006 07:59PM
That would be a huge series of files - the man's output was immense. George Vanderburgh of Battered Silicon Dispatch Box or April Derleth of Arkham House might be able to help you.


Re: August Derleth
Posted by: garymorris (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2006 02:30AM
The complete Derleth? This has to be a joke. His bibliography is huge, spans many decades and many publishers besides Arkham and its subsidiaries. The man was inhumanly productive, banging out novels, nonfiction, endless magazine articles and stories and poems at an alarming rate. Every time I turn around I seem to see a new, hitherto unnoticed Derleth! Anyone read, for example, "The Wind Leans West" or "Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus"?

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: rutledge_442 (IP Logged)
Date: 26 September, 2006 05:34PM
o0oh i did find a site that had lovecraft's complete works, poems, articles, and stories he wrote as a little kid in pdf format. it also had a great selection of peices he did with other writers and i didn't know if derleth's fans might have put up a site like that for him.

excuse the ignorance of mine i am 15 and only been reading and studying the mythos for 8months or so

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 28 September, 2006 06:35PM
to Rutledge:

My dear young friend, congratulations on finding this site, and delving into this amazing literature - you are just the kind of presence that makes us older devotees
willing to keep at it; and speaking in Cleark's stead, welcome!
One of Derleth's last works was "The Dark of the Moon" and the dust jacket has
a photo with him in Black cape - He actually looked a lot like Virgil Fox (famous organist, now deceased, friend of mine, with similar pretensions to being a mysterious entity. Used to do POP concerts called "Heavy Organ" - goes well with arcane literature.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2006 11:44AM
Derleth's still copyrighted (while the status of HPL's stories is perhaps sketchy at best -- though I think Arkham House did force that "Lovecraft Library" site out of the web, did it not? Certain HPL stories, though, are without a doubt in public domain. But who wants to read etexts when printed versions are available so cheap?).

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: garymorris (IP Logged)
Date: 29 September, 2006 11:58PM
Hey Rutledge,

Here's another hearty welcome to the wonderful world of CA Smith, Derleth, HPL, and the other Weird Tales/Arkham luminaries! It's reassuring to know there are kids out there interested in this stuff. Good luck on your search for the complete Derleth! (should take at least a decade or so...)

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Radovarl (IP Logged)
Date: 1 October, 2006 09:08AM
Perhaps this is a silly question, but why would you want the complete works of August Derleth? Maybe what little I've read of his (the "Quest for Cthulhu" trade paperback) is not his best work, but it was so terrible (in the sense of "bad") that I just gave up. Seems to me Derleth completely missed the mark; he takes Lovecraft's cosmic entities and turns them into mere monsters.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: garymorris (IP Logged)
Date: 1 October, 2006 04:57PM
I don't agree that everything Derleth wrote was bad, though I'm not crazy about his HPL pastiches (a few stories in his first collection, the 1941 Someone in the Dark, resonate in a forlorn, Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman or Stanley McNail kind of way). I've got his Collected Poems and he was a fine nature poet, very persuasive. I also liked Evening in Spring, which I read some years ago. Haven't checked out the Solar Pons stories. Does everybody here think Derleth is a bad writer?

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 2 October, 2006 12:48PM
A few comments.

Last I checked, a few weeks ago, the etext library of Lovecraft is still out there.

As for Derleth as a writer, some remarks are appropriate. For one thing, he got dunked for supposedly "Christianizing" the mythos. A couple of well known critics really went after him about 20 years ago, and some of the hostile comments about Derleth today still go back to this negative criticism.

Actually, this is not entirely fair. Lovecraft himself used "evil" and "wickedness" to turn the screw in a number of his tales. "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward," for example, has an evil necromancer who is involved in black witchcraft and is -- plain out -- evil. Ditto for old Whateley in "Dunwich Horror." In TCOCDW there's even an old fashioned Salem style witch burning, firewood and all. Demons galore, you name it. The idea that Lovecraft projected "scientific detachment" and eschewed all these superstitious tonalities is a fond belief of some, but doesn't stand up. Lovecraft was not very internally consistent. And like many writers, he would throw in everything but the kitchen sink if it could intensify the atmosphere of his stories.

Also, Derleth's weird tales have seldom been selectively edited. Everything is lumped together in the existing editions, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. If one selects carefully, a short story collection of Derleth's could be assembled that would really stand up. Part of the problem is that Derleth cranked out lots of material for the commercial market, so there's some shallow or sloppy work out there.

For a sample of the better Derleth weird tales, try "The Trail of Cthulhu," which is a collection of short stories that link into one long narrative. Almost like an episodic novel.

Derleth's writing style is certainly more readable than Lovecraft's, who wrote an old-fashioned very dense style choked with latinate words and 85-word sentences.

For a good defense of Derleth, check out the lengthy intro to "Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos" by Robert M. Price.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: garymorris (IP Logged)
Date: 2 October, 2006 09:29PM
That's an interesting point about the Derleth collections, one I hadn't thought of.

It's true that there's been no particular scholarship/annotations or even really thoughtful anthologizing of his work, the way we've seen (or will see) for HPL, Smith, Howard, etc. I can't imagine, for example, Joshi putting out an annotated edition of, say, Someone in the Dark. On the other hand, Derleth assembled most of the collections himself. I think he was more careful with his poetry, which ultimately probably meant more to him than the stories. (He's a fine poet to my mind.)

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 4 October, 2006 08:17AM
garymorris --

Some of his collections of stories Derleth may have edited himself, but the collections that get the most bitter criticism were assembled after his death.

These are the so-called "posthumous collaborations" with Lovecraft. Well, Lovecraft had been dead a good while, but Derleth had access to Lovecraft's literary papers. He took snippets of material out of Lovecraft and used these segments as a basis for short stories. So these so-called collaborations -- while they may have varied a little -- were generally about 90 percent Derleth.

Three collections of these stories came out -- The Lurker at the Threshhold, The Watchers Out of Time, and The Survivor. Unfortunately, it turns out that all three collections were assembled after Derleth's death by the managers of Arkham House press. While there are a few exceptions, these stories were mostly cranked out in a hurry for the commercial market. They were also attributed on the cover to Lovecraft, when Lovecraft's contribution was minimal. (They are all copyright August Derleth.)

I would have been more critical if Derleth himself had put these out, but I believe it was his heirs hoping to make a few $$$$. And of course, when they were collected and published, Derleth was in the cemetery.

But this debate has been going on for a long time, and we will not resolve it here. I would say that Derleth could use a really rigorous editor that would put together a collection of his best stories, not just his total Cthulhu output, good or bad, which is pretty much what has been done up until now. Derleth wrote more than 1000 pages of Cthulhu type fiction, so even an edit would still result in a pretty decent-sized book.


Re: August Derleth
Posted by: garymorris (IP Logged)
Date: 4 October, 2006 11:29AM

Not sure what you're saying here. Derleth died in 1971, and his major HPL "collaborations" (not, of course!) were certainly published during his lifetime, first in Weird Tales Magazine and then by Arkham: The Lurker at the Threshold in 1945 and The Survivor and Others in 1957. (His other "non-collaboration" Mythos collections like Mask of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu also appeared while he was alive, respectively in 1958 and 1962.)

Undoubtedly AD assembled his own books while alive (and, given his superhuman energy, probably set the contents for Watchers Out of Time, which appeared in 1974). So I think it's reasonable to some extent to credit or discredit him, according to your view of Derleth, in terms of the way his work's been received and parsed.

Regards, Gary Morris

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Glyptodont (IP Logged)
Date: 4 October, 2006 07:13PM
Good point. But even so, I believe I can add a little clarification.

First, Derleth wrote all these bogus "collaborations." It was probably questionable that he tried to let on that any collaboration had taken place, since you cannot really "collaborate" with a dead person. So there was a taste of the bogus to this.

However, what really infuriates Lovecraft fans is to buy these books thinking they are buying Lovecraft's own writing, because the only author's name on the cover is "H.P. Lovecraft."

If Derleth had been alive when these books were arranged for the press with the sole author's name on the cover being "H.P. Lovecraft" it would be very questionable. But let's take one of these books, Watchers Out of Time.

Derleth died in 1971. In 1974, Watchers Out of Time appears, surely assembled by the then managing editor of the press. The sole author on the cover is H.P. Lovecraft. This "false advertising" of Lovecraft's sole name on the cover of the book is what infuriates "cheated" Lovecraft patrons, who only realize after buying the book that they are getting pastiches. The copyright page shows that every single story in the book is copyright Derleth, contradicting the cover. These readers are not fools. They know they've been had.

I do not own copies of the Lurker On the Threshold and Survivor, so I am not sure what the story is with them.

To help clarify, here's just one Amazon review of The Watchers Out of Time --

Until the publisher puts August Derleth's name on the cover of this book, I'm gonna give it one star. This is just ridiculous. Imagine, if you will, Stephen King's publisher writing a book after King dies, then publishing it under King's name. That's basically what August Derleth and the publishing company have done here.

I think Derleth is dead, so this isn't really his fault. Still, I wasted five bucks thinking I was buying a book of H.P. Lovecraft stories.

Stick to the Del Rey or Arkham House published Lovecraft books. At least those ones were written by Lovecraft himself.

Unfortunately, by and large these are not even very good. At least some of Lovecraft's "revisions" were darn good.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 4 Oct 06 | 07:26PM by Glyptodont.

Re: August Derleth
Posted by: Gavin Callaghan (IP Logged)
Date: 4 October, 2006 07:33PM
My own point of view is that The Survivor and Others, by Derleth, is a really fine Lovecraft tribute, and is well put together. If you check the contents, you can see that Derleth has carefully managed to include at least one story from every important Lovecraft period: "Wentworth’s Day" is basically a traditional colloquial New Englander-type horror, a la HPL's "In the Vault"; "The Lamp of Alhazred" is basically an exercise in boring Lovecraftian nostaligia, a la "The Silver Key"; "The Shadow Out of Space" is basically a tale in the mould of Lovecraft's later science-fiction-type horrors; "The Gable Window" is a rehash of HPL's Cthulhu-universe fiction; and "The Survivor" is basically an exercise in HPL's trademark fiction dealing with hybrids/decay .

Derleth's The Trail of Cthulu and The Lurker at the Threshold, however, are absolutely horrendous. I read them as a child and liked them, but going back over them recently I could see how poorly-constructed they were. Derleth does manage to insert some interesting personal touches in these stories; he mentions Charles Fort occassionally; he inserts a portrait/homage to HPL in the appearance of one his characters; and he manages even to extrapolate a little on the repressed homoerotic tenor of some of HPL's fiction, when he has two of his (male) characters sleep together in The Trail of Cthulhu, with one of the characters watching the other longingly while they sleep. But these entertaining bits are too few and far between.

I still have yet to read any examples written in Derleth's own personal style....

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 4 Oct 06 | 07:35PM by Gavin Callaghan.

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