One of my news loves is learning about great writers that have been lost to time, authors like August Derleth (1909-1971). He was an American writer, a contributor of over a hundred stories to the magazine Weird Tales, and he made his writing debut at the young age of seventeen with his story “Bat’s Belfry” (1926). Pretty impressive right?
As a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft, in 1939 he founded the publishing company Arkham House, devoted to fantasy literature and to the spread of Lovecraft’s fame. Even though Derleth authored stories about Wisconsin’s Sac Prairie and detective stories, he is best known as a writer of horror, including man vampire tales. After the undead in his first story, “Bat’s Belfry,” Derleth continued to write for Weird Tales, usually using the pseudonym Stephen Grendon, under which his best known story, “The Drifting Snow,” appeared in 1939.
August Derleth’s other vampire works include:
- “Those Who Seek” (1932)
- “The Satin Mask” (1936)
- “Keeper of the Key” (1951)
- “The Occupant of the Crypt” (1966)
An excerpt from “The Drifting Snow” by August Derleth:
Henry came to his feet suddenly, looking dazed. He walked forward a few steps, his eyes traveling from one to the other of them, yet apparently not seeing them. He began to speak abruptly, in an unnatural child-like voice.
“The snow,” he mumered, “the snow – the beautiful hands, so little, so lovely – her beautiful hands – and the snow, the beautiful, lovely snow, drifting and falling about her….”
He turned slowly and looked toward the French windows, the others following his gaze. Beyond was a wall of white, where the snow was drifting against the house. For a moment Henry stood quietly watching then suddenly a white figure came forward from the snow – a young girl, cloaked in long snow-whips, her glistening eyes strangely fascinating.