Eccentric, Impractical Devils: The Letters of August Derleth and Clark Ashton Smith


  • Edited by David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi
  • Cover art and design by Jason Van Hollander
  • October 31, 2020
  • Paperback: ISBN 9781614982227
  • 602 pages




Clark Ashton Smith and August Derleth came in touch in 1930 through their mutual colleague H. P. Lovecraft. Thus began a thirty-year association that ended only with Smith’s death in 1961. Their letters afford an intimate glimpse into the lives of two working writers. They offer a rare opportunity to see how Derleth managed his writing and also his growing publishing company, Arkham House, even to the particulars of content selection, royalty payments, and so on. Derleth’s concern for Smith’s well-being is manifestly evident, as is the commitment of Derleth and Donald Wandrei to publishing Smith’s greatest book—even if it meant twenty-two years of enduring patience to do so.


For his part, Smith clearly regarded Derleth as a friend, colleague, and financial lifeline. Even if their interests somewhat diverged in their later years, they both cherished each other’s association and worked together where they feasibly could. These letters chronicle the heyday and then the demise of Weird Tales and other pulp magazines; the establishment of what long remained the leading small press in the weird fiction field; and many other personal and literary issues that illuminate the minds and personalities of their authors.


The volume has been thoroughly edited annotated by David E. Schultz and S. T. Joshi, two of the leading authorities on both writers, and includes exhaustive bibliographical information on all works cited in the letters.


Related titles:

The Shadow of the Unattained: The Letters of George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith

Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill: The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith [2 VOLUMES]


This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 22 October, 2020.