Clark Ashton Smith was an American author of Fiction, fantasy and science fiction as well as a sculptor, painter and poet. In the literary world, Clark Ashton Smith is best remembered as a contributor to the pulp Fantasy and Sci-fi magazine Weird Tales.
Smith spent most of his childhood and adult life in the Californian town of Auburn, living with his parents in a small cabin. While growing up he spent very little time gaining any formal education as he suffered from psychological disorders. This did not stop Smith teaching himself French and Spanish and his near photographic memory allowed him to remember nearly everything he read.
As his reading was quite prolific (including entire dictionaries and encyclopedias) this meant he held a vast amount of knowledge around a variety of subjects. He began to write his own stories at the tender age of 11, two of which have recently been published (The Sword of Zagan and The Black Diamonds).
Eventually his writing led him to become the protégé of the poet George Sterling, who encouraged him to publish his first volume of poems (The Star-Treader and Other Poems) at the age of 19. The volume was recieved very favourably by Amercian critics, one of which went so far as to call him The Keates of the Pacific.
In 1922 he published Ebony and Crystal which brought him a fan letter from HP Lovecraft which began a 15 year friendship.
He continued to write poetry, and in 1926, inspired and influenced by HP Lovecraft he began to write Weird Fiction and the famous Call of Cthulhu stories. He continued to write until 1935 when his interest began to wane, attributed in part to Robert E Howards suicide (1936) and HP Lovecrafts death by cancer (1937), instead he turned to sculpture, which he created up to his death on the 14th August 1961.
Many of Smith's stories were published in six hardcover volumes by August Derleth under his Arkham House imprint. Some of them were also collected as Lost Worlds Vols 1 and 2.
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