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    Amazing Archive of Letters from One Conan Author to Another

    L. Sprague de Camp. Archive of Correspondence to Fellow Science Fiction Writer, Conan Aficionado, and Collaborator Lin Carter.
    The archive presented here is composed of the following manuscript material, dated between 1964 and 1979, all written on de Camp's personal stationery:

    One four-page Typed Letter Signed
    One three-page Typed Letter Signed
    Seven two-page Typed Letters Signed
    One two-page Typed Letter
    Seven one-page Typed Letters Signed
    Ten postcards signed "Sprague"
    Two postcards signed "S"
    Nine envelopes addressed to Carter

    Also included in this archive is a photocopy of a five-page letter de Camp wrote to Carter about Conan in 1975, a photocopy of a 1976 two-page Typed Letter from de Camp to Kirby McCauley, long-time editor and literary agent, and the third page of an unidentified Typed Letter signed in print "LSdeC".

    L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter collaborated on a number of Conan novels and story collections published between 1967 and 2004, the last few of which are omnibus collections of their previously published works. Chronologically, this amazing archive begins with a postcard from de Camp to Carter dated April 28, 1964. In this short message, de Camp thanks Carter "for the kind remarks. It's the first time anybody called me Author of the Year in any connection." The correspondence continues throughout the next fifteen years, with voluminous mentions of their collaboration on the many Conan novels and stories the two co-wrote. In a two-page TLS dated June 8, 1968, de Camp advises Carter on editorial suggestions for the story "Black Tears" from their collaborative Conan story collection Conan the Wanderer. In a May 26, 1970 two-page TLS, de Camp writes Carter about their "second draft of the next instalment [sic] of Conan the Buccaneer. De Camp encourages Carter that they should "pour on a little more coal. The thing is three months overdue; and, while nothing dreadful is likely to come of this, I hate not doing what I say I shall. Besides, the vogue won't last forever."

    The archive continues in a like manner, with letters chock full of editorial instructions from de Camp to Carter on their various Conan collaborations, as well as some letters and postcards unrelated to Conan, but nonetheless fascinating for their content, revealing details from inside the professional lives of actively publishing science fiction and fantasy authors. In a one-page TLS from November 1977, de Camp even offers for sale to Carter "a set of twenty-four (24) post cards written from 1930 to 1935 by H. P. Lovecraft to Robert E. Howard." Such an offer must have involved much friendly but heated negotiation between two such fanatical followers of Howard and his chief literary creation.

    Overall, the letters in the archive are in fine or better condition, with occasional wrinkling and the usual mailing folds. A one-page TLS from de Camp to Carter has a 3" x 3" section along the top edge missing, but does not affect the text at all (though it appears the removal of this piece took the letterhead and the date of the correspondence). A truly unique collection of literary correspondence between two legends in the genre, and two writers who helped very much to perpetuate the continued cultural obsession with Conan the Cimmerian. From the Robert and Diane Yaspan Collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2008
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
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