Come with me now for awhile, for we have worlds of magic to explore, and the Land of Dreams is close at hand.
If you’re tired of fat, cheesy fantasy novels that really do stink, and you want to experience what Fantasy writing once was and could have been, before a few lame-brained idiot writers took Fantasy down a dark alley and stabbed it in the back, then you should read Lord Dunsany’s beautiful prose.
This is writing that sings to the heart.
"A proper fantasy story would, of course, devote nine or so books to traveling very slowly through the elfish countryside, slowly accumulating plot tokens in order to complete the quest. Dunsany spends one chapter on this journey, then gets to the real point of his story, which is what happens when a girl from Elfland is forced to live in the mortal world, and what happens when the two worlds collide. It’s 1924, and already the good baron is overthrowing tired and worn out fantasy cliches. Lord Dunsany’s story has more in it of culture shock and the price of novelty than magic mcguffin hunting and evil overlord overthrowing.
"The prose itself is some of the finest and most magical in all of fantasy literature. It is like Tolkien without the idle sentiment, or like Lovecraft with a greater gift for language and more synonyms for “odd”. A brief sample should suffice:
"'Near the Castle of Erl there lived a lonely witch, on high land near the thunder, which used to roll in Summer along the hills. There she dwelt by herself in a narrow cottage of thatch and roamed the high fields alone to gather the thunderbolts. Of these thunderbolts, that had no earthly forging, were made, with suitable runes, such weapons as had to parry unearthly dangers.'
"Lord Dunsany’s prose can fairly be described as “oft-imitated”. It is the sound of fantasy. Rarely has it been surpassed."
This critic says this:
"Much of what we call modern fantasy is a pale, predictable mesh of cliches. It is a bookshelf filled with stories that bear far too much in common with one another. Sometimes indeed it feels that originality, which ought to be the cornerstone of fantasy seems to be all but evaporated. Lord Dunsay is - different. He is one of those illusive pre-Tolkien fantasy writers and you will be shocked at how much of modern fantasy derives from him. And then doubly shocked to find he still did it better. Lord Dunsay writes beautiful and elaborate prose. He weaves stories in which magic is not some work-a-day technology but rather a brooding, powerful and very nearly living force."
There is no better prose stylist who touched both the heart of Fantasy and the heart of the Reader.
Like all the books I assemble on MobileRead, this too was assembled to reflect human intervention and artistic judgment.
I hope you enjoy it.
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