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L'Art Etrange de Clark Ashton Smith
Posted by: Ancient History (IP Logged)
Date: 14 November, 2014 03:51PM
Something new in the mail today, although it took me bloody forever to get it - I had to order it through Amazon.co.uk, and the first attempt was returned to the warehouse as "undeliverable" and the second attempt apparently had my name scrubbed off the address - but no matter!

A good-sized paperback of 254 pages by David Dunais, L'Art Etrange de Clark Ashton Smith is a 2013 French-language collection of and scholarly commentary on his work, book 12 in a serious (La Bibliotheque d'Abdul Alhazred) on Mythos authors, with a preface by Donald Sidney-Fryer.

Part one, "L'Art Etrange de C. A. Smith" opens with a photo of CAS I've never seen before - wearing a plaid shirt - and is basically an essay on the history and nature of Smith's weird poetry, fiction, and artwork, focusing mainly on the poetry, fiction, and translations - there's a few parts on Theosophy and the structure of his narratives I'll have to translate into English as I get the leisure to do it, with copious end-notes.

Part two, "Le Mangeur de Haschisch" is, at you might expect, a translation of "The Hashish-Eater," as well as a rather thorough explanatory essay on the same, complete with multipage tables of motifs and thematic elements that reoccur in the poem, and then a exploratory essay "Le Hashish-Eater, Un Heritage Romantique," looking at Smith's inspirations, the relations to French language and culture, various interpretations, etc. Somewhat as an appendix (for comparison) is a bilingual translation of Arthur Symon's "Hashish" from Images of Good and Evil (1899) and Thomas Bailey Aldrich's "Hascheesh."

This is followed by a gallery of cover artwork for collections of Smith's works and various journals, both French and English editions, although hardly complete - I find the French editions more interesting, as I haven't seen Les Jardins de Klarkash-TOn before; several of these are the NEO editions which are the general French collections of CAS' work. (Other covers and pictures of CAS form the only other illustrations in the volume.)

Part three, "C. A. Smith Traduit Baudelaire" concerns Smith's translations of Baudelaire from the French - CAS had thought the regular translations had left much out - and is a collection of essays on the subject. The chapter ends with seven translations of poems by Baudelaire by Smith - both the original French, and Smith's English translation, with explanatory notes and an analysis of rhythm in Smith's translation.

The postscript is by Emmanuel Thibault, and as typical for French books, the table of contents is at the back.

I hope this eventually gets a translation in English; it appears Dunais put this together from several different essays he'd written over the years, and there's a terrific level of literary nitty-gritty which is often lacking from weird studies - particularly the in-depth look at Smith's poetry and translations which, I admit, I'm not really qualified to be much of a judge of, but I can appreciate the writing on it. Little if any of the art in the book is original, but some of it is fresh to my eyes and it helps to break up what would otherwise be a fairly drab book; I really like the cover by Ameen, too.

Re: L'Art Etrange de Clark Ashton Smith
Posted by: K.A. Opperman (IP Logged)
Date: 15 November, 2014 09:32PM
I wonder if Donald Sidney-Fryer might perhaps translate it. I know he has been involved in translating many things from French, and that he is pals with Dunais--the latter author's name having appeared in several letters I have from DSF. Many moons ago Don said to me that he was busy translating something lengthy from the French--I believe articles on CAS--which involved/were by Dunais....



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 Nov 14 | 10:06PM by K.A. Opperman.

Re: L'Art Etrange de Clark Ashton Smith
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 2 January, 2015 08:53PM
Kyle - write to Don and ask him - he's probably already working on it.



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