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:

22 Oct, 2020 7:37PM by Sawfish

“Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For those of us having difficulties with grasping
> verse in general, I would recommend the books An
> Apology for Poetry by Sir Philip Sidney, and A
> Defense of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelly. They are
> both enjoyable reading, and open up previously
> closed doors, to wider vistas, for an ingrained
> mundane mind.


Your recommendations… ”

22 Oct, 2020 2:42PM by Knygatin

“For those of us having difficulties with grasping verse in general, I would recommend the books An Apology for Poetry by Sir Philip Sidney, and A Defense of Poetry by Percy Bysshe Shelly. They are both enjoyable reading, and open up previously closed doors, to wider vistas, for an ingrained mundane mind.… ”

21 Oct, 2020 5:24PM by Knygatin

“Here are a few quotes from Brian Stableford's essay about A. Merritt in St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers (which can be borrowed from archive.org):

"[...] "The Moon Pool" (1918), a definite study of the teasing allure of the exotic. In the novel-length sequel he explains what lay beyond the magic doorway described in the story.… ”

18 Oct, 2020 9:28AM by Knygatin

“It is easy, by way of rational argument, to say that other fantasy writers are better than Merritt. And smash him down. But my suggestion that he may be the greatest, rests on more subtle reasons, that go beyond literature, and which it is very difficult for me to put my finger on. It concerns… ”

18 Oct, 2020 6:26AM by Minicthulhu

“I have never heard of H. Rider Haggard. Did he write any short horror or weird fiction?… ”


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