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:

2 Dec, 2020 10:21PM by Ancient History

“My latest Deep Cut in a Lovecraftian Vein looks at the Book of Dzyan in the Mythos. Clark Ashton Smith forms a pretty essential part of the epistolary record here - which I didn't go into in full because the post was already pretty damn long. I think it's interesting to consider the influence Theosophy… ”

1 Dec, 2020 9:42PM by DrWho42

“SF writer and editor Ben Bova, 88, died November 29, 2020 after contracting COVID-19, developing pneumonia, and suffering a stroke. Bova was known both for his hard SF fiction and for editing major genre magazines Analog and Omni. In all, he produced more than 120 books.
source: Ben Bova (1932-2020) — Locus Online … ”

1 Dec, 2020 7:04AM by Oldjoe

“There was some earlier discussion in this thread about the poet Lilith Lorraine. I had not previously realized that CAS' poem "Lines on A Picture" was written in tribute to her:


CAS explained the origin of the poem in a letter to August Derleth from January 1944:

Here's my first poem of the year. It… ”

26 Nov, 2020 9:26AM by Knygatin

“Knygatin Wrote:
> Perhaps written when he lived with his wife in Pacific Grove?

Or in-between when up in Auburn (sometimes a step back from beauty is needed to transmute it into art). He alternated back and forth between the locations, before permanently moving to Pacific Grove.… ”

26 Nov, 2020 9:05AM by Knygatin

“Oldjoe Wrote:
> Knygatin Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > The kind of poetry
> > that would seem natural to come from a talent like
> > CAS, who lived in the countryside far from the
> > bustling city, and who slept outside the shack on
> > a bunk underneath the stars.
> That's a poetic description right there,… ”

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