The Render of the Veils
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The Render of the Veils

by Ramsey Campbell
Release date: February 2011
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: horror

A chapbook.

At the beginning of his fascinating Introduction to this pamphlet, the author explains:

"Once I assured August Derleth that I was applying his editorial suggestions to the first drafts of the Lovecratian tales I'd sent him in September 1961, he announced my forthcoming collection in the 1963 Arkham House bulletin. The book bore one of Arkham's phantom titles, THE BOX IN THE PRIORY, which I'd used for the first of the stories. This tale became 'The Room in the Castle'. As I wrote to him in November 1961

Since I didn't come across any references in my research to priories in the Severn Valley region, while I did find frequent ones to castles, I decided to play safe and call the story, instead, THE ROOM IN THE CASTLE.

Ah, the impetuousness of youth! August responded

Take your time with your stories. Research. You could v. well have imagined a priory — you needn't have used a real setting in this case...

but by then it was too late

At the beginning of his fascinating Introduction to this pamphlet, the author explains:

"Once I assured August Derleth that I was applying his editorial suggestions to the first drafts of the Lovecratian tales I'd sent him in September 1961, he announced my forthcoming collection in the 1963 Arkham House bulletin. The book bore one of Arkham's phantom titles, THE BOX IN THE PRIORY, which I'd used for the first of the stories. This tale became 'The Room in the Castle'. As I wrote to him in November 1961

Since I didn't come across any references in my research to priories in the Severn Valley region, while I did find frequent ones to castles, I decided to play safe and call the story, instead, THE ROOM IN THE CASTLE.

Ah, the impetuousness of youth! August responded

Take your time with your stories. Research. You could v. well have imagined a priory — you needn't have used a real setting in this case...

but by then it was too late – the tale was done. This meant we had to agree on a new title for the book. In September 1962 I wrote to Derleth

At the moment I think THE RENDER OF THE VEILS would be a good title—the story carrying this title is probably the best in the book, and the name of the collection might also be symbolic of my writing—'rending the veils' by the 'revelations' contained in the tales.

Derleth wasn't overly impressed, since he wrote in March 1963

Our new bulletin is on press. In it I announced your book under the title of THE BOX IN THE PRIORY, which I have to confess I like as a title considerably better than THE RENDER OF THE VEILS, which isn't Lovecraftian but rather more like Bloch's THE OPENER OF THE WAY. There is still plenty of time in which to settle on a title. The RENDER is just a trifle too pretentious for my taste, suggests the mystic rather than the dreadful or terrible, and I should think we would want to avoid that and make its appeal more frankly Lovecraftian.

I took some persuading.

I still prefer THE RENDER OF THE VEILS as a title, though. It strikes me as suggesting the alien — and with the Coye cover it seems likely that those who'd be interested would pick it up and leaf through. I don't think many people go particularly by a book's title, tend to go more by the author (though that's obviously inapplicable here) or the publisher, with a specialized firm like AH. But my title pleases me more at this moment."

the tale was done. This meant we had to agree on a new title for the book. In September 1962 I wrote to Derleth

At the moment I think THE RENDER OF THE VEILS would be a good title — the story carrying this title is probably the best in the book, and the name of the collection might also be symbolic of my writing — 'rending the veils' by the 'revelations' contained in the tales.

Derleth wasn't overly impressed, since he wrote in March 1963

Our new bulletin is on press. In it I announced your book under the title of THE BOX IN THE PRIORY, which I have to confess I like as a title considerably better than THE RENDER OF THE VEILS, which isn't Lovecraftian but rather more like Bloch's THE OPENER OF THE WAY. There is still plenty of time in which to settle on a title. The RENDER is just a trifle too pretentious for my taste, suggests the mystic rather than the dreadful or terrible, and I should think we would want to avoid that and make its appeal more frankly Lovecraftian.

I took some persuading.

I still prefer THE RENDER OF THE VEILS as a title, though. It strikes me as suggesting the alien — and with the Coye cover it seems likely that those who'd be interested would pick it up and leaf through. I don't think many people go particularly by a book's title, tend to go more by the author (though that's obviously inapplicable here) or the publisher, with a specialized firm like AH. But my title pleases me more at this moment."

updated 2011-03-21

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