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Old 07-23-2009   #1
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Clark Ashton Smith

There doesn't seem to be a Clark Ashton Smith thread, so I'm starting one.

Today I received Volume 4 of Night Shade Books' The Collected Fantasies. While it is certainly very wonderful, one thing (so far) puzzles me. On the evidence of CAS's Selected Letters, The Seven Geases was written during the timespan covered by Volume 4. And yet I can't see it. What's going on? Is my CAS chronology awry? Am I going blind? Or mad? Have the editors made a blunder? Is The Seven Geases to be omitted from the series? If so, why? Or is there some other explanation?

I have no explanation, only questions.


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Old 07-23-2009   #2
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

To clarify my last post, it says on the back of the Volume 4 dust jacket:

It includes, in chronological order, all of his stories from "The Mandrakes" (February 1933) to "The Flower Women" (May 1935).

If we turn to page 224 of CAS's Selected Letters, we find in Letter 177 (to August Derleth Sept. 26th 1933):

I am writing another of my Hyperborean series -- "The Seven Geases".

On the same page, in letter 178 (to H P Lovecraft c. late September 1933) we find a reference to the same story as:

my latest yarn

This seems to date The Seven Geases to the tail end of September 1933. Doesn't it?

And September 1933 certainly seems to be within the February 1933 to May 1935 date range.

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Old 07-23-2009   #3
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

According to the Night Shade website, "The Seven Geases" is to be published in The Last Hieroglyph, the fifth and last volume of their exquisite series.

My copy of Lost Worlds Volume 2 (Panther, 1974) contains this story, and says it was first published in Weird Tales, October 1934. That would certainly seem to be an error in continuity, as you say. There is a long thread about volumes 4 and 5 over at Eldritch Dark, maybe one of the CAS scholars there would have some insight... Hopefully this anomaly will be explained in the preface to volume 5!
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Old 07-23-2009   #4
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
My copy of Lost Worlds Volume 2 (Panther, 1974) contains this story, and says it was first published in Weird Tales, October 1934.
All of the several bibliographic sources at which I've looked agree that "The Seven Geases" appeared in the October 1934 Weird Tales. So, it seems to have been both written and first published during the timeframe for volume 4.

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Old 07-28-2009   #5
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

In assembling the Night Shade Books Collected Fantasies series, Ron Hilger and I followed CAS' own handwritten chronology of his fiction in assigning the order of stories. Vol. 4 ends with "The Flower-Women," which was finished on March 31, 1933 and is ITEM 86 in the chronology. "The Seven Geases" is item 94, and was finished on October 1, 1933, so it falls into volume 5. It's one of my favorites as well, and it certainly will not be omitted from the series.
We do not take the order in which a story was published into consideration; if that were the case, "The Metamorphosis of Earth" (or "The Metamorphosis of the World" as CAS called it), which was written in late 1929 but not published until September 1951, should be in volume 5, not volume 1 as we have it.

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Old 07-28-2009   #6
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

Aha! That makes sense. I'd imagine it could get complicated with different revisions and versions - having access to that list must be an immense help.

And I should say, I think the Night Shade books are wonderful. I posted a short thread about volume 4, and these books are indeed beautiful editions.

As an aside, I live in El Dorado County, about an hour or so from Auburn, and it tickles me to see some place names that I recognize in stories like "The Phantoms of the Fire" - this is the first time I have read that one. Thank you for making the work of one of my favorite authors more accessible and enjoyable!
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Old 07-28-2009   #7
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

Ooh, it's right there on the Night Shade website:
This series presents Smith’s fiction chronologically, based on composition rather than publication. The editorial decision to present these finely crafted tales chronologically, as opposed to thematically, was made in order to present Smith’s fiction as part of a continuum - Smith’s style evolved as he grew older, and gained access to the commercial markets. The ebb and flow of his prose over the course of his lifetime can be charted via the five volumes of this series.
I even linked to that page in the thread I mentioned above. So much for my internet detectivery and/or information retention ability. Ahem.
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Old 07-28-2009   #8
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

Quote Originally Posted by Sam View Post
Ooh, it's right there on the Night Shade website:
This series presents Smith’s fiction chronologically, based on composition rather than publication. The editorial decision to present these finely crafted tales chronologically, as opposed to thematically, was made in order to present Smith’s fiction as part of a continuum - Smith’s style evolved as he grew older, and gained access to the commercial markets. The ebb and flow of his prose over the course of his lifetime can be charted via the five volumes of this series.
I even linked to that page in the thread I mentioned above. So much for my internet detectivery and/or information retention ability. Ahem.
Mmmm... Yes, but it still seems to me that The Seven Geases is out of sequence. That's why I quoted from CAS's letters in a previous post -- to help determine when he wrote the story.

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Old 05-07-2012   #9
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

I thought Hippocampus Press was going to reprint the 3 volume collected poetry of CAS but I haven't heard anything about it. Anyone know anything about when/if this would be coming out?
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Old 05-07-2012   #10
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Re: Clark Ashton Smith

Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
I thought Hippocampus Press was going to reprint the 3 volume collected poetry of CAS but I haven't heard anything about it. Anyone know anything about when/if this would be coming out?
In his latest blog, S. T. Joshi mentioned spending time with David Schultz and working on the pb editions of the CAS poetry, saying that these new editions will contain "a number of significant revisions." They had hoped to bring the volumes out this year, but we may have to wait until 2013.

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