The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith Painting by Natalae Bixby Carter, 1946.

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:

13 Apr, 2021 12:02AM by Knygatin

“LOST SOULS looks like an excellent anthology. And it has a few authors I have not read before.

By the way, anyone here who enjoys Charles Beaumont? There is a collection out called Perchance to Dream.… ”

12 Apr, 2021 11:02PM by Knygatin

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
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> Knygatin Wrote:
>
> > > "The Country of the Blind", is that a genuine
> SF
> > tale, or an instructive morality lesson?
>
>
> I'd say it was a genuine "lost race" type of
> story. Wells's "Empire of the Ants" is another
> short one to read. As I recall "The… ”

12 Apr, 2021 6:40PM by Dale Nelson

“Sawfish Wrote:
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> D. J. Hogarth

That's over a century old. Now that doesn't automatically mean it's not a good translation. But if I'm not mistaken, the early Dead Souls translation(s) reflected an idea that the book's significance was as a non-romanticized picture of rural Russian life -- i.e. largely documentary. Which is (I… ”

12 Apr, 2021 6:23PM by Sawfish

“D. J. Hogarth

Let me see if the library has the Pevear-Volokhonsky version, or the other one you mention. If not, I'd like to take you up on your offer.… ”

12 Apr, 2021 6:03PM by Dale Nelson

“Noo, noooooo -- that will be a public domain translation -- possibly even from a French translation from the Russian. Let me loan you my copy of Pevear & Volokhonsky or my copy of the Guerney/Fusso version (I have it, haven't read it).… ”


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