Clark Ashton Smith

American author (1893-1961)

Clark Ashton Smith (January 13, 1893 – August 14, 1961) was an American writer and artist. He achieved early local recognition, largely through the enthusiasm of George Sterling, for traditional verse in the vein of Swinburne. As a poet, Smith is grouped with the West Coast Romantics alongside Joaquin Miller, Sterling, and Nora May French and remembered as "The Last of the Great Romantics" and "The Bard of Auburn".

Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams.

QuotesEdit

  • Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
    I crown me with the million-colored sun
    Of secret worlds incredible, and take
    Their trailing skies for vestment when I soar,
    Throned on the mounting zenith, and illume
    The spaceward-flown horizons infinite.
    • Opening lines of "The Hashish Eater; or, the Apocalypse of Evil" (1920)
  • Stern and white as a tomb, older than the memory of the dead, and built by men or devils beyond the recording of myth, is the mansion in which we dwell.
    • Quoted in The Return of the Sorcerer: The Best of Clark Ashton Smith (1931)
  • But here, in this place of eternal bareness and solitude, it seemed that life could never have been. The stark, eroded stones were things that might have been reared by the toil of the dead, to house the monstrous ghouls and demons of primal desolation.
    • "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis" in Weird Tales (1932)
  • For thin is the veil betwixt man and the godless deep. The skies are haunted by that which it were madness to know; and strange abominations pass evermore between earth and moon and athwart the galaxies. Unnameable things have come to us in alien horror and will come again. And the evil of the stars is not as the evil of earth.
    • "The Beast Of Averoigne" in Weird Tales (1933)
  • Not as the plants and flowers of Earth, growing peacefully beneath a simple sun, were the blossoms of the planet Lophai. Coiling and uncoiling in double dawns; tossing tumultuously under vast suns of jade green and balas-ruby orange; swaying and weltering in rich twilights, in aurora-curtained nights, they resembled fields of rooted serpents that dance eternally to an other-worldly music.
    • Lost Worlds (1944)
  • Lunatics with a speculative bent can sometimes stumble overly close to certain guarded cosmic secrets.
    • "Schizoid Creator" (1953)
  • To destroy wonder and mystery, is to destroy the only elements that make existence tolerable.
    • Quoted in The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith (1979)
  • All human thought, all science, all religion, is the holding of a candle to the night of the universe.
    • Quoted in The Black Book of Clark Ashton Smith (1979)

Quotes about SmithEdit

  • In sheer daemonic strangeness and fertility of conception, Clark Ashton Smith is perhaps unexcelled.
  • Smith filled my mind with incredible worlds, impossibly beautiful cities, and still more fantastic creatures.
  • Nobody since Poe has so loved a well-rotted corpse.
    • L. Sprague de Camp, "Sierran Shaman: Clark Ashton Smith" (1976), p. 206
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