Lord Dunsany

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Lord Dunsany, 24 July 1878 - 25 October 1957. Irish writer and dramatist, his full name was Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, the 18th Baron Dunsany.

He was educated at Eton and Sandhurst. He served as an officer in the Coldstream Guards during the Boer War, and in the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in World War I. He was a keen huntsman, and sportsman, and was at one time the Chess and pistol champion of Ireland.

His fame arose, however, from his prolific writings of short stories, novels, plays and poetry, reportedly mostly written with a quill pen.

His most notable fantasy short stories were published in collections from 1905 to 1919: he had to pay for publication of the first, `The Gods of Pegana'. The stories were set within an invented world, with its own gods, history and geography, and his effect on the field of fantasy writing was considerable.

H.P. Lovecraft was greatly impressed by Dunsany after seeing him on a speaking tour of the United States, and Lovecraft's early stories clearly show the his influence. Fletcher Pratt's 1948 novel, `The Well of the Unicorn' was written as a sequel to Dunsany's play `King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior'

The catalogue of everything that Dunsany wrote durng a fifty-year writing career is quite extensive; the following is a partial list compiled from various sources.

Short story collections:

  • The Gods of Pegana (1905)
  • Time and the Gods (1906)
  • The Sword of Welleran (1908)
  • A Dreamer's Tales (1910)
  • The Book of Wonder (1912)
  • Fifty-one Tales (1915)
  • Tales of Wonder (1916) (published in America as `The Last Book of Wonder')
  • Tales of Three Hemispheres (1919)

The Jorkens books were of a type popular in fantasy and science fiction writing: the gentlemen's club, where extremely improbable tales are related; they consist of:

  • The Travel Tales of Mr Joseph Jorkens (1931)
  • Jorkens remembers Africa (1934)
  • Jorkens has a Large Whiskey (1940)
  • The Fourth Book of Jorkens (1948)
  • Jorkens Borrows Another Whiskey (1954)

Novels

  • The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924)
  • Don Rodriguez: Chronicles of Shadow Valley (1922)
  • The Charwoman's Shadow (1924)
  • The Blessing of Pan (1927)
  • The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933)
  • My Talks with Dean Spauley (1936)
  • The Strange Journeys of Colonel Polders (1950)
  • The Last Revolution (1951)

Plays:

  • The Glittering Gate (1909, Abbey Theatre Dublin)
  • The Tents of the Arabs (1910)
  • The Laughter of the Gods (1910)
  • King Argimenes and the Unknown Warrior (1910 or 1911: I have different dates in different sources)
  • The Queen's Enemies
  • A Night at the Inn (1911)
  • The Gods of the Mountain (1911, Haymarket Thatre London)

Poetry:

  • Fifty Poems (1929)
  • Mirage Water (1938)
  • War Poems (1941)
  • A Journey (1943)
  • Wandering Songs (1943)
  • The Year (1946)
  • The Odes of Horace (1947) (translation)
  • To awaken Pegasus (1949)

Essays:

  • Nowadays (1918)

Autobiography:

  • Patches of Sunlight (1938)
  • While Sirens Slept (1944)
  • The Sirens Wake (1945)