Rediscovered: The Derleth Mythos

Man, has LitCrit Month been disrupted, or what? Lots of potential posts as yet undone — but I’ve got a cool excuse for inaction.

On the side I’ve been reading a proof of John Haefele’s upcoming book-length study of how August Derleth of Arkham House took the Cthulhu Mythos, out of H. P. Lovecraft and others, and ran with it.

Wall-to-wall litcrit, lots of it. I promised Haefele I’d look it over when he got the book done, and that’s what I’ve been doing, especially with an eye to making sure that Haefele doesn’t leave any big holes in his arguments.

You jump into the knife-fight, you want to watch your back.

He’s taking on the almost thankless task of defending Derleth, whipping post for recent generations of Lovecraft scholars, and does a great job of it — in particular, he’s razor sharp on pointing out how certain otherwise respected scholars repeatedly get the facts wrong as they make their attacks on Derleth. That stuff is interesting, but the manuscript begins to fly when he gets into Lovecraft’s original fiction — the best writing on good old HPL I’ve read in a long time.

I think the book will be ready before Xmas. I’ll put out the word when it hits print.


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