The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith 1915

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:

21 Apr, 2019 10:52AM by Sawfish

“Good information.

Thanks!… ”

21 Apr, 2019 7:02AM by Ancient History

“Of course, Robert E. Howard didn't create Conan out of whole cloth: link

Lovecraft beat Smith and Howard to hardcover publication of his fiction, since Arkham House started up specifically to publish HPL; Gnome Press in the 50s started Conan on the path to wider publication, and in the 1960s Lancer republished those books as paperbacks… ”

19 Apr, 2019 12:15PM by Sawfish

“I'm thinking that if someone insisted that I put Howard's heroic stuff in a category, Nietzschean might work.
To me, atmospherically, it *feels* like Beowulf. There is a tremendous, memorable, brutality in it, but it's not gratuitous. It's intrinsic to his worldview, I think, so in this sense it fits and seems legitimate.

My opinion, and… ”

19 Apr, 2019 12:22AM by Knygatin

“Knygatin Wrote:
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> And his unconventional grasp of Conan's phenomenal
> physique and cortex is uncanny.

Of course, as documented, E. R. Burrough's Tarzan was an inspiration for him. But I don't like to "explain" away things so easily, since I believe the background is more profound and also mystical.… ”

19 Apr, 2019 12:15AM by Knygatin

“Sawfish, I started reading fantastic fiction seriously in the early 1980s. Before that, as a kid in the 70s, I had seen Conan everywhere in the form of comics. And then the Conan blockbuster films came in the 80's (I saw them, but wasn't particularly enthusiastic). That was part of the reason I never read… ”


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