Letter to Clark Ashton Smith

From H. P. Lovecraft

10 Barnes St.

Novr. 16, 1926

Dear C A S:—

As to romanticism & fantasy—I myself dislike the former except in the latter form. To me there is really something "non-vital" about the overcoloured representation of what purports to be real life-the sentimentality of Dickens, the heroic bombast of Dumas, or the mawkishness of Victor Hugo. There is to me something puerile in devising a sort of conventionalised variant of life, with spurious & artificial thoughts & feelings, & then getting maudlin & excited & effusive over it. But fantasy is something altogether different. Here we have an art based on the imaginative life of the human mind, frankly recognised as such; & in its way as natural & scientific—as truly related to natural (even if uncommon & delicate) psychological processes as the starkest of photographic realism. Dunsany writes—& you both write & paint—the authentic epic of an ethereal region as well-founded & well-defined as the world of actual being; & because you do not pretend that it is the real world, but recognise it as a world of fantasy, your art has a truth & dignity & a major place in aesthetics which (in my opinion) sentimental terrestrial romance has not.

Yr. most obt.

Selected Letters (Arkham House) 245

Printed from: www.eldritchdark.com/writings/correspondence/99
Printed on: November 14, 2018