The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith wearing beret.

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:

25 Jan, 2021 2:36PM by Sawfish

“Kipling Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Kipling Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > "Before the age of the typewriter nobody but
> > schoolchildren ever thought of making each
> letter
> > separately and carefully" (HPL to Donald A.
> > Wollheim, LRB 324). "About the spelling I
> > use--I don't give the matter much thought, but
> > adhere… ”

25 Jan, 2021 11:54AM by Dale Nelson

“Thanks, Platypus, that's interesting. I see the editor of that edition commented, "Marusia’s demon lover will be recognized as akin to Arabian Ghouls, or the Rákshasas of Indian mythology."… ”

25 Jan, 2021 11:39AM by Platypus

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I read "The Vampire" (as it's called in my Russian
> Fairy Tales Pantheon paperback. Whew! "Ghoul"
> would be more accurate than "vampire," I suppose,
> but I wonder what the actual Russian word is.

Nechistol (literally, "The Unclean"):
link … ”

25 Jan, 2021 11:05AM by Kipling

“Kipling Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "Before the age of the typewriter nobody but
> schoolchildren ever thought of making each letter
> separately and carefully" (HPL to Donald A.
> Wollheim, LRB 324). "About the spelling I
> use--I don't give the matter much thought, but
> adhere to what seems the most universal &
> conservative" (LRB 384).
… ”

25 Jan, 2021 9:53AM by Dale Nelson

“I read "The Vampire" (as it's called in my Russian Fairy Tales Pantheon paperback. Whew! "Ghoul" would be more accurate than "vampire," I suppose, but I wonder what the actual Russian word is.

I wonder if this is worth looking up: Perkowski, Jan L., Vampires of the Slavs. Cambridge, Mass.: Slavica,… ”


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