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:

23 Feb, 2019 10:50AM by Knygatin

“Sawfish Wrote:
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> This is understandable. I got pretty tired of
> dialogues with famous deceased characters. ...

Ha Ha Ha! I remember now, feeling immediately tired only from reading it in the blurbs on the backside of the books.

> But Flesh is something else...

It certainly sounds a whole lot more interesting.

> So once I read a… ”

23 Feb, 2019 9:17AM by Sawfish

“Knygatin Wrote:
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> Thanks Sawfish. I am particularly curious about
> the collection Strange Relations, because I
> understand it is about Man's meeting and
> interaction with alien and weird animal/plant
> life, a subject related to Smith's bizarre
> conceptions.
>
> There is an omnibus collection by the same name,
> which includes Strange Relations and the novels
> Flesh… ”

23 Feb, 2019 12:33AM by Knygatin

“Knygatin Wrote:
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> As a teen ... I picked books by Alan Dean Foster, H. P.
> Lovecraft, and Jack Vance.

Among others, including Edgar Rice Burroughs of course!… ”

23 Feb, 2019 12:25AM by Knygatin

“Thanks Sawfish. I am particularly curious about the collection Strange Relations, because I understand it is about Man's meeting and interaction with alien and weird animal/plant life, a subject related to Smith's bizarre conceptions.

There is an omnibus collection by the same name, which includes Strange Relations and the novels Flesh and The Lovers. All… ”

22 Feb, 2019 4:42PM by Sawfish

“Knygatin Wrote:
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> Has anyone read Philip José Farmer's collection
> Strange Relations? How is the quality of the
> writing and imagination? Is it rich? Would it
> appeal to someone who enjoys Clark Ashton Smith?

It's not clear from the above if you're asking about Farmer, in general, or how this particular collection is. I'll gamble that it's… ”


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