The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith 1915

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:

17 Jun, 2017 9:50AM by wilum pugmire

“I love audio Shakespeare and Scripture, but after a while the sound of vocal language becomes hypnotic and produces slumber. I have a strange preference for British readers, finding many American readers harsh-sounding and boring. Most of my Henry James audio books are read by Americans, which is understandable being that James is an American… ”

17 Jun, 2017 1:10AM by Jojo Lapin X

“The whole point of reading (well, maybe not the whole point) is that you do it at your own pace. Unlike, say, watching a film or listening to the radio, where you are at the mercy of somebody else's idea of what is worthy of attention.… ”

16 Jun, 2017 12:51PM by Radovarl

“Thanks, that'd be great. I only read it once, gingerly, and didn't pay much attention to the colophon so I'll take another look.… ”

15 Jun, 2017 8:15PM by pegana

“It does seem to be an unusual production for Squires, especially the dust jacket and being printed on it, not to mention the tipped in illustration. His colophons usually indicate the types of editions printed in terms of size, descriptions and variations. Definitely a rare piece! Terence McVicker, Squires protege probably knows… ”

14 Jun, 2017 8:12AM by Radovarl

“It's a very large chapbook with stiff paper cover, though oddly it also has a dustjacket in that strange "marbled" paper you see in the photo (the cover underneath is a solid color. It might be Japanese momi paper (the DJ), but I'm not sure about that. I'd like to know more about… ”

Top of Page