The Eldritch Dark

The Sanctum of Clark Ashton Smith

Clark Ashton Smith

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:

30 Apr, 2017 3:01PM by Platypus

“Knygatin Wrote:
> The most memorable moment,
> and "forgotten gem", of that story, that ought to
> be the real subject of important matter among
> weird fiction lovers, is the horse carriage crash;
> which appears to be a magically cast illusion (one
> of the most magnificiant, largest of scale, and
> most impressive, in the history of literature)… ”

30 Apr, 2017 2:27PM by Platypus

“Jim Rockhill, I read through your latest post, and there is not a word about "Carmilla". You accuse me of things I did not say, and accuse me of implying things I did not mean to imply, or raise other allegations (like my pseudonym) that ought to be irrelevant in a civil discussion. … ”

30 Apr, 2017 10:21AM by jimrockhill2001

“Dissenting opinions are always welcome. Both versions of the delightful Norton Critical Edition of Henry James's THE TURN OF THE SCREW are full of essays that disagree with each other on how to interpret just about every aspect of that work. You will even see Edmund Wilson's nonadulatory essays on Lovecraft, Conan Doyle and Tolkien… ”

30 Apr, 2017 1:19AM by Knygatin

“It was a while now since I read the story, but another memorable moment was how Carmilla moved through the room in a gliding elevated way. Le Fanu was a master of the supernatural. That's what's important. That's what's interesting.… ”

29 Apr, 2017 10:53PM by Knygatin

“Ingrid Pitt is wonderful, quite deliscious!, as Carmilla, in the 1970 movie adaption The Vampire Lovers. And of course there is the great, the one and only, Peter Cushing!, (and John Forbes-Robertson as creepy vampire in ugly hat).
But the story, as a supernatural piece, is far superior to the film. The most memorable moment,… ”

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