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:

18 Sep, 2020 11:01AM by Sawfish

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
> Sawfish, I'd be interested in your discussion of
> any of these topics that you'd like to take up,
> and it's OK if you would druther not, too.

Hi, Dale.

I'm thinking that I'm kinda beating this one to death, so I'd like to move on. I will sum up how I felt about the… ”

18 Sep, 2020 8:01AM by Sawfish

“This is a great exchange.

I think you've identified the main difference in the way we view written art (literature/poetry). In the purest sense, there's the emotional response, and this works like music--it sneaks in under the radar. This is *good*, and some of the best art I've enjoyed hit me immediately in that way.


I don't… ”

18 Sep, 2020 12:35AM by Knygatin

“I don't have the tools to give a substantial reply to this, Sawfish. I have not read enough Ligotti to have formed a particular opinion. You have already read more than I, in only a few days.

I agree with much of your viewpoint. On the other hand, I don't seek pure entertainment in supernatural… ”

17 Sep, 2020 7:15PM by Dale Nelson

“Sawfish, I'd be interested in your discussion of any of these topics that you'd like to take up, and it's OK if you would druther not, too.… ”

17 Sep, 2020 8:13AM by Sawfish

“Hi, Dale.

It looks as if we're ready to move on thru my annotations, if you are interested.

I have these subtopic area annotations left. Below each, I'll list whether in my notes I agree/disagree/expand with your stated stance--although my "disagreement" is more along the lines of "not sure; have further questions":




Top of Page