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Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 1 August, 2014 09:37AM
I hate to do the first-post plugging thing, but let's just get it out of the way. Hippocampus Press has just announced my book Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos for sale - an examination of love, sex, and gender in the Cthulhu Mythos, from H. P. Lovecraft and and his contemporaries like Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith down to modern authors like W. H. Pugmire, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Edward Lee and Alan Moore. It also examines sex and the Mythos in other media, with its use and depiction in film, comic books, art, the occult, and more.

Honestly, you could write a whole book on Clark Ashton Smith and sex - the stories he sold to the Spicies, the stories he couldn't sell to the Spicies because they were too spicy, the E. Hoffmann Price revisions, his erotic poetry and translations of Baudelaire, and of course his personal life - the The Shadow of the Unattained really provides a lot of great material which deserves a bit of analysis - but in the context of this book, I really only have room to look at Smith's fiction, and even then only the material most tied into the Cthulhu Mythos. I know, a bit of an arbitrary limit, but I had to draw the line somewhere. So anyone hoping for a well-deserved hundred pages on CAS in this book...would be disappointed. But there's some other material in there, and I talk a bit about how Smith's work has been an influence on how love and sex are depicted in the Mythos, and some of the ways that his work has inspired or been emulated by others - from Richard Corben's comics adaptations to Simon Whitechapel, "The Scarlet Succubus" to “In Deep Dendo”. Probably a lot of it will be a bit old hat for y'all, but I hope there's a few bits that might interest you.

As a point of curiosity though, and to make this thread more than blatant pandering, I'd really like to here your thoughts on love, sex, and gender with regards to Clark Ashton Smith - what, if anything, would you be interested in reading about regarding that aspect of the man and his work?

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 7 August, 2014 10:10PM
Something I didn't include in the book, but which might be of some minor interest here - there were a couple parodies and homages to CAS in the REHupa, of which I secured a few relevant issues during my research. My favorite is "The Emerald Garter" by Vern Clark, from REHupa #50 (1980):

The Emerald Garter
In lost Commoriom there was a house
Where harlots sold their favours,
Popular with royalty, rakes and rogues
Because of the different flavours.

Ones with hair like golden thread,
Eyes like lapis lazuli;
Exotic women with mahogany skin,
Legs of sculptured beauty.

Sloe-eyed cat-bear girls from Jeru,
Possessed of a foot-long tongue.
Each trained individually
As fellatrix's while young.

Yet none of these maidens
Nor Thulians with snowy fur,
Come higher priced than the dancer
That wears the Emerald Garter.

Her dances are eagerly attended
By the wealthiest and poorest of males,
But only he who'd pay her fees
Glimpses the charms beneath the veils.

Those who'd taste her loins nectar
Must pay her blasphemous price.
One night they'll spend in damn'd ecstasy,
Afterward they'll feel of ice.

For the mystery wench who wears
The Silken Emerald Garter,
Asks only one ultimate price
For her body's sensuous barter.

The cries of lust always change
Come the morning's light,
When the fools awaken to find
They sold their souls that night!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 7 Aug 14 | 10:11PM by Ancient History.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 11 August, 2014 12:10PM
I am so looking forward to this study. S. T. shew'd me ye portion that you wrote about my own work, and I was very happy with it indeed. I am moft keenly interested in what you have to say about the sexual elements in E'ch-Pi-El's own fiction--which I insist are there, but lots of people disagree with my observations. My pale moist palms itch to hold this book, my hungry eyes burn to devour it!

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

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 12 August, 2014 07:37AM
Heh. Well, I hope to meet your expectations. With regard to Lovecraft's fiction - and I should stress here that I focus on Lovecraft's weird fiction, not "Sweet Ermengarde" or "Alfredo, A Tragedy" or his poetry - while I offer my own analysis, a large part of the chapter is trying to gather together the varied opinions and critical commentary which have accrued over the years. Because with 50+ years of Lovecraft scholarship and criticism, you'd be amazed at how many people have found need to comment on some aspect of love, sex, and gender in various Lovecraft tales.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 8 October, 2014 07:51PM
"H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith had very different attitudes and experiences on sex, and their Mythos fiction reflects in part this difference. It is known that as a young man Smith fell passionately in love with a blonde woman who took ill and died, and afterwards he gave his deepest love to brunettes; he joked of affairs with married women in his letters, the true extant of which is unclear; and late in life he married Carol Jones Dorman, who survived him and wrote an uncompleted memoir titled The Man Who Walks the Stars, the manuscript of which resides at the John Hay Library (Smith 2003, 32n2; Behrends 5–6). The combination of love and death, as well as affairs and cuckoldry, are themes that would recur often in Smith’s creative output, from the romance and sexuality prominent in his poetry, including the suggestive “Saturnian Cinema” (written 1954) and the erotic “The Temptation” (1924) collected in Section V of The Last Oblivion (2002); and the weird play The Dead Will Cuckold You (1951). In Smith’s short fiction, of which his tales related to the Cthulhu Mythos are a part, Tim Powers gave the best epitome: [...]"

An excerpt from page 171 in "Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos," the section on Clark Ashton Smith.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2014 08:08AM
Your excerpt ends at a very odd place.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2014 08:51PM
It does. I didn't want to include the whole Tim Powers quote because it's funky doing offset quotes in a forum. But I wanted something near the beginning to give people a taste of it.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: K.A. Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 9 October, 2014 11:19PM
I am really looking forward to reading this one, when finances permit the purchase. It's high on my list!

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 21 October, 2014 11:11AM
I would suggest you need to chat a bit with me before finishing your perspective - I am the last living person who knew Clark, both before and after his marriage - it is possible I may be useful to you.
Dr. Farmer

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 21 October, 2014 01:36PM
The book arriv'd yesterday, along with so many other books that I am a bit overwhelmed with reading matter. I just finished the excellent THE MADNESS OF CTHULHU Vol. I, am slowly reading both A MOUNTAIN WALKED and THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, and itch to begin this collection of poetry by Wade German, DREAMS FROM A BLACK NEBULA. I read, last night, the first twenty or so pages of SEX AND THE CTHULHU MYTHOS, and it is fantastic. I am anxious to read the portion that investigates individual stories. It is indeed a fine work of scholarship, incisive and original.

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

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 22 October, 2014 10:08AM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I would suggest you need to chat a bit with me
> before finishing your perspective - I am the last
> living person who knew Clark, both before and
> after his marriage - it is possible I may be
> useful to you.
> Dr. Farmer

Bit late for that now, sadly. Although I am curious for your insight on the matter - what little I talked about CAS' personal life and views in that regard was taken from biographical materials and his published letters.

> The book arriv'd yesterday, along with so many other books that I am a bit overwhelmed with reading matter. I just finished the excellent THE MADNESS OF CTHULHU Vol. I, am slowly
> reading both A MOUNTAIN WALKED and THE NEW ANNOTATED H. P. LOVECRAFT, and itch to begin this collection of poetry by Wade German, DREAMS FROM A BLACK NEBULA. I read, last night, the
> first twenty or so pages of SEX AND THE CTHULHU MYTHOS, and it is fantastic. I am anxious to read the portion that investigates individual stories. It is indeed a fine work of
> scholarship, incisive and original.

Glad to hear it, WHP!

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Fiendlover (IP Logged)
Date: 22 October, 2014 04:55PM
I definitely plan on acquiring this book, it is also very high on my list.

Black Nebula by Wade German is an excellent book and I am sure you will quite enjoy it, Wilum.

Re: Sex & the Cthulhu Mythos (and CAS)
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 20 November, 2015 06:48PM
For anyone interested, Sex and the Cthulhu Mythos has also been released on Amazon Kindle.



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