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Is CAS cosmic?
Posted by: SeventhSon (IP Logged)
Date: 31 January, 2015 10:36AM
I'm one of the biggest french admirers of CAS (he is my favorite writer, and I'm hoping new translations planned for 2016+ will give his work a new birth). So, please forgive my terrible english.

A glimpse of the end of "Clark Ashton Smith : a critical guide to the man and his work" made me think. We're given a few titles of true cosmic stories written by CAS, but for the most part it says :
To summarize my own overall belief: what we have come to think of as cosmicism in CAS is in fact something else, something that arose from the combined influences of two aspects of Smith's personality, the Romantic and the Misanthrope.
In short, for the true cosmicist Lovecraft, there was immensity of the physical universe, while for CAS, the sense of distance and isolation from his fellow men.

Note that he earlier said :
Or perhaps Smiths definition of "cosmic" simply does not coincide with my own.

So, is the man's definition of "cosmic" too restrictive? My thought is that the tales are often both romantic AND cosmic, and can be so, therefore I disagree with him.
First, the focus being not so much on people but exotic, "other" places, so distant in time that even earth is like another world. How could there not be "immensity of the physical universe" in CAS's work???
Secondly, a character's emotions won't be about little daily human worries, and though it deals with romantic subjects, with themes like time, death, loss, regrets or beauty, not only do I see feelings that the big cosmos is inducing itself, but considering this otherness of the place, time, characters, we're given a true sense of fatality and uncaring universe (whatever world I'll speak of, death or doom waits / humanity is nothing), another side of a cosmic point of view.

Cosmic or not, what do you think?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 31 Jan 15 | 10:37AM by SeventhSon.

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