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The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies
Posted by: wilum pugmire (IP Logged)
Date: 30 December, 2013 08:25PM
Ye new year is almoft upon us--which means that we have but a wee three months to wait for the forthcoming edition of CAS from Penguin Modern Classics. Happily, that outstanding work, "The Hashish-Eater," has been added to ye Contents, by the editors at Penguin. Editor S. T. Joshi doesn't think that the addition of this lengthy poem will result in any of the fiction being dropped so as to make room.

An exciting feature of the book is that its cover features one of Smith's remarkable paintings, "The Spy," and it looks magnificent as a Penguin Classics cover. There is a "classic" feel to this excellent painting, and Smith's superb sense of colour brings an ethereal beauty to the piece. The figure of the spy stands very still, as if a statue; yet just before him writhes a sentient tree with leaves or blossoms that resemble lips promising some poison'd kiss. The background is a beautiful pink-mauve sky, below which a hazy city, like some spectre of habitation, is dimly viewed. It is the perfect cover for this thrilling classic edition of Smith's works.

I am especially interested in reading S. T.'s long Introduction. The editors at Penguin felt that an Introduction of length was required to introduce Clark Ashton Smith to the many Penguin readers for whom reading CAS will be a new experience. I believe the Introduction and other prefatory material comes to a total of 6,000 words. Added to this will be the annotations at the end of the book.

Many of us wou'd wish that some of the Smith tales that we love could have been added to the Contents; but hopefully the book will be as resounding a success for Penguin as the superb editions of H. P. Lovecraft, also edited by Joshi, have been, and thus lead to a second edition. Some of you may think that you don't need another edition of Smith's fiction; but I feel it is important to support this book and thus purchase a copy. If you don't need to add it to your personal library, it wou'd make an excellent gift for a friend to whom you wou'd like to introduce the Works of Clark Ashton Smith. But I think the combination of lengthy Introduction and fascinating Notes will make it an item of interest, no matter how many editions of Smith one may own. Because it will have a world-wide distribution, the book will hopefully lead to Smith being recognized as a very important American poet, and lead to thoughtful and intelligent critical approaches to his efforts as author.

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