The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith, 1960

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961), perhaps best known today for his association with H.P Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos, is in his own right a unique master of fantasy, horror and science-fiction. Highly imaginative, his genre-spanning visions of worlds beyond, combined with his profound understanding of the English language, have inspired an ever -increasing legion of fans and admirers.

For most of his life, he lived in physical and intellectual isolation in Auburn, California (USA). Predominantly self-educated with no formal education after grammar school, Smith wore out his local library and delved so deeply into the dictionary that his richly embellished, yet precise, prose leaves one with the sense that they are in the company of a true master of language.

Though Smith primarily considered himself a poet, having turned to prose for the meager financial sum it rewarded, his prose might best be appreciated as a "fleshed" out poetry. In this light, plot and characters are subservient to the milieu of work: a setting of cold quiet reality, which, mixed with the erotic and the exotic, places his work within its own unique, phantasmagoric genre. While he also experimented in painting, sculpture, and translation, it is in his written work that his legacy persists.

During his lifetime, Smith's work appeared commonly in the pulps alongside other masters such H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, August Derleth, and E. Hoffmann Price and like many great artists, recognition and appreciation have come posthumously. In recent decades though, a resurgence of interest in his works has lead to numerous reprintings as well as scholarly critiques.

The Eldritch Dark is a site to facilitate both scholars and fans in their appreciation and study of Clark Ashton Smith and his works.

Last 5 Eldritch Words Discussion Forum posts:

26 Apr, 2017 5:42PM by Platypus

I have not read anything yet by Philip K. Dick. When younger, the movie Blade Runner, which I din't like, put me off. And I was also repelled by his destructive drug abuse and seemingly liberal disorganized living. Total Recall however was a fantastic, haunting movie, and teased my curiosity about PKD.

BLADE RUNNER is not… ”

26 Apr, 2017 12:02PM by Jojo Lapin X

“Smith essentially never left his little cabin in an obscure corner of California. The possibility that Ravi Shankar may have happened to pass by seems remote.… ”

26 Apr, 2017 11:53AM by Knygatin

“Is it true that Ravi Shankar knew Clark Ashton Smith?! In person? I find that hard to believe. Smith mentioned using Shankar's ragas as background music for an envisaged recording of his own "The Dead Will Cuckold You". But that Shankar was aware of Smith's writings, or that the two actually met?!!!

Did August Derleth… ”

26 Apr, 2017 10:57AM by Knygatin

“That sounds great! I very much look forward to reading his work.

Art and literature should always be ecstatic. Otherwise it is a waste of my time.… ”

26 Apr, 2017 6:54AM by Radovarl

“In that case, yes, PKD's approach is quite similar to van Vogt's, and is in no way like Clarke's hard scifi. PKD's all about exploring inner space rather than outer space. He's also a complete wackadoodle like Van, and filters everything (especially notable in his post-2-3-74 work) through a mystico-religious lens that comes… ”

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