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Foror those of us who recognize in the late Clark Ashton Smith a poet and a poet in prose as remarkable as the French genius Baudelaire, the preceding “fragment”—actually far more complete than many a longer poem—cannot but possess certain poignant autobiographical associations. The eventuality stated symbolically in the last lines is devoutly to be wished: that connoisseurs of fantasy, whether in the immediate or the far future, shall indeed come to know the canon of Smith’s works and appreciate his quite considerable achievement, and that Smith shall thus come to realize the only type of immortality any human being may reasonably expect, at least as far as such is known.

When Clark Ashton Smith died on August 14th, 1961, his death passed almost completely unnoticed, apart from a few local newspapers in his native state of California. No Saturday Review of Literature, no Atlantic Monthly devoted an entire memorial issue to the man and his writings. To the knowledge of the present writer, not a single science fiction or fantasy magazine even mentioned the fact of his death. Smith’s connections with the main literary river of his own time were at best tenuous, if not just about non-existent; his connections with the tributary or sub-tributary of the science fiction and fantasy magazines, proved only a little less gossamer. The echoes of his earlier poetic fame in the Bohemian circles of San Francisco and Monterey had long since died away, and thus he died, little better than unknown to his own time.

The biography of Smith’s external life is relatively uneventful, although still significant; but this relative uneventfulness places a greater importance on the life of the inner man, on the inner life of the literary creator, where such is known to us and where it is revealed in his works. However, it will still be to some purpose to review the more salient facts of biography with particular emphasis on those details which strongly relate to his creative life.

Smith was born of Yankee and English parentage on January 13th, 1893, in Long Valley, California, about six miles south of Auburn, in the house of his maternal grandparents (the Gaylords) located along the old road leading south of Folsom out of Auburn, and about five miles from the northern reaches of Boulder Ridge where Smith was to spend the major portion of his life. In 1902, his parents, Fanny and Timeus Smith, moved to Boulder Ridge, to a spot about a mile south of Auburn and about one-fourth of a mile east of the Folsom Road. Here his father with the help of the then nine-year-old boy, built a cabin and dug a well, and here Smith lived almost continuously until 1954, apart from visits to Sacramento, San Francisco, Monterey, the neighboring state of Nevada, and a few other places. He almost visited New York City sometime in 1942 under the ægis of his friends Benjamin and Bio De Casseres.

One can easily imagine the effect that the surrounding countryside had on the sensitive and imaginative boy; a countryside that was and still is a veritable garden of fruit trees—pear, plum, peach, cherry, apple—located on the rolling foothills of the Sierras and alternating with copses of evergreen and deciduous trees and with broad park-like areas; the foothills filled with deserted mines, some of them still containing gold; and arching overhead, the diurnal or nocturnal immensitudes of the heavens rendered remarkably clear in the clean smog-free country air.

He attended the equivalent of the first three grades of grammar school (in Smith’s own words) “at the little red schoolhouse of the precinct.” He completed the five remaining grades of grammar school in Auburn. Smith wrote later that “As a schoolboy, I believe that I was distinguished more for devilment than scholarship. Much of my childhood was spent in the neighborhood of an alleged gold mine; which may be the reason why the romance of California gold mining failed to get under my skin.” However, in spite of his disclaimer, this neighboring gold mine—the “Old Gaylord Mine” close to his grandparents’ property—evidently had some influence on the young Smith because his mature literary work, both poetry and prose, abounds in mining and geological terms. Without realizing it, he had succumbed to the greater romance of telluric splendor, as numerous references to precious and semi-precious metals and stones attest in his poems and in his tales.

Smith did not go on to either high school or college; he preferred to conduct his own education and later, when he turned down the opportunity for a Guggenheim scholarship, it was for the same reason. Thus early in his life he manifested what was to be his lifelong independence. To judge by his creative work, we may be sure that Smith—always an omnivorous but discerning reader—proved to be his own best teacher.

From the very first Smith seems to have been attracted to the exotic, the far away, and the literally astronomically far away. The gold mine near his grandparents’ home, with its hints of precious, untold wealth, may account to some minor degree for Smith’s predilection for the exotic. The fact that his father Timeus Smith had travelled extensively as a young man, and that he would often reminisce to his son about those travels, may also explain Smith’s early attraction to the far away and the fabled, to the Orient and to those mysterious lands of the imagination so beloved by visionary youth.

The last receives ample confirmation when Smith would later report that his “first literary efforts at the age of eleven, took the form of fairy tales and imitations of The Arabian Nights. Later, I wrote long adventure novels dealing with Oriental life, and much mediocre verse.” These “long adventure novels dealing with Oriental life” culminated in Smith’s first professional short-story appearances in magazines: “The Malay Krise” and “The Ghost of Mohammed Din” in the then well-known West Coast literary magazine The Overland Monthly, in the issues for October and November 1910, respectively; and “The Mahout” and “The Raja and the Tiger” in The Black Cat, in the issues for August 1911 and February 1912, respectively. Significantly enough, all these tales are laid in the Orient, the first-named in the area of Singapore and the last three in India. “The Ghost of Mohammed Din” is important as being Smith’s first professional story in which he features the element of the supernatural (handled with considerable skill, it may be added). In “The Raja and the Tiger” the climactic action of the story takes place in the Jain cave temple where “Huge stone pillars, elaborately sculptured, supported the roof, and around the sides great gods and goddesses of the Jain mythology, called Arhats, glared downward. The torch illuminated dimly, leaving much in shadow, and in the shadow imagination created strange fantasies.” (The present writer’s italics.) Smith later re-used the theme of “The Mahout,” of a mahout who trains and uses an elephant to wreak his revenge upon a hated Oriental despot. When Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales, came to found in 1930 a companion magazine called Oriental Stories (later changed to The Magic Carpet Magazine), Smith contributed two tales: “The Justice of the Elephant” in the Autumn 1931 issue of Oriental Stories, and “The Kiss of Zoraida” in the July 1933 issue of The Magic Carpet Magazine. In the former laid in India, Smith used again, in slightly altered form, the theme of “The Mahout.” In the latter laid in Damascus, appears one of Smith’s principal inspirations, the manifestation of death. The Oriental background continued in “The Kingdom of the Worm,” a tale of the mediæval adventurer Sir John Maundeville, published in The Fantasy Fan for October 1933; and it continued in “The Ghoul,” published in the same amateur magazine for January 1934; this last is a tale laid in Bagdad during the reign of the Caliph Vathek, William Beckford’s fictional “grandson” of Haroun al Raschid.

The four earlier tales of 1910–1912 are written with a control, a sense of selection that would have done credit to a mature writer. If it were not for the evidence to the contrary, a reader might very easily mistake the four later Oriental tales as being of the same period as his four earlier ones; or vice versa. These four early stories serve as testimony to the care with which Smith has schooled himself for one of his self-appointed spheres of creation.

Besides witnessing the appearance of the very first of Smith’s professional short stories, 1910 was also the very first year that saw Smith professionally in print, whether in verse or in prose. Then, for some reason Smith lost interest in writing short stories, and devoted himself almost wholly to poetry from 1911, from the time he was eighteen, until 1925, when he was thirty-two. Smith’s parents proved fortunately sympathetic to their son’s creativity all during this time, and indeed up until the time of their death in the 1930s.

In 1906, when he was thirteen, Smith had made an important literary discovery for himself, one which profoundly influenced his own writing. Let Smith tell this in his own words: “Unique, and never to be forgotten, was the thrill with which, at the age of thirteen, I discovered for myself the poems of Poe in a grammar-school library; and, despite the objurgations of the librarian, who considered Poe ‘unwholesome,’ carried the priceless volume home to revel for enchanted days in its undreamt-of melodies. Here, indeed, was ‘balm in Gilead,’ here was a ‘kind nepenthe.’” Later, and equally important, Smith discovered Poe’s short stories. Then, when Smith was almost fifteen, he made yet another important discovery: “Likewise memorable, and touched with more than the glamour of childhood dreams, was my first reading, two years later, of “A Wine of Wizardry” [by George Sterling], in the pages of the old Cosmopolitan. The poem, with its necromantic music, and splendours as of sunset on jewels and cathedral windows, was veritably all that its title implied…” Meanwhile and after, Smith was writing the “much mediocre poetry” which served as the practice prerequisite to the creation of his mature verse. Also it was probably during this period of poetic apprenticeship that Smith worked out of his system any and all desire to create slavish imitations of such poems by Poe as “The Raven,” “The Bells,” and company. The cosmic-astronomic poetry of Sterling, “The Testimony of the Suns” above all, may have suggested to Smith to try his hand at the same theme; that, together with the beauty of the Auburn countryside with its immense blue skies at day and its black profundities of heaven ablaze with stars and planets at night.

Through the suggestion of Emily J. Hamilton, a teacher at the Auburn high school (officially Placer Union High School), Smith came into personal contact with Sterling, at that time the unofficial poet laureate of the West Coast and very much the social lion. In Smith’s own words: “Several years later—when I was eighteen, to be precise—a few of my verses were submitted to Sterling for criticism, through the office of a mutual friend; and his favorable verdict led to a correspondence, and, later, an invitation to visit him in Carmel, where I spent a most idle and most happy month. I like to remember him, pounding abalones on a boulder in the back yard, or mixing pineapple punch (for which I was allowed to purvey the mint from a nearby meadow), or paying a round of matutinal visits among his assorted friends.” This personal friendship and correspondence with Sterling lasted for sixteen years, until Sterling’s death in November 1926.

It was during these years, 1911–1912, when he was eighteen and nineteen, respectively, that Smith wrote his first mature poetry—the bulk of his first volume The Star-Treader and Other Poems. Evidently with some taste for art and literature, Boutwell Dunlap, a well-known property-owner in Placer County (in which both Auburn and Long Valley are located) and an acquaintance of Smith’s, assisted the young poet in securing publication for his book. The San Francisco publisher A.M. Robertson, owner of a much-frequented bookshop and publisher of much of Sterling’s poetry, agreed to bring the volume out. Sterling himself helped Smith with the reading of the proofs, and otherwise advised him; and in November of 1912 The Star-Treader appeared. The leading San Francisco newspapers proclaimed Smith “the Keats of the Pacific Coast,” and discerning critics hailed him as a prodigy and a genius. Sterling later wrote that “the story of… [Smith’s] triumph with his neighbors, when hundreds of copies of his first book of verses were promptly bought up in a small California hill town, is a romance in itself.”

Thus, Smith made his début into the Bohemian literary and artistic life of the West Coast, centered in San Francisco and the surrounding area, a life that included and had included such notables as Bret Harte, Frank Norris, Jack London, George Sterling, Ambrose Bierce, Joaquin Miller, Edwin Markham, Ella Sterling Mighels, Charles Warren Stoddard, Nora May French, Ina Coolbrith, Gertrude Atherton, and many, many others. As the “discovery,” protégé, and friend of Sterling, Smith may have had access into the charmed circle of San Francisco’s haut ton. However, it is important to remember that, for all the éclat of his introduction to this San Francisco literary and artistic life, Smith continued to live with his parents at their cabin on Boulder Ridge. It is fascinating to learn that Smith in fact almost met “Bitter” Bierce, who with Poe and a few others ranks as one of the greatest masters of the macabre. Before he departed in 1913 for Mexico where he later disappeared, Bierce had been living and working in Washington, D.C. Just before his departure for Mexico, he returned to California for a few months to renew old acquaintances. He did see Sterling again (even though Bierce had broken with both Sterling and Jack London when they had taken up Socialism), since Sterling had been one of the chief protégés of the older writer, who had once enthusiastically championed the younger man and his poetry. On one occasion Smith and Bierce almost met in San Francisco by means of Sterling, but the young Auburn poet was unable to travel to the city at that time. One cannot help but wonder what Bierce might have said in person to Sterling of the young Smith’s poems.

Between 1912 and 1922, the year that Smith’s second major poetry collection appeared, we hear relatively little of the poet. Sometime during this decade Smith first came to know both Les Fleurs du Mal and the Petits Poèmes en prose of Baudelaire, possibly in 1912, but not however in the original French but in some English translation, probably that of Arthur Symons. Smith was not to learn French and come to know Baudelaire in his original language until the middle 1920s. Smith later acknowledged that Baudelaire’s poems as well as his poems in prose had exercised a considerable influence on Smith’s work, especially on the latter’s poems in prose. However, the Baudelairian influence manifests itself perhaps more in the technique of the poème en prose rather than in the subject matter. Also during this decade Smith began to contribute to a wide variety of magazines.

Violet Nelson Heyer, a long-time resident of Auburn as well as a long-term friend of the Smiths, recalls Clark’s family during this period in the following words: “our family home adjoined Clark’s family acres from the years 1908 until 1919, and the three personalities (Clark and his parents) are well-remembered by us,—the dark, reticent father and the happy, light-hearted soul who was Clark’s mother… a lady of beautiful spirit and intense dedication to her family.”

Sometime after the publication of The Star-Treader, Smith suffered a nervous breakdown and an attack of tuberculosis; from the former he fortunately recovered but the latter, while arrested, continued to bother him intermittently the rest of his life. Smith had endured terrific nightmares from his early boyhood onward—he based at least one of his later stories on a nightmare experienced in his early youth (see “The Primal City”)—and the terrible nightmares that he suffered during this difficult period left a profound impression on his memory: he later recalled for friends that many of his later horror tales he founded on these frightful dreams. Vivid dreams and nightmares often accompany the occurrence of fever; and the victim of tuberculosis, alternating as he does between bouts of raging fever and periods when the body temperature falls below normal, experiences dreams and nightmares of even greater intensity. The student of Smith’s works may well wonder as to the white-hot intensity of the nightmares endured at this particular time by Smith, always a highly sensitive and imaginative person. All of this—the nervous breakdown, the attack of tuberculosis, the terrible nightmares, and the dreadful uncertainty of whether he would or would not be cured, whether he would live or die—all of this must have had a shattering effect on Smith: he must have lived an eternity of lives during this period. It would serve to explain the rich and varied emotional background which undoubtedly inspired much of the work in Smith’s next major poetry collection, Ebony and Crystal.

That he had been putting his inner life to excellent poetic advantage, he demonstrated beyond a doubt when in 1918 the Book Club of California issued fifteen of Smith’s poems in an édition de luxe of 300 copies, under the title of Odes and Sonnets, with decorations by Florence Lundberg of New York City and with a preface by George Sterling. The first four poems were reprinted from The Star-Treader; the remaining eleven reappeared in Ebony and Crystal. The preface contained not only a discerning appreciation of Smith’s genius but also an incidental prophecy that, alas, sadly came to eventualize, that Smith was “unlikely to be afflicted with present-day popularity.” Distinguished recognition, however, was immediate. Edwin Markham, a poet now most famous for the poem “The Man with the Hoe,” wrote: “These poems have lines of unusual beauty, glints and gleams of true genius. There is something terrific in Smith, as there was in John Martin, the illustrator of Milton’s Paradise Lost. It cheers me to know that you Californians have honoured yourselves in your honouring of this distinguished poet.” Grace Atherton Dennon, editor of the West-Coast poetry magazine The Lyric West, wrote: “Your poems are rich in feeling and expression. I regard you as a genuine poet, one whose name will endure.” And from across the Atlantic the distinguished English poet and essayist Alice Meynell Smith wrote: “I think the imagination in your poems very remarkable, and wonderfully original. They are poems of true genius.” In recognition of his services to literature the Book Club of California presented Smith with a bronze plaque designed by the noted San Francisco sculptor Edgar Walter, an honor bestowed only on such literary notables as Sterling and Edwin Markham.

About this time Smith began a number of important correspondences, one with the poet Samuel Loveman, a close friend of Ambrose Bierce and the author of The Hermaphrodite and Other Poems; and, in 1922, through the offices of Loveman, with H.P. Lovecraft. This last was the beginning of what emerged as a wonderfully rewarding friendship through letters for both men, as it is evident that they held many views, opinions, and tastes in common—in archæology, astronomy, astrology, languages ancient and modern (and a consequent interest in the systematic invention of personal and place names for fictional purposes), demonology, sorcery, mythology, legendry, folklore, and only Cunthamosi, the Cosmic Mother (in Smith’s tale “The Monster of the Prophecy”), knows what else!

As an example of how much Smith and Lovecraft had in common, it is of interest to compare their respective lists of “favorite weird stories.” In The Fantasy Fan, December 1934, appeared (through the “Courtesy of H. Koenig”) the following list of Smith’s ten favorite weird stories: “The Yellow Sign,” by Robert W. Chambers; “The House of Sounds,” by M. P. Shiel; “The Willows,” by Algernon Blackwood; “A View from a Hill,” by M. R. James; “The Death of Halpin Frayser,” by Ambrose Bierce; “The Fall of the House of Usher,” by Edgar Allan Poe; “The Masque of the Red Death,” by Edgar Allan Poe; “The Novel of the White Powder,” by Arthur Machen; “The Call of Cthulhu,” by H.P. Lovecraft; and “The Colour Out of Space,” by H.P. Lovecraft. In the preceding issue for October of the same amateur magazine, had appeared (also through the “Courtesy of H. Koenig”) Lovecraft’s list of ten favorite weird stories. Six of them duplicate Smith’s choices, with only four titles different: “The Novel of the Black Seal,” by Arthur Machen; “The White People,” by Arthur Machen; “Count Magnus,” by M.R. James; and “The Moon Pool” (original novelette), by A. Merritt. Yet for all such similarities in taste and opinion, the creative work of each man is strikingly different from that of the other; and each fully appreciated the other’s genius.

In 1922, Smith selected and arranged into book form the best from the work of the years following the appearance of his first volume, and in December 1922, he published in Auburn his second major poetry collection Ebony and Crystal: Poems in Verse and Prose, with a preface by George Sterling and dedicated to Samuel Loveman. Again distinguished recognition was immediate. Henry Anderson Lafler wrote: “I wonder that you speak so slightingly of these poems. It seems to me that nothing being written today overtops them. You and George Sterling are two eagles in ‘strong level flight,’ winging sunward above flocks of sparrows.”

The novelist and poet Frank L. Pollock wrote: “I must make you all possible compliments on your magnificent piece of blank verse, ‘The Hashish-Eater.’ The technique is superb, the verse hard-spun and close-woven. It would be difficult to conceive of greater power and variety of imagination, or a greater splendour of vocabulary. Almost every episode has the material for a long poem in itself—in fact you have used up enough poetical material to make half a dozen volumes of modern poets. As a decorative poem, it seems to me that this is one of the finest things I have ever read. I do not think there are six men living who could have done it—certainly no one else in America. Continually one comes cross absolutely right and infallible lines, giving the joy of a thing perfectly said; or some burst of metaphor that is like a flash of lightning; or some violent and vivid feat of imagination. I could pick examples by scores; there is only an embarras des richesses.”

The secretary of the Book Club of California, Alfred M. Bender, wrote: “Thank you for your wonderful poem, ‘The Hashish-Eater.’ The subject may seem unappealing to many, but it has such richness of imagination, sustained thought, and stately beauty of expression that I am sure it will enhance your reputation and bring you new laurels. It should be an inward satisfaction to add another star to the firmament of California literature. Your place is growing firmer with each new effort.” Smith’s great friend and mentor George Sterling wrote: “‘The Hashish-Eater’ is indeed a most amazing production. It contains more imagination than anything else I have ever read.” In the poetry journal L’Alouette for January 1924, appeared a highly favorable review of Ebony and Crystal by Smith’s correspondent living across the continent, H.P. Lovecraft, who gave unstinted and eloquent praise to the volume, especially to its crowning achievement “The Hashish-Eater.”

Unfortunately, the fact that Smith himself privately published Ebony and Crystal in a limited edition (as he did the following volume Sandalwood), prevented it from reaching a nationwide audience, with the consequent larger critical recognition. To what extent its poetic originality and excellence, its oftentimes extraordinary cosmic vision, would have found appreciation is a moot question, since the year 1922 saw the beginning of the apotheosis of that modernist poet par excellence, T.S. Eliot, who had won the $2000 Dial Award for his 434-line poem “The Waste Land” (1922). It would be interesting and amusing (if nothing else) to compare Eliot’s extended ode on sterility and desiccation to Smith’s longest poem, the 576-line “The Hashish-Eater.” One had summed up in a thoroughly modernist manner the disillusionment, the disenchantment of a postwar generation of the first half of the twentieth century of the Christian Era. The other, who rarely bothered himself in the least with his own age, without the manifest gesture of even turning his back on his own times, celebrated in a highly original and inventive manner the eternal, ever-renewing, even if perverse, splendors of the cosmos.

Acclaim of his own age or not, Smith continued on his own supremely independent way, letting no external clamors or censures interfere with the voice of his own personal dæmon. During the 1920s Smith was contributing to a wide range of magazines, from those of national or international circulation to the “little” magazines. The poetry journal The Step-Ladder honored Smith by devoting its entire issue of May 1927 to his poems (principally from Ebony and Crystal and Sandalwood). Among this wide range of magazines was one whose founding in 1923 and existence up until 1954, was to play a pivotal role when Smith later came to write short stories. This was Weird Tales “The Unique Magazine” (as the subtitle ran), in which Smith first appeared in the issue for January 1924 with the poems “The Red Moon” and “The Garden of Evil” (later collected into Sandalwood as “Moon-Dawn” and “Duality,” respectively).

During the first half of the 1920s, to repay part of his indebtedness to the owner-editor of The Auburn Journal for printing Ebony and Crystal, Smith became a “journalist” and thus contributed to the town’s chief newspaper 101 installments of a column entitled “Clark Ashton Smith’s Column”: the first column is dated April 5, 1923, the last is dated January 7, 1926. To this column Smith contributed both poetry and epigrams, largely the former: in all, 81 poems (59 original poems and 22 translations from Baudelaire) and 329 original, and 17 selected, epigrams and pensées. (To the Journal overall, Smith contributed 84 poems.) The majority of the poems in Sandalwood—that is, 49 of the total 61 poems in that collection (37 of the 42 original poems and 12 of the 19 translations from Baudelaire)—appeared in this column of Smith’s, most of them previously to their publication in Sandalwood. While most of the poems first published in the Journal have since appeared elsewhere, virtually all of the 329, or 346, epigrams and pensées have not, although publication of a selection of them (made by Smith) was tentatively considered by an eastern publisher in the early 1940s. The epigrams and pensées appeared in the Journal under the following titles: Epigrams (once), Cocktails and Crème de Menthe, Points for the Pious, Unpopular Sayings (once), New Teeth For Old Saws (once), The Devil’s Notebook (which title has its obvious analogy with that of The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce, originally entitled The Cynic’s Word-Book), and Paradox and Persiflage. In 1990, Starmont House brought out a complete edition—or as complete as then possible—of Smith’s epigrams and pensées under the title The Devil’s Notebook, edited by Don Herron.

In October 1925, again in Auburn, Smith published his third major poetry collection Sandalwood, dedicated to George Sterling: a volume distinguished not only for its many beautiful love poems but also for nineteen translations from the French of Charles Pierre Baudelaire. The translations are indeed a remarkable accomplishment in view of the fact that Smith knew virtually nothing of the French language a year prior to October 1925, and hence had learned the language in something less than a year, beginning his study of it and subsequently of Baudelaire in November or December 1924, or during the very first part of 1925. This volume, because of its private printing in a limited edition, has shared the fate of Ebony and Crystal of being little better than unknown. In addition to the recognition given Smith’s poetry of 1911–1925 by divers distinguished literary persons, the newspapers of the San Francisco area accorded long, elaborate, and overall excellent reviews to at least the first two of Smith’s three major early poetry collections. As the result of Ebony and Crystal, one critic wrote apropos of Smith that “Among the living [poets] he stands alone.”

The year 1925 also saw a new development in Smith’s creative evolution: in this same year he had written two short stories, “The Abominations of Yondo” and “Sadastor,” stylistically and thematically growing out of his earlier poems in prose as well as out of his poems in verse. He submitted them to Farnsworth Wright, the editor of Weird Tales. The latter, always wary as to negative reader reaction to something overly new, rejected both stories, which he very well may have considered a little bit of too much, since both tales are essentially extended poems in prose. Later Wright did accept “Sadastor,” printed in Weird Tales for July 1930; and The Overland Monthly accepted “The Abominations of Yondo,” printed in the issue for April 1926, with the following note on Smith in the section entitled “April Contributors”: “Clark Ashton Smith is a California poet and he proves something else in his ‘Abominations of Yondo.’” Indeed, he had proven himself a unique poet in prose—that is, a practitioner of the poem in prose—and had proven the possibility of writing an extended poem in prose, in the manner of Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” that unique creation in the canon of the elder writer’s works. In fact, it is not too much to say that technically Smith had almost created—or at least re-created—the genre of the extended poem in prose.

In November 1926, at the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, occurred the death of George Sterling, Smith’s great friend and mentor, ostensibly by suicide, a theory with which Smith never agreed: “…As Smith points out in his article [of personal reminiscences of Sterling written in 1941], the evidence indicating suicide was largely circumstantial. At the time of his death, Sterling had in his possession not only the fatal poison (cyanide) but also a morphine derivative that he had sometimes taken against sleeplessness. He was ill and perhaps suffering the profound mental confusion that often accompanies illness. What could have been more probable than a mistake? Sterling’s last letter, written to Smith less than a week before his death, gave no evidence of mental depression or a failing of his vital interests.” (From The Auburn Journal, Dec. 15, 1941: see article “Notes on Clark Ashton Smith.”) Moreover, Sterling had been eagerly awaiting a visit from H. L. Mencken.

His death was a source of great bereavement to Smith, who paid a beautiful and moving tribute to his friend in the memorable poem “A Valediction to George Sterling,” published in The Overland Monthly for November 1927. Earlier in the same year had appeared in the same magazine, in the issue for March, an article of reminiscences by Smith of Sterling entitled “George Sterling—An Appreciation.” In it Smith recalled Sterling in the following words: “Always to me, as to others, he was a very gentle and faithful friend, and the kindest of mentors. Perhaps we did not always agree in matters of literary taste; but it is good to remember that our occasional arguments or differences of opinion were never in the least acrimonious. Indeed, how could they have been?—one might quarrel with others, but never with him: which, perhaps, is not the poorest tribute that I can pay to George Sterling.… But words are doubly inadequate, when one tries to speak of such a friend; and the best must abide in silence.” Later (in 1941), Smith recalled Sterling in these words: “He was essentially lovable, gave himself without stint and assisted scores of young poets.” Smith remained devoted the rest of his life to Sterling’s memory and to his poetry.

A few weeks before his death, Sterling had said to David Warren Ryder: “Clark Ashton Smith is undoubtedly our finest living poet. He is in the great tradition of Shakespeare, Keats and Shelley; and yet, to our everlasting shame, he is entirely neglected and almost completely unknown.” Also shortly before his death, Sterling had advised Smith, apropos of the latter’s poems in prose of death and similar subject-matter, to give up “this macabre prose,” a piece of advice Smith fortunately ignored. One of the very last services which Sterling performed for Smith and the cause of his poetry occurred when the elder poet brought an article for publication into the editorial offices of The Overland Monthly in San Francisco. This article was a highly enthusiastic, almost ecstatic essay on Smith’s poetry entitled “The Emperor of Dreams” and written by the then eighteen-year-old Donald A. Wandrei. The monthly subsequently published the essay in its issue for December 1926.

Sometime after the publication of The Star-Treader, Vachel Lindsay had read some of Smith’s poetry and had begun a correspondence with him. This correspondence-friendship lasted until Lindsay’s death in 1931.

After Sandalwood, Smith had evidently given up the creation in quantity of poetry. He had now turned his attention once more to the writing of fiction. Earlier, in 1924, in the August issue of 10 Story Book—a magazine which featured a piquant combination of short stories with what are now known as “girly pictures”—had appeared Smith’s first professional short story since his contributions to The Overland Monthly and The Black Cat in 1910–1912: this is an amusing, deft, and very brief short story entitled “Something New,” in which Smith incidentally mocks the extraordinarily rich style of imagery characteristic of Ebony and Crystal. In 1925 he had written the two extended poems in prose “The Abomination of Yondo” and “Sadastor.” As we have seen, Farnsworth Wright rejected them. However, Smith continued to contribute to Weird Tales his own original poems in verse as well as translations from Baudelaire, all of an expectedly high quality. The issue for August 1928 included Smith’s first appearance in prose in Weird Tales; this was in the form of translations in prose of three poems originally in verse by Baudelaire—“L’Irréparable,” “Les Sept Vieillards,” and “Une Charogne”—presented to the readers as Three Poems in Prose, by Charles Pierre Baudelaire and Translated by Clark Ashton Smith from the French. Smith had translated the verse originals of the poet into a supple and idiomatic English prose. In the succeeding issue for September 1928 appeared Smith’s first short story in Weird Tales—a strange parable of love and death entitled “The Ninth Skeleton,” but giving relatively little indication of the shape of things to come. The tale is significant, however, in that it is one of the very few laid by Smith in his general natal area: the action takes place on Boulder Ridge not far from the narrator’s cabin; and the description of the area in the story is a poetic but exact one of the area around Smith’s own cabin during his lifetime.

However, Smith did not begin the writing of fiction in any quantity until the beginning of the Depression in 1929. We may postulate the years 1926 to 1929/1930 as the period in which Smith was carefully preparing in his imagination the divers backgrounds for his stories. In the poem in prose entitled “To the Dæmon” and dated December 16th, 1929, Smith wrote: “Tell me many tales, O benign maleficent dæmon.… Tell me tales of inconceivable fear and unimaginable love.…” And tell him many tales the dæmon veritably did. Between summer 1928 and summer 1938 Smith wrote something less than 140 short stories and novelettes.

His next story to appear in Weird Tales was “The End of the Story,” laid in Smith’s imaginary province of mediæval France, Averoigne; this was in the issue for May 1930. The tale proved immediately popular with the readers of “The Unique Magazine,” and the distinguished writer and critic Benjamin De Casseres, in “The Eyrie” for July (“The Eyrie” was the readers’ letter department in Weird Tales), commended Smith’s tale as a story “which is not only a philosophic thriller but possesses real literary quality, which is not lost (quite the contrary) on readers, such as you have, of imaginative tales.” The majority of Smith’s tales appeared in either Weird Tales under Farnsworth Wright or Wonder Stories under Hugo Gernsback. To the latter Smith contributed a highly imaginative, not to say unique, type of science-fiction story. To the former he contributed all manner of tales, many of them laid in Smith’s carefully constructed backgrounds: the primeval continent Hyperborea; “the last isle of foundering Atlantis,” Poseidonis; mediæval Averoigne; the last continent Zothique; the planet Xiccarph; and many other worlds. Although these stories may have become known only to a specialized audience, they introduced a new dimension in the art of the short story: many of the more characteristic tales are actually extended poems in prose in which Smith has united the singleness of purpose and mood of the modern short story (as first established by one of Smith’s literary idols, Edgar Allan Poe) together with the flexibility of the conte or tale; an entire short story being unified and, in part, given its powerful centralization of effect, mood, atmosphere, etc., by a more or less related system or systems of poetic imagery and language (simile, metaphor, archetype or allegory). This ranks as a technical achievement of the first order, although it has received relatively little or no recognition.

It is indeed fortunate that both Weird Tales and Wonder Stories existed during this period of intense creation in Smith’s life: by providing a more or less ready market for Smith’s stories, they served as the necessary commercial incentive which Smith, genius or not, financially needed. Smith paid tribute to the needed existence of such magazines for writer and reader alike in a letter published in “The Eyrie” in the December 1930 issue of Weird Tales: “Speaking as a reader, I should like to say that Weird Tales is the one magazine that gives its writers ample imaginative leeway. Next to it comes three or four magazines in which fancy can take flight under the egis of science; and after these, one is lost in a Bœotian desert. All the others, without exception, from the long-established reviews down to the Wild West thrillers, are hide-bound and hog-tied with traditions of unutterable dullness.” Hugo Gernsback, the editor of Wonder Stories, appears to have welcomed Smith’s stories quite enthusiastically. However much Farnsworth Wright may have appreciated their literary excellence (Wright himself was a considerable scholar who professionally edited, among other things, a very fine version of Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream), the editor of Weird Tales appears always to have been rather anxious as to how his readers would react to Smith’s extended poems in prose. Undoubtedly this is what caused Smith to publish privately six of his finest tales in his first collection of short stories The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies, in February 1933, at Auburn.

Outwardly during this period Smith led a quiet, uneventful life. However, in August 1934, Smith successfully fought a severe wood and grass fire on his ranch. All during this time (1929–1937) Smith continued to write verse but necessarily in a much smaller quantity. In 1933, George Work, the author of White Man’s Harvest, and one of the then best-known writers in the country, declared Smith “the greatest American poet of today” whose “poems do not compare unfavorably with those of Byron, Shelley, Keats or Swinburne.” In Controversy for November 1934 appeared the article The Price of Poetry, by David Warren Ryder. In this article Ryder acclaimed Smith as “a great poet” and as being “in our generation… the fittest to wear the mantle of Shakespeare and Keats,” thus adding his considered opinion to the similar one of George Sterling, George Work, and the well-known and respected educator and man-of-letters, Dr. David Starr Jordan, one-time president of the University of Indiana and the first president and “the builder” of Stanford University. Ryder’s article was reprinted in June 1937 to accompany the slender collection Nero and Other Poems, published in the preceding month of May by The Futile Press, Lakeport, California: this volume included ten reprints (somewhat altered from their original versions) from The Star-Treader. Just as the poetry magazine The Step-Ladder had devoted its entire issue of May 1927 to his poems, the California poetry journal Westward in the issue for January 1935 honored Smith by making numerous quotations from poems in The Star-Treader and Ebony and Crystal. This magazine featured in its early issues, at the bottom of the pages carrying poems, quotations from the works of the established poets of the past, including the great names in the poetry of the English language.

In 1936 the output of Smith’s tales started to drop off, and by the latter 30s, during the 40s and the 50s, Smith had virtually stopped writing fiction. However, he continued writing verse until his death in 1961. The reasons for this cessation of Smith’s writing fiction are not clear: it could have been that he had exhausted even his seemingly inexhaustible fancy; or perhaps the dæmon no longer told him “tales of inconceivable fear and unimaginable love”; or Smith may have found the production of his small sculptures more interesting. This last seems likely as Smith once wrote, in a brief autobiography published in The Science Fiction Fan for August 1936, that he found “the making of these [small sculptures] far easier and more pleasurable than writing.” He had begun the carving of these small sculptures possibly in the early 1930s, and it may have been that this was now the new step in Smith’s further creative evolution; he made besides hundreds of paintings and drawings, starting in the early 1920s or earlier. Also, the death of his parents as well as that of his correspondent and friend Lovecraft, may have removed some of Smith’s incentive for creating fiction. His mother, Fanny Smith, died in 1935; his father, Timeus Smith, died in 1937; and in March of this same year Lovecraft died, and death thus robbed Smith of one of his greatest, most sympathetic and understanding friends. H.P.L. had always proved an enthusiastic and perceptive audience for Smith’s short stories: both Smith and Lovecraft had been in the habit of exchanging manuscripts of stories before their publication, and mutually commenting on them.

Smith paid homage to H.P.L. in the lovely and moving memorial poem “To Howard Phillips Lovecraft” and in a letter in “The Eyrie” in Weird Tales, both published in the issue for July 1937. Two tributes in prose had also appeared earlier: “In Memoriam—H.P. Lovecraft,” in Tesseract for April 1937; and in a letter published in The Science-Fiction Critic for May 1937, in “A Note From The Editor.” His last tribute appeared in 1959, the sonnet “H.P.L.,” published in The Shuttered Room and Other Pieces (Arkham House) and dated July 17th, 1959.

Lovecraft, before he died had paid his homage to Smith in the sonnet “To Clark Ashton Smith” (published posthumously in Weird Tales for April 1938), which concludes with the lines: “Dark Lord of Averoigne—whose windows stare / On pits of dream no other gaze could bear!” In Lovecraft’s essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature” H.P.L. concludes the section “The Weird Tradition in America” with a paragraph of high and perceptive praise of Smith’s fictional art.

During the late 1930s Smith began another of his notable correspondences, this one with Lilith Lorraine, the founder and principal poet of the Avalon Poetry Foundation. In Lilith Lorraine’s volume of science-fiction poetry Wine of Wonder, she pays Smith a lovely and worthy tribute in the poem “The Cup-Bearer”. Also during the late 1930s Universal Studios considered the possibility of filming two of Smith’s most extraordinary tales “The Dark Eidolon” and “The Colossus of Ylourgne.” This project never materialized, and this may have been a blessing rather than a misfortune, however much Smith could have used the money from the movie rights. To have adapted either of these tales would have required not the typically conventional treatment of Universal Studios but such combined talents as those of Vincent, Alexander, and Zoltán Korda as demonstrated in their classic fantasy film The Thief of Bagdad with its excellent score by Miklós Rózsa. Conrad Veidt, the evil Vizir and archimage in this film, would have been superb as the archimage Namirrha in “The Dark Eidolon” or as the mediæval sorcerer Nathaire in “The Colossus of Ylourgne.” Alas, the might-have-been.…

Whatever may have been the reasons for the cessation of his writing fiction—the continued production of his quintessential sculptures or the loss of his parents and of his literary frère et semblable H.P.L.—Smith only wrote little more than a dozen stories between the late 1930s and his death in 1961. Increasingly, it has now turned out that the real or chief reason for his apparent abandonment of writing fiction was his ever-growing disgust with the arbitrary capriciousness of magazine editors, a not inconsiderable factor for a sensitive artist in words as Ashton Smith. Also, he had returned to his first love, the creation of poetry in verse: by late 1941 Smith had three collections or cycles of verse in preparation: Incantations, The Jasmine Girdle, and Wizard’s Love and Other Poems (later retitled The Hill of Dionysus). Thus, it was during the penultimate decade of his life that Smith composed and/or assembled his final poem-cycles. Incantations contains mainly poems composed during the 1920s and 1930s, hitherto largely uncollected, as well as many unpublished poems. The Hill of Dionysus and especially The Jasmine Girdle both contain many poems never-before published; both are cycles of love poems. And if all the preceding mass of poetry, much of it new, were not already quite enough for a man in his fifties—a man who had moreover in the early part of his career created three major collections of poetry—Smith also experimented with such miniature forms as the quintrain and the haiku, the last surely the quintessence of quintessential forms. All-told, he now created over one hundred miniature poems, a small sampling of which is presented in Spells and Philtres (Arkham House, 1958). These divers collections are included in the Selected Poems that Smith was concurrently engaged in assembling during the 1940s. In addition, Smith learned Spanish during this decade, made translations from Spanish poets, and even wrote a small number of poems in Spanish. Such productivity, much of it in new forms and in new directions and some of it even in a new language for Smith, must be considered remarkable indeed for a man in age already past the half-century mark. Phoenix-like, the poet had been reborn out of the ashes of the fiction-writer.

The founding of Arkham House in 1939 by August Derleth assured the publication of six collections of Smith’s short stories in book form: Out of Space and Time (1942), Lost Worlds (1944), Genius Loci and Other Tales (1948), The Abominations of Yondo (1960), Tales of Science and Sorcery (1964), and Other Dimensions (1970). Upon publication of Out of Space and Time, the well-known writer and man-of-letters Benjamin De Casseres in his syndicated column “The March of Events” dated Sep. 23, 1942 (this column appeared on the editorial page of the Hearst newspapers), commented briefly on Smith’s first major prose collection and hailed Smith not only as a great poet and a great story-teller but as “a great prose writer” as well.

Only to the encouragement of his publisher do we owe the existence of the omnibus volume of Smith’s first Arkham House poetry, the Selected Poems. This volume was originally entitled The Hashish-Eater and Other Poems and was intended by Smith’s publisher to be a complete collection of all of Smith’s poetry. Subsequently Smith decided instead to make it a selective volume. Produced during the period 1944–1949, it contains about 500 poems, virtually two-thirds of the 800 poems or so extant at the time of Smith’s death. Delivered to his publisher in December 1949, this collection of collections contains the following sections: The Star-Treader and Other Poems, Ebony and Crystal (minus the twenty-nine poems in prose), Sandalwood, Translations and Paraphrases (from Baudelaire, Verlaine, Victor Hugo and other poets both French and Spanish), Incantations, Quintrains, Sestets, Experiments in Haiku (Strange Miniatures, Distillations, Childhood, Mortal Essences), Satires and Travesties, The Jasmine Girdle, The Hill of Dionysus. (Incantations and The Jasmine Girdle between them contain some ten examples of the small body of poetry Smith composed in French.) This omnibus poetry collection had to wait until November 1971 to see publication. During that long wait of twenty-two years a large sampling of the Selected Poems appeared in Smith’s first published Arkham House poetry collection The Dark Chateau (1951), which Smith dedicated significantly “To the Memory of Edgar Allan Poe” and which contains many remarkable poems: eighteen of its forty poems are taken from the omnibus volume. A further and still larger sampling of the Selected Poems appeared in Smith’s second published Arkham House poetry collection Spells and Philtres (1958): fifty-one of the sixty poems in this last collection are taken from the same volume.

About the end of August 1953, Smith received a personal visit from his publisher, correspondent, and friend August Derleth, in company with his then wife, the former Sandra Evelyn Winters. Before his death in June 1971, Derleth managed to bring out under his Arkham House imprint three more volumes by Smith: the two final collections of short stories Tales of Science and Sorcery (1964) and Other Dimensions (1970), and an almost complete collection of his unique prose-poems under the title Poems in Prose (1965).

A near lifetime of celibacy, brightened here and there by the bowers of divers “enchantresses” (as Smith was wont to call them), came to an end in 1954 when Smith married Carol Jones Dorman, the last and “The Best Beloved” of Klarkash-Ton’s enchantresses. To his wife he pays a delicate and a gallant tribute in the sonnet which opens “From this my heart, a haunted Elsinore, / I send the phantoms packing for thy sake:” This sonnet, originally entitled “The Best Beloved,” was used by Smith under the title “Dedication/to Carol” to preface Spells and Philtres, which in its entirety is dedicated to his wife. Between 1954 and his death in 1961 Smith maintained his residence alternately in Pacific Grove and near Auburn. The old cabin of the Smiths, in which Clark had lived for over half a century, from 1902 to 1954, burned down to the ground in August 1957. This was understandably a source of deep distress to Smith, even though he had sold the major portion of the Smith ranch, about forty acres, in 1937 (to a local contractor for the purposes of a private airport), sometime after the death of Smith’s father. This left about two and a half acres, including the land upon which stood the cabin.

Smith still chopped wood and did gardening during the last decade of his life, in addition to working on his quintessential sculptures. However, these last years saw relatively little literary activity on Smith’s part, although he did continue to write poetry, even if sparingly. During the 1910s, the 20s, the 30s, and the 40s, in addition to his literary work, Smith had done much hard manual labor. Among other things, he had been a fruit-picker, a fruit-packer, a cement-mixer, and a hard-rock miner, mucker and windlasser, as well as a wood-chopper and a gardener. Smith did this work primarily in order to earn enough money to support himself while writing his poetry and his prose. However, his literary output shows no or very little reflection of this manual labor.

It was toward the latter part of these last years in Smith’s life that the present writer—on two different occasions—had the pleasure of meeting Smith and his wife Carol at their home in Pacific Grove: in August of 1958 and in September of 1959. I recall with warmth and gratitude the unstinted way in which the Smiths gave of their hospitality to me, and made me feel perfectly at home. I had become so accustomed to the strong statement characteristic of much of Smith’s poetry in verse and prose that, prior to meeting Smith, I am afraid that I somewhat naively anticipated the poet to speak in a voice of brass and in a manner as sententious and orotund as that of a sorcerer in one of Smith’s tales. To my considerable surprise Smith spoke in a deep, quiet, pleasant voice that put me instantly at my ease. With his trim mustache and his handsome, distinguished features, he seemed a perfect gentleman, affable but not unctuously so, civilized and tolerant, about whom there hovered a certain aura of individuality that would have set him apart anywhere but not in any blatant, affected manner: that true individuality which comes from within and has nothing of the theatrical in it.

Of that first visit I recall in particular a delightful picnic we held on the beach about a block and a half east of their home. It was literally a “golden afternoon” with but a few fleecy clouds high overhead, with the gulls crying about us and the waves lisping among the rocks. Smith wore his beret and Mrs. Smith an immense straw hat which gave her the piquant appearance of a twentieth-century enchantress. With Mrs. Smith generously purveying the food from a straw hamper, we ate a simple but tasty repast of good, crumbly wheaten bread piled with miniature slabs of a sharp cheddar cheese, all washed down with one of the good red wines of California poured into paper cups: a wine of pomegranates from Hyperborea held in goblets of crystal and orichalch could not have tasted any better. Our conversation was informal and covered a wide range of topics, occasionally spiced by some wise, witty, and often ironic comment from Smith on the contemporary political and international scene.

Of my second visit I recall, among other things, a lengthy discussion Smith and I had apropos divers literary figures, especially Poe and Baudelaire. The discussion reached its climax when Smith, with an unforgettable intensity, read aloud in French one of the powerful sonnets of Baudelaire. Smith commented afterwards: “That’s terrific stuff!” I nodded my head in agreement and said, “Well, it certainly wasn’t written by Alfred Lord Tennyson!” Then we both laughed, breaking the tension. Earlier, upon my noticing and commenting upon a “complete works” of Poe in some eight or ten volumes on a bookshelf in the dining room, Smith had confided to me that he had read virtually everything written by Poe that he had been able to obtain. However, it was during my first visit that Smith showed me his portfolio of drawings and paintings. I must confess myself somewhat taken aback by their deliberately primitive technique, having become somewhat spoiled by the technical excellence of Smith’s verse and prose; but there were a number of demonic heads which struck me as powerful and original. Smith’s sculptures, on the other hand, as deliberately primitive as the paintings, impressed me far more favorably and suggested something Egyptian or Mayan or Peruvian of the Inca period, without being quite the same as those. These carvings of Smith’s possess a quality rare in sculpture, which generally surrenders its essence at once to the beholder, especially sculpture of a conventionally technical perfection. Smith’s carvings grow gradually in the onlooker’s appreciation: the more one sees them, the more fascinating they become, adumbrating an essence never fully revealed but extending itself infinitely.

Smith was as generous and fine a friend as Sterling must have been. I happened to lack only one of Smith’s volumes of poetry, the slender reprint collection Nero and Other Poems, published by The Futile Press. Smith took a copy he had given and inscribed to his wife, cut out the inscription page, wrote in a new inscription to me and then gave me the book gratis. I protested—somewhat feebly, I admit—but Clark and Carol insisted I keep it. I can still recall the thrill that I felt when Smith gave me out of his own hands that copy of Nero and Other Poems or, in the words of Smith’s inscription, “this relic from an ironically named printing press.”

Smith died on the 14th of August 1961, and in the latter part of the same year Arkham House published its second anthology of macabre poems, Fire and Sleet and Candlelight (the first had been Dark of the Moon). This included six largely hitherto-unpublished poems by Smith, in many respects the equal of much of his earlier verse, as all or most of them were evidently composed during the years 1911–1925. Smith demonstrates his admiration for Baudelaire and his works to the very last, as witness the title of the last poem in this group of posthumously published verse: “The Horologe,” which title is the English equivalent of the French “L’Horloge,” which Baudelaire uses as the title for the last poem in the first section Spleen et Idéal of Les Fleurs du Mal.

Thus, death finally came to him who had been, in part, one of death’s most lyrical celebrators. As stated earlier, no Saturday Review or Atlantic Monthly devoted an entire memorial issue to him and his works; and while Smith was alive, no New Yorker had ever allowed him into the charmed and perilous circle of its “profiles.” Neither the science-fiction nor fantasy magazines even mentioned Smith’s death. He died as he had lived, as an outsider for the most part.

As far as the present writer has been able to determine, Smith left comparatively little unpublished material at his death. Apart from his juvenile fiction, only some two dozen stories, including “The Face by the River,” “Like Mohammed’s Tomb,” “Double Cosmos,” “Told in the Desert,” “The Red World of Polaris,” “A Good Embalmer,” “Strange Shadows,” “Nemesis of the Unfinished,” and “The Dart of Rasasfa.” An unfinished novel, The Infernal Star, begun about 1936 with about 10,000 words written. Some incidental poetry. A play in blank verse (written before 1951), The Dead Will Cuckold You, telling in six tableaux a tale of necromancy in Zothique. Most important of all, The Black Book, the notebook used by Smith from about 1930 to 1961. Although some of this material appears irretrievably lost, much of it has appeared in published form, whether in collected form or individually between 1961 and the present day.

To judge by The Hill of Dionysus—A Selection (published in November 1962), and by the more abundant presentation in the Selected Poems (published in November 1971), the section with the title The Hill of Dionysus, this penultimate poem-cycle of Smith’s must be pronounced the equal of the earlier Sandalwood, if not perhaps in some respects the superior of the two collections.

Smith was by no means a prolific writer, except in the sense of creating many writings of a high literary merit. Over-all, there are about 140 tales extant, about 40 poems in prose, and indeed about 1000 original poems in verse, with about 500 thus not collected in the Selected Poems (this estimate includes the juvenilia, together with the original poems in French and Spanish, but excludes the almost 400 translations, almost all of them from French, with only about a dozen from Spanish).

For a person who dedicated most of his life to poetry, Smith issued comparatively few volumes. He maintained only about ten or fifteen correspondences of any importance or length. Smith, with his relatively small output of art in various form, provides a striking contrast to those authors whose complete collected works fill one, two, or three full library shelves, or sometimes even more. But if the quantity of his over-all output is negligible, the quality is the reverse.

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