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This subject is written on a topic in the real world and reflects factual information. Clark Ashton Smith was a poet, sculptor, painter and author of fantasy, horror and science fiction short stories. It is for these stories, and his literary friendship with H. P. Lovecraft from 1922 until Lovecraft's death in 1937, that he is mainly remembered today. With Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, also a friend and correspondent, Smith remains one of the most famous contributors to the pulp magazine Weird Tales.

Smith spent most of his life in the small town of Auburn, California, living in a small cabin with his parents, Fanny and Timeus Smith. His formal education was limited: he attended only eight years of grammar school and never went to high school. However, he continued to teach himself after he left school, learning French and Spanish, and his near-photographic memory allowed him to retain prodigious amounts from his very wide reading, including several entire dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Early writing and influences

Smith began writing stories at the age of eleven and two of them, The Sword of Zagan and The Black Diamonds, have recently been published by Hippocampus Press. Both stories use a medieval, Arabian Nights-like setting, and the Arabian Nights, like the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and the works of Edgar Allan Poe, are known to have strongly influenced Smith's early writing.

In his later youth Smith became the protégé of the San Francisco poet George Sterling, who helped him to publish his first volume of poems, The Star-Treader and Other Poems, at the age of nineteen. The Star-Treader was received very favorably by American critics, one of whom named Smith "the Keats of the Pacific." Smith made the acquaintance of Sterling through a member of the local Auburn Monday Night Club, where he read several of his poems with considerable success. The publication of Ebony and Crystal in 1922 was followed by a fan letter from H. P. Lovecraft, which was the beginning of fifteen years of friendship and correspondence.

Work and marriage

Smith was poor for most of his life and was often forced to take menial jobs such as fruitpicking and woodcutting in order to support himself and his parents. Following the death of his parents, he married Carol Jones Dorman on 10 November 1954 and moved to Pacific Grove, California, where he set up a household with their children.

Health and death

Smith suffered from eye problems throughout his life. He died in his sleep on August 14th 1961.

Artistic periods

While Smith was always an artist who worked in several very different media, it is possible to identify three distinct periods in which one form of art had precedence over the others.

Poetry: Until 1961

Smith published most of his volumes of poetry in this period, including the aforementioned The Star-Treader and Other Poems, as well as Odes and Sonnets (1918), Ebony and Crystal (1922) and Sandalwood (1925). His epic poem "The Hashish-Eater; Or, the Apocalypse of Evil" was written in 1920.

Weird Fiction 1926–1935

Smith wrote most of his weird fiction and Cthulhu Mythos stories, possibly inspired by H. P. Lovecraft during this period. Creatures of his invention include Aforgomon, Rlim Shaikorth, Mordiggian, Tsathoggua, the wizard Eibon, and various others.

The stories form several cycles, called after the lands in which they are set: Averoigne, Hyperborea, Mars, Poseidonis, Xiccarph, Zothique. Stories set in Zothique belong to the Dying Earth subgenre.

His short stories originally appeared in the magazines Weird Tales, Strange Tales, Astounding Stories, Stirring Science Stories and Wonder Stories. Many of the stories were published in six hardcover volumes by August Derleth under the Arkham House imprint. Some were also collected as Lost Worlds Vols 1 and 2 (LW1 and LW2).

Sculpture: 1935–1961

Some of his sculpture works

By this time his interest in writing fiction began to lessen and he turned to creating sculptures from soft rock such as soapstone.

In the Mythos

EXP: Providence

Clark Ashton Smith is an artist (HPL: "Pickman's Model") known for his illustrations based on the Necronomicon. (HPL: At the Mountains of Madness).

He also is a descendant of Azathoth through Tsathoggua and thus a distant cousin of Lovecraft. (HPL: Family tree of Azathoth)

In the comic book Providence, Clark Ashton Smith is involved in spreading the creations of H. P. Lovecraft.

Klarkash-Ton was a priest from Atlantis, based on the real Smith.

Selected Bibliography

  • "The Muse of Atlantis" (1922)
  • "The End of the Story" (1930)
  • "The Last Incantation" (1930)
  • "The Uncharted Isle" (1930)
  • "A Rendezvous in Averoigne" (1931)
  • "The Satyr" (1931)
  • "The City of the Singing Flame" (1931)
  • "A Voyage to Sfanomoë" (1931)
  • "The Return of the Sorcerer" (1931)
  • "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" (1931)
  • "Beyond the Singing Flame" (1931)
  • "The Door to Saturn" (1932)
  • "The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis" (1932)
  • "The Nameless Offspring" (1932)
  • "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan" (1932)
  • "The Maker of Gargoyles" (1932)
  • "The Empire of the Necromancers" (1932)
  • "The Hunters from Beyond" (1932)
  • "The Testament of Athammaus" (1932)
  • "The Ice-Demon" (1933)
  • "The Devotee of Evil" (1933)
  • "The Maze of Maal Dweb" (as "The Maze of the Enchanter"; 1933)
  • "The Double Shadow" (1933)
  • "The Voyage of King Euvoran" (1933)
  • "The Mandrakes" (1933)
  • "The Isle of the Torturers" (1933)
  • "The Dweller in the Gulf" (as "Dweller in Martian Depths"; 1933)
  • "The Beast of Averoigne" (1933)
  • "Ubbo-Sathla" (1933)
  • "A Vintage from Atlantis" (1933)
  • "The Holiness of Azédarac" (1933)
  • "The White Sybil" (1934)
  • "The Ghoul" (1934)
  • "The Weaver in the Vault" (1934)
  • "The Witchcraft of Ulua" (1934)
  • "The Charnel God" (1934)
  • "The Death of Malygris" (1934)
  • "The Tomb-Spawn" (1934)
  • "The Muse of Hyperborea" (1934)
  • "The Colossus of Ylourgne" (1934)
  • "The Epiphany of Death" (1934)
  • "The Disinterment of Venus" (1934)
  • "The Seven Geases" (1934)
  • "Xeethra" (1934)
  • "The Dark Eidolon" (1935)
  • "The Last Hieroglyph" (1935)
  • "The Flower-Women" (1935)
  • "The Treader of the Dust" (1935)
  • "Vulthoom" (1935)
  • "The Chain of Aforgomon" (1935)
  • "The Black Abbot of Puthuum" (1936)
  • "Necromancy in Naat" (1936)
  • "The Death of Ilalotha" (1937)
  • "The Garden of Adompha" (1938)
  • "Mother of Toads" (1938)
  • "The Coming of the White Worm" (1941)
  • "The Enchantress of Sylaire" (1941)
  • "The Family Tree of the Gods" (1944)
  • "The Master of Crabs" (1948)


  • "Atlantis" (1912)
  • "Zothique" (1951)
  • "Morthylla" (1953)
  • "An Offering to the Moon" (1953)
  • "Tolometh" (1958)
  • "The Theft of Thirty-Nine Girdles" (as "The Power of Hyperborea"; 1958)
  • "In Lemuria" (1971)

Unfinished stories

  • "Ascharia" (as "Asharia")
  • "The House of Haon-Dor"
  • "Shapes of Adamant"
  • "Mandor's Enemy"
  • "The Sorceress of Averoigne/The Tower of Istarelle"
  • "The Feet of Sidaiva"
  • "Queen of the Sabbat"
  • "The Hyperborean City"
  • "The Werewolf of Averoigne"
  • "The Rebirth of the Flame"
  • "Conclusion to 'The Return of the Sorcerer'" (original version)
  • "The Music of Death"
  • "The Infernal Star"
  • "Mnemoka"
  • "The Fugitives"
  • "I Am a Witch"
  • "The Galley from Atlantis"
  • "Poseidon"
  • "The Dead Will Cuckold You" (1989)
  • "In the Book of Vergama" (preface to "The Last Hieroglyph")

Posthumous works

Lin Carter used some of Smith's unfinished stories and completed them, crediting Smith as a posthumous collaborator

  • "The Utmost Abomination" (1973)
  • "The Double Tower" (1973)
  • "The Scroll of Morloc" (1975)
  • "The Stairs in the Crypt" (1976)
  • "The Light from the Pole" (1980)
  • "The Descent into the Abyss" (1981)
  • "The Unbegotten Source" (1984; based on "Ubbo-Sathla")
  • "The Feaster from the Stars" (1984)
  • "Papyrus of the Dark Wisdom" (1988; includes "The Unbegotten Source")