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:

12 Jan, 2018 6:39PM by Platypus

“Yes, Thrawn Janet is creepy as heck. And I think not quite the same without the dialect.

I have not read Buchan's Witch Wood. So much to read, so little time ...… ”

12 Jan, 2018 4:38PM by Kipling

“John Buchan's Witch Wood is a fine weird novel with Scottish dialect that seemed overbaked to me. IN THE TENNESSEE MOUNTAINS by Craddock--a pseudonym of Mary Murfree, is tough to read because of the heavy regional dialect, but the settings are well drawn. Lovecraft could have done better with more attention to this aspect of… ”

12 Jan, 2018 3:43PM by Kipling

“BTW, that 98% figure is not exact; he may have said 90 or 95 and possibly referred to his Lovecraftian stories, in which case he was just being truthful.… ”

12 Jan, 2018 2:20PM by Kipling

“Platypus Wrote:
> I've read WATCHER OUT OF TIME (which is late in
> his career, and therefore probably not him at his
> best), and few random short stories. I saw
> nothing I would recommend to others or would want
> to read again.
> Derleth, by all accounts, was a great guy, and a
>… ”

12 Jan, 2018 1:49PM by Dale Nelson

“Bravo! to those who have persevered with the dialect in novels by MacDonald.

It's not their fault if folks were taught using the "sight-reading" method; but I believe that makes it harder for some readers to manage dialect passages than it is for those raised using the phonics method.

The fact is that much of… ”

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