The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith Pencil Portrait.

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 Dec, 2019 11:46AM by Sawfish

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Dale Nelson Wrote:
>
> > Weird fantasy is a variety of the tale of
> wonders
> > that emphasizes the uncanny, the strange, the
> > eerie, and the mysterious.
>
> Question: Must weird fantasy include an element of
> the sinister? Are there stories that belong to
> the category of weird fantasy but… ”

13 Dec, 2019 10:26AM by Dale Nelson

“Dale Nelson Wrote:

> Weird fantasy is a variety of the tale of wonders
> that emphasizes the uncanny, the strange, the
> eerie, and the mysterious.

Question: Must weird fantasy include an element of the sinister? Are there stories that belong to the category of weird fantasy but that are free of the sinister?… ”

12 Dec, 2019 8:05PM by Dale Nelson

“Simone Weil on Fantasy Vs. Reality
“Nothing is so beautiful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstasy as the good. No deserts are so dreary, monotonous and boring as evil. But with fantasy it is the other way round. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is… ”

12 Dec, 2019 8:01PM by Dale Nelson

“Read a lot of good books, anyway.

Another question about weird fantasy. Does it have a fatal tendency to glamorize evil?… ”

12 Dec, 2019 7:32PM by Sawfish

“Hah!

I knew it!

You are a *superior* literary scholar, Dale!… ”


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