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Old 11-09-2015   #11
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Re: The Dark Eidolon by Clark Ashton Smith (Penguin Classics)

This collection helped develop my love of strange language, which is particularly expertly modulated during his Zothique stories The Dark Eidolon and Xeethra. I don't consider Clark Ashton Smith one of the great masters of horror fiction (although The Double Shadow and the Vaults of Yoh-Vombis are commendable scary pulp horror), but he is one of the great prose stylists of fantasy and his idiom is fascinating.

His best fantasy short stories, such as the collection's title story, are true prose poems and it's surprising to believe pulps were publishing them. Working from this collection I also got turned on to George Sterling, whose poetry would appear to be as strong an influence on Smith's prose as Poe or Dunsany's tales.

I went to the CAS forum and found a thread where people denied any Dunsany influence, which I found bizarre. His Hyperborea cycle screams Dunsany.

'I believe in what the Germans term Ehrfurcht: reverence for things one cannot understand.'
― Robert Aickman, An Essay
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