I think this statement is self-evidently true of Dunsany for the first two decades of the twentieth century, the period of his eight collections of fantasy short stories and most (not all) of his major plays. But he's not as strong a novelist, so his productions of the twenties and thereafter represent a falling off. Why not say "the greatest fantasy short story writer, bar none, and the most influential fantasy writer of the first half of the century"?
As for Charles WIlliams, I think it's perfectly possible to construct a definition of fantasy that calls into question whether anything he wrote is fantasy -- in fact, just such a definition underlay my first dissertation proposal.
In any case, the statement as it stands is defensible, and if it's what you believe you shd go with it. I'll look forward to seeing the BEYOND BREE piece.
On Jun 28, 2011, at 7:43 AM, dale nelson wrote:
Would anyone care to question this assertion, that Lord Dunsany was the greatest British writer of fantasy for adults during the period between the end of the Victorian era and the Thirties?
I'm deliberately not defining "greatest," although for some that may make the statement almost meaningless.
The assertion implies that Dunsany's eight or so collections of fantasies and The King of Elfland's Daughter etc. comprise a "greater" achievement than that of E. R. Eddison, William Hope Hodgson, Hope Mirrlees, David Lindsay, and others who published major works such as The Worm Ouroboros, The Night Land, Lud-in-the-Mist, and A Voyage to Arcturus in that period.
I'm asking because in a short piece I have drafted for Beyond Bree I make this claim, but there's probably time for me to change it if need be. Conversely, if the statement
seems right to you, I'd be happy to know that too.