The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Transcription for Interlude #1: Letter from CAS to HPL

Show notes for Interlude #1

Ruth: [letter excerpt]

From the black desert of Zoir, beneath the seven ultra-spectral suns.

Dear Eich-Pee-El,

To touch upon certain points in your last letter, you have certainly pointed up my vagueness and ignorance in regard to Gallic history. Of course, if I had stopped to reflect, I ought to have known the Romans were still strong in Gaul about the time of Moriamis and that French, as a language, was not yet born from the Latin womb.

I suppose the fact that I was dealing with a realm no less mythical than Cabell’s Poictesme made me doubly careless about correlating its chronology with that of historic Europe. If there is any prospect of issuing Azédarac and the other Averoigne tales in book form, I shall certainly correct the anachronistic reference to the obsolete variant of French spoken by Moriamis. I think, though, that the Druids can well stand. Averoigne was, no doubt, even more of a stronghold for the cult than Brittany and the Roman occupation, though I have spoken of it in another tale “The Disinterment of Venus,” was quite nominal. Especially in its religious effect upon the Averoignians.

Indeed, the long decadence of the Roman empire is a fascinating study. And, evidently, you are thoroughly posted on its details. I agree with you that a fine and poignant story could be drawn from the sensations of a Gallo-Roman who had outlived his own time and had seen about him the gradual crystallization of Holy Italy and Medieval France.

The linguistic specimens you quote, showing the transition of Latin into old French, are highly interesting. I wonder if a study, theoretic at least, could not be made of the obscure racial, mental, and palatal peculiarities that led, or contributed, to the phonetic devolution and clipping of the stately Latin. My study could also cover the development of the other Romance languages.

Yours, in the name of Quamog, Klar-kash-ton.

Show notes for Interlude #1