Information about the author.
As poet, fiction writer, and artist, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) has left an indelible mark on the fields of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. But criticism of his bountiful and varied work has been surprisingly scanty, and oftentimes ill-informed. The Freedom of Fantastic Things represents the most substantial volume of criticism of Smith’s work ever published, and includes both original and previously published work by the leading scholars on Smith.
Among the notable contributions are Donald Sidney-Fryer’s exhaustive discussion of Smith’s relations with his early mentor, George Sterling; Brian Stableford’s brilliant analysis of Smith’s cosmicism; Fred Chappell’s sensitive treatment of Smith’s fantastic poetry; S. T. Joshi’s essays on The Hashish-Eater and on Smith’s prose-poetry; Scott Connors’s penetrating study of Smith’s relations to literary Modernism; Lauric Guillaud’s rumination on fantasy and decadence in Smith’s…[more]
Long heralded as the master literary sorcerer of American dark fantasy, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) finally comes into his own with this significant collection of 276 annotated letters to his closest friends—George Sterling, Samuel Loveman, Frank Belknap Long, H.P. Lovecraft, Donald Wandrei, August Derleth, Robert H. Barlow and others. With only a minimal education, Smith’s reclusive lifestyle in a small cabin in the woods near Auburn, California, and his insatiable reading, led him to begin writing poetry during his early teens. His poetry came to the attention of noted California poet George Sterling, who helped him find a publisher for “The Star-Treader and Other Poems” in 1912, his first collection. Several more collections appeared over the next decade, before his first short fantasy fiction appeared in the September 1928 issue of “Weird Tales”. Smith was a fairly prolific fantasy writer until 1937, when he virtually ceased writing for reasons never satisfactorily explained, and began to pursue…[more]