The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith Painting by Natalae Bixby Carter, 1946.

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:

30 Oct, 2014 7:40AM by Ahab

“Turns out that Klinger is also playing this 'Sherlock game' in his Sandman annotated books. At least according to this Amazon Review.… ”

30 Oct, 2014 6:06AM by Ahab

“Partly my negative reaction to the 'Sherlockian game" is merely emotional. It just turns me off. And it really turns me off when it is applied to fantastical works of the imagination like that of Lovecraft's and Bram Stoker's (Klinger annotated Stoker's Dracula). Interestingly, I don't believe Klinger plays the game… ”

26 Oct, 2014 1:16PM by Platypus

“One possible objection is that the editor/commentator is taking over the author's role, and injecting himself into the fiction itself, where many will feel he is not welcome ... or perhaps that his particular fictions not very good.… ”

26 Oct, 2014 12:42PM by Jojo Lapin X

“My objection is that it is silly. This is just my intuitive feeling; I am sure, however, that if I devoted some time to thinking about it I could pinpoint precisely why it is silly.… ”

26 Oct, 2014 11:31AM by Platypus

“It seems to me that whether or not annotations are fiction (or incorporate fiction) depends on the intent of the author. However, if I understand the phrase "Sherlockian game" correctly, it seems to me it is still possible for an annotator to respect suspension of disbelief, and play a "Sherlockian game", while still having… ”

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