adventures in dysthymia

Thursday, November 01, 2007

CLASSIC FANTASY

I'm currently rereading Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter. Possibly the greatest fantasy novel ever written, or at least the next greatest after The Lord of the Rings. Lord Dunsany -- Edward Plunkett -- was an Irish aristocrat who more or less created the modern fantasy genre. Oh, I suppose one could go back further and look at William Morris' largely forgotten novels. If they weren't exactly 'modern' fantasy, they certainly pointed the way.

I had a rather large library of such at one time but lost them to flood back in '93, during the infamous Storm of the Century (not the Stephen King story nor the Joey Errigo song) that struck the Florida Big Bend without much warning. Morris, Dunsany, Tolkien, Eddison (another big favorite -- I just reread Mistress of Mistresses), Pratt...so many other greats and semi-greats! Slowly, I'm managing to replace the losses. Unfortunately, the surge of paperback editions of classic fantasy in the 70s is long past and some of this work is difficult to find now.

I suppose some of these novels and stories are slipping into the public domain now. Morris' work, certainly. The whole publish-on-demand thing (not to mention free e-book downloads) is giving the old books new life, as anyone can put out an edition of their own! There are new versions of Frankenstein all over.

Speaking of e-books, I think I'll go look for a copy of Moby Dick (which I read like 40 years ago) so I can read along with 'Bint Battuta' and her friends.

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