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:

10 Jul, 2020 8:59PM by Dale Nelson

“Thanks, Hespire — I just saw your response to my query.… ”

9 Jul, 2020 12:46PM by Cathbad

“I always reckoned CAS was by far the better writer, not just as a prose stylist but because his work has a genuinely visionary quality - but then I've never been a HPL fan. I always found his prose style hokey and overcooked, to the extent that I'd wonder how seriously he took his work… ”

8 Jul, 2020 9:45AM by Hespire

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
> In my reading in
> CAS I don't get the sense that he paid much
> attention to his region; he seems pretty severely
> dependent on the books he's read. Agreed?
> Dale Nelson

Partially agreed but mostly disagreed. It's true that CAS spent much of his time on other spheres in his fiction,… ”

7 Jul, 2020 9:06AM by zimriel

“walrus Wrote:
> HPL's opinion was that humour has no place in horror.

I do find humourous irony in HPL's best work, though. "Shadow Over Innsmouth", "Shadow Out Of Time", "Cats of Ulthar" - actually, much of the Dreamlands and Dunsany pastiches. It's just that Dunsany and Smith were better at it.… ”

18 Jun, 2020 7:23PM by Hespire

“In light of the Russian art thread, I thought these pictures of CAS's menagerie would interest some of you. They're drawn by the artist KingOvRats, who had also drawn hundreds of creatures out of Lovecraft, M. R. James, mythology, and his own dreams.

The website where he posts his pictures has a horrible-looking layout, so I… ”

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