On H.P Lovecraft I

Clark Ashton Smith

I am profoundly saddened by the news of H. P. Lovecraft's death after a month of painful illness. The loss seems an intolerable one, and I am sure that it will be felt deeply and permanently by the whole weird fiction public. Most of all will it be felt by the myriad friends who knew Lovecraft through face-to-face meeting or correspondence: for in his case the highest literary genius was allied to the most brilliant and most endearing personal qualities. I—alas!—never met him, but we had corresponded for about seventeen years, and I felt that I knew him better than most people with whom I was thrown in daily intimacy. The first manuscript of his that I read (probably in 1920) confirmed me in the opinion of his genius from which I have never swerved at any time. It opened a new world of awesome speculation and eery surmise, a new imaginative dimension. Since then, he has written scores of masterpieces that extend the borders of human fantasy and conquer fresh empires amid the extra-human and ultra-terrestrial infinities. Among these, I might mention The Outsider, The Call of Cthulhu, The Color Out of Space, The Rats in the Walls, The Dunwich Horror, Pickman's Model and The Dreams in the Witch-House as being special favourites. however, there are few tales of his that I have not read and re-rend manny times, always with that peculiar delight given by the savor of some uniquely potent distillation of dreams and fantasy. Leng and Lomar and witch-ridden Arkham and sea-cursed Innsmouth are part of my mental geography; and dreadful, cyclopean R'lyeh slumbers somewhere in time depths. Others will venture into the realms that the Silver Key of his mastery has unlocked; but none will read them with the same wizard surety, or bring back for our delectation essences of equal dread and beauty and horror.

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