The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith. In cabin

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:

11 Jul, 2019 9:08AM by Dale Nelson

“Another little-known work that I like a lot is J. R. R. Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers, an unfinished novel from the mid-1940s printed in Sauron Defeated, one of the volumes of The History of Middle-earth. This starts as a pleasant symposium, some Oxford dons talking about science fiction, etc., and develops gradually into… ”

11 Jul, 2019 8:54AM by Dale Nelson

“Here's a bit of Phyllis Paul's late novel A Little Treachery. Two spinster sisters from London sink almost all their money, trusting an architect's verdict, into buying a cottage on a busy street in a rural village. The house turns out to be in bad condition from damp, etc. and the garden is waterlogged… ”

11 Jul, 2019 8:51AM by Dale Nelson

“I'm fond of Tim Powers's Declare, which can remind one of John le Carre in its treatment of an espionage theme, but is a supernatural thriller. I haven't had all that good luck with Powers's writing elsewhere, but this is something of a favorite.

Charles Williams's All Hallows' Eve is stranger than what some readers… ”

11 Jul, 2019 8:38AM by Dale Nelson

“The novella "Ender's Game" is an impressive, award-winning story. I have it in an anthology called The Spear of Mars.

But for a weird science fiction story, read Algis Budrys's "Rogue Moon," in Volume 2B of the Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Novellas set, ed. by Ben Bova. The implied existentialist philosophy is… ”

11 Jul, 2019 8:21AM by Dale Nelson

“Platypus Wrote:
> Knygatin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I should have added the Wolfman too! The
> werewolf!
> > Naturally! But I know of no famous literary
> work
> > connected to it.
> Well, of course there is Dracula (turns into a
> wolf) and Carmilla (turns into a black panther).
> But I suppose you mean werewolves… ”

Top of Page