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:

16 May, 2017 4:08PM by Ancient History

“De nada, and glad to hear it!… ”

16 May, 2017 11:48AM by Knygatin

“Well put Platypus. I agree, but could not put it into words as clearly.

I think it is impossible to objectively say that one, on the whole, is a better writer than the other. Nature does not allow itself to be measured that way. Only in the simplistic little games we humans make up, when chasing… ”

16 May, 2017 9:57AM by dhussey

“Funny you should ask. It has been reprinted—in the future. There's a clipping of the thing among his letters to Derleth, I think. It's in the CAS/Derleth book. A project I hoped to see in print next year.

“Local Boy Makes Good.”
*a. Auburn Journal (3 November 1941): __ (unsigned).
*b. Weird Tales 36, No. 4 (March 1942):… ”

16 May, 2017 8:58AM by Platypus

“On a sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph level, CAS is the better writer. He is leaner, meaner, tighter, and more elegant. However, when it comes to comparing the whole to the sum of its parts, HPL tends to make up for lost ground.

I won't necessarily say that HPL pulls ahead,… ”

16 May, 2017 1:20AM by Knygatin

“Radovarl Wrote:
> ... are there any other Machen
> books I should be on the lookout for?

At the same time I think it is difficult to recommend books, because what one likes also depends on what personal interests and preferences of subject matter one has.

I like atmospheric descriptions of landscapes and old settings, with a sense… ”

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