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:

13 Sep, 2016 12:44PM by Martinus

“Ancient History Wrote:
> I hope someday someone produces a small volume of
> the correspondence of AWD and CAS, or what
> survives of i.

Such a volume is in the making, along with one of the CAS/Loveman correspondence and one of the CAS/DAW+RHB correspondence. Or at least CAS's side of each correspondence.… ”

13 Sep, 2016 11:03AM by Ancient History

“I hope someday someone produces a small volume of the correspondence of AWD and CAS, or what survives of i.… ”

10 Sep, 2016 1:43PM by Frederick

“For somewhat understandable reasons, John D. Haefele's erudite, well researched, yet easy to read book A LOOK BEHIND THE DERLETH MYTHOS, subtitled "Origins of the 'Cthulhu Mythos'," is strongly thought of as just another H.P. Lovecraft/August Derleth go around. Leaving the H.P.L./A.D. thing for other more appropriate sites, I would like to point out that… ”

8 Sep, 2016 10:02AM by Minicthulhu

“> How did you like Michael Shea's "Fat Face" in that collection?

Well, frankly, I have not read all the stories, only some of them. I clearly remember reading The Adder, The Picman´s Modem, On the Slab, The Barrens, Shaft No. 247, The Last Feast of Harlequin, The Unthinkable and The Faces in the Pine Dunes.… ”

7 Sep, 2016 8:18PM by Knygatin

“Minicthulhu Wrote:
> I have got a book Cthulhu
> 2000 ...

How did you like Michael Shea's "Fat Face" in that collection?

It is one of my favorites, together with his science fiction horror story "Polyphemus". Somewhat humorous and cartoonish in style, but in a good way. I understand that Shea also had an active interest in… ”

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