August William Derleth (February 24 1909 – July 4 1971) was an American writer and anthologist. Though best remembered as Howard Phillips Lovecraft's literary executor and for his own contributions to the Cthulhu Mythos genre of horror, Derleth was a prolific writer in several genres, including historical fiction and detective fiction.
The son of William Julius Derleth and his wife Rose Louise Volk, he grew up in Sauk City, Wisconsin. At the age of 16, he sold his first story to Weird Tales magazine. Derleth wrote all throughout his four years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a B.A. in 1930. During this time he served briefly as editor of Mystic Magazine.
In the mid-1930s he organised a Ranger's Club for young people, served as clerk and president of the local Board of Education, served as a parole officer, organised a local Men's Club and a Parent-Teacher Association. He also lectured in American Regional Literature at the University of Wisconsin.
In 1941 he became literary editor of The Capital Times newspaper in Madison, a post he held until his resignation in 1960.
Derleth was married April 6 1953 to Sandra Evelyn Winters; they were divorced six years later in 1959. He retained custody of their two children, April Rose and Walden William. In 1960, Derleth began editing and publishing a magazine called Hawk and Whippoorwill, dedicated to poems of man and nature.
He died on July 4, 1971 and is buried in St. Aloysius Cemetery in Sauk City.
Derleth was a contemporary and friend of H. P. Lovecraft — when Lovecraft wrote about "le Comte d'Erlette" in his fiction, it was in homage to Derleth. Derleth invented the term Cthulhu Mythos to describe the fictional universe described in the series of stories shared by Lovecraft and other writers in his circle. Derleth's own writing emphasized the struggle between good and evil, in line with his own Christian worldview and in contrast with Lovecraft's depiction of an amoral universe. Derleth also treated Lovecraft's Old Ones as representatives of elemental forces, creating new entities to flesh out this framework.
When Lovecraft died in 1937, Derleth and Donald Wandrei put together a collection of that author's stories and tried to get them published. With existing publishers showing little interest, they founded Arkham House in 1939 to do it themselves. The name of the company comes from Lovecraft's fictional town of Arkham, Massachusetts, which featured in many of his stories.
Following Lovecraft's death, Derleth wrote a number of stories based on fragments and notes left by Lovecraft. These were published in Weird Tales and later in book form, under the byline "H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth", with Derleth calling himself a "posthumous collaborator".
In 1939 Arkham House published The Outsider and Others, a huge collection that contained most of Lovecraft's short stories then known to exist. Derleth and Wandrei soon decided to expand Arkham House and began a regular publishing schedule after its second book, Someone in the Dark in 1941, a collection of some of Derleth's own horror stories.
A significant number of H.P. Lovecraft fans find themselves dissatisfied with Derleth's invention of the term Cthulhu Mythos and his belief that Lovecraft's fiction has an overall pattern, influenced by Derleth's Christianity. Other complaints deal with the "posthumous collaborations". Still there is little but praise for Derleth for his founding of Arkham House and for successful effort to rescue Lovecraft from literary obscurity.
Derleth wrote more than 150 short stories and more than 100 books during his lifetime. Included among that number were several novels about a Sherlock Holmes-like British detective named Solar Pons. His other series included the Sac Prairie Saga and the Wisconsin Saga and the Judge Peck series.
He also wrote introductions to several collections of classic early 20th century comics such as Buster Brown, Little Nemo in Slumberland, and Katzenjammer Kids, as well as a book of children's poetry entitled A Boy's Way. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Stephen Grendon, Kenyon Holmes and Tally Mason.
Derleth's papers and comic book collection were donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison. They have been organized by the State Archives that is located there.
Mythos fiction Edit
|The Mask of Cthulhu (1958)||The Trail of Cthulhu (1962)||The Watchers Out of Time and Others (1974; "with H.P. Lovecraft")||In Lovecraft's Shadow: The Cthulhu Mythos Stories of August Derleth (1998)|
- "The Adventures of Six Silver Spiders" (crossover with the Solar Pons cycle)
Solar Pons Edit
Although not generally considered part of the Mythos, the Solar Pons cycle crossed over with the Lovecraftian Mythos in "The Adventure of the Six Silver Spiders," and thus it can be considrered as an adjacent cycle of works.
|"In Re: Sherlock Holmes"--The Adventures of Solar Pons- (in the UK "The Adventures of Solar Pons") (1945)||The Memoirs of Solar Pons (1951)||Three Problems for Solar Pons (1952)||The Return of Solar Pons (1958)|
|The Reminiscences of Solar Pons (1961)||The Casebook of Solar Pons (1965)||A Praed Street Dossier (1968)||The Chronicles of Solar Pons (1973)|
- Mr. Fairlie's Final Journey (1968)
|The Solar Pons Omnibus (1982)||The Final Adventures of Solar Pons (1998)||The Dragnet Solar Pons et al. (2011)||The Unpublished Solar Pons (1994)|
|Someone in the Dark (1941)||Something Near (1945)||Not Long for this World (1948; as Stephen Grenden)||The Survivor and Others (1957; with H.P. Lovecraft)|
|Lonesome Places (1962)||Mr. George and Other Odd Persons (1963; as Stephen Grenden)||Colonel Markesan and Less Pleasant People (1966; with Mark Schorer)||Dwellers in Darkness (1976)|
|Harrigan's File (1975)||Uncollected stories|
- The Wisconsin: River of a Thousand Isles (1942)
- The Milwaukee Road: Its First Hundred Years (1948)
Religious History Edit
- Saint Ignatius and the Company of Jesus (1956)
- Father Marquette and the Great River (1959)
- Introduction (The Mask of Cthulhu) (unknown)
- Foreword (Who Knocks?) (1946)
- Foreword (The Night Side) (1947)
- Introduction (The Sleeping and the Dead) (1947)
- Foreword (Not Long for This World) (1948)
- Introduction (Strange Ports of Call) (1948)
- Introduction (The Other Side of the Moon) (1949)
- Introduction (Beyond Time and Space) (1950)
- Foreword (The Outer Reaches) (1951)
- Introduction (The Haunter of the Dark) (1951)
- Introduction (Beachheads in Space) (1952)
- Introduction (Worlds of Tomorrow) (1953)
- Foreword (Time to Come) (1954)
- Introduction (Beachheads in Space) (1954)
- Introduction (Portals of Tomorrow) (1954)
- Introduction (Worlds of Tomorrow) (1955)
- Foreword (Dark Mind, Dark Heart) (1962)
- Foreword (Time to Come) (1963)
- H.P. Lovecraft And His Work (1963)
- H.P. Lovecraft And His Work (1963)
- Introduction (Mr. George and Other Odd Persons) (1963)
- Introduction (Worlds of Tomorrow) (1963)
- Introduction (Beachheads in Space) (1964)
- Introduction (From Other Worlds) (1964)
- Foreword (The Night Side) (1966)
- Foreword (The Unspeakable People) (1969)
- Clark Ashton Smith: Master of Fantasy (1974) with Donald Wandrei
As Editor Edit
From Arkham House's founding till his death, Derleth acted as editorial director, approving of which story or not was to be published and therefore part of the Derleth Mythos.
Cthulhu Mythos Anthologies/Collections Edit
- Tales of the Cthulhu Mythos (1969)
- The Survivor and Others (1957) "with H. P. Lovecraft"
- The Mask of Cthulhu (1958)
- The Trail of Cthulhu (1962)
- The Watchers Out of Time and Others (1974) "with H. P. Lovecraft"
- Dwellers in Darkness (1976)
- In Lovecraft's Shadow (1998)
- Sleep No More (1944)
- Who Knocks? (1946)
- The Night Side (1947)
- The Sleeping and the Dead (1947)
- Strange Ports of Call (1948)
- The Other Side of the Moon (1949)
- Beyond Time and Space (1950)
- Far Boundaries (1951)
- The Outer Reaches (1951)
- Beachheads in Space (1952)
- Night's Yawning Peal: A Ghostly Company (1952)
- Worlds of Tomorrow (1953)
- Portals of Tomorrow (1954)
- Time to Come (1954)
- Dark Mind, Dark Heart (1962)
- New Worlds for Old (1963)
- The Sleeping and the Dead (abridged) (1963)
- The Time of Infinity (1963)
- The Unquiet Grave (1963)
- From Other Worlds (1964)
- Over the Edge (1964)
- Travellers by Night (1967)
- Dark Things (1971)
- New Horizons: Yesterday's Portraits of Tomorrow (1998)
- Place of Hawks (1935)
- Consider Your Verdict (1937) as Tally Mason
- Country Growth (1940)
- Someone in the Dark (1941)
- Something Near (1945)
- Wisconsin Earth: A Sac Prarie Sampler (1948)
- Sac Prarie People (1948)
- Not Long for this World (1948)
- Wisconsin in Their Bones (1961)
- This Wound (1962)
- Lonesome Places (1962)
- Mr. George and Other Odd Persons (1963) as Stephen Grendon
- Colonel Markesan and Less Pleasant People (1966) with Mark Schorer
- A Praed Street Dossier (1968)
- Wisconsin Murders (1968)
- Harrigan's File (1975)
- (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature Chicago: Shasta Publishers, p. 98.
- (1962). 100 Books by August Derleth Sauk City, WI: Arkham House.
- (1989). The Arkham House Companion Mercer Island, WA: Starmont House, Inc..
- (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998 Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd..
- (2004). Arkham House Books: A Collector's Guide Jefferson, NC and London: McFarland & Company, Inc..