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Schoenfeld, Clay (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 48, Number 10 (July 1947-Aug. 1947)

Badgers you should know,   pp. 12-13


Page 12


GUST DERLETH could ever, by some unusually strong magic, be persuaded
isn't half so good as he thinks he is, if he would learn the art of sitting
d using a blue pencil, he might become twice as good as he thinks he is,
w ould about rank him with Homer."-SI1NCLAIR. LEWIS.-
AUGUST DERLETH, ,'30, Author,
  Sauk City, Wisconsin
  At 38, the prolific Mr. Derleth
might well defy the output of a
government printing office. Be-
hind him are 21 years of writing,
five worn-out typewriters, and
more than- 10 million words in
  prqposed 50-volume series called Sac
  Prairie Saga-depicting life- in the
  twin villages of Sauk City and Prairie
  du Sac from the time of their Settle-
  ment in 1830 to about 1950. Nineteen
  of the projected 50 are now in the
  bookstores.
    Despite his amazing productivity and
  the speed with which he writes, critics
  agree that Derleth's work is not su-
  perficial., His published books' include
  a long succession of novels, volumes of
  verse, biographical works, short story
  collections, and anthology editions of
  various kinds., Most successful of the
  Sac Prairie novels has been Wind Over
  ,Wisconsin, selling over 10,000 copies.
  His anthology of ghost and horror
  stories, Sleep No More, has 'had print-
  ings totaling 170,000 copies.,
     August is a big, blond, vigorous
   young man-standing just under six
   feet, weighing 210 pounds. He is ad-
   dicted to informal clothes in general,'
   turtle neck sweaters in particular. An
   avid" nature lover, he spends hours
   roaming the banks of the Wisconsin
   River and, observing the wild life.
   Other hobbies are fencing, swimming,
   chess, and stamp-collecting. He has
   never smoked, drinks sparingly, and
   aside from  possible overwork, takes
   good care of his health.       _
     Ever since he began writing in a
   corner of his parents' living room,
   Derleth has kept rigorous hours. He
   sleeps six hours a night, gets up at
   6 o'clock, walks to town to have break-
   fast at his parents' house and returns
   by 9.' He works until 1 and if the day
   is a fine one, he tramps through the
   woods after lunch, taking some Work
   with him. HIe gets back about 4, types
e until 5:30 and goes into town again
   for dinner. Returning home -he usually
   types from 8 until midnight.,
  MUCH OF MrW Derleth's
latest and best novel, The
Shield of the Valiant, is set
on the University of Wisconsin
campus. Badgers will feel at
home in its pages.
aim  uanue) ueLrtacut iroui i  quai-
ity, if such    critics as Sinclair
Lewis, Edgar Lee Masters, and
William Rose Benet are to be
given credence.
  Born Feb. 24, 1909 in Sauk City,
August Derleth early decided that his
future lay in writing. On April 1, 1926,
his first story appeared in the May,
1926, issue of Weird Tales. In his own
words:
  "It was a shocker entitled Bat's Bel-
fry, clearly deriving from Brain Stok-
er's Dracula; it had been written at
14, while I was recuperating at my
grandmother's house from a case of
mumps-a purely fortuitous circum-
stance which does not seem to have
affected the story in any way; but it
was not sold until some time later. It
was actually the 18th story I had writ-
ten, and 22 more were written before
Bat's Belfry was sold. That was the
beginning; the end does not seem yet
to be in sight."
  This last is undoubtedly a reference
to the 10 books now in the process of
completion and scheduled for publica-
tion within the next year. Mr. Derleth
of his work is done in a long studio oi
the second floor. Although he nevei
dictates a story, he has a secretary
a former schoolteacher named Alic
Conger, who lives in Prairie du Sac
does most of his research and types
his final drafts. Another secretaria
employee, Myra Poad, works part time
Two boys of late teen age work on th4
grounds. His 10-acre estate is some
thing of a nature preserve, abounding
with birds, gophers and other smal
wild life.
  At the University of Wisconsin, Der
  leth is remembered as something of
  prodigy. His record was good, despit
  the fact that he occasionally cut classe
to write more. After graduation ii
1930, he went to Minn'eapolis as edito
of Mystic Magazine, a Fawcett pub
lication. Several months later he re
turned to his native village and settle
down to full-time writing. With th
publication in 1937 of his first seriou,
novel, Still Is The Summer Night, Der
leth became a Wisconsin celebrity an
an acknowledged force in regional lit
erature. This book was the first of
n
e
e
s
I.
'1
r
e
5
d
1
  He has a passion for jitterbugging
and is quite skillful at it. Completing
the paradox are six years of service
on the Sauk City Board of Education,
a four-year lectureship on American
regional literature at the University
of Wisconsin, 1939-43, and a formid-
able stint as editorial director of Ark-
ham House, Mycroft & Moran and
Stanton & Lee-the three publishing
enterprises which he owns.
   The business had its inception in
 1939, after he became a literary ex-
 ecutor for the estate of H. P. Love-
 craft, a writer of horror stories with
 whom he had corresponded since boy-
 hood. To publish the Lovecraft manu-
 scripts he established Arkham House,
 named after a mythical Massachusetts
 town where Lovecraft's amorphous and
 invisible monsters roamed with little
 restraint. Later Arkham House pub-
lished horror books by other writers,
and in 1945 Derleth created Mycroft &
Moran and Stanton & Lee. Mycroft &
Moran. named for characters in Sher-
lock Holmes fiction, issues detective
stories. Stanton & Lee publishes gen-
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