The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith. In cabin

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:

17 Aug, 2017 9:32PM by Smaragdin

“Hi,

I have a question regarding this new french edition. I'm a huge admirer of Morthylla, which I consider pretty perfect. In particular, I really love the echo effect at the end of the story. Funny thing is, those last paragraphs aren't included in the new Mortyhlla translation. I contacted the person responsible for the edition… ”

11 Aug, 2017 11:52PM by Knygatin

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Knygatin,
>
> 1.The idea you imply, that a writer will write
> better supernatural stories if he (=the male or
> female author) believes in the supernatural,

There was a force behind that belief, and with the best authors's talent and intelligence of that era, the stories became very convincing. But it wasn't… ”

11 Aug, 2017 4:51AM by Martinus

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Very interesting, Martinus -- thank you. It's
> remarkable, since Hodgson's House on the
> Borderland anticipates so much that stands as
> characteristic of Lovecraft: the remote real-world
> setting (west of Ireland rather than backwoods New
> England), manuscript in old house, manuscript that
> terminates with something ghastly about to -get-
> the narrator, strange… ”

11 Aug, 2017 2:11AM by Knygatin

“Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And of course, the golden age of weird fantasy,
> were the years with A. Merritt, H. P. Lovecraft,
> and C. A. Smith. Golden years, indeed!


A. Merritt was a romantic and represented the essence of fantasy, but composed fiction only as a sideline from his regular work. The Metal Monster, The Moon Pool, The… ”

10 Aug, 2017 3:18PM by Dale Nelson

“Very interesting, Martinus -- thank you. It's remarkable, since Hodgson's House on the Borderland anticipates so much that stands as characteristic of Lovecraft: the remote real-world setting (west of Ireland rather than backwoods New England), manuscript in old house, manuscript that terminates with something ghastly about to -get- the narrator, strange house, supernatural-scientific phenomena,… ”


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