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When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Petrr (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2021 09:11AM
Hello friends,
Would anyone know when some of the stories included in The Sword of Zagan and Other Writings were written? All references lead just to the publication date of the book. I would need to know when The Haunted Gong and The Haunted Chamber were written. I've googled like a madman, and found nothing :(
Thanks a lot!

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Platypus (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2021 12:04PM
Dunno. Maybe they were written in 2004.

Assuming CAS wrote them, I suppose the typescript or manuscript he left behind on his death would not necessarily be dated.

Does Joshi say anything helpful in his introduction?

What are the stories like? Are they unfinished? Are they close variants of published stories? Are they particularly poor relative to his other work? Is there a history of submission and rejection? I would think that if a CAS story were published for the first time in 2004, some explanation ought to be required.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Hespire (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2021 12:16PM
Both stories can be read on this very site.

[eldritchdark.com]

[eldritchdark.com]

Haunted Gong comes with a note from CAS' friend Dr. Farmer, so it's more than likely CAS wrote it. And both stories very clearly have his style, but they're notably weaker than most of his work.

I can't say when exactly they were written, but I'm going to assume, from the subject of the book they were published in, that they're among CAS' oriental juvenilia.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Oldjoe (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2021 12:44PM
The Hippocampus Press edition of The Sword of Zagan and Other Writings has a note from W.C. Farmer that the title story was probably written when CAS was fifteen or sixteen years old, but doesn't speculate as to when the other contents may have been written. Joshi's intro to the same volume notes that the contents as a whole were probably written "well prior to Smith's twentieth birthday."

Slim evidence, but it does make sense from the contents of the stories, which are pretty obviously juvenilia.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2021 12:48PM
I guess the publication date would normally give you an approximate idea of when a story was written. Failing that (and unless the story in question is mentioned by CAS in a letter to a friend - ie, as a work in progress - or they mention it in a letter to him) there’s absolutely no way of knowing when he wrote a particular work.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 8 February, 2021 04:39AM
Cathbad Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I guess the publication date would normally give
> you an approximate idea of when a story was
> written. Failing that (and unless the story in
> question is mentioned by CAS in a letter to a
> friend - ie, as a work in progress - or they
> mention it in a letter to him) there’s
> absolutely no way of knowing when he wrote a
> particular work.

There is, of course, CAS's log of stories finished, with dates, but it does not include his early stories.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Cathbad (IP Logged)
Date: 8 February, 2021 06:01AM
I never knew CAS kept a log, Martinus. I guess that must make dating the stories in 'The Sword of Zagan' pretty straightfoward!

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 8 February, 2021 11:30AM
Alas, I was mistaken -- Smith's log is sequential (so that it is at least possible to see what was written before what) but undated, although mss. and letters frequently provide dates.
Unfortunately, as I pointed out, it does not include his early stories, hence not the Zagan ones; but later ones can (mostly) nbe dated with some accuracy..
It can be found in Steve Behrends's Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide.

Re: When were stories like The Haunted Gong/ Chamber written?
Posted by: casofile (IP Logged)
Date: 10 February, 2021 09:42AM
Martin is correct in that Smith's story log is sequential and represents his mature, or professional fiction, which is why stories such as "The Black Diamonds," etc., were not included. I was fortunate enough to be in contact with Bill Farmer when he first mentioned online that he was in possesion of a cache of mostly juvenilia which was given to him personally by CAS. Scott Connors and I actually went to Texas and helped Dr. Farmer organize and transcribe this material and I personally transcribed the stories in question here. The story goes that Smith was going to throw the pile of juevnilia away (which, after saving it for nearly 50 years seemed a real shame!) When Dr. Farmer expressed interest in retaining this material Smith readily handed it over to him. Among these papers I noticed the missing pages from "The Black Diamonds" and various pages from other manuscripts included in the Smith papers held at Brown University, thus completing these tales as well. As I recall there were also a few shorter fragments and early drafts which were not included in "Zagan." It is notable that this juvenilia was of such quality (tho of course still only juvenilia) for a boy in his early teens to have written, and underscores the fact that CAS was a born storyteller and gifted with extraordinary talent and intellect.



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