The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith by R K Lewis,1977

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:

16 Nov, 2014 1:34AM by Martinus

“HPL wrote about the Book's history in one of his late letters (somewhere in SL5).… ”

15 Nov, 2014 7:39PM by wilum pugmire

“There is quite a lengthy entry on the book in THE CTHULHU MYTHOS EXCYCLOPEDIA. THE BOOK OF EIBON itslef has been "constructed" by Robert M. Price and publish'd by Chaosium. 'Tis a fascinating volume by many authors, and includes superb artwork.… ”

15 Nov, 2014 7:26PM by wilum pugmire

“CAS was in no way "instrumental" in the foundation of the Cthulhu Mythos. He played with it some few times, but his work is, to my mind, deliciously his own, unique and ingenious.… ”

15 Nov, 2014 6:32PM by K.A. Opperman

“I wonder if Donald Sidney-Fryer might perhaps translate it. I know he has been involved in translating many things from French, and that he is pals with Dunais--the latter author's name having appeared in several letters I have from DSF. Many moons ago Don said to me that he was busy translating something lengthy from… ”

15 Nov, 2014 8:06AM by Ancient History

“Well, there's the stuff the CAS wrote about it, and then the mentions by H. P. Lovecraft in "Dreams in the Witch House" and "The Horror in the Museum" among others. Unlike Lovecraft and the "History of the Necronomicon," or Robert E. Howard's bibliographic history of "The Black Book," I don't believe Smith ever set… ”

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