Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

10 Barnes St.

Jany. 17, 1930

Dear Klarkash-Ton:—

. . . . Thanks for the Carlsbad Cavern cutting—it was of unusual interest because I have long known about the cave, & have urged a friend in New Mexico to visit it. What I did not know was its extreme size & antiquity, & its overwhelming precedence over the supposedly peerless Mammoth Cave. Truly, if any abyss be the logical gateway to the hellish & hidden worlds of K'n-yan, Yoth, & N'kai, this is it! The hint of possible primordial human traces is weirdly provocative, whilst the idea of taking in a telephone outfit makes me think of my own old yarn about Randolph Carter. I am placing the item in my most precious idea-files, & hope that some day it may serve as the nucleus of some unprecedented horror. Meanwhile I am anxious to know how the actual cave-probing expedition comes out—ugh! I can picture that party fishing up unhallowed secrets & blasphemous palaeogean artifacts from those monstrous arcades & Cyclopean unlighted crypts.


As to the difference in our respective styles or moods—one thing that influences mine is my extreme & lifelong geographic sensitiveness. I have never been tremendously interested in people, but I have a veritably feline interest in & devotion to places. The greater number of my dreams & visions are fantastic syntheses, etherealisations, & rearrangments of the landscape & architectural impressions which impinge on me during waking hours; & during those waking hours there is no pleasure which can compare with the experience of seeing strange old towns & houses & scenic vistas. These things are, & always have been, the most potent stimuli my imagination can possibly encounter; hence they usually form the points of departure for my excursions into the outside cosmic gulfs. Like Gautier "I am one for whom the visible world exists"—though my chief use of the visible world, unlike his, is simply to provide a springboard for leaps into abysses & dimensions forever beyond visibility.

Yr most obt & hble

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 394

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