The Freedom of Fantastic Things: Selected Criticism on Clark Ashton Smith

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  • Edited by Scott Connors
  • July 2006
  • Hardcover-ISBN 0976159244
  • Paper-ISBN 0976159252


As poet, fiction writer, and artist, Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961) has left an indelible mark on the fields of horror, fantasy, and science fiction. But criticism of his bountiful and varied work has been surprisingly scanty, and oftentimes ill-informed. The Freedom of Fantastic Things represents the most substantial volume of criticism of Smith’s work ever published, and includes both original and previously published work by the leading scholars on Smith.

Among the notable contributions are Donald Sidney-Fryer’s exhaustive discussion of Smith’s relations with his early mentor, George Sterling; Brian Stableford’s brilliant analysis of Smith’s cosmicism; Fred Chappell’s sensitive treatment of Smith’s fantastic poetry; S. T. Joshi’s essays on The Hashish-Eater and on Smith’s prose-poetry; Scott Connors’s penetrating study of Smith’s relations to literary Modernism; Lauric Guillaud’s rumination on fantasy and decadence in Smith’s work; and other essays by Carl Jay Buchanan, Charles K. Wolfe, Steve Behrends, Stefan Dziemianowicz, Ronald S. Hilger, and other leading authorities.

At the conclusion of the volume is Steve Behrends’s exhaustive chronology of Smith’s work and a comprehensive primary and secondary bibliography. All in all, a feast for devotees of the necromancer from Auburn!


Scott Connors is the coeditor of Smith’s Red World of Polaris and of a forthcoming five-volume edition of Smith’s fiction. He is also working on a full-scale biography of Smith.


Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Scott Connors
  • “The Centaur” by Clark Ashton Smith
  • Klarkash-Ton and “Greek” by Donald Sidney-Fryer
  • Contemporary Reviews of Clark Ashton Smith
  • Eblis in Bakelite by James Blish
  • James Blish versus Clark Ashton Smith; to Wit, the Young Turk Syndrome by Donald Sidney-Fryer
  • The Last Romantic by S J Sackett
  • Communicable Mysteries: The Last True Symbolist by Fred Chappell
  • What Happens in The Hashish-Eater? by S T Joshi
  • The Babel of Visions: The Structuration of Clark Ashton Smith’s The Hashish-Eater by Dan Clore
  • Clark Ashton Smith’s “Nero” by Carl Jay Buchanan
  • Satan Speaks: A Reading of “Satan Unrepentant” by Phillip A Ellis
  • Lands Forgotten or Unfound: The Prose Poetry of Clark Ashton Smith by S T Joshi
  • Out the Human Aquarium: The Fantastic Imagination of Clark Ashton Smith by Brian Stableford
  • Gesturing Toward the Infinite by Scott Connors
  • Clark Ashton Smith: A Note on the Aesthetics of Fantasy by Charles K Wolfe
  • Fantasy and Decadence in the Work of Clark Ashton Smith by Laurie Guillaud
  • Humor in Hyperspace: Smith’s Uses of Satire by John Kipling Hitz
  • The Song of the Necromancer: “Loss” in Clark Ashton Smith’s Fiction by Steve Behrends
  • Brave World Old and New: The Atlantis Theme in the Poetry and Fiction of Clark Ashton Smith by Donald Sidney-Fryer
  • Coming in from the Cold: Incursons of “Outsideness” in Hyperborea by Steven Tompkins
  • As Shadows Wait Upon the Sun: Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique by Jim Rockhill
  • Into the Woods: The Human Geography of Averoigne by Stefan Dziemianowicz
  • Sorcerous Style: Clark Ashton Smith's The Double Shadow and Other Fantasies by Peter H Goodrich
  • Loss and Recuperation: A Model for Reading Clark Ashton Smith’s “Xeethra” by Dan Clore
  • “Life, Love, and the Clemency of Death”: A Reexamination of Clark Ashton Smith’s “The Isle of the Torturers” by Scott Connors
  • An Annotated Chronology of the Fiction of Clark Ashton Smith by Steve Behrends
  • Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Index


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This product was added to our catalog on Friday 05 March, 2010.