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Old 9th February 2010, 09:24 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

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I can respect Lovecraft for his good taste in Lord Dunsany,REH, his quotes about them. His essay writing about Supernatural horror was very good.
You might also find his essay on Dunsany of interest. The title is simply "Lord Dunsany and His Work", and he wrote it in 1922. While disagreeing with certain points in his views of Dunsany, nonetheless I find it a fascinating essay, and there are points in which I feel he was very much on the nose....
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Old 1st September 2010, 01:46 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

I've written a reminiscence, I suppose about 2500 words, about my "finds" in the field of classic fantasy, circa 1969-77, when I lived in southern Oregon. The piece should appear in Pierre Comtois's Fungi late this year or early next year. Dunsany's At the Edge of the World was one of the first books in the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series that I ever bought, and one of the first books whose date of purchase I wrote in the book (26 March 1970; I was 14 and a 9th grader).

I don't find Dunsany too compelling now but what a find he was back in the day.
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Old 1st September 2010, 09:27 AM   #33 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

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. I have interest in his War stories about WI. Reading about real human tragedy with his magical writing,prose might be something.

!
Yes I find that part of our history strangely fascinating,
and Dunany is on PG so I might download some.( I actually thought Shiel's 'The Purple Cloud' was set in WWI but it was written way earlier)
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Old 1st September 2010, 10:23 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Has anyone else thought of Dunsany as the "anti-Tolkien"? I don't mean they wouldn't like one another. Tolkien had read and enjoyed some Dunsany, such as "Chu-bu and Sheemish," it seems from his letters. But they are polar opposites as fantasists. Tolkien expended enormous pains in creating a secondary world that was consistent with itself through thousands of years of history, dozens of characters, multiple storylines, several invented languages, etc. He provided an explanation (The Red Book of Westmarch) for how we in our time can know about those ancient events. By contrast Dunsany flaunts the inconsequence of his confections. They are but "dreams" having no impact on us; they may be "a dreamer's tales" but the dreamer never awakens and starts to process what they might mean for him, in the waking world. You could say that any imaginary world fantasy could be placed somewhere on a spectrum with Tolkien at one end and Dunsany at the other.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 01:34 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

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Has anyone else thought of Dunsany as the "anti-Tolkien"? I don't mean they wouldn't like one another. Tolkien had read and enjoyed some Dunsany, such as "Chu-bu and Sheemish," it seems from his letters. But they are polar opposites as fantasists. Tolkien expended enormous pains in creating a secondary world that was consistent with itself through thousands of years of history, dozens of characters, multiple storylines, several invented languages, etc. He provided an explanation (The Red Book of Westmarch) for how we in our time can know about those ancient events. By contrast Dunsany flaunts the inconsequence of his confections. They are but "dreams" having no impact on us; they may be "a dreamer's tales" but the dreamer never awakens and starts to process what they might mean for him, in the waking world. You could say that any imaginary world fantasy could be placed somewhere on a spectrum with Tolkien at one end and Dunsany at the other.
Maybe not as anti-Tolkien but i thought how different Lord Dunsany was to writers like that in the same field. The dreams,imaginations,his worlds.

But in the end its about how you write and not what you write. Lord Dunsany is today more important to me than 99% of authors i read in every field in how i see his works,ability.
Tolkien is what i dont like to read in High Fantasy.
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Old 2nd September 2010, 08:43 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

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Has anyone else thought of Dunsany as the "anti-Tolkien"? I don't mean they wouldn't like one another. Tolkien had read and enjoyed some Dunsany, such as "Chu-bu and Sheemish," it seems from his letters. But they are polar opposites as fantasists. Tolkien expended enormous pains in creating a secondary world that was consistent with itself through thousands of years of history, dozens of characters, multiple storylines, several invented languages, etc. He provided an explanation (The Red Book of Westmarch) for how we in our time can know about those ancient events. By contrast Dunsany flaunts the inconsequence of his confections. They are but "dreams" having no impact on us; they may be "a dreamer's tales" but the dreamer never awakens and starts to process what they might mean for him, in the waking world. You could say that any imaginary world fantasy could be placed somewhere on a spectrum with Tolkien at one end and Dunsany at the other.
Well yes, Tolkien certainly did start a trend (still being followed religously today) in extensive and detailed world building and it is a style quite at odds with that of Dunsany I think. But I would probably more likely cast Michael Moorcock in that role. At least he was more consciously trying to write fantasy in a non-Tolkienesque way.
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Old 26th November 2010, 11:37 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Hi, new here, first post

Spent the last couple months reading a plethora of Dunsany's short stories ("The Gods of Pegana", "Time and the Gods", "The Sword of Welleran", "A Dreamers Tales", "The Book of Wonder", "Tales of Wonder", "Tales of Three Hemispheres" and "Fifty-One Tales") and also the the novel "Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley".

I have never read such consistently brilliant writing in my life. Many of these shorts (some lasting only a page or two) are basically just written for no other purpose than to appreciate the printed word. I'm ok with that...because in his hands, the printed word becomes art of the highest order. So, many of them, at least for me were just these miniature snapshots of a world steeped in magic, mystery, exotica, adventure, old world romance, mythology and fable. Of the stories that I was able to glean "something more from", such themes as atheism (very prevelant in the early stories) and fear of technological progress (among others) were commented on...sometimes quite overtly, other times hidden in fable.

Like his contemporay, Arthur Machen, Dunsany seemed to be obsessed with the "real" world, i.e. the world that we everyday, mundane humans struggling though our mundane, everyday tasks, eeking out a drab existence on a day to day basis fail to see. Instead, we get gorgeous descriptions of the "fields beyond the fields we know" where life is simple and storybook...obtainable only by dreams.

In the end...if the reader does grok "a point" from any given story is really besides the point. As cliche as this sounds...the reward is in the journey, not the destination.

I'm detouring with the Gormenghast novels right now, but plan on returning to read "The King of Elfland's Daughter" when I'm done.
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Old 27th November 2010, 11:11 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Interesting to see another new fan and welcome to the forum

"The King of Elfland's Daughter" is by far the most beautiful piece of literature i have read. So beautiful it hurt reading it at times.

Fear of technological progress when it destroys the natural world is a feeling a person of today can really understand. I like that theme of his i feel its terrible people are destroying nature,animals just for being greedy humans. Lord Dunsany wouldnt have liked to have young enough to see w
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Old 27th November 2010, 01:41 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Yes, welcome N-Dog. This place isn't so arful once you get used to it.
Read some of the 51 takes t'other day, great stuff. Inspiring to those of us in the 75-word writing challenge, tho I don't think any were quite that short, some were brilliant.
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Old 27th November 2010, 05:52 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Hey all...thanks for the welcomes...

In regards to Dunsany being a sort of anti-Tolkein...I can definitely accept that. In fact, that discussion reminds me of (one of) M. John Harrison's intentions when he wrote the Viriconium cycle.

Harrison set out to write the "anti-fantasy". In other words, dont tell, just show and toss all manner of "world building" exposition in the garbage...after all, how do we, the reader know what it would be like living in a world like that if we didnt experience it first hand? Most importantly, show things, show reactions, show emotions through these actions...just dont tell us that so and so character was distraught, or sad, or happy etc. To Harrison, that would be the ultimate insult.

Ironically, the sense I got from Viriconium was one of complete detail...and I got this sense playing by his rules. He consciously did away, at least in the later stories and novels, with the fantasy tropes and created an environment very very rich, at least in my minds eye. This tells me that Harrison is one pretty amazing writer.

After reading Dunsany, I got the same impressions. The "bare bone" style of his writing left me with a very vivid, and most importantly...memorable visual of, not only his pastoral wonderland of dreams, the "fields beyond the fields we know" (love that!!!!) but also, when he chose to write about the onslaught of industrialism and it's effect on the earth and civilization, the grittiness and suffocatingly dense atmosphere that came with all that.

This was all done by very careful, and precise writing...a style that was a pleasure to read, and I'm sure re-read at a later date. I dare say that his writing is the literary equivalent of (to bring a music analogy into this) a Miles Davis solo (for instance during "Kind of Blue)...one of utter mastery of his craft!
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Old 30th December 2010, 01:16 AM   #41 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

I finished "King of Elfland's Daughter" last night and, as expected was completely wow'ed by it! Honestly, I didn't want it to end but, I felt that taking it in in small doses was better than reading 50 page chunks. It's the sort of book that almost beckons you to make yourself comfortable, forget everything else in your life that might be on your mind, no matter if it's good or bad, and basically, just surrender yourself to.

Dunsany's descriptive prose I consider, at this point in my rediscovery of fantasy and sf is second to none. Example, without quoting it verbatim, there was a passage about the ebbing of elfland from the "fields we know" (earth) that was achingly beautiful in it's ability for my mind to visualize as well as igniting emotions. The sense of loss and sadness it conveyed was uncanny. Dunsany talks about ancient happy memories strewn on the desolate wasteland of what used to be elfland in the form of old toys left abandoned that once brought joy to a child, and will always be fondly remembered. The writing here (as in the whole book) was so precise and crystal clear that I actually had to stop, think about it, feel it, and re-read it again.

And this happens many, many times throughout the course of the book. The descriptions of elfland, of the hunts, of "the fields we know" of earth, the seasons, the characters themselves are all brought to vivid life, usually by just using a few very well placed words and punctuation. The simple plot, that in the hands of a lesser writer would fall flat, moved along smoothly...right up to it's inevitable (and actually somewhat sad) conclusion.

Reading this book was a pleasure from start to finish and won't be forgotten anytime soon! In fact, it will probably get a second read sooner rather than later.

I'm thinking about reading "The Charwoman's Shadow" as my next Dunsany, but first I'm probably going to delve into Algernon Blackwoods "Incredible Adventures"
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Old 30th December 2010, 04:38 AM   #42 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

I was going to suggest The Charwoman's Shadow, as it is rather related to The Chronicles of Shadow Valley. You might also look up his The Blessings of Pan and The Curse of the Wise Woman. For that matter, several of his plays are well worth reading as well....
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Old 10th January 2011, 08:07 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

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I was going to suggest The Charwoman's Shadow, as it is rather related to The Chronicles of Shadow Valley. You might also look up his The Blessings of Pan and The Curse of the Wise Woman. For that matter, several of his plays are well worth reading as well....
I have read a couple plays a day the last few weeks and i look forward to tasting Lord Dunsany plays on my free time. How his wonderful writing in plays,dialouge heavy writing. I hope he is stylised in his plays too.
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Old 11th January 2011, 08:21 PM   #44 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

OK, guys, you got me and I will be starting on The King of Elfland's Daughter forthwith.
The Divis Flats tale swung it for me. If ever a place needed escapism it was Northern Ireland in the 1970s.
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Old 16th January 2011, 08:24 AM   #45 (permalink)
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Re: Lord Dunsany

Hello, I am also a newbie to the forum.

I am just now finishing up Gormenghast, and was about to start A Song of Ice and Fire series when I decided to pick up King of Elfland's Daughter.

Peake and Dunsany were recommended in a book I read about popular books of the 1960s. There is a chapter about Lovecraft and Tolkien, and the author mentions others that were big at the time. I used this as a reading list for fantasy recently, and thought KoED would be a good start. I am assuming I did right!
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