Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

Octbr. 12, 1926

10 Barnes St.

Dear C A S:—

I was very glad to hear from you, & to receive the critique I have so long been anxious to see. The latter is really very just & acute in its analysis of your work, but as you say may meet editorial opposition because of its tone of youthful effervescence & colourful rhapsody. I imagine that Wandrei must be rather a young chap—though possessed of a fund of imagery & command of language which will serve him when he has learnt the lessons of restraint & austerity of form which come with later life. I certainly wish he could get the review into print somewhere, though I know the process is none too easy. What is Wandrei, anyway? That is, what does he write, & what are his general literary bearings? I am interested in anyone as genuinely sensitive to the fantastic as he.

Which reminds me that I have just discovered a boy of seventeen who promises to develop into something of a fantaisiste. He is August W. Derleth, whose name you may have seen as author of some rather immature stories in Weird Tales. Finding my address through the magazine, he began corresponding with me; & turns out to be a veritable little prodigy; devoted to Dunsany & Arthur Machen, & ambitious to excel in their chosen field. He is entering the U. of Wis. this fall, & has a room only a few doors from where Galpin roomed where he first corresponded with you—823 West Johnson St., Madison, Wis. I know he'd be glad to hear from you if ever you have time to drop him a line or send him a few of your current poems.

* * * * *

I'm sorry the pictures in N. Y. haven't sold better—yet think it is perhaps better that they should not sell at all, than that they should sell at blasphemously inadequate prices. Glad that three have found California homes—though sorry that the rates were so disproportionate. I shall be eager to learn the results of your black sateen experiment, & know it must be gorgeously effective. Black & gold has always been a favourite colour combination of mine ......

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I've delayed typing my now finished sketch of weird fiction because of some new source material discovered at the Providence Public Library. When I do prepare the final copy I want it as inclusive as I can make it. Meanwhile I've written two new tales, one of which is the sunken-land thing I described in advance last year. I'm sending these under separate cover, & will ask that they be returned at your leisure—though there is not the least hurry. I don't know when I shall write any more, since just now I am virtually driven to death by some extra revisory work (for the well-known conjuror Houdini) which I don't feel financially justified in rejecting. As to a history of weird art—I only wish someone would prepare something of the kind! I myself have not enough knowledge of painting to attempt it, but to one properly equipped, it would offer a splendid opportunity. Why not try it yourself? Of the artists you mention the work of Redon & Ryder is still unfamiliar to me—as is the Japanese work.

Most cordially & sincerely yrs—

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 238

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