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Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 26 October, 2012 02:38PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Again, I would have to disagree with you. . . .



Alright, I have noted your points.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2012 12:54PM
I have found the discussion on Cover Art quite interesting - I can tell you that Clark's preference was no art at all, or very little as was done with Ebony and Crystal, the parchment cover for Sandalwood et al - I think he might have liked the artwork on the Paperback "Tales of Science and Sorcery" - His attitude reflected his awareness that the most famous places - like Saks Fifth Avenue, or Brooks Brothers - only have a small bronze marker in the corner of the building - nowadays of course, the cover is there to lure the buyer - doesn't work for me - I liked the covers on some of the recent editions - but again, Clark preferred uncluttered and simple - the lushness is in the language - and attempts at painting what Clark wrote have thus far fallen far short of what the mind sees - I think a simple photograph of one the sculptures would be a great cover -

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2012 02:05PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think he might have
> liked the artwork on the Paperback "Tales of
> Science and Sorcery" -

Do you mean the Arkham House volume, which is red and white with a grey drawing, and has a photograph of CAS on the back?


> Clark preferred uncluttered and simple - the
> lushness is in the language - and attempts at
> painting what Clark wrote have thus far fallen far
> short of what the mind sees - I think a simple
> photograph of one the sculptures would be a great
> cover -

Some of my best reading experiences have been from books without any cover art. Bound volumes, with perhaps marbled boards, and small gilt letterings on the spine. Because there is nothing there to distract from you own imagination, nothing that would steer it in another direction.

Simple is probably best. But if adorned, the book is best made into an object of beauty in itself. By that I mean, using fine binding materials, perhaps decorative patterns, so the book becomes a self-contained object. Instead of using a cover painting, that really works as an illusion, making us see through the book. Today many books use elaborate cover illustrations, which function as surface distraction hiding underneath a binding that is often of inferior quality. It's commercialism that rules.

I have often said that if there is cover art, it is best if abstracted, at least partly, so it functions as decoration. Because as such, it will not dominate and steer one's own imagination.

However, in some cases I do enjoy elaborate or realistic cover art. If it is particularly good, bears direct relationship to the contents of the book, and if I feel that its style does not clash with my own personal imagination.

As for art on Lovecraft-books, I think I would have to say that the first Arkham House volume, The Outsider and Others, is the most successful. It captures the spirit of Lovecraft; the central theme of outsideness with the decorative stars, the weird and alien beings, the magi and symbols of ancient wisdom and culture, preferably connected to prehistorics of Egypt and older.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Shimrod (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2012 04:35PM
I think Calonian is referring to the Panther paperback of "Tales of Science and Sorcery." It features a stunning, colorful illustration that could have come from Arabian Nights, with a woman or goddess figure in the clutches of a large eastern-style demon or djinn.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2012 04:48PM
Shimrod Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think Calonian is referring to the Panther
> paperback of "Tales of Science and Sorcery." It
> features a stunning, colorful illustration that
> could have come from Arabian Nights, with a woman
> or goddess figure in the clutches of a large
> eastern-style demon or djinn.

I wondered about that, because that cover doesn't have "very little" art. So maybe he thought of the Arkham House edition, which is much more subdued. Anyhow, CAS probably would have found some curiosity in that demon illustration.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Shimrod (IP Logged)
Date: 27 October, 2012 08:50PM
Either way, I'm personally quite fond of the demon illustration. It has an energy lacking in a lot of CAS covers, and I think it matches well with some of the stories in that collection. I suppose the beauty of antiquarian book covers is that they can be appreciated as curiosities without regard to their effectiveness in marketing strategies.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 28 October, 2012 11:08AM
Yes, gentlemen, the paperback with the swirling colors and critters - it has a lushness about it that seems to reek of an appropriate decadence in a accord with worlds with two dying suns - to was Ashtonian - Carol was largely responsible for the choices made in that collection - In my personal library, I have a large number of the bound volumes mentioned above - the marbleized look, leather back - and I have some exquisite little leather bound books of such works as Livy, Pliny, and of course the standards - Plato et al - I also treasure my set from the Noroena society that includes the Eddas, the Heimskringla, and other of the Norse and Icelandic sagas - I still prefer a real "book" - God only knows how many paperbacks I have worn out and had to buy new copies - George MacDonalds paperbacks are particularly poorly bound paperbacks - I bet I have gone through at least 4 copies each of "Lilith" and "Phantastes" - but the price of hardbounds of these is beyond reason - I suspect I will never succumb to the Ebook of Ibook or whatever segment of the alphabet book comes along - Reading is a tactile experience - and, at my advanced age, the image of the elderly scholar, an handmade afghan draped across his knees, a fine Sherry, pipe, and book by a roaring fire with a fine old hound curled at his feet suits me to a "T" - as long as gout is not part of the picture - side note - this is the actual 15th anniversary at time of writing when the kid whose heart I received flat-lined in the hospital - and at 8pm when the call came to drive to Galveston for the surgery. Can hardly fathom how time has gone by so quickly - "Oh quae mutatio rerum" -

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 28 October, 2012 12:36PM
My own preference, for covers or jackets, is a photograph of the author of the book. H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Arthur Machen -- they have such interesting and distinctive faces. Lovecraft, at times, looks dead creepy, and CAS, to me, always looks like a distinguished poet. A bad illustration can be an insult to a book's author, such as those bloody awful jacket illustrations that Arkham House used for those last editions of E'ch-Pi-El's fiction (thank Yog two of those books are now o.p.). My favorite jackets are in The Library of America.

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

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Douglas A. Anderson (IP Logged)
Date: 28 October, 2012 12:53PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I bet I have gone through at
> least 4 copies each of "Lilith" and "Phantastes" -
> but the price of hardbounds of these is beyond
> reason -

Johannesen Printing & Publishing of Whitethorn California did a series of attractive reissues of MacDonald in hardcover (no dust-wrappers, but with gilt ornamentation on the covers) back in the 90s and these were fairly cheap (around $20). For Phantastes they used the 1905 edition with the Arthur Hughes illustrations, but for Lilith they did what they called on the title page _Lilith: A Duplex_ [called on the upper cover _Lilith: First and Final_]. They added a transcription of the first manuscript of Lilith (from 1890), never before published. Both of these volumes came out in 1994, and are recommended.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 30 October, 2012 06:24PM
Douglas A. Anderson Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> calonlan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I bet I have gone through at
> > least 4 copies each of "Lilith" and "Phantastes"
> -
> > but the price of hardbounds of these is beyond
> > reason -
>
> Johannesen Printing & Publishing of Whitethorn
> California did a series of attractive reissues of
> MacDonald in hardcover (no dust-wrappers, but with
> gilt ornamentation on the covers) back in the 90s
> and these were fairly cheap (around $20). For
> Phantastes they used the 1905 edition with the
> Arthur Hughes illustrations, but for Lilith they
> did what they called on the title page _Lilith: A
> Duplex_ . They added a transcription of the first
> manuscript of Lilith (from 1890), never before
> published. Both of these volumes came out in
> 1994, and are recommended.
Thanks - the only hard-bounds I have ever seen were at book-fairs - and most volumes were first editions - or rare and quite pricey - I appreciate you fellows who have an interest in tracking down such stuff for those of us who are just too busy.

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 31 October, 2012 12:16PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I appreciate
> you fellows who have an interest in tracking down
> such stuff for those of us who are just too busy.



Oh, this is no free time. We too are busy alright. This is our occupation. Tracking down and hunting for the utmost in ecstasy. That is the meaning and fulfilment of life. ;)

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 3 November, 2012 08:00PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> calonlan Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----At the moment, since my wife has been in Oregon for 3 months seeing to it that my son stays on task for a second degree, the "utmost in Ecstasy" is momentarily out of reach.
>
> > I appreciate
> > you fellows who have an interest in tracking
> down
> > such stuff for those of us who are just too
> busy.
>
>
>
> Oh, this is no free time. We too are busy alright.
> This is our occupation. Tracking down and hunting
> for the utmost in ecstasy. That is the meaning and
> fulfilment of life. ;)

Re: The obscurity of Smith
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 4 November, 2012 04:28AM
Seacrching for ecstasy in the arts, can sometimes be the only way of relief from sorrows. Praying to God, and trying to see problems from a larger perspective, is another related way.

But when the problems immediately pile up, it can be momentarily overwhelming.

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