The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Episode #10: “The Disinterment of Venus”

A transcription of this episode is now available.

This week is a somewhat shorter episode on Smith’s “Disinterment of Venus.” After a number of revisions, this story first appeared in the July 1934 issue of Weird Tales alongside “Through the Gates of the Silver Key” by HPL and E. Hoffman Price and other stories.

The goddess Smith had originally intended to conflate with this Venus was
Kotys (or “Cotys”, “Cotto”, “Cottyto”, “Cottytus” depending on the spelling). According to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable, her priests were called “Baptes”

[their] midnight orgies were so obscene that they disgusted even the even the goddess herself. (p.73)

Our next episode will be “Mother of Toads.” This one will carry a warning for sexual violence.

Music by: Kevin MacLeod, Illustration by Mike Mucci.

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  1. Lester Ness says:

    Great discussions! “Hollow hills” perhaps refers to the ancient burial mounds which were sometimes thought to be inhabited by fairies. I think Dunsany uses the phrase. He would have been writing about Irish mounds, but France, too, has impressive remains from the neolithic age.

    I’m looking forward to being approved as a forum-member.

  2. Odilius Vlak says:

    Great show. Well, by its very origin, the evil and voluptuous energy the monks felt emanating from the statue goes beyond the usual struggle between Greek-Latin mythology and Christianity, as is featured in many of Averoigne’s stories. For after all, the statue represented a deity that even in those pagan times stood for everything evil: Cytherean of dark orgies. The monks didn’t fancy the evil influence they felt because an over-zealous devotion, but really the Thing was fucking all of them up.

  3. Fred Kiesche says:

    This story was a hoot. The poor monks sure do get tested again and again in these tales. I was somewhat expecting a different ending–perhaps the next morning revealing a new statue (entwined lovers) or a complete swap (naked man with strangely-familiar features).

  4. asotir says:

    “The Hollow Hill” likely refers to Venusberg, the German legendary mountain that figures in the Tannhauser legend. Legend has it that weird lights would show from this mountain, and inside it Venus presided over the orgies of her worshipers.

    Also Venusberg in English is Mount Venus which in Latin is Mons Veneris which in doctorish is the human vulva. So it is a dirty double entendre as well, certainly one CAS would have known and intended.