Letter on Clark Ashton Smith

Avram Davidson

The work of dedicated people in preparing a work such as this one is fully justifies the original and (as far as I am concerned) still basic meaning of the word amateurs: those who love.

I fear there is really little I can say to justify including a communication from me in your Clark Ashton Smith bibliography. Alas! I never knew him in person, and his almost life-long home among the blue oaks of Auburn I have never been able to visit.

It seems so long ago that I climbed a crumbling old tenement in the lost land of Zothique to consult an astrologer there. It is not that long ago since I climbed the Hills of Dionysus. I would only that I had ever climbed the hills which lead to Auburn ... where, long after the brute mob ceased to moil for gold, someone for the most part solitary and alone washed a purer ore from the clear streams.

It is ironic to think that in all probability I did visit the Monterey peninsula during Clark Ashton Smith's not very long residence there — without being in the least aware at the time of it -so very ironic that I find it almost painful.

Petrarch wrote that "unless the past perished, he could not be safe." He could not, he was not. How can the past perish? when

Our blood is swayed by sunken moons
And lulled by midnights long foredone;
We waken to a foundered sun
In Atlantean afternoons;
Our blood is swayed by sunken moons ...

From the beauty of such conceits our too often dulled minds are never safe.

Thank God.

All my very best wishes for success with your project. I remain,


Top of Page