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:

16 Oct, 2016 3:30PM by Minicthulhu

“"A Terrible Strange Bed" (1852) by Wilkie Collins also deals with a hellish and insidious mechanism crushing the victim.… ”

15 Oct, 2016 3:06PM by Ancient History

“I'd say Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the Iron Maid," maybe.… ”

15 Oct, 2016 10:21AM by Minicthulhu

“There is a passage in the final part of "The Second Interment" which reads:

"He thought that he was lying captive in some Inquisitorial vault whose roof, floor and walls were closing upon him with appalling speed, were crushing him in their adamantine embrace."

I wonder if Smith thought of "The Pit And The Pendulum" by Poe… ”

15 Oct, 2016 6:04AM by Knygatin

“I had a period in the 1980's of reading Stephen King. The Stand (1978) was the first "real" horror book I read in my teens. I liked it very much then (with little else to compare to), but that was partly because of the vivid picture it gave of mundane American life! I can't say… ”

14 Oct, 2016 12:27PM by Minicthulhu

“Thanks for the list of stories included in "Judas".
Proxy is a great story about a double personality, one of the best JM wrote. Vaguely, it reminds me of Berenice by Poe.
You seem to be fond of Metcalfe so I have a question; are you a native English speaker? I would like to know… ”

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