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:

14 Nov, 2017 2:51AM by Ancient History

“I dunno about that one. The whole "inherited a relative's estate" gimmick was not uncommon for Derleth in his Mythos stories, going back to "The Thing That Walked On the Wind," and the rest of "The Seal of R'lyeh" has no connection or parallels to The Hobbit. I might be inclined to think that Derleth's… ”

13 Nov, 2017 1:31PM by Dale Nelson

“Douglas Anderson suggests that Derleth merged Lovecraft and Tolkien in one of his stories. What do you think of Anderson's argument here?

link … ”

3 Nov, 2017 1:33PM by Minicthulhu


Does anybody know an author who wrote in the style of John Metcalfe?

Thank you.… ”

3 Nov, 2017 9:09AM by Platypus

“On a theory that an author's early work might tend to be better, I decided to read "Bat's Belfry", which is the first story Derleth every published in WEIRD TALES (after numerous rejections).

I can't say it is very good. It is a clumsily written vampire story, that is so obvious and unsubtle that is… ”

3 Nov, 2017 8:28AM by Platypus

“Of the stories listed by Mr. Rockhill, the few I have read, I must disagree. At best, these are stories that rise to the level of mediocrity rather than being simply poor. "The Lamp of Alhazred" is a second-rate version of "The Silver Key"; in moments, it soars by borrowing passages from HPL's… ”

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