August Derleth Biography

Biography

Biography

(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

August William Derleth was born in Sauk City, Wisconsin, on February 24, 1909. As a child he went to St. Aloysius School and Sauk City High School, after which he attended the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1930. Derleth sold his first story, “Bat’s Belfry,” when he was fifteen, and his interest in horror stories continued throughout his life. Some of his tales, such as those collected in The Mask of Cthulhu (1958), are written on themes reminiscent of Lovecraft, whose work Derleth greatly admired.

As a boy, Derleth read and enjoyed the Sherlock Holmes stories. When he was nineteen, he wrote to Doyle, asking if he would write any more adventures. When the reply contained no promise to do so, Derleth decided to continue the tradition himself. Thus, in 1928 while still at the university, he wrote “The Adventure of the Black Narcissus,” using Solar Pons and Dr. Lyndon Parker as his main characters, clearly modeled on Holmes and Dr. Watson. The story appeared in The Dragnet magazine in February, 1929. With this success, Derleth quickly wrote new adventures, including “The Adventure of the Missing Tenants,” “The Adventure of the Late Mr. Faversham,” and “The Adventure of the Limping Man.” He wrote quickly, once composing three Solar Pons stories in one day, one of which was the much-praised story “The Adventure of the Norcross Riddle.”

Derleth worked as an editor for Fawcett Publications in Minneapolis in 1930-1931 and was a lecturer in American regional literature at the University of Wisconsin from 1939 to 1943. As owner and cofounder of Arkham House Publishers in Sauk City from 1939 to 1971, he made some of his greatest contributions, including the preservation of Lovecraft’s fiction in book form after the original collections went out of print in the late 1940’s and 1950’s. In 1953 Derleth married Sandra Winters; they had one daughter and one son. They were divorced in 1959.

Derleth wrote more than one hundred books during his life and edited dozens of others. Among the honors he received are a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1938, the Scholastic Award in 1958, the Midland Authors Award (for poetry) in 1965, and the Ann Radcliffe Award in 1967. He died on July 4, 1971.

Biography

(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Born in Sauk City, Wisconsin, on February 24, 1909, August William Derleth was the son of William Julius and Rose Louise Volk Derleth. He attended St. Aloysius School and Sauk City High School and received his B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1930. His career in writing began early, when he sold his first story, “Bat’s Belfry,” at age fifteen, and his interest in horror stories continued throughout his life. Some of his later tales are written on themes reminiscent of H. P. Lovecraft, whose work Derleth admired.

During his youth, Derleth also enjoyed Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. After writing to Arthur Conan Doyle to ask if he would write any more adventures and receiving no promise that he would do so, Derleth decided to continue the tradition himself. Thus, in 1928, while still a student, he created the Solar Pons character, patterned after Holmes. His story “The Adventures of the Black Narcissus” appeared in Dragnet magazine in February, 1929. With this success, he quickly wrote new adventures. Unfortunately, the 1929 stock market crash wiped out Dragnet, and these stories remained unpublished until years later.

Derleth worked as an editor of Mystic Magazine for Fawcett Publications in Minneapolis in 1930-1931, leaving when the magazine was discontinued to edit The Midwesterner in Madison. In 1933, he contracted with the publishers Loring and Mussey for a series of...

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Biography

(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

August William Derleth was a prolific Wisconsin author. His work includes novels, short stories, poetry, autobiography and memoir, biography, history, works for younger readers, and numerous edited anthologies. He wrote realistic regional literature as well as science fiction, horror stories, mysteries, and several volumes of Sherlock Holmes pastiches (featuring his character, Solar Pons). He played a key role in popularizing the work of the early twentieth century writer of supernatural stories, H. P. Lovecraft, and was cofounder of Arkham House publishing company in Sauk City, Wisconsin.{$S[A]Grendon, Stephen;Derleth, August}{$S[A]Mason, Tally;Derleth, August}{$S[A]Heath, Eldon;Derleth, August}{$S[A]West, Simon;Derleth, August}{$S[A]West, Michael;Derleth, August}{$S[A]Holmes, Kenyon;Derleth, August}{$S[A]Garth, Will;Derleth, August}{$S[A]Devon, Romily;Derleth, August}

Derleth was the son of William Julius and Rose Louise Volk Derleth. His parents ran a blacksmith shop in the small Wisconsin River town of Sauk City. He attended St. Aloysius parochial school there and later the University of Wisconsin, where he received a B.A. degree in 1930. He showed an early interest in writing and sold his first story to the publication Weird Tales at the age of seventeen. Following his graduation from college, he spent a year working for a Minneapolis publisher, then returned to Sauk City, where he spent the rest of his life.

After publishing several popular works, his first serious piece of fiction, Still Is the Summer Night, was published by Scribner’s in 1937. The work gained him the attention of Sinclair Lewis, Edgar Lee Masters, and Helen C. White, who served as his sponsors for a Guggenheim Fellowship, which he was awarded the following year. This also marked the beginning of what was to be a major focus of his creative effort in the years ahead, his Sac Prairie Saga.

In the years that followed, he wrote at an amazing rate in all of the genres mentioned above, and the Sac Prairie Saga...

(The entire section is 831 words.)