The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith by R K Lewis,1977

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 Aug, 2014 2:28PM by Ancient History

“I am greatly indebted to you for the loan of the Book of Jade, which I will return in a week or two. You are right about the mortuary poems being the best: some of them, such as the "Sonnet of the Instruments of Death," "Sepulchral Life" etc. are truly impressive, and, it seems to… ”

18 Aug, 2014 11:12AM by Mikeabo123

link

Dear CAS aficionados:

I am currently at work on a new edition of Park Barnitz's legendary (and mostly obscure) Book of Jade, a volume of unrelentingly morbid and nihilistic verse that CAS, HPL and co. were very fond of. Written when Barnitz was still a student at Harvard, and published shortly before his death in… ”

15 Aug, 2014 12:13PM by Jojo Lapin X

“Very interesting! I have not seen a single one of these.… ”

15 Aug, 2014 9:41AM by Ancient History

“A little while back I was collecting some materials for an article on CAS in the Comics, but research sort of stalled out (I bought an obscenely expensive book from France which has consumed most of my disposable income), so I figured I'd post what I have here and maybe some other people can chime… ”

12 Aug, 2014 4:37AM by Ancient History

“Heh. Well, I hope to meet your expectations. With regard to Lovecraft's fiction - and I should stress here that I focus on Lovecraft's weird fiction, not "Sweet Ermengarde" or "Alfredo, A Tragedy" or his poetry - while I offer my own analysis, a large part of the chapter is trying to gather together the… ”


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