The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith Painting by Natalae Bixby Carter, 1946.

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:

18 Oct, 2020 9:28AM by Knygatin

“It is easy, by way of rational argument, to say that other fantasy writers are better than Merritt. And smash him down. But my suggestion that he may be the greatest, rests on more subtle reasons, that go beyond literature, and which it is very difficult for me to put my finger on. It concerns… ”

18 Oct, 2020 6:26AM by Minicthulhu

“I have never heard of H. Rider Haggard. Did he write any short horror or weird fiction?… ”

18 Oct, 2020 4:23AM by Knygatin

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
> I've preferred Rider Haggard for adventure fiction.

I have not read H. Rider Haggard. But I will try to set aside time to read She and The People of the Mist.… ”

18 Oct, 2020 4:14AM by Knygatin

“Cathbad Wrote:
> Burn Witch Burn which I never read but which
> formed the basis for a favourite film of mine -
> The Devil Doll, also a classic of its kind.

I have seen that film, but don't remember much from it other than it being quite creepy and having some fine settings. The miniature aspect is… ”

17 Oct, 2020 8:26PM by Dale Nelson

“In a long reading life, I've read Dwellers in the Mirage, The Ship of Ishtar, "The Woman of the Wood," his bit of "The Challenge from Beyond," and "Through the Dragon Glass" (yep, in The Young Magicians) at least, and perhaps one or both versions of The Moon Pool. I wouldn't mind reading or… ”

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