The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith 1915

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 Feb, 2020 3:55PM by Dale Nelson

“There are two references to the Kirby translation of Kalevala in the Tolkien Letters volume. In 1944 he's writing to Christopher, his son, & discusses the "Runo" dealing with the origin of beer. "Drunk was Ahti, drunk was Kauko, drunken was the ruddy rascal, with the ale of Osmo's daughter" -- "Kirby's translation… ”

16 Feb, 2020 3:19PM by Sawfish

“Yes. Kirby.

I'm looking forward to it!… ”

16 Feb, 2020 12:58PM by Dale Nelson

“Sawfish, is that the Kirby translation of Kalevala that you found? That was the one that lit up Tolkien's imagination over a hundred years ago. It might not be the best one for all readers today, though. I'm thinking about taking a look at Magoun's, which is highly regarded by my Kalevala-loving… ”

16 Feb, 2020 11:36AM by Sawfish

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
> Sawfish wrote:
> > To the degree that they are folk tales I enjoy
> > them, but have never done well with pantheons,
> and
> > stories directly concerned with the actions or
> > motives of gods within the pantheons.
> I wonder if you would like the Finnish Kalevala.
> (By the… ”

16 Feb, 2020 11:24AM by Sawfish

“Dale Nelson Wrote:
> Sawfish wrote:
> > ….I somehow was
> > introduced to the existence of the Icelandic
> > sagas, which are folk history, of course, and
> the
> > few I read onlne were very, very powerful
> > accounts. Jealousy, envy, revenge, etc.
> Something
> > like the Illiad, but small scale.
> Is there… ”

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