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The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies (Penguin Classics)

The Dark Eidolon and Other Fantasies (Penguin Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Clark Ashton Smith , S. T. Joshi
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

A much-awaited collection of prose and poetry from one of the great cosmic masters of the supernatural

Not just any fantasy, horror, and science fiction author could impress H. P. Lovecraft into calling him “unexcelled by any other writer, dead or living” or compel Fritz Lieber to employ the worthy term sui generis. Clark Ashton Smith—autodidact, prolific poet, amateur philosopher, bizarre sculptor, and unmatched storyteller—simply wrote like no one else, before or since. This new collection of his very best tales and poems is selected and introduced by supernatural literature scholar S. T. Joshi and allows readers to encounter Smith’s visionary brand of fantastical, phantasmagorical worlds, each one filled with invention, terror, and a superlative sense of metaphysical wonder.

About the Author

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) was a poet, an artist, and the author of more than a hundred tales of fantasy and horror. He was a member of the famous 'Lovecraft circle' and was a major contributor to Weird Tales, along with Robert E. Howard and Lovecraft himself.

S. T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor. He has edited several Penguin Classics volumes, including The Call of Cthulhu, The White People and Other Weird Stories, and American Supernatural Tales.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1668 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0143107380
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (25 Mar 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #202,110 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
CAS,without doubt,is the ONLY writer of Weird,SF,Fantasy,and Horror that equals the great H.P.Lovecraft.No-one like him before or since,if you are a fan of any of the genres he encompasses,you should not hesitate to buy this.I think Penguin may be persuaded to publish another volume if sales are good,so buy it and promote a writer who has been unjustly overshadowed by much poorer ones(Bob Howard,for one...although a friend of both CAS and HPL,his writing is that of a child--and a non too clever child--in comparison).Strike a blow for justice,buy this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful in Every Way 25 Mar 2014
By Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, Esq. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is so cool my eyeballs are bubbling! How awesome to see a beautiful painting by Smith on the cover of a Penguin Classics! I wou'd have preferred, perhaps, "The Basilisk" or his gorgeous painting of "Hyperborea," but this, although subtle in its excellent use of colours, is a lovely example of Smith's folk art style. Penguin asked S. T. to write an in-depth Introduction, knowing that this book will serve as first-reading of Smith for hundreds of new readers throughout the world, and the Introduction is quite good, shewing in part the Lovecraftian influence yet pointing out that Smith's art was unique unto himself, as it must be with all genuine artists of genius. The selection is very fine, and I am happy to see that the Penguin editors insisted that the extraordinary poem, "The Hashish-Eater; or The Apocalypse of Evil," was included after S. T. fear'd there would not be room in the wordage allow'd. One of my favourite features of the magnificent H. P. Lovecraft volumes from Penguin is the fascinating and informative Notes at the end of each book, discussing at times what inspir'd Lovecraft to write his story and where the work was first publish'd, &c; and in THE DARK EIDOLON AND OTHER FANTASIES we have a generous amount of notes explaining origin of story and containing snatches of correspondence from CAS and E'ch-Pi-El. In the annotations for "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros" we find many delightful lines from HPL admiring the story, then in the notes for "The Last Incantation" we have snippets of a letter by Smith to Donald Wandrei; and additional quotations from Lovecraft's letters appear in the notes of further tales, all of which add to the history of these fantasies in a fascinating way. This is a perfect edition of Smith, and its publication will bring his poetry and prose to a new world-wide readership. Hopefully the book will be such a success that Penguin will ask S. T. for a second volume! I have posted the complete Contents of this Penguin Classics edition in a discussion at the Clark Ashton Smith Forum here at Amazon.
[postscriptum: I am especially curious about ye Kindle edition of this book, for I don't own a Kindle, preferring always to read in book form. If you have purchas'd ye Kindle edition, I hope you will share your thoughts concerning it with a review here at Amazon. To see ye entire Contents, click on the "Look Inside" feature of ye Kindle edition.]
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Singing Of Black Stars 28 May 2014
By Art Turner - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Where to begin? Well, since this is intended as introductory volume of Clark Ashton Smith's literary work, perhaps a few brief remarks about Smith himself are in order.

Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) was a poet, short story writer, sculptor, and painter. He is primarily remembered today as a friend and colleague of H.P. Lovecraft (of Cthulhu Mythos fame) and Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan), but, although his writing resembles that of both men, he was most assuredly his own man, both as a writer and an individual. Primarily a poet, Smith took to writing fiction, in part to earn income to support his ailing parents. Writing mostly in a genre that would now probably be described as dark fantasy fiction, his work was perhaps more aptly referred to by the great speculative fiction writer Fritz Leiber as simply sui generis.

On to the book itself. This volume is divided into five sections: a mid-length (15-20 page) introduction by editor S.T. Joshi, a lengthy section (about 250 pages, comprising the majority of the book) of short stories, a brief section (about 20 pages) of prose poetry, a longer section (about 60 pages) of non-prose poetry, and about 30 pages of explanatory notes. The short story selection is excellent, and probably does as good of a job is as possible in a relatively constrained space to demonstrate to the Smith neophyte the range of the author's fiction. The prose poetry is, for lack of a better word, delightful; Joshi has referred to Smith as the finest prose poet in the English language, and, after reading the selections included here, I think the reader will find it very hard to argue the point. I found the non-prose poems to be slightly more problematic, as Smith's (in)famous fondness for recondite words is more readily on display here than elsewhere; nevertheless, there is much to admire here, and a work like his long poem "The Hashish-Eater" probably surpasses anything I have ever read in terms of sheer phantasmagoric imagination. Finally, the footnotes, as they always are in Joshi-edited works, are excellent.

Should you purchase this? If you are a fan of writers like Dunsany, Lovecraft, Howard, and Tolkien, the answer is a resounding "yes". Smith is most certainly not to all tastes, but if you enjoy his work, you will almost certainly be an admirer of his for life.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An impressive collection featuring many of Smith's best stories. 2 April 2014
By Jordan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Clark Ashton Smith, as you likely already know, was one of the big three from the golden era of "weird fiction". The other two being H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. If you're unfamiliar with his work, you can think of Smith as a sort of Lovecraft with less filler and a strong lean toward dark fantasy. Smith's stories are frequently filled to the brim with incredible imagination that will impress even the most die-hard and jaded fantasy enthusiast.

If you enjoy the stories found within I highly recommend you check out his others as they're all worth reading. Even in a curated selection like this you can't include all the top-tier stories.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative 24 Jun 2014
By Edith Gnome - Published on
Although I possess some few collections of this poet and fantaisiste in early Arkham House editions, I am happy to own this handsome new soft cover volume, which can accompany me on rail transportation. One is struck, initially, by the motion conjured in the excellent painting that serves as cover illustration--the play of waving lines that is repeated in dendriod limbs, in curve of blade, in formation of precipice and waves of water; and by the use of color modulation, with darkness of tone in forefront, fading to mist and pale background. The yellow-pink sky does not suggest daylight, but rather an eerie twilight, a prelude of dusk. It is a superb image and looks exactly right as a Penguin Classics cover.

Mr. Joshi's Introduction of thirteen or so pages is informed and fascinating. Selection of tales is mostly fine, and it seems appropriate that the volume's opening phantasy is a tale that touches on the mythic cycle of Mr. H. P. Lovecraft, to whom Mr. Smith is so assuredly linked in the Introduction. Reading over the stories in this book, however, reminds one that, in tone and imagination, Mr. Smith hasn't much in common with Mr. Lovecraft. I hope it will not be controversial to suggest that Mr. Lovecraft was, in prose, the finer artist, one who wrote in an attempt (usually successful) to create works of Literary Art. There is very little in Mr. Lovecraft's oeuvre that can be considered hackwork. Mr. Smith was far more serious an artist in his poetry than in his weird fiction, and his motivation for writing stories that were often, but not always, excellent was the necessity of earning funds on which to live and with which he could assist his ailing parents in their elder age. Thus Mr. Smith seems to have had few qualms about altering his fiction to editorial demand--a philosophy to which Mr. Lovecraft did not adhere.

The weird phantasies take up almost 260 pages of text. We are then presented with twenty pages of Mr. Smith's exquisite prose poems, an art form in which he excelled. The remainder of Mr. Smith's text is his poetry, and he here in unsurpassed, a poet as equally fine as Mr. Donald Wandrei and Mr. Samuel Loveman. The extensive Notes are interesting and informative, and add immeasurably to the edition. Happily, the book is extremely well edited, the text free of any noticeable misprints--a rare thing in this era of rushed production. How delightful it was, to see a handsome, modern edition of Mr. Smith's work on display at Brown University Bookstore.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return of the Sorcerer 18 April 2014
By Boy - Published on
Devoured this one in two weeks flat. Another major triumph for Penguin and editor S.T. Joshi's line of classic "Weird Fiction" books. Clark Ashton Smith's daringly morbid imagination, Poe-esque storytelling sensibilities, and idiosyncratic eloquence make him one of the greatest weird writers who ever lived. Here's hoping Joshi's busy wrangling together another Penguin collection as I write this - perhaps the stories of Robert E. Howard or Fritz Leiber will be the subject of his next endeavor? Hey, I can dream...
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