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Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 19 May, 2014 07:55AM
I have just finish'd reading CLARK ASHTON SMITH--A CRITICAL GUIDE TO THE MAN AND HIS WORK, by Steve Behrends, and it has whetted my appetite for a full biographical treatment of Clark Ashton Smith in which there is an emphasis on his creative life. It amazes me, frankly, that we haven't had such a book by now. I'm finding it more and more frustrating that the Lovecraft/Smith correspondence volume continues to be delay'd, as I think it may go far in inspiring some of the new keen CAS scholars into exploring Smith's life as an artist.

One thing I am particularly interested in is Smith's professional friendship with August Derleth. A recent influx of royalty cheques inspir'd me to order the Arkham House titles GENIUS LOCI AND OTHER TALES (1948) and TALES OF SCIENCE AND SORCERY (1964), and I've been thinking of Augie's friendship with Clark in comparison to Augie's friendship with H. P. PS Publishing will soon publish the combined correspondence between Ramsey Campbell and August Derleth, and I wou'd love to see a similar volume of the correspondence between Clark Ashton Smith and Derleth. My idea is that Augie was a splendid and loyal friend to CAS, one who aided Smith in his final years with the publication of Smith collections. I have no idea if this was a smooth relationship or no. It frustrates me that CAS, having such a loyal late publisher, didn't do more to secure definitive texts of his weird fantasies. I know that there is the idea that Smith didn't have the energy to do so because of encroaching ill health; but as I am suffering from increasing ill-health more and more in these last few years of my life, I find myself with less sympathy for this as an "excuse" for Smith. Poor eyesight is another matter, of course. How I wish some wealthy patron could give Scott Connors a huge sum of money so that Scott can take time off from his strenuous work life and write his critical biography of Clark Ashton Smith.

I look forward to reading Smith in these antique Arkham House editions. There is something oddly pleasurable about reading my favourite weird authors in AH books--there is some weird kind of added magick to the reading as one holds an AH edition. I doubt that I will be able to afford any further Smith titles from Arkham House, but I will enjoy these newly acquir'd books when they reach me this week, and then go and review yem on Amazon. How wondrous to have these magical writers, and to fall under their spell of language and imagination, and to experience such thrill with their works that, the more we read them, the greater our need to read them becomes. What magnificent enchantment.

"I'm a little girl."
--H. P. Lovecraft, Esq.

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