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In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 24, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0142437766 ISBN-10: 014243776X

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (February 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014243776X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142437766
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dunsany's best stories remain unique: nobody else has ever been able to capture his visions....S.T. Joshi, a biographer of Dunsany and an expert in the Weird, has given us an excellent introduction and notes." —Ursula K. Le Guin, Los Angeles Times Book Review

About the Author

Baron Dunsany 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. His works include The Book of Wonder (1912), Plays of Gods and Men (1917) and The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933). S.T. Joshi is a freelance writer and editor who has previously edited Penguin Classics editions of The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories (2001) and Ancient Sorceries and Other Strange Stories (2002). Amongst his other published titles are Lord Dunsany: Master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination (1995) and The Modern Weird Tale (2001). He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Read these for yourself--read all of the stories; you will not be disappointed.
M. Amanuensis Sharkchild
He has the astonding ability to conjure believeable worlds and nail them down with unsurpassed beauty in 500 word, three page stories!
rash67
If you are interested in early fantasy literature, when the genre was in its infancy, pick up this collection.
Flippy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lord Dunsany may never get the vast following of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, but he does have the distinction of being one of the first fantasy writers in history. "In The Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales" is a collection of various stories he wrote, drawing from all of Dunsany's writing.
Among the longish (none of Dunsany's stories is really long) is Dunsany's short novel "Gods of Pegana," a collection of Dunsany's invented myths for countries that never really existed, and the novella "Sword of Welleran," in which legends come to life, including the famed sword of a hero. Not to mention a vast variety of short stories ranging from murder mysteries ("Two Bottles of Relish") to Victorian character study ("Thirteen At Table"), from horror (the creepy "Ghosts") to whimsical fantasy ("The Wonderful Window," the centaur-themed "Bride of the Man-Horse").
One of the good things about "In The Land of Time" is that except for Dunsany's war stories and club tales, just about every kind of fiction he wrote is in here. Fantasy, horror, regular fiction and invented myths -- this guy wrote 'em all. And editor S.T. Joshi does a pretty good job pulling together some of the best things Dunsany wrote. The main problem is that the collection is kind of serious. Since Dunsany could be very funny in some stories, this is leaving a big gap in the collection.
Like the fantasy writers who came after him, Dunsany dipped into myths that weren't his own (like "Charon," a memorable short story about the ferryman of the dead). At the same time, he wove his own legends and myths about gods and heroes, in a vaguely Middle-Eastern setting.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By rash67 VINE VOICE on June 1, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a marvellous writer Lord Dunsany was!

He influenced everyone, everyone who ever wrote fantasy: HP Lovecraft, Jack Vance, John Crowley, Gene Wolfe, Neil Gaiman, Clark Ashton Smith, Roger Zelazny, the list goes on and on. He has the astonding ability to conjure believeable worlds and nail them down with unsurpassed beauty in 500 word, three page stories! Like Faberge Eggs, each tiny short story conveys lost worlds of intense poetic beauty.

He loved the sounds of King James English and returned to it over and over to fashion his worlds. *The Gods of Pagana* (printed in its entirety) is no less than a series of drole Myths about the creation of the universe, paralleling and reflecting Greco Roman myths and even Genesis. The Pagana section is really a clever story cycle and most effective if you start from the beginning and read in sequence.

Dunsany doesn't much care for our modern world, (but what's to care for?...). He comes up with names for his imaginary cities that just roll off the tongue.

Dunsany wrote a story about a thief who is being pursued, running away with his stolen loot from the house at the End of the World. He runs down a long curving staircase on steps carved into the rock. Down and down he runs pursued by the nameless terror behind him, until the steps get larger and larger and the curve gets greater until he falls off the lower edge of the world into space! Now that is vision. (I think that happened to me in a nightmare once.) A number of his stories deal with the House at the End of the World - an English country house, a stone fence and outer space beyond.

The orignal hardbound editions (not this paperback) had funny etchings to go along with the stories.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Flippy on May 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the book you search for on a cool autumn evening or a late summer day. It is a book you want to read and savour. The tales are timeless, sometimes melancholic filled with fantasy, delight and the fleeting nature of life, existence and the world (or worlds) around us. Dunsany evokes the sublime, the sacred, the profane and the childlike. I'm not the greatest fan of Tolkien (I found The Lord of the Rings long-winded). But then again I prefer vignettes of life. These tales offer the vignette of the fantasy world. Gods, goddesses, warriors of old, travelers in faraway lands, story-tellers...children playing pirates... there is everything you need in this book to have - well literally - a 'second childhood'.

I loved the earlier mythological work 'The Gods of Pegana' as much as 'The Tales of Wonder'. The prose poems were equally wondrous and in a few I could see where the Argentinian author, Jorge Luis Borges was highly influenced.

If you are interested in early fantasy literature, when the genre was in its infancy, pick up this collection. It is not antique, it is not dated. The best part is the writing is readable, accessible and highly poetic. Dunsany has a way with words and his story telling ability is highly admirable. Read this and you'll want to read more of him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Laurie on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback
There has never been anyone quite like Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Lord Dunsany. H.P. Lovecraft wrote clumsy imitations before discovering his own distinctive vein of glutinous, astronomical horror. Almost all heroic fantasy from the 30s till today is indebted to him, however remotely. But he is not to everyone's taste, so what is he like?

Lord Dunsany travelled much in "the East", saw ancient cities and vanishing customs and ways of life. All of his fantastic tales are born of his longing for Lost Glory, for days when the world was colossal, heroic, unquantified, golden, lawless, drastic and permeable to the marvellous. Arch humour and the intolerable mingle with adventure and wonder. He loved the King James Bible, and his own style is modelled on its Semitic cadences, at once terse and oratorical, brief archaic sentences frequently beginning with "And".

A wealthy man who could write to please himself, he was one of the first to set tales in a purely imagined world. He was not a linguist like Tolkien and his invented names have an uncouth look: Slid, Mlideen, Soorenard, Zeenar, Zumbiboo, Rhoog, Mowrah Nawut. First he wrote "The Gods of Pegâna" and "Time and the Gods", which tell of the gods that rule over his private world and their unsuitable, disconcerting dealings with humankind. These are prose poems or parables, all very short (those in "Pegâna" often less than a page.) Ambrosia for the Dunsanian, but not the best start for the unconverted.

Three other collections of wonder-tales are more substantial. "The Sword of Welleran", "The Fall of Babbulkund", "The Fortress Unvanquishable", "Idle Days on the Yann", "Carcassonne", are hard to beat as glimpses of wondrous, impossible worlds.
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