The Philosophy of the Weird Tale

Clark Ashton Smith

(An extract from The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith)

The weird tale is an adumbration or foreshadowing of man's relationship—past, present, and future—to the unknown and infinite, and also an implication of his mental and sensory evolution. Further insight into basic mysteries is only possible through future development of higher faculties than the known senses. Interest in the weird, unknown, and supernormal is a signpost of such development and not merely a psychic residuum from the age of superstition.

Appendix from Planets and Dimensions Mirage Press 1973.

This short but vital statement originated in CAS's The Black Book, a notebook used by CAS for about thirty years from 1929 to 1961, the year of his death. CAS's own description of The Black Book ws: "A notebook containing used and unuse plot- germs, notes on occultism and magic, synopses of stories, fragments of verse, fantastic names for people and places, etc., etc." The book was obviously never intended for publication, but CAS chose to publish several excerpts in the Spring and Fall 1944 issues of The Acolyte; of these various excerpts, the only one really self-standing and of interest as a critical statement is the one on hand; the other items were fragments of stories, poems, lists of names, and quotations, and should be included in sonic future editions of CAS marginalia. "The Philosophy of the Weird Tale" appeared in the Fall 1944 issue of The Acolyte as a separate article under the present title

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Printed on: December 18, 2018