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Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 9 April, 2013 10:19AM
Apparently Steve Behrends's book is in print again:

[www.wildsidebooks.com]

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 12 April, 2013 10:03PM
Ordered my copy today. Everything I have read by Behrends about Smith has been first-rate, and I enjoyed the first, shorter edition of this book. Thanks for the tip, Martin!

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: Martinus (IP Logged)
Date: 14 April, 2013 04:21AM
You're welcome. Thanks is actually due to walrus, who alerted me to its existence on Gavin Smith's mailing list.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 16 April, 2013 01:42AM
I'm planning on picking up a copy when I get the dosh.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 17 April, 2013 08:46PM
My copy arrived today, and I must admit to being of two minds about it. Behrends is an extraordinarily sympathetic and perceptive reader of Smith, and this new edition incorporates additional chapters and appendices based on writings about Smith he was not able to incorporate into the first edition.

What I find dismaying, however, is this second edition's failure to acknowledge, let alone reflect upon or incorporate, any Smith scholarship printed subsequent to the first edition. The few items reprinted in the book or mentioned in the "Secondary Bibliography" with publication dates after 1985 were either reprints of material printed before that date or written/edited by Behrends himself.

I can understand overlooking some of the reviews published about Smith, some of the essays in print or on the internet, and possibly even the journal Scott Connors edited; but Behrends also fails to mention any of the prose, verse, or critical volumes printed by Hippocampus Press, the collected stories from Night Shade, and the SELECTED LETTERS from Arkham House.

It is impossible not to recommend the book to anyone who admires the work of Clark Ashton Smith, because Behrends is one of the best scholars and writers about Smith we have, and what he has to say about the man's work is both clearly written and unfailingly illuminating. Nonetheless, anyone who has followed or contributed to Smith studies will find the failure to so much as mention any of the work completed in the interim to go beyond mere oversight and border on insult.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 17 Apr 13 | 08:48PM by jimrockhill2001.

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 20 April, 2013 11:44AM
Jim,
Steve has largely moved on from his interest in fantasy scholarship, and has sold most of his collection and resources materials. He did not initiate this edition but was approached by Wildside Press about reprinting his book. Steve had no problem with that. He did go through it and correct some factual errors, such as the howler about Smith's ashes being buried under what is now a church parking lot, but did not care to do the work necessary for a true second edition. That is his perrogative. While his book has been superceded by new research, it is still well worth reading. I wish that he were still an active participant, but he has fully supported my work and has always been gracious even when some might have felt that I was stealing their thunder.
Right now CAS fans are very fortunate: this book, along with Don Fryer's GOLDEN STATE PHANTASTICKS and my own FREEDOM OF FANTASTIC THINGS, brings together most of the best Smith criticism into affordable, accessible editions. I paid $47 for my copy of the Starmont edition of Steve's book (which he noted with incredulity in his inscription inside it!), when one could be found, but this edition cost me 2/3 less. I'm happy to have it.
Best,
Scott

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: jimrockhill2001 (IP Logged)
Date: 20 April, 2013 05:30PM
Scott,

I did praise the book in spite of any attempt to acknowledge subsequent scholarship, which someone at Wildside should have addressed prior to publication.

Jim

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: Scott Connors (IP Logged)
Date: 21 April, 2013 09:00PM
I understand that you did, Jim, but we're not talking about Oxford UP here. If reprinting this book depended upon updating the scholarship, we'd still be waiting. But Steve is gafiated, although he hasn't pulled a Laney on us, thankfully!

Re: Clark Ashton Smith: A Critical Guide
Posted by: phillipAellis (IP Logged)
Date: 27 April, 2013 08:07PM
I'm planning on catching up on a number ot items, including this, with my next pension cheque. I had exercise equipment, and poetry with my latest, and I am able to say that I am looking forward to reading Mr behrends' work, given him importance for Smith studies.

Phillip



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