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22489Re: [mythsoc] Quick take on Lord Dunsany?

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  • John Rateliff
    Jun 29, 2011
      On Jun 28, 2011, at 6:15 PM, WendellWag@... wrote:
      Dale, if anyone questions your assertion about Dunsany, you can quote the statement below by John Rateliff and say that he is one of the most important living Dunsany scholars.  I don't think there are many Dunsany scholars.  I just Googled on "Dunsany scholar" and found only two people mentioned - Darrell Schweitzer and S. T. Joshi - neither of whom did a Ph.D. dissertation on Dunsany.
      Wendell Wagner

      Wow. Thanks for the high praise, Wendell. But I think Doug Anderson shd be added to the list; he contributed a good deal to the Joshi-Schweitzer Dunsany Bibliography.

      On Jun 29, 2011, at 6:31 AM, davise@... wrote:
      University Microfilms lists 3 theses on Dunsany:

      xJohn Rateliff, " 'Beyond the fields we know': The short stories of
      Lord Dunsany, Marquette U., 1990.

      xRonald Gallagher, "The uses of the supernatural in the works of Lord Dunsany and James Stephens," U. Washington, 1990.

      xLinda Pashka, "Dunsany's other worlds: The prose fantasy of Lord Dunsany", U. Calgary, 1987.

      The Wikipedia article also states that Tania Scott is currently doing a dissertation on Dunsany at U. Glasgow. She has given some talks, but does not seem to have published much. 

      WorldCat lists additionally (books and theses)
      Mark Amory, "Biography of Lord Dunsany", Collins, 1972.

      Sunand Joshi, "Lord Dunsany, master of the Anglo-Irish Imagination"
      Greenwood Press, 1996.

      xMax Duperray, "Le monde imaginaire de Lord Dunsany, 1878-1957"
      thesis, U. de Lille, 1979.

      To these shd be added others listed in the "Theses and Dissertations" section of the Joshi-Schweitzer Bibliography: nine in all, including five not listed above. The most important of these is J. F. La Croix's Trinity College Dublin diss. from 1956, since he actually contacted Dunsany and got a little information directly from him (including Dunsany's opinion of Lovecraft). And in addition to Amory and Joshi shd be added Schweitzer's book (portions of which appeared long ago in MYTHLORE), the Bibliography, and Littlefield Smith's memoir. I'd include de Camp's book as well, since it includes a chapter on Ld D.

      If my dissertation has anything that makes it stand out (and I shd point out that Joshi is dismissive of it), it's that so far as I know I'm the only one to have bothered to look at Dunsany's manuscripts (at Austin, in Binghampton, in London, in Dublin, &c) and taken into account what they tell us about Dunsany's method of composition.

      On Jun 29, 2011, at 7:40 AM, dale nelson wrote:
      As an aside -- I like it when a source who interests me states what or who is the greatest or most important, etc.  Just yesterday I was browsing Sellin's study of David Lindsay.  According to Sellin, for the author of A Voyage to Arcturus Beethoven was unequivocally the greatest composer.  I'm glad to know that, not just that Beethoven was one of the great composers according to Lindsay.  I seem to remember blurb copy in which Baird Searles claimed that Dunsany was greater than Tolkien or Peake, not simply one of the great fantasists along with those two and others.  I don't agree with Searles, but I appreciate the statement because it could prompt me to think some more about Dunsany's achievement (in some moods I'm inclined to think of him as basically a very productive and inventive confectioner, sort of for high fantasy what Paul McCartney's been for popular music).  

      I agree with a fondness for critics actually expressing an opinion when they have one. Even if I disagree with it, at least I know where they stand.  As for D.'s achievement, remember that he wrote over four hundred stories and published over seventy books: he's one of those authors who wrote far too much and published almost everything he wrote. Then too his aesthetic creed prevented him from revising anything he wrote, which served him well early on but not later in his career when his inspiration flagged. The best thing anyone can do in Dunsany scholarship, I think, is to point people interested in giving him a try towards the good stuff so they don't flounder right away on the lesser works.

      And may I add what a pleasure it is to see folks discussing a good fantasy author beyond the Official Three here.

      --John R.

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