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:

24 Jul, 2017 6:39PM by Dale Nelson

“I think all of MacDOnald's books are, or were, available from Johannesen. Those are remarkable books -- basically handmade by a family in backwoods California and priced surprisingly low.

Here's how they made the books:


I have a number of these, including (NB!) the 3 "Variorum" volumes of MacDonald's weird-supernatural novel Lilith. When… ”

24 Jul, 2017 6:26PM by Dale Nelson

“I agree. I'd have considered Dunsany one of my favorite authors back when the Ballantine Adult Fantasy releases were appearing, but his work hasn't worn well with me; it seems to fall into the category of things I would like to like. James and Machen I keep (re)reading. With the hospitality of… ”

24 Jul, 2017 8:49AM by jdworth

“On mention of these ideas surfacing in HPL's fiction, I would also cite such examples as portions of "The Mound" and "At the Mountains of Madness" as well; but I think that, in a less obvious way, this is a common thread throughout much of his fiction, and indeed one of the prime reasons for… ”

24 Jul, 2017 8:28AM by Dale Nelson

“Thanks, Platypus. I have left a comment there.

DN… ”

23 Jul, 2017 7:27PM by Platypus

“Here's a nice article on Cosmic Horror in Tolkien's work

link … ”

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