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The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: stevereplogle (IP Logged)
Date: 15 September, 2018 10:49AM
After many years, and several previous postings in this forum, I have at last obtained a copy of "The Dark Eidolon" #3, with the article "Projected Clark Ashton Smith Collections." This article transcribes a list from Carter's papers with a brief introduction and no commentary; it gives the tables of contents of five books that Carter might have added to the four volumes he previously edited for the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series. I have thought (and still believe) that Ballantine's Smith collections were a high point of that acclaimed series, both artistically and academically. I often hoped to learn more about Carter's plans for a volume of Averoigne stories, but could never locate any firm plans or detailed information - until now.

I had believed that Carter was simply going to publish one more Smith volume, "Averoigne," but his papers show that he hoped to publish five more books! We don't know how seriously Carter considered these plans - he possessed an ebullient and mutable spirit, and some of his proposed titles for Ballantine seem rather hastily considered, perhaps not really very sensible. Other plans, however, seem quite fascinating, and it is a pity he was never able to pursue them. More information on this topic can be found in "The Ballantine Adult Fantasy Books That Never Were" by Dan Clore, in "Apostle of Letters: A Critical Evaluation of the Life and Works of Lin Carter" (2006), edited by Stephen J. Servello for WildCat Books.

The general article in "Apostle of Letters" is wide-ranging, and does not give details on Carter's plans for his Smith books - only their titles. The details, happily, are revealed in "The Dark Eidolon."

Here are the Smith titles with their proposed years of publication.

1975: Kalood
1976: Ydmos
1977: Averoigne
1978: Sadastor
Undated, but probably 1979: Malnéant

Ballantine stopped publishing the Adult Fantasy Series in 1974 (their last Smith volume, "Poseidonis," had been released a year earlier) so none of these plans came to fruition. It is a pity that we never saw this nine-volume run of Smith anthologies, especially if they might have featured the whimsical, evocative cover paintings by Gervasio Gallardo.

For some time, as I wrote above, I've particularly wondered how Carter would approach "Averoigne." His incorporation of prose poems and poetry, as well as unrelated but similarly-themed stories in "Xiccarph" and "Poseidonis," led me to daydream about the various materials Carter might have included in an Averoigne volume. Surprisingly, the details given in "The Dark Eidolon" are rather uncharacteristically straight-forward. Carter notes that he would include the following stories, perhaps in this order (and with Carter's misspellings).

The Maker of Gargoyles
The Holiness of Azedorac
The Colossus of Ylorgne
The Beast of Averoigne
The Mandrakes
The Disinternment of Venus
The Satyr
The End of the Story
A Rendezvous in Averoigne
Mother of Toads
The Enchantress of Sylaire

Carter's list also includes an addendum: "Pages from "The Black Book" and Notes for Unwritten Stories by Cark Ashton Smith."

And that's it. No poems - no other pieces. I find it a little disappointing, but nonetheless worth consideration. Carter may not have felt that an Averoigne collection needed much embellishment. The stories present a substantial corpus, more along the lines of Ballantine's "Zothique" or "Hyperborea" than "Xiccarph." Further, supporting materials from "The Black Book" would indeed offer a variety of related texts. And, of course, in the actual work of editing such a volume, Carter might have considered many changes and alternatives.

This ordering of the Averoigne stories seems a bit awkward to me. It is neither the original order of publication, not quite, nor does it fit with internal chronological evidence. I don't believe this is the order in which the stories were written, either. Even more, ending with "The Enchantress of Sylaire" doesn't quite strike me as right. Again, Carter may have made many changes if he had really had a chance to publish his own version of "Averoigne."

I think it was a mistake for Carter to hold off on "Averoigne." It is a stronger collection than at least two of the books he published first ("Poseidonis" and "Xiccarph"). Perhaps he wanted to save the best for last, or next-to-last. For many years - decades even! - it was the greatest missed opportunity in Smith's bibliography.

Luckily for us, there is now Ron Hilger's "The Averoigne Chronicles" from Centipede Press. In this beautiful volume the order of the stories is strong, even optimal. I particularly favor the inclusion of "A Night in Malnéant." The supplemental selections of poetry expand upon the mood of the stories, much as the poems and prose-poems in Smith's Ballantine volumes added to the enjoyment of those collections. Lin Carter's work, too, is honored within the editorial texts.

The information about Carter's plans was obtained by "The Dark Eidolon" from Robert M. Price, Carter's literary executor. I know that one of my previous postings on this topic led to a response wondering about the ethics of publishing such details, as it was copyrighted by the Necronomicon Press (and perhaps also by Price). I believe that it is allowed under academic guidance for "fair use." It might also be interesting for the readers of this forum to review Carter's plans for the other four books he hoped to publish by Clark Ashton Smith. As with many of Smith's own stories, these are imaginative explorations of strange and fantastic worlds that never were.

Re: The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: Douglas A. Anderson (IP Logged)
Date: 15 September, 2018 06:55PM
In an interview with Lin Carter in Spoor #3 (1973), Carter said that "In 1974, Ballantine will publish Malneant, the fifth of my collections of Clark Ashton Smith." So that makes the planned ordering:

1974: Malneant
1975: Kalood
1976: Ydmos
1977: Averoigne
1978: Sadastor

Re: The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: stevereplogle (IP Logged)
Date: 15 September, 2018 08:30PM
Thanks for posting this new information! It's quite interesting. It also shows the pitfalls of guessing. Because that selection was undated, and came last in the article, I thought it was meant to be published last. Instead, the opposite is true.

Did Carter say anything else about that collection, or his plans, or his approach to presenting Smith's work?

The article in "The Dark Eidolon" seems to show that "Malnéant" was meant as a kind of "greatest hits" package, taken from various Arkham House books. To my eye, there is no sense of place or other thematic concern that organizes Carter's plans for this volume - perhaps a better Smith scholar might make it out.

Here's the table of contents.

= = = = = =

From Out of Space and Time, Arkham House, 1942:
A Night in Malnéant
The Second Internment
The Return of the Sorcerer

From Lost Worlds, 1944:
The Gorgon
The Hunters from Beyond
The Treader in the Dust

From The Arkham Sampler #4, 1948:
A Cosmic Novel


From Genius Loci, Arkham House, 1948:
Genius Loci
The Willow Landscape
The Ninth Skeleton
The Phantoms of the Fire

From The Abominations of Yondo, Arkham House, 1960:
The Nameless Offspring
The Devotee of Evil

From Poems in Prose, Arkham House, 1965:
The Forbidden Forest; The Flower-Devil; The Black Lake; A Dream of Lethe; The Touchstone; The Princess Almeena; The Mirror in the Hall of Ebony; In Cocaigne; The Shadows; Ennui; The Demon, the Angel, and Beauty

From Other Dimensions, Arkham House, 1970:
The Necromantic Tale
The Resurrection of the Rattlesnake
The Supernumerary Corpse
Thirteen Phantasms

From Selected Poems, Arkham House, 1971:
The Eldritch Dark; Shadow of Nightmare; Averted Malefice; The Pursuer; Solution; Haunting; The City of Destruction

= = = = = =

As can be seen, this is a more "typical" Carter collection - a mix of stories, poetry, and prose-poems. The third section, from The Arkham Sampler, has been crossed out and so presumably would have been removed.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 15 Sep 18 | 08:35PM by stevereplogle.

Re: The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: Douglas A. Anderson (IP Logged)
Date: 15 September, 2018 08:41PM
> Did Carter say anything else about that collection, or his plans, or his approach to presenting Smith's work?

Nope. That was the sole comment.

Re: The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 September, 2018 09:06PM
I too miss an "Averoigne" collection. Averoigne is such an essential part of Smith's literary creation and of his perspective mood.

I am surprised Necronomicon Press has not released such a book in the same format as their wonderful highlights Tales of Zothique and The Book of Hyperborea.

Re: The Projected Averoigne Collection by Lin Carter
Posted by: stevereplogle (IP Logged)
Date: 16 September, 2018 07:39PM
I do want to apologize for covering some of the same ground in the posts above as in my earlier posts on this same topic, although those were some years ago. My own earlier posts(and posts by others) admittedly cited some of this same information about Carter's plans... but not all, and not with the specificity or completeness I was able to find after finally reading the article in "The Dark Eidolon." If there are bits that are repetitious to you, please excuse me! But I do hope it will spur some discussion here (or elsewhere).



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