Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

10 Barnes St.
May 14, 1926

Dear C A S:—

I was very glad to hear from you, & agree that poetry & painting are complementary rather than interchangeable. Great accomplishment in both is certainly very rare, & I think you have reason to pride yourself greatly on the dual gift which you so abundantly possess. I am interestedly awaiting word from "the gang" about their reception of your latest paintings—though I know of course that it must have been wildly enthusiastic. Loveman will undoubtedly shew them to De Casseres as before; & if the latter has any influence at all in the art world, they ought to get a hearing somewhere. . . .

. . . . . .As to Long's notion that your work systematically contains phallic symbolism—he picked that up at second-hand from Loveman, who seems to have done enough delving in that line to see phalli in most things from church steeples to mushrooms. For my part, I have neither studied such things nor do I entertain any belief in the expansive phallic interpretations of modern pseudo-psychologists. Steeples, for instance, are so clearly natural outgrowths of the school of pointed architecture—which itself is infinitely composite & innocuous in origin—that it is nothing short of sheer asininity to give them a Priapean significance. I have no use for transient fads, & sit unmoved whilst many get excited over novelties of speech, thought, or aesthetic method. These things come & go—each perhaps leaving a slight residuum in the background of general knowledge or culture, yet never having the revolutionary significance attributed to it in its heyday of freshness. It's a pretty old world, after all, & we shall never learn much about the inner nature of things .............

Most cordially & sincerely yrs,

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 217

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