Rediscovered: 50th Anniversaries

And as an inevitable footnote to the celebration of Donald Sidney-Fryer’s 1971 book Songs and Sonnets Atlantean reaching its fiftieth anniversary, obviously the death of his publisher August Derleth only weeks after release would have occurred fifty years ago, as well — July 4, 1971.

A large part of the mystique of S&SA consists of the fact that by chance and happenstance it was the last Arkham House book released under the personal guidance of Derleth. As I once noted in Firsts: The Book Collectors Magazine, by one calculus of collecting you could begin your set of Arkham House books with Lovecraft’s The Outsider and Others from 1939 and close it down with S&SA.

The Derleth Years.

A good run.

Over on the DMR blog Deuce Richardson handled the landmark anniversary of Derleth’s death yesterday. If interested in this sort of arcane literary material, surf over and check it out. Many intriguing points — perhaps my favorite being the note that Derleth did what he did in real time, which is to say editing collections of modern science fiction when the genre was emerging from the pulp magazines and the top talents weren’t as yet deified. Battling to get recognition for Lovecraft when he had only the most tentative toeholds on cultural standing.

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