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:

21 Oct, 2014 10:36AM by wilum pugmire

“The book arriv'd yesterday, along with so many other books that I am a bit overwhelmed with reading matter. I just finished the excellent THE MADNESS OF CTHULHU Vol. I, am slowly reading both A MOUNTAIN WALKED and THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, and itch to begin this collection of poetry by Wade… ”

21 Oct, 2014 10:32AM by wilum pugmire

“Yes, it is a magnificent edition. Some of the notes are queer and grotesquely wrong. On page 12 he states that "Through the Gates of the Silver Key" is "thought to be largely the work of Price and must be regarded as an unreliable source of information." This is nonsense, as the… ”

21 Oct, 2014 10:20AM by Jojo Lapin X

“Oh, and unlike Joshi, he either knew already, or was able to find out, what Irem, the City of Pillars, is.… ”

21 Oct, 2014 10:18AM by Jojo Lapin X

“The Klinger book is indeed splendid! I have only browsed through it, but happily I saw no examples of his usual "Sherlockian" nonsense.… ”

21 Oct, 2014 8:14AM by calonlan

“UC Berkeley would probably like to buy them for their Calif. poets collection -… ”

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