The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith, 1960

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:

18 Mar, 2018 9:12PM by jdworth

“I realize this is a subject which we addressed in another thread, but I would like to throw my support in for attempting Buchan's Witch Wood. My first rime 'round, I found the dialect a bit difficult for the first page or two, but quickly adjusted, and found the experience more than worth it. It's… ”

18 Mar, 2018 5:33PM by Platypus

“Are we looking for novels, or only short stories?… ”

18 Mar, 2018 5:16PM by Platypus

“I'll add a vote in favor of trying to understand Scots English. Worth the effort.

What do you do when you want to be transported to another time and place? Well, you can learn a whole other language, like Greek, or Arabic, or Chinese, or Gaelic. Problem is, I'm lousy at foreign languages.… ”

16 Mar, 2018 3:26PM by Minicthulhu

“I will though I doubt I will find them. :-)… ”

16 Mar, 2018 3:26PM by Minicthulhu

“"Some readers just won't tolerate dialect at any price" ...

Personally, I have nothing against dialects but it is really tedious and discouraging for someone who is not a native speaker to wade through a text full of idioms and strange phrases that are a far cry from what you can see and hear on the… ”

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