Friday, October 25, 2019

In Lemuria

Read "In Lemuria" at The Eldritch Dark:

This sonnet from Clark Ashton Smith (CAS) has a heroic vein not so common to his work, as he invokes the legend of the lost continent of Lemuria.  It's interesting to see CAS using this sort of grand romantic tone, given the contrast with his more usual darker, mocking sensibility.

CAS' mentor George Sterling particularly liked the final line of this poem*: "Pallid and pure as jaspers from the moon."  That leads me to consider the many references to minerals and precious stones in these lines; here's a complete list:

  • gold
  • sapphires
  • Carnelians
  • opals
  • agates
  • almandines
  • pearl 
  • melanite
  • jaspers

On reflection, it does seem that CAS is perhaps over-using those references to establish his setting of riches and splendor, but somehow the geological geekiness of it all has an undeniable nerd appeal!

*See letter #215 in The Shadow of the Unattained: The Letters of George Sterling and Clark Ashton Smith published by Hippocampus Press.

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