Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lovecraftiana: Clark Ashton Smith

On November 10, 1935, Lovecraft wrote, "CAS's ... own "Star-Treader" is a work of art. [1] He states in a letter of March 27, 1934, "When 17 he published his first book of peotry - " The Star Treader" ... Clark probably derives much of his exotic taste from the tales told him by his father when he was very small - he was especially impressed by accounts of gorgeously plumed birds and bizarre tropical flowers of equatorial Brazil. From childhood he was a poet, artist, and dreamer - obviously something of a boy wonder. [2]

1 Mysteries of Time and Spirit: The Letters of H.P. Lovecraft and Donald Wandrei, 2002
2 Lord of a Visble World, Joshi & Schulz, 2000

Found on ebay through a sale of portions of the posessions of Steve Behrends are these notables.

A ignature of Clark Ashton Smith, originated as the return address to a letter he sent to fan and correspondent Rah Hoffman in the early 1940s. Hoffman was serving in the military at the time. Years later Hoffman removed the signature and destroyed the rest of the envelope, as he did not wish to be reminded of his period in the Army. The words "Auburn, CA" appear below the signature.

The signature, given to STRANGE SHADOWS editor Steve Behrends in the mid 1980s, is in a faded ink.

Also, a photograph of Clark Ashton Smith in his Auburn, CA cabin, taken in the early 1940s by fan Paul Freehafer. Smith is seen holding a candle, amidst his painting, sculptures, and books. Probably the best photograph of Smith ever taken.

This print was made from the Freehafer negative by Smith fan and correspondent Rah Hoffman, for inclusion as the frontispiece in STRANGE SHADOWS: THE UNCOLLECTED FICTION AND ESSAYS OF CAS. The print was sent to Steve Behrends, the editor of STRANGE SHADOWS, who added a caption & provenance info to the back side, and then sent it on to Greenwood Press. It was later returned. (B&W, 8x10)

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