Clark Ashton Smith

5-1-2010 10;00;37 AM

Unless you are diehard fan of horror or dark fantasy stories of the early 20th century, the name Clark Ashton Smith probably means little or nothing to you. But for those of us who are such fans, his name conjures up worlds of exotic darkness, of the purplest prose describing the strangest entities of eons past. Along with Lovecraftand Conan creator Robert E. Howard, Smith ruled those long-ago days of the 1930s and Weird Tales magazine. But unlike the other two, whose works have long been readily available, Smith sank, along with most of their Weird Tales brethren, into obscurity. Despite vocal champions like Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Lovecraft himself, Smith is a household name only to those folks, like myself, whose homes suffer under a surfeit of paperback horror fiction. And not even always then. Too Much Horror Fiction

Just outside the city of Auburn, California, near what is today the Eldorado National Forest, is Boulder Ridge. Smith lived most of his life here, in the house he helped his father build in 1902. Today, not far from Auburn, lives Scott Connors, Smith’s biographer and the man considered by many to be the foremost expert on Smith’s life and career. “There are still a number of people who knew Clark living around this area, although they’re starting to pass away,” Connors says. “Generally speaking, they regarded him as a good friend; as somebody who was a little bit otherworldly at times; somebody who lived life on his own terms without making a lot of compromises.” The Fanzine

Novels
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At the age of fourteen, Clark Ashton Smith wrote an Arabian Nights adventure novel called The Black Diamonds. At nearly 90,000 words, it is the longest work of fiction he would ever write in his long career. The thrilling and fast-paced story of seventeenth-century Bagdad deals with two mysterious black diamonds and the conflict they engender between an Arab family and the powerful thief who seeks to regain them. Kidnapping, piracy, and even a possibly supernatural “Lake of Fire” are all involved in this vibrant and well-crafted narrative.Although a work of Smith’s youth, The Black Diamondscan withstand comparison with any of his later tales of Zothique, Hyperborea, and Atlantis for compelling readability.Vintage Library

 

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Black Dog Folklore by Mark Norman

The study of folklore is very often the examination of symbolism and symbolic interpretation changes over time.

Many people’s knowledge of the subject stretches no further than The Hound of the Baskervilles and where they are more familiar, people often think that the Black Dog is evil or portentous in the manner of the Shuck. Black Dog Folklore

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You can download a 90 minute audio intro here.

The book is published in three formats: paperback, hardback and limited edition hardback (300 in red cloth with black foil embossing, hand numbered). 248 pages. Full details on the website. Sounds pretty exciting for collectors!

Black Dog Folklore is the first full-length study of the phenomenon by a single author, containing a gazetteer of over 750 key UK eyewitness accounts and traditions drawn from the author’s archive.

Illustration from the book by artist Paul Atlas-Saunders
Illustration from the book by artist Paul Atlas-Saunders

Mark Norman is a folklore author and researcher based in Devon, in the South-West of the UK. He is a committee member of the Folklore Society and has researched and collected information on Black Dog apparitions for many years.

Illustration from the book by artist Paul Atlas-Saunders
Illustration from the book by artist Paul Atlas-Saunders

Grab this comprehensive study of the image of the Black Dog in folklore, with an extensive gazetteer of UK sightings and traditions from Troy Books.

Ethel Le Rossignol (1874-1970)

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Ethel Le Rossignol believed that she received information from the spirit world in the form of beautiful paintings and drawings. She did have some formal art education in London, having moved from Jersey. After the war, Ethel turned to the world of spiritualism, eventually becoming a medium.

In 1920, she started channeling a spirit simply known as J.P.F. and producing paintings for which she claimed no credit, insisting that J.P.F. was the real author. J.P.F. also transmitted to Ethel the teachings of a group of advanced spirits, who explained the meanings of the paintings. These teachings were collected in 1933 in the book «A Goodly Company», that Ethel self-published under the imprint The Chiswick Press. Cesnur

A Goodly Company (1958): A Series of Psychic Drawings Given Through the Hand of Ethel Le Rossignol as an Assurance of Survival After Death; this Sequence of Designs is Shown to Open the Eyes of All Men to the Glorious World of Spiritual Power which Lies about Them