The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith

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:

17 Jul, 2017 3:10PM by Dale Nelson

“Thanks for further thoughts on HPL-CAS-REH as a sort of writers' group. I've been vacationing and wasn't able to acknowledge several posts; but thanks!

DN… ”

16 Jul, 2017 2:47PM by Knygatin

“The final cover artwork for Dawnward Spire, Lonely Hill is now presented (I kind of liked the draft, showing a postal package left on Lovecraft's doorstep (presumably containing one of CAS's sculptures).). It now seems to have moved to CAS's doorstep instead. Not sure what to make of it; looks rather mysterious.

link … ”

14 Jul, 2017 2:23PM by Platypus

“HPL's horror of modernity and the effects of modern science does come through in his fiction. See specifically, "Nyarlathotep", "Arthur Jermyn" (opening lines especially), "Herbert West -- Reanimator". More generally, any reference to the idea of "cosmic" horror, forbidden knowledge, and things man was not meant to know, etc.… ”

13 Jul, 2017 12:28PM by Ancient History

“Lovecraft was stuck between thinking civilization was superior to barbarism (re: his argument-in-letters with Robert E. Howard) and his many arguments about the coming "Machine Age" would would result in a Brave New World style shift in government; his happy middle ground was the aforementioned Colonial planter class. HPL's dire ruminations on the mechanized future… ”

13 Jul, 2017 8:49AM by Platypus

“I'm not sure Lovecraft held such pessimistic ideas to a lesser extent. I think the distinction would be this: Lovecraft believed modern nihilism, the overturning of traditions, and the resulting societal degradation, to be inevitable, because he believed modern nihilism (etc.) was true and scientific. Chesterton and/or the Inklings would not have… ”

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