The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith at 19.

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 Oct, 2017 6:29AM by Martinus

“Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Which of Lovecraft's correspondents are most
> interesting and enjoyable to read? For example,
> how do the letters of Donald Wandrei, R. E.
> Howard, and C. A. Smith compare to each other?

They are all interesting, particularly the REH/HPL correspondence since we have so much of both sides. In addition, I'd recommend the letters to… ”

10 Oct, 2017 3:30PM by Ancient History

“Which of Lovecraft's correspondents are most interesting and enjoyable to read? For example, how do the letters of Donald Wandrei, R. E. Howard, and C. A. Smith compare to each other?
To me, the letters of Lovecraft and Howard are the most interesting - because we have so much of the correspondence on both sides,… ”

10 Oct, 2017 2:17PM by Knygatin

“Which of Lovecraft's correspondents are most interesting and enjoyable to read? For example, how do the letters of Donald Wandrei, R. E. Howard, and C. A. Smith compare to each other?

I also wonder if anyone here has read the letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. Are they intellectually interesting, or mostly socially polite courtesies?… ”

23 Sep, 2017 9:44AM by pegana

“The collection entitled "51 Tales" reprinted by Newcastle as "The Food of Death" The stories are extremely short and filled with many layers of meaning if one cares to look for them. The story "Charon" is particularly powerful I think. But again, for those looking for stories without hidden depths Dunsany may… ”

23 Sep, 2017 2:02AM by Knygatin

“pegana Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ... Dunsany could say more in a
> two paragraph story than most writers could in a
> lifetime.

What story collection(s) are you thinking of in particular?… ”


Top of Page