The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith wearing beret.

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 Jul, 2015 12:14PM by Frederick

“Sorry about the typo on my review title, should read THE CRIMSON TOME :)… ”

30 Jul, 2015 9:43AM by LuCa

“You've raised an interesting question. Even though I adore Lovecraft's style and with his works I got acquainted earlier than with CAS's I must say that the last one impressed me more. Only after I read his "The Beast of Averoigne" I understood what actually means "horror poetry ". CAS's stories have abnormal tune and… ”

29 Jul, 2015 11:45AM by K.A. Opperman

“Sample poems from THE CRIMSON TOME, and a complete ToC, now up at the site. The book goes to the printer any day now, and can already be preordered. It is set to debut at NecronomiCon.


“The poetry of K. A. Opperman is a wonder and a revelation. His verse spans the full spectrum of… ”

28 Jul, 2015 8:12AM by Ancient History

“New post on reconstructing the Clark Ashton Smith-Robert E. Howard correspondence up on the REH Two-Gun Raconteur blog: link … ”

27 Jul, 2015 11:54PM by K.A. Opperman

“I too have an essay included therein: The Perfection of the Corpse: Necrophilia in The Book of Jade. In it I discuss and examine the prominent necrophilic images and sentiments that occur in the poems of David Park Barnitz.

For all fans of macabre verse, this is a MUST acquire!… ”

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