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Lord Dunsany

Lord Dunsany fantasy author(1878-1957)
Lord Dunsany (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett) was born in London in 1878, the scion of an Anglo-Irish family that could trace its ancestry to the twelfth century. During his life Dunsany distinguished himself as both an author and a dramatist. He once had five plays running concurrently on Broadway, and is now recognised as a leading figure in the development of modern fantasy literature. Because they’re in the public domain, many of Lord Dunsany‘s books are available free on audio at Librivox.

The Book of Wonder: Dunsany is an excellent stylist

The Book of Wonder by Lord Dunsany

Geek that I am, I actually read The Book of Wonder to prepare for the Tolkien Professor’s Faerie & Fantasy podcast seminar that covers the book. I am rather conflicted about Lord Dunsany in general and this book in particular. After finishing the first half I found that The Book of Wonder more or less confirmed my initial impressions of Dunsany gathered when I first read The Hashish Man and Other Stories many years ago; namely, that while Dunsany is an excellent prose stylist and creator of many arresting images, in his short tales there is still something missing. The missing elements are pretty major: plot and character. Of the first few stories only “The Bride of the Man-Horse” and “Miss Cubbidge and the Dragon of Roma... Read More

The King of Elfland’s Daughter: Haunting and Lyrical

Reposting to include Sandy's new review.

The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany

After reading about Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter I went in search of it and found it at my university library. Reading it was quite a different experience for me, but people who aren't prepared for the style of writing like I was might be disappointed, confused or scorning of the slow, dream-like pace, archetype characters and poetical language. This might be especially true of fans of typical fantasy genre books (authors such as David Eddings or Terry Brooks) where a fantasy universe is deemed to be good only if it has a solid backing and an exhaustive array of facts and figures to add realism to the stories. Lord Dunsany Read More

In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales: A Dunsany primer

In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales by Lord Dunsany

In In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales (1986), literary critic and editor S.T. Joshi has compiled a large collection of Lord Dunsany’s short fiction that spans fifty years and is representative of his entire oeuvre. As someone who is not well-acquainted with the writings of Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, the 18th Baron of Dunsany (1878-1957), I found this collection to be both an excellent resource and an enjoyable read. I especially appreciate the opportunity to listen to this in audiobook format, thanks to Tantor Audio who has recently released an audio edition which is 17 hours long and is beautifully narrated by Steven Crossley.

After giving us an informative introduction, Joshi has arranged Dunsany’s stories into six sections. The first... Read More

SHORTS: Kushner, Wilce, Tolbert, Novik, Dunsany, Peralta

There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“One Last, Great Adventure” by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S. Wilce (2013, free at Clarkesworld in Nov. 2015 issue, $6.99 for paperback magazine issue)

“One Last, Great Adventure” tells the story of the Hero, who is looking for one last heroic exploit before he retires from hero-ing. He gets a job killing a monster that, if he is successful, will get him a princess for a wife and a kingdom for an inheritance, allowing him to retire in comfort and wealth. He goes, with his friend Reynard, but the princess he’s been promised is not what he expected. Neither are the monsters.
... Read More

And the Darkness Falls: A horror anthology

And the Darkness Falls edited by Boris Karloff

In 1943, Boris Karloff was induced by his old friend Edmund Speare, an English professor and book editor, to assist in putting together an anthology of horror stories; as Speare put it, "a collection of bogey stories selected by a professional bogey man." The resulting volume, Tales of Terror, consisted of a six-page introduction by Karloff and 14 stories, ran to 317 pages, and was a popular release with the public. On the strength of that book's sales, the two tried their luck again with an even more ambitious project. The result was 1946's And the Darkness Falls, a whopping volume running to 631 pages and containing 59 short stories, each with an introduction from Karloff, in addition to 10 short, eerie poems scattered throughout. An impressively wide-ranging survey of the horror story, this staggeringly generous volume presents tales from as far back as the 8th century A.D.... Read More

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

I haven’t actually read every page of The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, yet I’m giving it my highest recommendation. Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Master and Mistress of Weird, The Weird is 1126 pages long and should really be considered a textbook of weird fiction. It contains 110 carefully chosen stories spanning more than 100 years of weird fiction. Here’s what you can expect to find in this massive volume:

A “Forweird” by Michael Moorcock gives us a brief history of the weird tale, discusses how it has defied publishers’ attempts to categorize it into neatly-bordered genres, and gives examples of writers who are revered by modern readers but whose weird fiction caused them to be ma... Read More

More books by Lord Dunsany

The Jorkens Tales — (1931-1954) These are a collection of supernatural tales, now reissued in three volumes.

lord dunsany the jorkens taleslord dunsany the jorkens taleslord dunsany the jorkens tales

Selected novels and collections:the complete pegana dunsany

The Complete Pegana — (1905-1906) A collection of all the stories about Dunsany’s Pegana. This edition includes the complete stories from The Gods of Pegana (1905) and Time and the Gods (1906), plus three other stories belonging to the Pegana cycle.

lord dunsany the sword of welleran and other storiesThe Sword of Welleran and Other Stories — (1908) Publisher: 12 tales by a master of the English language take readers on flights of fancy and make-believe. Enhanced by the author’s power of expression and 10 ethereal illustrations by S. H. Simes, the collection includes such inventive tales as “The Highwayman,” “In the Twilight,” “The Ghosts,” “The Lord of Cities,” and “The Sword of Welleran.”Lord Dunsany The Book of Wonders

Fifty-One Tales — (1915) Publisher: A Wildside Fantasy Classic. Contains 51 of Dunsany’s choice fantasy short stories.

Lord Dunsany Tales of WonderTales of Wonder — (1915) Publisher: Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany (1878-1957) was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, notable for his work in fantasy published under the name Lord Dunsany. He was a prolific writer, penning short stories, novels, plays, poetry, essays and autobiography, and publishing over sixty books, not including individual plays. The stories in his first two books, and perhaps the beginning of his third, were set within an invented world, Pegana, with its own gods, history and geography. He was initially an Associate Member of the Irish Academy of Letters, and later a full member. He received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin. His works include The Gods of Pegana (1905), Time and the Gods (1906), The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories (1908), A Dreamer’s Tales (1910), The Book of Wonder (1912), Fifty-One Tales (1915), The Last Book of Wonder (1916), Tales of Three Hemispheres (1919), The Man Who Ate the Phoenix (1949), and The Little Tales of Smethers and Other Stories (1952).

Lord Dunsany Tales of Three HemispheresTales of Three Hemispheres — (1919) Publisher: And the man went forth with his sword, and behold it was even war. And the man remembered the little things that he knew, and thought of the quiet days that there used to be, and at night on the hard ground dreamed of the things of peace. And dearer and dearer grew the wonted things, the dull but easeful things of the days of peace, and remembering these he began to regret the war, and sought once more a boon of the ancient gods, and appearing before them he said: “O ancient gods, indeed but a man loves best the days of peace. Therefore take back your war and give us peace, for indeed of all your blessedness peace is best.”

Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley lord dunsanyDon Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley — (1922) Publisher: After long and patient research I am still unable to give to the reader of these Chronicles the exact date of the times that they tell of. Were it merely a matter of history there could be no doubts about the period; but where magic is concerned, to however slight an extent, there must always be some element of mystery, arising partly out of ignorance and partly from the compulsion of those oaths by which magic protects its precincts from the tiptoe of curiosity. Moreover, magic, even in small quantities, appears to affect time, much as acids affect some metals, curiously changing its substance, until dates seem to melt into a mercurial form that renders them elusive even to the eye of the most watchful historian. It is the magic appearing in Chronicles III and IV that has gravely affected the date, so that all I can tell the reader with certainty of the period is that it fell in the later years of the Golden Age in Spain.

lord dunsany the charwoman's shadow reviewThe Charwoman’s Shadow — (1926) Publisher: An old woman who spends her days scrubbing the floors might be an unlikely damsel in distress, but Lord Dunsany proves once again his mastery of the fantastical. lord dunsany the blessing of pan reviewThe Charwoman’s Shadow is a beautiful tale of a sorcerer’s apprentice who discovers his master’s nefarious usage of stolen shadows,and vows to save the charwoman from her slavery.

The Blessing of Pan — (1927) Publisher: The Blessing of Pan portrays English rural life under a sign of paganism, after the fashion of writers like T.F. Powys.

Lord Dunsany Curse of the Wise Woman

Curse of the Wise Woman — (1933) Publisher: She can commune with the powers of nature. When the workmen arrive to tunnel for peat under the bog, to profane her countryside, the Wise Woman sets her witch’s arts to work.

Lord Dunsany The Hashish Man: And Other StoriesThe Hashish Man: And Other Stories —  (1972) Publisher: This contains: Charon; The Three Infernal Jokes; The Guest; Thirteen at Table; The Three Sailors’ Gambit; The Exiles Club; Where the Tides Ebb and Flow; The Field; A Tale of London; A Narrow Escape; Bethmoora; How the Enemy Came to Thlunrana; The Hashish Man; In Zaccrath; The Idle City; The Madness of Andelsprutz; The Secret of the Sea; Idle Days on the Yann; A Tale of the Equator; Spring in Town; In the Twilight; Wind and Fog; A Story of Land and Sea; After the Fire; The Assignation; and Preface to The Last Book of Wonder. Lord Dunsany The Ghosts

The Ghosts — (1992) Publisher: While visiting his brother at his isolated old home, a man stays up late one night to settle a disagreement about the existence of ghosts.

lord dunsany the pleasures of a futuroscope reviewThe Pleasures of a Futuroscope — (2005) Publisher: Lord Dunsany, Irish master of fantasy, was the author of more than a dozen novels, hundreds of short stories, poems, and essays, and dozens of plays. And yet, his last major work, The Pleasures of a Futuroscope, has remained unpublished until this edition. In this powerful and moving novel, written in 1955, a futuroscope — a device that allows a viewer to see into the near or distant future — reveals an awful fate for humanity: a nuclear holocaust has destroyed nearly all human life on the planet. The great city of London is now merely an immense crater, filled in with water from the Thames. The pitiful remnants of humanity have been reduced to a Stone Age existence. The narrator, obsessively looking through the futuroscope, focuses upon the plight of a single family in their struggles to survive and fend off the many enemies, both animal and human, that surround them. When one of their number is kidnapped by a band of gypsies, we can only wonder at her fate in this brave new world of the distant future. Gripping, horrifying, touching, and fascinating, The Pleasures of a Futuroscope shows that Lord Dunsany retained his literary powers undiminished to the end of his life.