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CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 13 January, 2013 10:11PM
Today, on this 120th anniversary of the nativity of Clark Ashton SMith, I spoke with S. T. Joshi about CAS' forthcoming induction into the Penguin Modern Classics (tenativel scheduled for early 2014): THE DARK EIDOLON AND OTHER FANTASIES. A mixture of prose poems, fiction, and poetry, the collection include the following sample of Smith's fiction:
Sadastor
The Tale of Satampra Zeiros
The City of the Singing Flame
The Holiness of Azédarac
The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis
The Demon of the Flower
The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan
Ubbo-Sathla
The Double Shadow
The Disinterment of Venus
The Beast of Averoigne
The Maze of the Enchanter
Genius Loci
The Dark Eidolon
The Weaver in the Vault
The Death of Malygris
The Seven Geases
Xeethra
The Last Hieroglyph
The Treader of the Dust
Phoenix

Along with most of the prose poems and a hefty sampling of poetry from all periods of his career (but not, alas, including "The Hashish-Eater," whose length would have meant eliminating too many other fine pieces), this book should ensure CAS' place in the canon.

What do you all think of the choice of stories? If you feel we left out one of your favorites, please share why it should be included. Some popular stories were omitted. For instance, both "The Return of the Sorcerer" and "The Seed from the Sepulchre" are often anthologised. However, in the former CAS is trying to out-Lovecraft Lovecraft and his style is less poetic and more hysterical (in both senses of the word), while the former is a near-copy of "Yoh-Vombis" in all but setting (and besides, we have "The Demon of the Flower" covering Smith's fascination with vegetables that will eat you if you don't eat them first.:) ) Come on, share your thoughts!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 13 Jan 13 | 10:12PM by Scott Connors.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 14 January, 2013 03:30AM
Although I realize they are very popular, I would take out "The City of the Singing Flame" and "Genius Loci," neither of which I feel is anything special, and put in "The Charnel God" and "The Dweller in the Gulf" instead. You deserve praise for leaving out "The Return of the Sorcerer."

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 14 January, 2013 04:00AM
Congratulations, Scott and S. T.!

I would have loved to have seen "The Chain of Aforgomon" and "Necromancy in Naat" included too, though I understand their omission due to space considerations. However, the one deep regret I have is the omission of "The Last Incantation", not only because it is a wonderful story that demonstrates Smith's ability to evoke deep emotion without having to resort to grue, but because I feel that "The Death of Malygris" and this story each gain from being read in tandem. That is the one omission I would urge you to rectify; otherwise, I can live with this selection.

Once we start considering the more overtly science fictional stories, I believe we start getting into trouble, which is why I believe "Yoh Vombis" is your best bet - otherwise, if you include "The Dweller in the Gulf", why not also include "The Master of the Asteroid", etc. Tough choices.

The problem with "The City of the Singing Flame" is that, as evocative as the original novella is, and despite the somewhat awkward transition between the original and the continuation, the most memorable portion of the whole remains, for me, the second part of the continuation, "The Striding Doom". Yes, the continuation somewhat dilutes the mystery and poetry of the original, but Smith's depiction of that striding, malevolent city is impressive enough to offset that for me, with the result that we are faced with no easy solution when it comes to that particular work.

I second Jojo is celebrating your deletion of "The Return of the Sorcerer", which may once have been among Smith's most celebrated stories, but now seems to me to rank among his worst as far as execution goes. Unfortunately, the Lovecraft it seems to attempt to emulate is the Lovecraft of "From Beyond" and other earlier experiments in which interesting concepts were tied to the most melodramatic popular fiction tropes imaginable.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14 Jan 13 | 04:50AM by jimrockhill2001.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 January, 2013 06:47AM
I think it's a excellent selection. I'd have like to have seen the Zothique tales mentioned above by Jojo and JimR, but obviously it can't include everything. I'd have quite liked to have seen 'Master of the Asteroid' included and 'Double Cosmos' in there too, although I think concentrating on his fantasies is a sensible choice. I can see why a Penguin collection would want to concentrate on CAS' best writing and this regard it's hard to fault the selection here. I'm also very glad 'Singing Flame' and 'Genius Loci' were included. Actually the more I look at the list, the more I like it. I look forward to reading it - roll on 2014!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 14 January, 2013 01:05PM
The selection is excellent. Perhaps -- perhaps the book will be a huge success and they will follow with a second volume. I am overjoy'd that the book is to appear, as it was beginning to seem unlikely. Our profound thanx, Scott, for your assistance to S. T. on this title.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 14 January, 2013 10:18PM
I would not place "Sadastor" first in the collection. The serious aim for this book, I would think, is to, for the first time in publishing history, reach a wide mass-audience for Clark Ashton Smith. "Sadastor" is too dense and pompous, old-fashioned sounding prose poem, and likely to intimidate a large part of inexperienced new readers who open the book to check its first pages. The book ought to have a flying start with some of CAS's best prose. Such as "The Dark Eidolon", or some other.

Glad to hear someone (Jim Rockhill) finally, along with me, express appreciation for the continuation of "The City of the Singing Flame". Perhaps because Joshi said it isn't very much, people don't dare to oppose. Clark himself said of "Beyond the Singing Flame" that it, "Strikes me as the best thing I have done recently." And he was often pretty harsh with self-criticism for his own stories.
I remember it as similar in power to the overwhelming ending of "The Dark Eidolon".

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2013 06:41AM
Actually, I'm kind of surprised that Abominations of Yondo isn't included. I've not read it in a little while, but I thought that it was such an evocative piece.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2013 05:49PM
I think Joshi and Scott have made a good selection. While I don't clearly remember all these stories, there are many great ones included. It's impossible to make a perfect selection, the taste is a thing of subjectivity.

There are perhaps a few minor ones chosen, like "The Disinterment of Venus" and "Phoenix". But that's not necessarily a bad thing. It gives some breathing space. "The Disinterment of Venus" was still a deliscious trifle, as I recall.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2013 06:07PM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think Joshi and Scott have made a good
> selection. While I don't clearly remember all
> these stories, there are many great ones included.
> It's impossible to make a perfect selection, the
> taste is a thing of subjectivity.
>
> There are perhaps a few minor ones chosen, like
> "The Disinterment of Venus" and "Phoenix". But
> that's not necessarily a bad thing. It gives some
> breathing space. "The Disinterment of Venus" was
> still a deliscious trifle, as I recall.

I had a few doubts about these too, though I can see how opening the book with "Sadastor" and closing it with "Phoenix" presents a nice framing effect. The potential issue with "The Disinterment of Venus" is that, as much as I enjoy the story, I think it is too close to Prosper Merimee's "The Venus of Ille" (1837) to count as one of Smith's best stories, when space is such an important consideration. One of the others mentioned previously or something as evocative, if not particularly strong on plot, as "A Night in Malneant" might be a better choice.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2013 08:03PM
jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can
> see how opening the book with "Sadastor" and
> closing it with "Phoenix" presents a nice framing
> effect. . . .

Just don't make a too solid border frame around the insides, or new readers won't get through it.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 15 January, 2013 10:24PM
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.
Jim: "The Disinterment of Venus" was included because it forms a lively counterpoint to the depiction of the clergy in "The Beast of Averoigne," and it is a good representation of Smith's bawdy mood. Besides, I grew rather fond of it when restoring the original version. "The Chain of Aforgomon" gets a bit too mechanical and clunky in spots" IMO. "Necromancy in Naat" was just too long.
Jojo Lapin X: "The Charnel God" almost made the cut. "The Dweller in the Gulf" is too close to "The Vault of Yoh-Vombis."
Knygatin: "Sadastor" serves the same purpose as "To the Daemon" did in THE END OF THE STORY. It also serves as a bridge between the prose poetry and the fiction.
The English Assassin: "The Abominations of Yondo" and "God of the Asteroid" both also almost made the cut. but including everything just wasn't feasible.
As for the sequel to "The City of the Singing Flame," Fritz Leiber also liked it. But it was just too pulpish to include when there were other, better stories to include.

Scott

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 02:03AM
That makes sense, Scott. And what of "The Last Enchantment"?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 06:17AM
"Sadastor" first is like putting a stopper block at the beginning of the book. If it serves as a bridge, it could be placed after the prose. I find it nearly unreadable, you need almost be a poet to take it in. The book should start in a lighter, more popular way, I think.

I we look at Edgar Allan Poe collections. As good as "Silence" and "Shadow" are, they don't start off collections, and rightly so. Dessert is served after the main meal.

Well, that is my opinion, any way.

Does anyone understand what I am saying?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 07:31AM
I've just had to re-read Sadastor to remind myself of it... I know what you mean, but it's a short piece so I don't feel that it's going to be too off-putting and it does set a nice CASian mood to the collection. I can go either way. Of course you could just include Yondo, which should serve the purpose, but maybe be a little less obscure for the newbies... :)

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 09:01AM
Knygatin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone understand what I am saying?

Something about the proper order in which to eat a meal?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 09:42AM
Setting a mood, can be done with a few lines of verse, placed at the beginning of a story, as both Lovecraft and CAS did for some of their stories.

I too had to re-read "Sadastor", and it's worse than I remembered. Oh my God, it's awfully written! It doesn't even breath. It will choke the book. Clark himself said, '"Sadastor" will be utterly unsalable.' I agree with Clark.

I think it's dangerous when editors of a book intended to be a bestseller, who are at the same time fans, design the book after their own exclusive connoiseur tastes, having an ambition to set the artistic bar, the prestige, and rank of weird fiction, as high as possible. It would make better business sense, to welcome and have the less intelligent ordinary readers in mind. That way many more will be reached. The high quality of the author will still be revealed inside the book.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 10:54AM
I'd like very much to see the prose and the poems mixed together rather than one being sectioned off from the other. I have a feeling that all that will happen if the poetry is left at the back is that most readers will say to themselves, 'I must read that sometime' and never think of it again... The only problem I can see with this approach is CAS' longer verse might be hard to squeeze in...

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 12:02PM
Agreed, English Assassin. In my Penguin collection of Poe, all the poems are in the front. I liked that. It made me read them all before going to the prose.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 12:22PM
Delighted to see this project coming to fruition - I am glad to see Genius Loci included, I have found it to be one that requires re-reading often over the years to see if the sensation it evokes is still there - and it is -
I would like to see "Schizoid Creator" included - Clark's ability to spoof within his genre is often overlooked - and of course, it was written when Dr. Freud and his associated witch doctors had only recently appeared on the scene, and Clark saw the whole business for the pretentious fraud it was - also small note: why would anyone be afraid of Mr. Joshi? He's a nice chap doing what he enjoys, and Scott trusts him - that's quite enough.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 01:03PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> why would anyone be afraid
> of Mr. Joshi? He's a nice chap doing what he
> enjoys, and Scott trusts him - that's quite
> enough.

A sense of loyalty to the premier front-figure in Lovecraft and Weird Fiction studies may in some reach almost religious proportions.

I saw Joshi on youtube, and I like him! Quite generous of him to sing 'Silent Night' too!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 04:35PM
Well, he is a member of a choir....

I've never met Joshi, but I have had dealings with him over the years, via correspondence, from early debates on various points to submitting essays for possible publication. In all my dealings with him, he has been unfailingly cordial and friendly. Sometimes rushed, as he is almost always pushed for time, but never anything less than thoroughly kind, even when we were completely at odds in our views. In fact, at those times, he would urge me to develop my ideas and examine my contentions in a rigorous way, to build my case as soldily as possible. So, for my money, any timidity on someone's part where Joshi is concerned comes from a serious misconception, or a confusion of the intense tone of his scholarly works with the actual person. The one is necessary to convey his point of view clearly and firmly, but it is not how the man interacts with others in other spheres of endeavor.

On the volume itself... I, too, was a bit surprised to not see "The Abominations of Yondo", which I think would make a very good addition; but I also think "Sadastor" is actually, in many ways, a very good introduction to Smith, with its adumbration of some of his favorite themes and the very manner of the prose. It lets the reader know right off that here is a man who makes the language sing; a writer with the eye of the poet, whatever the chosen medium; and a truly unique and powerful voice. It may take some getting used to; but, then, so does the work of, say, Mervyn Peake, David Lindsay, Theophile Gautier, Lafcadio Hearn, or James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon); yet all have proved popular enough to gain a rather solid following, and to continue to be published and enjoyed by new generations....

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 08:18PM
jdworth said " I also think "Sadastor" is actually, in many ways, a very good introduction to Smith, with its adumbration of some of his favorite themes and the very manner of the prose. It lets the reader know right off that here is a man who makes the language sing; a writer with the eye of the poet, whatever the chosen medium; and a truly unique and powerful voice. It may take some getting used to; but, then, so does the work of, say, Mervyn Peake, David Lindsay, Theophile Gautier, Lafcadio Hearn, or James Tiptree, Jr. ..."

DING DING DING!! We have a winner!! : ) I couldn't have said it better myself.

Besides, did it bog down THE END OF THE STORY? That book, too, featured "Sadastor" in an early position.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 16 January, 2013 10:32PM
*blush* Thank you for the kind words, Scott....

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: shivapashupati (IP Logged)
Date: 17 January, 2013 07:38PM
I believe I read somewhere that the Library of America collection was somehow related to Penguin. Certainly all of us CAS fans would appreciate one of their hefty quality volumes dedicated to our favourite author. Just like they did for HPL.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 18 January, 2013 03:41PM
jimrockhill2001 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> However, the one deep regret I have is the omission of "The Last Incantation",
> not only because it is a wonderful story that demonstrates Smith's ability to evoke deep emotion
> without having to resort to grue, but because I feel that "The Death of Malygris" and this story
> each gain from being read in tandem. That is the one omission I would urge you to rectify;
> otherwise, I can live with this selection.

This is the one omission that I also much regret, for the same reasons. It's not a very long piece, couldn't it be squeezed in?

"The Charnel God" would have been a fine enough inclusion, but it's non-appearance is not as grievous as that of "The Last Incantation".

"The Return of the Sorcerer" I have never cared about, it doesn't belong in a collection of Smith's best work, good riddance.

- Juha-Matti

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 19 January, 2013 11:47PM
I'm talking to S. T. about squeezing in "The Last Incantation." The arguments for its inclusion are convincing to me.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 20 January, 2013 07:31AM
Scott Connors Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I'm talking to S. T. about squeezing in "The Last
> Incantation." The arguments for its inclusion are
> convincing to me.

Great news, Scott. Douglas Anderson attempted to write you the following, but the email address we both have for you is bouncing: "That's certainly one of my top ten CAS stories too!"

Jim

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 20 January, 2013 01:26PM
Yes, I had meant to mention that one myself, but time constraints.... Anyhoo, that is certainly among my favoritesn as well, and I, too, think it complements "The Death of Malygris" as well. Here's hoping it can be squeezed in....

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Draugen (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2013 08:20AM
I think this is a really good line up.

I'm a bit suprised not to see The Abominations of Yondo, however. I seem to remember that it was after reading that story that I wanted to hunt down everything he had written. Maybe its just me, but I think its a good piece to get people hooked.

I also think a Voyage to Sfanomoë is a favourite of mine thats missing. It's the combination of reclusive brothers, Poseidonis, touch of sci fi, floral weirdness and cosmic fatalism :-)

Either way, congratulations on getting the go ahead for this.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 7 February, 2013 08:49AM
Draugen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I also think a Voyage to Sfanomoë is a favourite
> of mine thats missing. It's the combination of
> reclusive brothers, Poseidonis, touch of sci fi,
> floral weirdness and cosmic fatalism :-)

Yes!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 9 February, 2013 08:37AM
Draugen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think this is a really good line up.
>
> I'm a bit suprised not to see The Abominations of
> Yondo, however. I seem to remember that it was
> after reading that story that I wanted to hunt
> down everything he had written. Maybe its just me,
> but I think its a good piece to get people
> hooked.
>
> I also think a Voyage to Sfanomoë is a favourite
> of mine thats missing. It's the combination of
> reclusive brothers, Poseidonis, touch of sci fi,
> floral weirdness and cosmic fatalism :-)
>
> Either way, congratulations on getting the go
> ahead for this.

I concur with you on both of these tales - especially Yondo. Is it not possible to squeeze this in somewhere?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 04:22AM
Scott Connors posted the following in the FB group for CAs a couple of hours ago:

Quote:
Scott
Here are the final contents of THE DARK EIDOLON AND OTHER FANTASIES by Clark Ashton Smith, as edited by S. T. Joshi, which was handed in to Penguin Modern Classics this week:
Short Stories: Sadastor; The Tale of Satampra Zeiros; The Last Incantation; The Epiphany of Death; The Devotee of Evil; The Uncharted Isle; The Face by the River; The City of the Singing Flame; The Holiness of Azédarac; The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis; The Demon of the Flower; Ubbo-Sathla; The Double Shadow; The Maze of the Enchanter; Genius Loci; The Dark Eidolon; The Weaver in the Vault; The Death of Malygris; Xeethra; The Last Hieroglyph; The Treader of the Dust; Mother of Toads; Phoenix.

Prose Poems: The Image of Bronze and the Image of Iron; The Memnons of the Night; The Demon, the Angel, and Beauty; The Corpse and the Skeleton; A Dream of Lethe; From the Crypts of Memory; Ennui; The Litany of the Seven Kisses; In Cocaigne; The Caravan; The Flower-Devil; The Shadows; The Passing of Aphrodite; To the Daemon; The Abomination of Desolation; The Mirror in the Hall of Ebony; The Touch-Stone; The Muse of Hyperborea.

Poetry: Sonnet on Oblivion; The Last Night; Ode to the Abyss; A Dream of Beauty; The Star-Treader; Retrospect and Forecast; Nero; To the Daemon Sublimity; Averted Malefice; A Dead City; The Eldritch Dark; Shadow of Nightmare; To the Darkness; Satan Unrepentant; The Ghoul; Desire of Vastness; The Medusa of Despair; The Refuge of Beauty; The Harlot of the World; Memnon at Midnight; Love Malevolent; The Crucifixion of Eros; The Tears of Lilith; A Vision of Lucifer; Requiescat in Pace; The Motes; Flamingoes; The Incubus of Time; A Psalm to the Best Beloved;
The Witch with Eyes of Amber; We Shall Meet; The Wingless Archangels; On Re-reading Baudelaire; The Last Oblivion; Loss;
To George Sterling: A Valediction; Anterior Life; Hymn to Beauty;
The Remorse of the Dead; Exorcism; Lichens; Nyctalops; The Nightmare Tarn; Revenant; Outlanders; Song of the Necromancer;
To Howard Phillips Lovecraft; Bacchante; Madrigal of Memory; The Old Water-Wheel; Town Lights; The Hill of Dionysus; Omniety; If Winter Remain; Amithaine; Seer of the Cycles; Cycles.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Avoosl Wuthoqquan (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 07:40AM
Is there any information available regarding Joshi's editorial policy? In particular, I am curious as to whether it was his ambition to do a representative collection, or one that contains CAS's best work. From the table of contents kindly provided above, it is clear that Joshi's choice of stories does not even remotely approach my own idea of a "Best of". That would be approximated more closely by The Emperor of Dreams, the 2002 Fantasy Masterworks edition, which is the best single-volume introduction to CAS's prose that I know of (not that I pretend to be an expert).

In addition, I feel that not using 'The Abominations of Yondo' to open the book is a real shame. A golden opportunity to 'proselytize' and win CAS some new readers was missed there, as the story is very short and one of his best. Bear in mind that nowadays lots of genre fiction is purchased in ebook form and it's the first pages of a book that serve as a taster. A little more savvy and cunning on the part of the editor (and the publisher) would have been welcome here. CAS deserves to be read more, and there are no doubt many readers out there who would appreciate his work.

(Autobiographical note: I am -- forgive me -- not really into either HPL or REH; it was a computer game called NetHack that brought me into the CAS fold, by quoting "Yondo".)

Joshi continues to be one of those people whose hard work and gigantic erudition I respect and appreciate, but whose notions, motivations and standards will always remain somewhat incomprehensible to me. There are other people prominent in cult-author cliques that I feel somewhat the same about, e.g. Brian Boyd (in the Nabokov world) or Paul Rhoads (in Jack Vance's circle): their knowledge is not in question, but their ideas often baffle me.

No disrespect is intended by the above, incidentally. On the one or two occasions that I contacted Rhoads, he was more than civil to me, and I have no personal experience with the other two. Still, all of them exert considerable influence on the reception and perception of authors I care about, so my feelings can be quite strong in case of intellectual incompatibility.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 14 Apr 13 | 07:42AM by Avoosl Wuthoqquan.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 09:15AM
I suggest we ignore Paul Rhoads's existence; I wish you had not mentioned him.

About Joshi: This is the man, of course, who left "The Great God Pan," the author's most famous story, out of his Penguin Machen collection.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: calonlan (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 10:25AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I suggest we ignore Paul Rhoads's existence; I
> wish you had not mentioned him.
>
> About Joshi: This is the man, of course, who left
> "The Great God Pan," the author's most famous
> story, out of his Penguin Machen collection.

I too, am baffled by Mr. Joshi - I do not know from whence his vaunted "erudition" arises; have spoken to the man once by phone - I am baffled by this "reputation" as a CAS scholar - I, who knew Clark extremely well, believe he, too, would be mystified - certainly as regards the earlier posts on "Yondo" - but then, I must also admit that I have read almost nothing that he has written other than the comments (unsought by me) in the introduction to my edited works of Juvenile writings - in which he errs regarding the comparison of quality between the two early novels.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 02:10PM
calonlan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I too, am baffled by Mr. Joshi - I do not know from whence his vaunted "erudition" arises; have
> spoken to the man once by phone - I am baffled by this "reputation" as a CAS scholar

Joshi is not exactly a CAS scholar, I see that in his latest blog entry he writes that "I readily acknowledge that Scott [Connors] knows more about CAS’s life and work than I do" (and earlier on "Scott Connors [...] has forgotten more about Smith than I ever knew"), so I think it's safe to say that he would not claim to be an authority on Smith specifically. But because of the other collections he has edited for Penguin earlier, he got them do one for CAS, no small feat.

As for representativeness, for what it's worth, Joshi's blog has this remark: "I like to think it presents the totality of CAS’s work to pretty good advantage." I'm glad that "The Last Incantation" got in.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 15 April, 2013 04:14AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> About Joshi: This is the man, of course, who left
> "The Great God Pan," the author's most famous
> story, out of his Penguin Machen collection.

This is frankly an insane omission!!! Even if he doesn't personally like it (which in itself makes me question his judgement), it is still vital to any Machen collection... It just reeks of a desperate attempt to show off how 'original' he is, rather than any great respect or understanding of the author...

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 12:15AM
Sunand was instructed by Penguin to not include "The Great God Pan." His Machen collection is outstanding.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 01:41AM
I can vouch for the excellence of Joshi's Machen collection. It didn't need to reprint "The Great God Pan" to be representative of Machen at his best, and TGGP is readily available in a wide selection of editions in print and, for those seeking out of print material, in those editions as well.

One point that must be made is that he has had to temper his selections with the editorial requirements of the publisher, as do all anthologists to some degree. Further, it's easy to sit and criticise an anthologist when one hasn't had the need nor the experience, and cheap editorialising and sniping on the part of some speaks more for their lack of character as readers as it does for the character of the anthologists as editors.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Chipougne (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 02:41AM
Thank you Wilum and Phillip for granting us a welcome break from this dismayingly monotonous Joshi-bashing.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 03:07AM
I just get tired of criticism that is founded on ignorance. S. T. was totally devoted to getting CAS into a Penguin edition, and it is a minor miracle that he did so. But rather than shew gratitude for this, people post insults and criticisms that reveal their stupidity and bigotry. A forum devoted to Clark Ashton Smith should be above such petty stupidity. I believe that it takes a degree of intelligence to admire CAS as we do, not a smugness of feeling intellectually superior, but a devotion to great Literature that seems, more and more, a rare thing in this neoteric age.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 05:41AM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Sunand was instructed by Penguin to not include
> "The Great God Pan."

It is obvious that they did not insist that it should be in there. But why would they insist that it should be left out? It seems a bit implausible, frankly.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 08:04AM
I do not know their reasoning--why did the editors at The Library of America insist that Peter Straub not use a story by Karl Edward Wagner in AMERICAN FANTASTIC TALES, who can understand such reasoning?--but that is the fact of the matter, and it seeming implausible does not alter the facts. I cannot understand it, nor can I understand why they then had a cover shewing--ye Great God Pan. Inexplicable.

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 16 Apr 13 | 08:05AM by wilum pugmire.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 08:11AM
It doesn't seem implausible at all. It's a commonplace, almost a cliche, to represent Machen with TGGP as if that's all there is. As a Machenist, I know there's far more to Machen than just that, and to include a piece so readily available elsewhere takes away space better used for other, more representative items.

It must be remembered that TGGP is the most reprinted item by Machen, so much so that there are many Machenists among my acquaintances who won't even bother to keep up with the number of appearances. Especially since it's now in the public domain in a number of countries, having been first published in the Nineteenth Century (Australia is one of them).

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 09:36AM
I do not think the Penguin volumes are primarily aimed at readers who are already very familiar with the authors in question.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 11:39AM
Jojo Lapin X Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I do not think the Penguin volumes are primarily
> aimed at readers who are already very familiar
> with the authors in question.


On the contrary, I would imagine that they are counting on these as the core readership (and thus almost assured purchasers) of the volume, to help them recover the costs of production; beyond that, those who have heard of the writers but have not bothered to track them down, and lastly the average reader who is open to trying something they've not read before. One sees this with a variety of writers, particularly in the weird, fantasy, and science fiction fields: Tolkien, Lovecraft, Asimov, Heinlein, Bradbury, Moorcock -- in fact, with the latter, it is what has made a workable proposition of such a variety of editions reprinting original versions and revisions, even when the latter are relatively minor.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 11:51AM
One of the difficulties that Sunand had with persuading Penguin to issue an edition of CAS in their Modern Classics series was that Penguin protested that Smith was too unknown and didn't want to risk publishing a collection of his work. They then insisted that the majority of wordage go to the fiction, telling S. T. that poetry "doesn't sell." They requested a longer than usual Introduction from S. T., to serve those readers to whom CAS is unknown, and for this reason the Introduction and "Suggestions for Further Reading" &c comes to 6,000 words of text. I am extremely curious to see how the book is received by reviewers outside the genre. I suspect the book may get some very poor reviews from people who cannot stomach Smith's style or the fantasy & science fiction genre. Will Smith's relationship with Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES cause clueless reviewers to classify CAS as a horror writer? It will be a fascinating thing, the interest the book generates.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 04:38PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am extremely
> curious to see how the book is received by
> reviewers outside the genre. I suspect the book
> may get some very poor reviews from people who
> cannot stomach Smith's style or the fantasy &
> science fiction genre. Will Smith's relationship
> with Lovecraft and WEIRD TALES cause clueless
> reviewers to classify CAS as a horror writer? It
> will be a fascinating thing, the interest the book
> generates.


On the first point... I rather suspect those inside the genre are more likely to react with aversion to CAS's style. Unfortunately, sf in particular has tended through most of its history toward the simpler sorts of prose bequeathed us by the likes of Hemingway, and far too many sf readers simply balk at anything approaching poetic prose, purple or otherwise. As for the second point... I also rather think this is the case, as nearly everyone I've ever met who had encountered his name associated him almost entirely with HPL and/or pulp horror, and whenever I would mention his satirical pieces, his poetry, his wistful mood pieces, etc., they would either simply look blank or reject my statements outright, thinking someone who hadn't read anything other than, say, "The Return of the Sorcerer" knew the subject better than someone who had read several of the man's collections....

(I could be mistaken on the first point, however; with the interest in such writers as China Mieville, Wilum, Thomas Ligotti, etc., in the weird field, the latter Moorcock -- I am thinking here in particular of such things as the Pyat sequence, or the Second Ether books, Mother London, and so on -- in fantasy, and Neal Stephenson and the like in sf, things may be much more propitious to an acceptance of Smith than at any time before when it comes to the sff crowd.)

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 04:44PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just get tired of criticism that is founded on
> ignorance. S. T. was totally devoted to getting
> CAS into a Penguin edition, and it is a minor
> miracle that he did so. But rather than shew
> gratitude for this, people post insults and
> criticisms that reveal their stupidity and
> bigotry. A forum devoted to Clark Ashton Smith
> should be above such petty stupidity. I believe
> that it takes a degree of intelligence to admire
> CAS as we do, not a smugness of feeling
> intellectually superior, but a devotion to great
> Literature that seems, more and more, a rare thing
> in this neoteric age.

Tbh I don't see any great criticism of Joshi over this Penguin CAS edition... a few quibbles over a tale or two, but generally reaction has been positive on here... although I'm pleased to see this edition come out and I consider it a worthy achievement, I'm not going to dump my critical faculties and start sucking his dick...

And I'm not sure if criticism of Joshi can really be said to be indicative of "stupidity and bigotry." Indeed, I fear you are entirely guilty of mindreading here. Just because someone takes a contrary position to yourself does not mean that they are stupid or bigoted... by all means challenge our opinions, but that's just name calling and a cheap attempt to close any dissenting opinion down.

Ultimately Joshi is a highly opinionated chap (which is fine btw - it get's us all talking), so it shouldn't be very surprising that some people disagree with him occasionally. Now, I have read that Joshi has been quite critical of TGGP in the past... indeed, here is a quote from Joshi on the subject that clearly suggests that prejudice against the TGGP's inclusion in the Penguin edition might not have entirely met with Joshi's disapproval:

Quote:
But for all the powerful conceptions and symbolism Machen is suggesting here, the actual tale degenerates into a frenzied expression of horror over illicit sex.[...] Machen's own reaction, implicit in the story, seems even more exaggerated than that of his contemporary readers: aberrant sex becomes, for Machen, a sort of "sin against Nature" -- something that threatens the very fabric of the cosmos.[...] What is more, "The Great God Pan" suffers precisely from the flaw which Machen correctly recognized in Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde: once the secret is out, the tale falls flat: "On the surface it would seem to be merely sensationalism; I expect that when you read it you did so with breathless absorption, hurrying over the pages in your eagerness to find out the secret, and this secret once discovered I imagine that Jekyll and Hyde retired to your shelf -- and stays there, rather dusty. You have never opened it again? Exactly. I have read it for a second time, and I was astonished to find how it had, if I may say so, evaporated"

...indeed, I find the idea that Penguin would have demanded the omission of Machen's most famous tale as a highly dubious position. While it might have been widely anthologized, the casual reader browsing in a bookshop is unlikely to know of those anthologies. Indeed there will be people who will consider an author just because he is published by Penguin (like a seal of quality), who wouldn't even consider trawling through the genre shelves...

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 05:11PM
jdworth Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> they would either simply look blank or reject my statements outright, thinking someone
> who hadn't read anything other than, say, "The Return of the Sorcerer" knew the subject better
> than someone who had read several of the man's collections....

I think people would be infinitely better off by reading something like "The Double Shadow" as their first (and thus hopefully not also last) Smith story...

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 05:25PM
Again, to say that Penguin's insistence that "The Great God Pan" should not be included in S. T.'s Machen edition is "highly dubious" is to ignore the truth of what actually occurred. To bleat that this omission, which was not S. T.'s choice, "reeks of a desperate attempt to show off how 'original' he is" is to reveal one's ignorance and bigotry. The bigotry against this magnificent editor is quite manifest in this forum. You may want to go on believing that Penguin did not do what they did, but that is to reject the facts and reveal ignorance. Why you want to describe the truth as "highly dubious" is beyond me.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 05:28PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I am extremely curious to see how the book is received by reviewers outside the genre. I suspect the book
> may get some very poor reviews from people who cannot stomach Smith's style or the fantasy & science fiction genre.

At any rate, it can hardly do much harm to his popularity. It may be ignored, though. But if a Penguin paperback cannot get Smith a bit more out there, I don't know what will.

As for the WT & HPL connection, I don't think that in itself has, on the whole, harmed Smith's reputation (as a fiction writer, anyway); on the contrary, it has surely helped a substantial number of people (such as myself) to discover him on his own merits.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 05:44PM
I'll add that, with appropriate hints in the right places, the Vancephiles would be buying this, given Smith's influence on Vance and others. We can also count Gene Wolfe as an author influenced by Smith, whose fans might also develop an interest.

Myself, I'll be working on the Vance fans and Australian poets; I've got a few nibbles through Smith's translations of Baudelaire....

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 06:07PM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And I'm not sure if criticism of Joshi can really
> be said to be indicative of "stupidity and
> bigotry." Indeed, I fear you are entirely guilty
> of mindreading here. Just because someone takes a
> contrary position to yourself does not mean that
> they are stupid or bigoted... by all means
> challenge our opinions, but that's just name
> calling and a cheap attempt to close any
> dissenting opinion down.

What Wilum and I, and others, are reacting to is not criticism of Joshi but, rather, ad hominem attacks that call into question whether his editorial choices can be backed by reasoned arguments. Both Wilum and I know Joshi outside of his critical work; while I cannot, and won't speak for Wilum, I can say that while Joshi is opinionated to a degree, in that he is willing and able to back his stances with reasoned arguments and a clear aesthetic vision of the weird, he is willing (and indeed has) to change his position.

There was a long period, until the 90s, where he was more critical of the quality of Smith's fiction, until he was persuaded by Connors and others (I believe, as I lack a firm conformation of this) to reconsider his opinion.

And I must add, that Joshi is critical of Lovecraft as well as Smith, Bierce, Sterling and others is indicative of the general soundness of his stance. "Even Homer nods" -- and pointing out where elements of a body of work are better or worse, more or less effective, is one of the tasks of a critic-as-arbiter.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 07:44PM
I apologize that my anger got out of hand, but I get overly defensive of beloved friends when I see them senselessly attacked, or perceive that they have been so. In this case, I know whereof I speak, because I see Sunand constantly (had din-din at his house two days ago) and we speak of these matters always, face to face. Honey, I drill him on these things, because he is a font of knowledge and because I love the work he is doing for genre writers. He shew'd me the notes he has for another edition of Lovecraft, one that will list all of the text variants that Lovecraft crossed out, and huge portions of text that were eliminated from the actual stories (this thing will probably have to be published in multi-volumes), and so many other fantastic projects he has going on, including the 16 books he is currently working on for Centipede Press. The man is amazing. Anyway, I have a new book of Lovecraftian weird fiction to promote, so I ain't gonna be around to bitch at y'all for a wee while.....but i'll be baaaaaack......

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jdworth (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 12:00AM
I certainly don't know Joshi anywhere nearly as well as Wilum and Phillip, but I have had dealings with him before, and we have had lively debates on issues concerning certain critical judgments (though that has been quite a long time ago now). As mentioned, he assurely argues his corner, and gives his reasoning and evidence to back it, but he is seldom truly dogmatic; if one can argue one's own position cogently, he is open to changing or modifying his views. There are certain things with which I disagree strongly (such as his general comments on the ghostly tales of Henry James, which I view much more favorably), but nonetheless I find his opinions well worth considering. And, even when he does not come to agree, he always (as I've noted here before now) encourages his opponents to marshall their arguments and refine their opinions and, if one does so well, has quite often been happy to publish and promote their work, no matter how much he may disagree with their conclusions.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 02:25AM
Please don't take my occasional disagreements of opinion of Joshi as wholesale criticism of him as a person at all. I consider HP Lovecraft: A Life to be a fine scholarly biography (indeed I think it is the best biography I have read) and his insights have illuminated aspects of Lovecraft that would otherwise remained hidden to me. Certainly no other person has done more to move Lovecraft into the mainstream more than he has in the last 20 years or so... Hopefully he can do the same with CAS! :)

Anyway, I also apologise if my rhetoric also got out of hand or was needlessly provocative. I will admit that the omission of TGGP coupled with my knowledge that Joshi wasn't its biggest fan made me assume that that its omission must have been his editorial decision... I think my speculation is excusable as these two facts do seem to have a certain linearity to them (I bet I'm not alone in coming to this conclusion), but I accept that my tone was a little flippant... and of course if you know otherwise, then I'll happily accept that the decision was taken out of his hands. It certainly is a dubious decision by Penguin tho and not one that I can understand any justification for...

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 03:19AM
You've been fine, Mr Assassin. It's another person who I've been responding to; I apologise if you feel the target of my responses. You've been very civil, and I am glad you're willing to take a stance on your viewpoint.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 03:25AM
Wilum, I'm glad that ST is doing a variorum edition of Grandpa Theobald. Such is essential, imo, and I had mentioned that I would love to do likewise regarding the poetry, not long ago. I am so excitable!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 01:16PM
phillipAellis Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You've been fine, Mr Assassin. It's another person
> who I've been responding to; I apologise if you
> feel the target of my responses. You've been very
> civil, and I am glad you're willing to take a
> stance on your viewpoint.

Who is this other person you have been responding to? Is it somebody on this forum? Could you give an example of his transgressions?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: walrus (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 04:48PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> He shew'd me the notes he has for another edition of Lovecraft, one that will list all of the text variants that Lovecraft
> crossed out, and huge portions of text that were eliminated from the actual stories

While off-topic, that's interesting -- many years ago I wondered whether there will ever be something like a "History of Middle-earth" of Lovecraft's fiction.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 06:03PM
I am greatly looking forward to the Penguin volume. Each of us is going to wish this or that story, verse or prose poem had been included; but I think the overall selection is strong, and we really have to hand it to S. T. Joshi for forcing the people at Penguin into believing such a project was worthwhile. I doubt this project would have had a snowball's chance in hell without Joshi's efforts, regardless of all the work people like Behrends, Connors, Herron, Hilger, Moorcock, Pearson, Sidney-Fryer, et al. have done over the decades to illuminate and legitimatize it. And this project is also one of many proofs available to those among us who have disagreed with some of his opinions over the years, that the man does read texts carefully, does take criticism of his own work seriously, and is capable of changing his opinion of a writer when presented with the evidence. He seems to have a serious blind spot when it comes to supernatural fiction with any kind of religious underpinning, but even that shows some signs of abating.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 20 April, 2013 11:59AM
S. T. and I worked closely together on the selection of fiction included in this book. I vetoed some of his choices, he accepted my reasoning, accepted some of my candidates for inclusion, but the final selection was his. I am disappointed that one of my favorite CAS stories did not make the cut ("The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan"), and we had to leave out others that we would have liked to have included because of space in order to include a representative selection of his best work. "The Abominations of Yondo" was the subject of much debate, but I argued that "Sadastor" set the tone for the book much better than "Yondo," since it is most wistful and poignant and deals with loss, while "Yondo" is more horrific, and thus not necessarily the best introduction to CAS. They'll get to the horrific with "Yoh-Vombis" soon enough.
While S. T. is opinionated, he is open to discussion. The fact that he is now mostly positive about Smith's fiction contrasts with statements to the contrary in his original HPL bio, and is the result of a decade of interaction with Yr Obt Servt here. He once told me that CAS would never make it into the Penguin Classics, right up until the point where Wilum and I convinced him to work on his editor and advocate for such a collection. This book is his, make no mistake. It ain't perfect, but like the old man said at the end of THE WILD BUNCH, "it'll do."

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2013 08:05PM
Scott,

you know me well enough to say that it's the poetry that excites me more than the fiction. You may not know that it's the fantasies of CAS that excite me the most of his fiction, that I hold them intermediate in quality between CAS' other fiction & his nonfiction, and his verse.

I am glad that ST was able to obtain the interest of Penguin for the volume, as it is yet another proof of the legitimacy of the weird as a mode of literature. Especially in poetry, where I am, alas, a tyro or Trimalchio compared to CAS.

Phillip

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2013 12:53PM
Do we have any idea of the cover illustration yet or is it still far too soon?

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2013 01:31PM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do we have any idea of the cover illustration yet
> or is it still far too soon?


S. T. mention'd that Penguin had a faint interest in his suggestion of using a colour CAS piece for cover illustration, but it wou'd really surprise me if they actually use a Smith painting. It would be wonderful if they did.

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



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 28 Apr 13 | 01:31PM by wilum pugmire.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2013 04:08PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> S. T. mention'd that Penguin had a faint interest
> in his suggestion of using a colour CAS piece for
> cover illustration, but it wou'd really surprise
> me if they actually use a Smith painting. It
> would be wonderful if they did.

I think that would be a lovely touch

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2013 05:24PM
I, too, think that it would be a lovely touch, and I would also be thrilled to see a tasteful ensemble of carvings, especially those with subtleties of colouration attendant upon their long-won firing.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Ken K. (IP Logged)
Date: 28 April, 2013 09:36PM
A selection of CAS sculptures would be great, even arranged in a still life with a dusty wine bottle, antique typewriter and postcards/letters.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 18 June, 2013 08:15PM
Today's blog by S. T. Joshi announces that he has seen the cover for the Penguin edition of CAS, and they have used a painting by -- Clark Ashton Smith!!!

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Avoosl Wuthoqquan (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2013 05:16AM
That's pretty great news. I am glad Penguin are continuing their tradition of doing interesting covers. No bat-faced bint on this one!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 19 June, 2013 09:58PM
wilum pugmire Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Today's blog by S. T. Joshi announces that he has
> seen the cover for the Penguin edition of CAS, and
> they have used a painting by -- Clark Ashton
> Smith!!!

I am glad that they have chosen piece by CAS because his art complements his writings, and it lends a certain sense of the exotic through its naïf qualities. While I do value technical excellence in my art and literature (being a principal reason why I gave up art, and haven't even attempted music), I also value some of the naïve painters as well as many of the outsider artists, for some nebulous, undefined reason.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 20 June, 2013 09:40PM
Surprised Scott's good news/bad news has not yet appeared here: Penguin wants to include "The Hashish Eater", but . . . wants to remove some of the stories to make room. Alas!

Agree that "The Hashish Eater" is essential - imagine putting together an introductory collection of Jonathan Swift minus "A Modest Proposal" or Poe without "The Raven" - but I dread what may have to be omitted to make room.

Personally, I would miss "Phoenix" least of the planned contents, but then consideration of omissions starts becoming increasingly difficult.

Perhaps "The Treader of the Dust", then "The Weaver in the Vault". "Genius Loci" has never struck me as successful as Smith was when inventing everything, but I cannot see a way to sacrifice it, as it (and "The Treader in the Dust", which sidesteps the issue somewhat by introducing the one of Smith's arcane gods into otherwise mundane surroundings) is far and away Smith's best venture in a completely contemporary setting. Perhaps give up "Genius" in favor of "Treader"?

And I would even sacrifice "The Holiness of Azederac" too before considering touching any of the other stories. "Sadastor" needs to stay where it is, and it jettisoning any of the prose poems would be agonizing. Surely, "From the Crypts of Memory" and "The Shadows" would be inviolate, but then which of the prose poems would not be so considered?

Others will feel differently, at least in some respects, I am sure.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 20 Jun 13 | 09:45PM by jimrockhill2001.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 21 June, 2013 06:27AM
Why can't they just be sensible and expand the book's word count?? I am overjoy'd that "The Hashish-Eater" will be included (and if this is Penguin's deliberate choice it suggests that they have been studying Smith's oeuvre with attention).

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Avoosl Wuthoqquan (IP Logged)
Date: 21 June, 2013 08:14AM
> Why can't they just be sensible and expand the book's word count??

Cost.

Let them ditch 'Genius Loci' by all means.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2013 09:56AM
I concur, ditch 'Genius Loci' - it's good, indeed I really like it, but its not great and it's hardly a rarity. It's gotta go.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 22 June, 2013 10:27AM
Modesty prohibits me from pointing out that I demanded the removal of "Genius Loci" already on page 1! I hate modesty.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 23 June, 2013 08:26AM
Yes, modesty be damned!

Don't get me wrong, I do like Genius Loci, but more for the idea than the tale.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 26 June, 2013 04:54AM
I've started some few discussions of the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Clark Ashton Smith at Amazon, in an effort to support the book and its editor and "get the word out" about the book at a site where it will be available for order. Amazon is a weird place, and I don't know if posting such discussions there has any real effect; but I like to think they might help direct someone to the book, and invite anyone who is interested to contribute to the conversation there. Thank ye.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 27 June, 2013 01:39AM
I have been having a quiet word here and a quiet word there, among certain poetic colleagues. Hopefully they shall be receptive in time.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 20 July, 2013 01:37PM
The book is now available for pre-order at Amazon, in paperback and Kindle format. Release date is 25 March, 2014.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 8 October, 2013 04:02PM
Amazon now has cover art for it.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 8 October, 2013 06:58PM
Oh wow! That's a great cover! Well, done to ST and Scott!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Athlérissa (IP Logged)
Date: 29 November, 2013 11:26AM
Pre-ordered. Looking forward to March 2014. Especially looking forward to reading the annotations.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 December, 2013 11:51PM
The English Assassin Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Oh wow! That's a great cover! Well, done to ST and
> Scott!


The cover art is really excellent, I agree. Some clueless critics have condemn'd Smith's art--indeed, one ignorant troll at Amazon has condemned this cover for the Penguin edition as "poor and childish," too stupid to comprehend that Smith's paintings are in a classic folk-art tradition. I grow more and more excited about this Penguin Modern Classics edition. I am tempted to ask S. T. to let me read his Introduction now, but I have only three months to wait before I can read it in the actual book. I have a growing desire to writer an entire collection of tales in ye Klarkash-Ton tradition--and perhaps a lengthy poem inspir'd by "The Hashish-Eater." I have try'd to write in the CAS tradition but find it extremely difficult, he was so imaginatively original, unique. I have a publisher interested in bringing out a new book shou'd I write one. The keen ache to write such a book is founded in ye exquisite joy I feel in regard to this forthcoming Penguin edition--I want to write my book in celebration of S. T.'s edition. The ache to write such a book will not go away, much as I tell myself that I am incapable of producing such a work.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 31 December, 2013 10:23PM
Here are rough examples of two other proposed covers. The pictures give a general idea, even though proportions are not correct.

Cover 1
[s6.postimg.org]

Cover 2
[s6.postimg.org]

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 31 December, 2013 10:48PM
Improved image of Cover 2:

[s6.postimg.org]

The original CAS artwork was photographed from an angle. A better picture would be needed to fit it correctly onto the cover.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Knygatin (IP Logged)
Date: 1 January, 2014 05:40PM
CAS's "Jungle of the Indies", with entities haunting the forest floor. CAS's sculptures superimposed onto his painting. It can of course be composed in any number of ways.

[s6.postimg.org]

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 13 March, 2014 02:38PM
I got my copy from S. T. today! :-D

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 18 March, 2014 12:12PM
I have ye book on pre-order at Amazon--but knowing that S. T. already had copies instill'd within me an overwhelming LUST for ye book. I did not want to wait. I rang S. T. and ask'd if I cou'd dash over & pick up a copy. I drove like a lunatic thing. To hold that Penguin Classics edition of CLARK ASHTON SMITH in me claws was overwhelming. We had wanted it to happen so intensely, but it took much work by S. T. to persuade Penguin to publish it. The book is like a celebration of its author. Its wonderful cover is a beautiful painting by Smith himself, shewing his masterful working with color, tints, and design. I read ye Introduction last night, and it is excellent. The Notes at ye back of the book seem, somehow, slim, compared to those found in Joshi's superb Penguin editions of H. P. Lovecraft. I'm keeping this gift copy of ye book at my bedside, where I also keep, on a wee bedside stand, my Penguin editions of E'ch-Pi-El and Poe. My second copy will be kept here at my writing desk. I am hoping that ye book is a wild success and that Penguin will thus be inspir'd to bring forth a second volume.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 25 March, 2014 05:02PM
ye book is officially releas'd to-day. I have posted a wee review at Amazon. Strangely, the book will not be available in ye UK until summer.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 25 March, 2014 05:29PM
My copy arrived from Amazon today, and I would be dancing in the streets if it were not freezing outside and I were not so tired after a busy day at work. Let us all hope and pray this is only the first of volume in a series. It deserves all our support!

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 27 March, 2014 04:41PM
We did a video last night discussing the book, and then S. T. read Smith's poem in memory of HPL. He got so emotional he began to weep,it was just incredible. Then -- o woe -- just as we were finishing the video we lost Internet connection, and I couldn't figure how to allow YouTube to let us retrieve what we had recorded, so the video was lost. Bah! S. T. is coming over this week-end and we shall try again to record a promotional vlog for the Penguin CAS.

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

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: pegana (IP Logged)
Date: 28 March, 2014 10:05AM
hello wilum

I would humbly suggest you try getting a camcorder to do the video and then dumping it to a pc to edit and upload. Most computers come preloaded with video editing software that's easy to use and then you're not relying on an unstable platform and your valuable data is saved in a format that you won't have to worry about. You could probably find a friend who already knows how to do it who could help.
Best of luck

Mike
pegana press

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: The English Assassin (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2014 06:17PM
Looks like those of us on the other side of Atlantis will have to wait till August for Penguin to crank up the printing press... worth the wait tho, I'm sure.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 15 March, 2015 01:07PM
Nobody seems to have commented on the fact that "Sadastor" is not actually in the finished product.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 21 March, 2015 05:29PM
The selection seems nearly unexceptionable although I would like to see "The Plutonian Drug" included. Also I think that "The Chain of Aforgomon" is better than "Genius Loci"-- a more original treatment of the supernatural and, like "The Plutonian Drug", more interesting technically in its denouement.

jkh

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 4 April, 2015 10:18PM
To be blunt, "Genius Loci" has some distinct flaws and should not be included in the projected volume. Smith modestly observed that it was something of an experiment-- not an entirely successful one, surely. The narrative point of view falters a bit mechanically and becomes too distanced toward the conclusion.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Jojo Lapin X (IP Logged)
Date: 5 April, 2015 01:12PM
I hate to be the one to break this news to you, but the book has already been published.

Re: CAS in Penguin Modern CLassics
Posted by: Kipling (IP Logged)
Date: 5 April, 2015 04:31PM
Oh, I see. Nevertheless, it seems worth clarifying here that the tale somewhat lacks the consistently "smooth beauty of narration" that REH ascribes to CAS's fiction in general. It isn't awkwardly flawed-- like HPL's "Whisperer in Darkness" for example, which asks the reader to accept the narrative premise that all the lost letters from Wilmarth were burned into Akeley's memory bank verbatim-- but it is an example of Smith working a theme that requires more deft characterization and more subtle use of dialogue than what was given. I'm obviously not competent to do a critical study of CAS, but I wish someone who is, would.



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