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:

15 Oct, 2019 12:42AM by Knygatin

“Sawfish Wrote:
> an ancillary idea that has come to me as we
> discuss this broad topic: the role of intoxicants
> as an avenue to the spiritual or non-material.

I see that I did not directly reply to your specific concern in my previous post.

I am not a fan of drugs. I am more opposed to… ”

14 Oct, 2019 7:43PM by Dale Nelson

“The other Classical allusion that may be present in "The Experiment" is to Ovid's Fasti Book IV, lines 761-762:

nec Dryadas nec nos videamus labra Dianae,
nec Faunum, medio cum permit arva die

which has been translated

May we not see the Dryads, nor Diana's baths,
nor faunus, when he lies in the fields at noon

(from the 1931 Love Classical… ”

14 Oct, 2019 11:09AM by Dale Nelson

“When I wrote the article for Avallaunius mentioned above, I didn't think of the text in St. Matthew 24:15-16 about the "abomination of desolation" or "abomination that causes desolation," and, while I don't propose to go into detail on it here, I will offer a comment as a footnote to the previously-posted comments.

It's widely understood… ”

14 Oct, 2019 10:16AM by Dale Nelson

“Years ago, the Arthur Machen Society published an essay by me, Dale Nelson, in their journal Avallaunius, the Spring 1991 issue, called "Clarke's Dream in 'The Great God Pan': Two Classical Allusions" (pp. 19-24). I don't suppose it's easy to come by, so I'm going to share here some of what I reported there… ”

14 Oct, 2019 9:26AM by Dale Nelson

“Haberden's colleague, in "The Novel of the White Powder," says that, when the potion of the witches' sabbath was taken, "the house of life was riven asunder and the human trinity dissolved."

The "human trinity" may refer to the definition of the human being indicated in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, i.e. that the human being… ”

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